Top 5 UK beaches
Slabs of slate stack together like Jenga blocks and sandy coves hide twinkling rock pools…
The UK’s beach scene can be blustery but it’s also beaut. We’ve done some digging and found the five best spots for you to build sandcastles and starfish in the sea.
And we've teamed up with Booking.com to bring you the best places to stay nearby...
Dorset, United Kingdom
Durdle Door… sounds like an old-timey insult, is actually a curving limestone archway and shingley beach.
Head to this stretch of the Jurassic Coast and you’ll be sharing the sand with Nikons and tripod stands. Walk to Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove to see the grassy cliffs hugging the beach from above. Down at sand level there are sea caves to explore.
Stay here: Limestone HotelDon’t let the big English country house vibes fool you, Limestone Hotel is all stone brickwork and turrety roofs outside. But inside it would pass for a swanky London pad. Rooms are decked out in soothing blues and the restaurant is the stuff of mirrored-walled, leather banquette dreams.
You’re tucked away in the cutesy village of West Lulworth but Durdle Door is just a mile and a half away. Dorchester and Weymouth are both nearby for day trips once you’ve had your fill of beach time.
Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
Half a mile of crescent shaped bone-white beach, hugged by low sand dunes and lush green countryside... Isle of Scilly’s Pentle Bay is like a dream you had.
You have to get the ferry or plane here from Newquay, Lands End, or Penzance. Then you can island hop this unspoilt cluster of islands. All the beaches are photoshop good, but Pentle Bay on Tresco island is the crown jewel with sun-bleached white sand and see through water that dolphins play in. The paradise vibes are strong.
Stay here: Star Castle HotelShake off the sand at the Star Castle Hotel. It’s a five-minute walk from Hugh Town on the largest Isles of Scilly island - St Mary’s. There’s a heated indoor swimming pool for when you’re not up for salty sea swims and a cosy restaurant with a fireplace. Beds are king-size and so are the relaxing seaside vibes.
Cornwall, United Kingdom
Pedn Vounder is the beach that makes you work to see it’s beauty…
You have two options, take a boat or walk for 15 minutes from Treen to get to this remote patch of supermodel shoreline. It’s perched on the Penwith Peninsula and it’s inaccessibility is part of the appeal.
Want to get nakey nakey? No woz. At high tide it gets cut off from neighbouring beaches, which is when the nudists do their thang.
Stay here: Artist ResidenceArtist Residence is a Georgian manor house of interior design dreams.
There’s 22 individually-designed rooms stuffed full of quirky, upcycled items and original works from British artists. Downstairs the bar and garden feel like an upscale rum shack and the restaurant has its own smokehouse.
You might be tempted to stay holed up here but don’t - you’ll be smack bang in the middle of trendy Penzance which has galleries galore and an art deco lido all worth venturing out for.
Norfolk, United Kingdom
Holkham Beach is the daddy of all UK beaches. It’s miles and miles of flat powdery sand and overgrown grassy dunes. There’s also a surprising amount of sprouting wildflowers and a fluffy pine wood.
There’s a basin that’s shaped like a half-moon which fills up at high tide. Gwyneth Paltrow took a dip here in the closing scenes of Shakespeare In Love.
Stay here: The Hoste Luxury Boutique HotelThe Hoste Luxury Boutique Hotel is a short drive from the beach, and more importantly - it has a cinema. A private 20-seat cinema. Let that sink in. There’s also a gym, beauty spa, and award-winning restaurant.
Scotland, United Kingdom
About as far north as you can go without falling into the sea… Scotland’s Outer Hebrides islands might be hard to get to but the beaches here give the Caribbean a run for its money (though the water temperatures might say otherwise).
Eye-wateringly beautiful sheltered coves and sandy dunes are at every turn on the Isle of Harris but the star of the show is Luskentyre beach.
Cycle the 3 mile single track road that links the beach to Harris’ main road for the best vistas and photo ops. And keep your eyes peeled for whales - orcas, minkes and humpbacks all roam these shores. Check out our Hebridean Whale Trail post for the best spots to spy them.