When it comes to picturesque beaches, England might not be the first destination that comes to mind. However, tucked away along its rugged coastline are some truly breathtaking sandy shores and charming seaside towns. From Cornwall’s sun-soaked beaches to the Jurassic Coast’s pebbled gems, England boasts a diverse array of coastal delights. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best beaches to visit in England, offering you a taste of the country’s coastal paradise.
England’s beaches are renowned for their picturesque scenery and offer a host of activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for summer sunbathing spots, wild swimming spots, or adventure fuelled activities, England’s beaches have something for everyone. So keep reading if you’re after a staycation in the UK or a foreigner from abroad with a British beach on your bucket list. Here are our top picks for the best beaches to visit in England.
Other travel guides you might find useful…
- England Travel Guide
- 30 of the best places to visit in the UK
- The ultimate guide to planning a UK road trip
- A UK road trip checklist: Things to remember
- The best things to do in Scotland
- The best things to do in England
- Top 15 things to do in Wales
- The best places to visit in Northern Ireland
- Europe: The Ultimate Travel Guide
- 22 top tips for travelling in Europe
The best time to visit England
Synonymous with grey and rainy weather, it won’t surprise you that the best time to visit England to make the most of its beautiful beaches is in the Summer months of June, July, August and September. The weather can reach up to mid-thirties, and the ocean water will be milder (although admittedly still quite cold!).
Summer, however, is peak tourist season, so popular beach destinations can get crowded, especially during school holidays. If you prefer a quieter experience and don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures, the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) can be excellent choices. The weather is generally mild, and the beaches are less crowded, allowing for a more peaceful and serene beach experience.
How to get around in England
Getting around while travelling in England is a breeze, thanks to the country’s well-developed transportation network. One of the most convenient and efficient ways to travel within England is by train. While there are various train companies in the UK (that serve different regions), the trainline website is the only website you’ll need to use to search for the best route and line for you.
For those looking for a more flexible approach, renting a car is highly recommended, as this allows you to explore all of England’s hidden gems at your own pace. Popular rental companies in the UK are Sixt, Europcar and Hertz. My favourite website to search for the best car rental deals is rentalcars.com
Just keep in mind that most beaches will have parking fees associated with them, so be sure to take that into consideration when planning your trip.
Want to save on accommodation? Why not hire a home on wheels to explore the English coast? Hiring a campervan is a great way to save money on accommodation costs while being able to experience all the beauty that England’s coastal areas have to offer. There are many van hire companies in England that offer great deals on campervans, and you can rent them for a few days or weeks. My favourite is Bunkcampers. I’ve hired a van with them twice, once for a Scotland road trip and another for a Cornwall coastal trip!
Rent Mollie’s VW high top campervan for a Cornwall adventure here.
Now that we’ve covered the best time to visit England, and how to get around in England, it’s time to explore the best beaches in England! The list includes everything from secluded coves to bustling holiday spots, so you are sure to find something that suits your taste.
The Best Beaches to Visit in England
1. Brighton Beach, East Sussex
Situated on the south coast of England, Brighton is one of the most popular beach destinations in the UK.
This vibrant city offers a mix of traditional seaside charm and cosmopolitan vibes with plenty to do for all ages. Brighton’s beaches have something for everyone whether you’re looking for a fun-filled family holiday or some much-needed rest and relaxation. From its iconic pier to its wide range of activities, there are endless ways to explore this charming coastal city.
Plus, it’s easy to access other cities in England by train or car – making it an ideal spot for weekend getaways or day trips!
- See our Brighton travel guide here.
2. Durdle Door, Dorset
Durdle Door is one of England’s most stunning and iconic beaches, offering breathtaking views of its dramatic coastline. Located on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, it’s a popular spot for beach-goers looking to experience some of England’s finest coastal scenery.
With its white chalk cliffs, turquoise waters and picturesque rock archways, it truly is a sight to behold! Aside from sunbathing and swimming, visitors can explore nearby caves or take part in various water sports activities such as kayaking or paddle boarding.
3. Studland Bay, Dorset
Another classic English beach destination is Studland Bay, located on the south coast of Dorset.
This beautiful stretch of coastline comes with golden sand dunes and crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming. Plus, there are numerous activities nearby, such as horse-riding, kayaking and beach volleyball – so you’re sure to find something that suits your taste. The beach is also surrounded by stunning nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, allowing for a more peaceful and serene beach experience. So if you’re looking for a classic British seaside holiday – make sure to check out Studland Bay.
4. Pedn Vounder, Cornwall
Pedn Vounder Beach, located in Cornwall, is undeniably one of the best beaches to visit in England. Nestled in a secluded cove near the charming village of Treen, this hidden gem offers a truly breathtaking and unspoiled coastal experience.
With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, soft golden sand, and towering cliffs, Pedn Vounder Beach is a sight to behold. Its natural beauty is further enhanced by the dramatic rock formations and caves that add a touch of mystery and adventure. While access to the beach is via a steep path and requires some effort, the reward is well worth it.
Pedn Vounder Beach is also famous for its stunning sunsets, providing a picturesque backdrop as the sun dips below the horizon. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer, or simply seeking tranquillity away from the crowds, Pedn Vounder Beach is one the best beaches to visit in the south of England and all of the UK.
