Barafundle Bay, Wales
While it’s a bit of a trek to get to – half a mile walk from the car park and facilities – this secluded little beach is well worth the effort. Recently voted one of the top 25 beaches in the world by Passport Magazine, it features white sand, very clear water and is surrounded by cliffs. Flanked by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, there are also plenty of good lookout spots for those wanting to stretch their legs.
Lunan Beach, Scotland
This mile-long stretch of sandy beach is fairly rural. There is a cave and arch at the northern end and it is dog-friendly and good for swimming. Backed by dunes, it is overlooked by the historic Red Castle ruins with several other castles within walking distance. However most shops and cafes are a few miles away in Montrose – so pack a picnic.
Cranfield Beach, Northern Ireland
Located just outside of Kilkeel, this south-facing beach offers stunning views over the Mourne Mountains and Carlingford Lough. Although it’s a Blue-Flag beach it is long and often quieter than some of the others in the area. Car parks and restrooms are nearby making it perfect for a family outing.
Dunwich Heath Beach, Suffolk
This remote sand-and-shingle beach – backed by lagoons and heathland – is part of a nature reserve that is home to wildlife including red deer, woodlarks and adders. When at mid-tide there is plenty of sand and it is dog-friendly, though bring a leash if you want to explore the heathland. The nearest town is Leiston, which is popular for its tearooms.
Lancombe Cove, Dartmouth
A favourite among yachters, this beach offers an escape from the crowds and a safe place to drop anchor. It is well hidden below cliffs from the roads, so a heads up that if you’re not sailing in then you’ll face a steep decent on the trail down. Once there, however, you will find a roomy, curved beach that gets plenty of sun.
North Landing Beach, Flamborough
Situated in a natural cove on the north side of the Flamborough headland, this beach is great for snorkelling. There is plenty to explore when the tide is out, including rock pools and caves, while the beach itself is sand and smooth pebbles. Enclosed by chalk cliffs and hillside, it is fairly sheltered – proving popular with birdlife including occasional puffin sightings.