England has thousands of miles of gorgeous beaches. As the UK is an island, you are never more than 70 miles (112 kilometres) from the sea, making a day out at the beach accessible for all. From traditional seaside with colourful Victorian changing huts to pebble beaches and secret coves, England has many beautiful beaches.
The best beaches in England are scattered across the country and, despite the varying and changing weather, are still stunning even on drizzly cold days. Some of England’s beaches are off the beaten track or simply harder to access, making them a more tranquil seaside retreat. So visit some of the seaside towns and feast on fish and chips before exploring the splendour that English beaches have to offer. Here are our 20 best beaches in England to visit.
- 20 Beaches In England
- Beaches in North England
- Beaches in Southern England
20 Beaches In England
Beaches in North England
1- Bamburgh Beach
For dramatic, windswept coastal views, look no further than Bamburgh Beach.
Bamburgh Castle, a Norman stronghold, overlooks Bamburgh Beach.
This northern beach has cold waters year-round however, the sands and dunes make for relaxing and beautiful strolls.
Be sure to look out for the myriad of rock pools in the area and Stag Rocks at the beach’s northern end is named after the white stag painted on the rocks.
Bamburgh Beach is at Bamburgh, NE69 7DF.
2- Whitby Beach
The small town of Whitby sits in a valley in the North Yorkshire Moors and has a stunning stretch of beach overlooking the North Sea.
The beach is at the base of Whitby’s West Cliff and features golden sands and pebbles.
Fossil enthusiasts are attracted to Whitby Beach to find fossils either independently or on a daily fossil walk.
Overlooking the sands are a row of colourful Victorian-style changing houses used as day huts for families on the beach or surfers changing after being out on the waves.
Whitby Beach is at 1 Pier Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3PT.
3- Blast Beach
One of the North East’s hidden yet incredible beaches is Blast Beach.
Blast Beach was once home to some of the worst coastline pollution globally, thanks to the coal mining along the Durham coastline.
However, the beach and the seas have been cleaned up in an effort between the National Trust and many local companies.
The beach is hidden away through a short coastal and forest walk and down some steep steps.
At the bottom, the pebble beach is dotted with sea glass, natural arches, and caves.
A blanket of lovely wildflowers covers the cliffs, making it an incredibly picturesque place to visit.
Blast Beach is at Hawthorn, Seaham, SR7 7PR.
4- Filey Beach
In 2019, Filey Beach was voted in the six most beautiful beaches in the world in the Travellers Choice awards, and it is easy to see why.
This North Yorkshire beach is a quarter-mile (0.4 km) wide at low tide and stretches for seven miles (11.26 km), ending at Bempton’s chalk cliffs.
Dotted along the beach are wrecks of ships, rock pools and, of course, stunning golden sands.
Look out for local fishermen fishing from their traditional cable fishing boats.
Filey Beach is at 1 Flat Cliffs, Primrose Valley, Filey, YO14 9RD.
5- St Bees Beach
Sitting on the western coast of Cumbria at the end of a long valley is the coastal town of St Bees.
Lush green fields and the sea surround this picturesque town.
St Bees Beach is a long sandy beach that is popular with visitors.
A rock formation that sits at one end of the beach named St Bees Head marks one end of the famous ‘Coast to Coast Walk’, which stretches from the west coast to the east coast of England.
This beautiful beach is also home to an RSPB nature reserve, where Britain’s only colony of Black Guillemots nest.
St Bees Beach is at 23 Scalebarrow, St Bees, CA27 0ES.
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6- Whitburn Beach
To the north of the city of Sunderland lies Whitburn Beach, a wide expanse of golden sands bordered by grass and dunes.
The beach is popular in the summer months as residents from the nearby coastal city flock to its shores for sunbathing, sailing and water sports.
However, unlike other busy beaches in the area, Whitburn offers a peaceful summer day out.
The main promenade follows the beach and heads south towards Roker and its beaches and shops, or to the north towards the cliffs and Souter Lighthouse.
Whitburn Beach is at Whitburn, Sunderland, SR6 7SG.
7- Holy Island Beach
Holy Island is a character beach only accessible at low tide and is off the Northumberland coast near Berwick-upon-Tweed.
At low tide, when more of the sandy banks of the island are exposed, Holy Island is bordered by four beautiful beaches to the north.
While the tide is out, the sands reveal old wooden posts from pillars and knotted driftwood.
On the grass-covered banks next to the beaches, look out for the upturned fishing boats that have been transformed into storage sheds.
Holy Island Beach is at Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2SP.
Beaches in Southern England
8- Woolacombe Beach
Woolacombe Beach is one of Devon’s finest beaches, with a stunning expanse of sand bordered by sloping hills leading into the countryside.
The beach is long and vast at three miles (4.8 km), meaning that even in the height of summer, it is possible to find a quiet place to sit and sleep.
Woolacombe is a dog-friendly beach all year round; however, some restrictions apply during busy periods.
The beach is on the Atlantic coast, and with its excellent year-round rolling breaks, it offers unrivalled surfing opportunities.
Woolacombe Beach is at Woolacombe, EX34 7BN.
9- Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove is protected and maintained by the National Trust, which describes it as a ‘tidal beach for the adventurous’.
The beach offers pristine, soft, white sands and glowing turquoise waters.
The shore is dotted with rocks that the sea has smoothed over.
Over the decades, the cove has been a popular location for artists, photographers and filmmakers alike who take advantage of its beauty.
Kynance comes from the Cornish word ‘kewnans’, which means ravine.
When the tide is low, many attractive hidden coves, caves and pools are revealed, each with equally beautiful names.
Take a dip in the Ladies Bathing Pool, or pay a visit to the Drawing Room.
