This article was updated by the Great British Mag team on 10 March 2021.

OK, beaches probably aren’t the number one reason to visit Britain – but this isle does have some seriously great coastlines, nonetheless. And when the sun makes an appearance, Brits love nothing more than a day at the seaside.

So we’ve put together a list of some of the best beaches in the UK for you to make the most of this summer.

1. Bournemouth, Dorset

This seven-mile stretch of sand is one of the best city beaches in the UK and has views of the Isle of Wight. It is nestled beneath a cliff which creates a microclimate of some of the warmest water temperatures in the country.

Photo credit: Visit England, Bournemouth Tourism

2. West Witterings Beach, West Sussex

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, this large, sandy beach is a favourite of everyone from swimmers to kite surfers. It is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months and the cleanliness of the water is consistently excellent. It does get quite crowded in peak season so arrive early to grab your spot.

West Witterings Beach, West Sussex

3. Abereiddi Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire

Although this is not a sandy beach, it is definitely worth a visit. The Blue Lagoon is an old quarry with a tidal channel to the sea which provides fresh water in an enclosed space – great for swimming. There’s a nice walk into the lagoon and the setting is perfect for a picnic.

Photo credit: Phil Dolby on Flickr, use under this Creative Commons Licence; image cropped

4. Holy Island, Northumberland

Holy Island is cut off from the mainland twice a day by the tide, so be careful when you visit. It has everything you could want from a British beach location: a castle, a ruined priory, wildlife (including seals) and a beautiful, often deserted beach.

5. Holkham Bay, Norfolk

Holkham beach has amazing sand dunes and is bordered by a pine forest, making for a picturesque day out. In fact, Holkham is so nice its visitors include the Queen and her corgis.

Holkham Bay, Norfolk

6. Croyde Bay, North Devon

This is a real hotspot for surfers. There are great surf schools for beginners and tons of surf shops in this village by the sea.

Photo credit: Visit Britain, Ben Selway

7. Great Bay, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly

You can only reach this beach by foot, which means many visitors are locals rather than tourists. It is worth making the trek though – the white sands and clear blue water are spectacular. Definitely one of the best beaches in Britain!

An overview of Great Bay, one of the best beaches in the UK.
Photo credit: Richard Knights, use under this Creative Commons Licence; image cropped

8. Blackpool, Lancashire

Blackpool is one of the UK’s best-known traditional seaside towns. It’s a place to eat ice cream and fish ‘n’ chips, ride a donkey on the beach, take a ride on the Ferris wheel and send a postcard to your family. If you want to look like a local make sure you eat your fish ‘n’ chips in a deckchair.

An overview of the Blackpool harbour and the massive ferris wheel. It is one of the best beaches in the UK.
Photo credit: Visit England, Visit Blackpool

9. Sinclair’s Bay, Caithness

This is a deserted beach guarded by two 16th-century castles. It is home to porpoises and whales, depending on the season, and is a very romantic location for a summer stroll.

A view of the Sinclair's Bay, one of the best beaches in the UK.

10. Porthcurno, Cornwall

This is a top choice for those who like to spend the day getting active near the seaside! Take a stroll along a beach peppered with seashells, hike along one of the cliff-top paths or visit the rock pools to discover marine life.

A man doing some rock climbing around Porthcurno, Cornwall, one of the best beaches in the UK.
Photo credit: Visit Britain, Ben Selway

There are plenty more beautiful British beaches – where is your favourite? Post in the comment box below.

You may also like to read: 

5 natural wonders to visit in the UK

Guide to Bournemouth

10 things you should do while you’re in the UK