5. Woolacombe Beach, Devon
Woolacombe Beach is located on the north coast of Devon and is one of the best beaches to visit in England. This stunning 3-mile stretch of golden sand offers a classic British seaside experience that is simply unparalleled. With its crystal clear waters and dramatic coastal cliffs, Woolacombe Beach provides an idyllic setting for a variety of activities, from sunbathing and surfing to walking along the shore.
The consistent waves attract surfers of all levels, making it a surfer’s paradise. Beyond the water, the beach provides ample space for sunbathing, picnicking, and beach games. The surrounding area offers stunning coastal walks and panoramic views, making it a paradise for nature lovers. The village of Woolacombe itself provides a charming seaside setting with a range of amenities, including seaside cafes, shops, and traditional fish and chip stalls.
6. Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Kynance Cove, situated on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, stands out as one of the best beaches to visit in England. This enchanting coastal haven is a true feast for the senses, with its azure waters, pristine sandy beach, and dramatic rock formations.
The beach is also renowned for its clear waters, making it ideal for swimming, snorkelling, and even kayaking. As you stroll along the golden sands, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty of this hidden paradise. Kynance Cove truly exemplifies the natural splendour of England’s coastline, making it one of the most beautiful beaches to visit in the UK.
7. St Michael's Mount, Cornwall
While not traditionally classified as a beach, St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall deserves a place among the best coastal destinations to visit in England.
This iconic tidal island, crowned by a medieval castle, is accessible by a causeway during low tide and by a short boat ride during high tide. This picturesque island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that can be walked during low tide, offering visitors a unique and memorable experience.
8. Sennen Cove, Cornwall
Sennen Cove, located in Cornwall, is one of the best beaches to visit in England. With its white sand beach, stunning turquoise waters and dramatic coastal cliffs, it’s no wonder why this picturesque destination has become a popular holiday getaway for locals and tourists alike. Sennen Cove is also a haven for surfers, thanks to its consistent waves that attract enthusiasts from near and far. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a novice looking to catch your first wave, the beach’s surf schools and rental facilities make it accessible for all.
Additionally, the village of Sennen, just a stone’s throw from the beach, exudes a laid-back charm, with its quaint shops, cozy cafes, and friendly locals. Sennen Cove’s natural beauty, surf culture, and relaxed atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for beach lovers seeking a quintessential seaside experience in England.
9. Bamburgh Beach
Bamburgh, located on the stunning Northumberland coastline, is undeniably one of the best beaches to visit in England. With its vast expanse of golden sands, dramatic dunes, and the majestic Bamburgh Castle overlooking the shore, this beach offers a truly awe-inspiring coastal experience.
The beach is perfect for long walks, sandcastle building, and taking in panoramic views of the North Sea. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of birdlife, as the area is home to a significant population of seabirds. destination that showcases the timeless beauty and charm of England’s coastal landscapes.
10. Budle Bay
Budle Bay, located on the beautiful Northumberland coast in England, is one of the best beaches to visit in England. This stunning stretch of golden sand and dramatic dunes provide an idyllic setting for a variety of activities, from sunbathing and swimming to beachcombing.
The crystal clear waters are perfect for paddling or exploring by boat, and there’s plenty of space for long walks along the shoreline. Nature lovers will appreciate this unspoiled landscape with its abundance of wildlife; it’s home to a significant population of seabirds as well as other unique species. Beyond the beach itself, visitors can explore nearby historic sites like Bamburgh Castle or take advantage of Budle Bay’s quaint seaside cafes and traditional pubs.
11. Freshwater Bay
Located on the stunning Isle of Wight coast, Freshwater Bay is one of the best beaches to visit in England. Freshwater Bay provides a breathtaking backdrop for beachgoers with its wide sandy beach, crystal-clear waters, and dramatic cliffs.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the soft sand, swim in the refreshing waters, or try your hand at water sports like surfing or paddleboarding, Freshwater Bay caters to all. The bay’s rugged landscape, including the iconic chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down, offers fantastic hiking trails and panoramic views that are sure to leave visitors in awe.
12. Blackpool Sands
This stunning stretch of golden sand, located on the coast of Devon, offers a classic British seaside experience that simply cannot be matched. Blackpool Sands is one of the best beaches to visit in England and a must-see destination for beachgoers.
With its crystal clear waters and dramatic cliffs, Blackpool Sands provides an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, or just taking in panoramic views of the English Channel. The beach also features plenty of space for picnicking and playing beach games with family and friends. Visitors can explore nearby attractions like Slapton Ley Nature Reserve or enjoy locally sourced seafood at one of the area’s traditional pubs or cafes. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an opportunity to explore nature and history, Blackpool Sands is sure to delight all who visit!
England’s coastline is dotted with a diverse range of beautiful beaches, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. From the wild and rugged cliffs of Cornwall to the tranquil and picturesque shores of Northumberland, there is a beach to suit every taste and preference. Whether you seek secluded coves for a peaceful retreat, expansive sandy shores for beach activities, or dramatic landscapes for breathtaking views, the 12 best beaches we’ve explored in this blog post have it all.
So, whether you’re planning a summer getaway, a coastal road trip, or a weekend escape, make sure to explore England’s remarkable beaches. Pack your sunscreen, grab your towel, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable beach adventure along the captivating shores of this beautiful country.
What are your favourite beaches to visit in England?
What are your favourite things to do in England? Anything you’d add?
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