Kynance Cove is at Helston, TR12 7PJ.
10- West Wittering Beach
West Wittering Beach is a stunning stretch of pristine sand with views of the South Downs.
During the 1950s, Butlins, a UK coastal holiday company, was interested in buying the land to turn it into a holiday camp.
Luckily, locals clubbed together and purchased the beach for themselves, allowing the area to become a conservation area.
The crystal-clear waters are particularly popular with water sports enthusiasts, with many courses offered by local professionals to train those interested.
The beach is also highly popular with walkers heading to the East Head Dunes or East Wittering beach, which is home to many popular independent shops and restaurants.
West Wittering Beach is at Pound Road, West Wittering, Chichester, PO20 8AJ.
11- Porthcurno Beach
Porthcurno Beach is an award-winning beach in west Cornwall, and many locals consider it a paradise.
The beach has fine white sands next to an azure sea, bordered by high cliffs.
At the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach is the internationally renowned Minack Theatre built in the 1920s and still puts on shows to this day.
For TV fans, Porthcurno Beach was renamed Nampara Cove for the series Poldark.
Porthcurno Beach is at Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX.
12- Brancaster Beach
Another spectacular beach maintained by the National Trust is Brancaster Beach.
This east-coast gem offers soft golden sands with the occasional tuft of grass growing through.
The beach is a great expanse between the sandy dunes and the marshes and reed beds that reveal themselves during low tide.
The sands have proved popular with families setting out for a relaxing day while children build sandcastles, but they also hide many hidden gems.
Brancaster offers opportunities for beachcombing, with razor shells a particularly frequent find.
Brancaster Beach is at Brancaster, King’s Lynn, PE31 8AX.
13- Aldeburgh Beach
Aldeburgh Beach is both a sand and shingle beach and is possibly the best known of all the beaches in Suffolk.
Bordering the beach is the pretty seaside town of Aldeburgh.
Running along the beachfront are numerous historical buildings.
Overlooking the sea is the 400-year-old Moot Hall, a converted windmill and a church dating back to the 11th century.
Aldeburgh Beach is at Crag Path, Aldeburgh, IP15 5BP.
14- Birling Gap
Birling Gap is a paradise nestled between the Seven Sisters section of sheer chalk cliffs and Beachy Head.
The beach is an enclosed pebble beach that has created a tranquil atmosphere against the drama of the cliffs it sits beneath.
The only way to get to this beach is by walking down a steep set of steps from the clifftops, allowing it to remain quiet and peaceful.
You can walk along the clifftops to take in a more dramatic view of the gap and the English Chanel, however, cliff-falls are frequent, with much of the edges closed to public access.
Birling Gap is at Eastborne, BN20 0AB.
15- Studland Beach
Studland Beach lies in Dorset and is a vast expanse of sandy beaches and heathland.
Studland is made up of three beaches in total. South Beach is the smallest of the three and is popular with locals. Knoll Beach is bordered by wild dunes, trees and open spaces, and Middle Beach offers visitors some shelter from the winds thanks to its low cliffs.
The beach stretches from the Jurassic Coast at Old Harry Rocks up to Shell Bay in the north.
On clear days, one of the cool things about this beach is that it is possible to see the Isle of Wight.
Studland Beach is at Ferry Road, Swanage, BH19 3BA.
16- Cromer Beach
Britain is famous for traditional Victorian seaside towns and coastal areas, and Cromer Beach is just that.
This traditional Victorian resort features a combination of shingles and sand, with designated areas for swimming and surfing.
The town began as a fishing community specialising in catches of crab and lobster.
Today, this fishing tradition can still be seen from its local fishermen to children ‘crabbing’ by the pier.
When the tide is low, Cromer Beach is dotted with rock pools that temporarily trap small sea creatures, much to the fascination of the local children.
Cromer Beach is at The Warren, Cromer, NR27 0AR.
17- Man O’War Beach
Located along the famous Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is Man O’War Cove.
Man O’War Cove is a submerged reef only visible during low tide or through snorkelling or diving.
The beach itself is a crescent shape and leads to deep blue waters.
Man O’War combines pebbles and sand and, as it sits at the bottom of a cliff, is a retreat from some of the busier beaches along the Jurassic Coast.
This tranquil beach is also a safe swimming location as its waters are shallow.
Man O’War Cove is at West Lulworth, Wareham.
18- Walberswick Beach
Walberswick Beach sits on the south side of the mouth of the River Blyth and features long, grassy dunes that reach to golden sands towards the shore.
The beach is quieter and more secluded than others in the area and yet is still close enough to local amenities to be perfect for a day trip.
Walberswick Beach is at Southwold, IP18 6ND.
19- Old Hunstanton Beach
If nothing else draws you to the beautiful beach of Old Hunstanton, dotted with seaweed-covered rocks and beautiful shells to collect, then the awe-inspiring cliffs should do the trick.
Old Hunstanton Beach is bordered by red and white streaked cliffs, a naturally occurring geological feature of the Norfolk coastline.
Visiting at sunset makes for a breathtaking scene.
The beach is the only west-facing beach on the east coast, allowing it to remain a couple of degrees warmer than other beaches in cooler months, making it more pleasant for a wintery stroll.
Old Hunstanton Beach is at Hunstanton PE36 6JJ.
20- Formby Beach
Formby Beach features a quick-changing shoreline of glorious golden sands.
The beach is surrounded by an extensive network of sand dunes that are moving at a rate of 4m (13ft) per year.
The shifts in sands have revealed preserved prehistoric footprints.
Bordering the sands are woodlands that act as a protected site for the red squirrel population.
Formby Beach is at Victoria Road, Formby, Liverpool, L37 1LJ.
21- Saltburn By The Sea
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