Keeping you on the road
The British seaside holiday is a timeless classic that everyone can enjoy, with lots of free fun in the sun building sandcastles and splashing in the sea.
As an island nation, we certainly have plenty of coastline to choose from. England has over 5,000 miles of coast, Wales has over 1,300 miles and Scotland has over 4,100 miles on the mainland and another 7,500 miles if you include all its islands.
Of course, the best beach for you and your family depends on what you want to do there.
If you want all the fun of the seaside, from penny arcades to kiss-me-quick hats, then Blackpool’s Golden Mile or Weymouth are the sands to head for. However, if you want something a little quieter, try the dozens of sandy coves along the Gower peninsula, just west of Swansea, or the countless little beaches along the Devon and Cornwall coast.
Some beaches offer more than just sand, with nearby attractions adding to their charm. Bamburgh, in Northumberland may be a lovely stretch of coast in its own right, but it is the famous castle island of Lindisfarne across the bay that draws the crowds.
The same is true for Portmeirion in North Wales, Marazion in Cornwall, with its view of St Michael’s Mount, Porthcurno, with its spectacular clifftop Minack Theatre, and many others around the UK.
Unless you live in Cotton in the Elms in Leicestershire, you’re never more than 70 miles from the coast in Britain.
Often the least known beaches are the most surprising. Everyone knows Cardigan Bay in West Wales, the Jurassic Coast in the South West and the surfing beaches of Newquay, but the best beaches are can also be the best-kept secrets.
Letting one secret out of the bag, Sugar Sands near Boulmer on the Northumberland heritage coast is a gem. There is a small car park but the best way to get there is to park in a nearby village and walk. It’s unspoilt with bays of perfect golden sand and views across the sea. Perfect for a picnic and a lazy afternoon – but remember that unspoilt also means no facilities. So pack everything you need and be prepared to get back in the car for a toilet break!
For other hidden gems, forget the travel guides and try asking the locals where they recommend. Good excuse for a pub lunch in the local the day you arrive! You could find yourself enjoying a peaceful gem of a bay, far from the beaten track, and have the beach all to yourself.