The UK isn’t a country we automatically associate with sun, sand and sea, as an island, albeit a rainy one, you really aren’t ever too far from the sea, and good old Blighty has plenty of beaches. So how many beaches are there in the UK?
As an island with more than 18 640 miles of coastline, there are many beaches in the UK. The Beach Guide lists over 1500 beaches in the United Kingdom, while Wikipedia lists 51 notable beaches in England, four in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland and nine in Wales.
If you are ready to grab the towel, umbrella, bucket, and spade, and don’t forget the required seaside fish and chips – then read on as we discover a few of the UK’s favorite beaches!
Some Of England’s Best Beaches
On a good summer’s day, some of England’s beaches are as awesome as those in any of Europe’s sunnier countries. Many of the beaches listed below have been granted the Blue Flag award for cleanliness and environmental management.
Fistral Beach – Cornwall
If surfing is your vibe, the Fistral Beach is the one for you. With its soft sand, rugged hills, and strong swells, it is no surprise that this is such a popular beach. There are bars and restaurants to enjoy a meal with a view.
Perranporth Beach – Cornwall
Another great option for surfing, sunbathing, and strolling – and Perranporth Beach offers just that – a long sandy beach, rock pools and caves. It is also close to the town, where you can eat, drink, and browse the shops.
South Bay Beach – Scarborough, Yorkshire
With soft sand, arcades, donkey rides and a view of the iconic Grand Hotel on the cliff tops, there should be no surprise that South Bay Beach is undoubtedly one of the most popular beaches in northern England. Our favorite part is that you can still take a ride in the historical cliff lifts that run from the hotel down to the beach, like a holidaymaker from the Victorian era.
Even though the North Sea is chilly, South Bay Beach is very busy on sunny days. The local fisherman supply a great selection of seafood restaurants in the harbour with their fresh catches every day.
Bournemouth Beach – Dorset
One of the best beaches in England is in Bournemouth. It has soft sands which stretch for 7 miles. The microclimate in Bournemouth means that the waters surrounding Bournemouth Beach are some of the warmest in the UK. You can enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding, a zip line and a climbing wall.
Beautiful Beaches Of Northern Ireland
We are now going to explore some beaches of Northern Ireland.
Benone Beach – Northern Ireland
Benone Beach is the longest beach in the UK. It stretches for 7 miles and is surrounded by beautiful cliffs and mountains. Even though there aren’t many facilities around, there is plenty to do to enjoy a fantastic beach day. The beach is clean, and there’s a wonderful coffee spot at the entrance.
Ballintoy Harbour Beach – County Antrim
If you’re into Game of Thrones, you’ll probably recognize Ballintoy Harbour. This area was the filming location for Pyke and the Iron Islands. It is known as a ‘raised beach’, and it is near the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which was erected more than 250 years ago.
You can access Ballintoy Harbour Beach via a small winding road, and it features hideaway bays, rock pools and sandy coves. Don’t forget to stop in the picturesque village of Ballintoy for a bit of shopping and an afternoon tea.
Our Favorite Beaches Of Scotland
Now we’re going to do some seaside exploring in Scotland.
Sandwood Bay – Scotland
Sandwood bay is one of the loveliest beaches in the United Kingdom and one of the most pristine in Scotland, with almost 1,5 miles of pink sand.
Getting to Sandwood Bay takes some commitment. You can’t access it by road, so you need to be ready for a 4-mile walk through the moorland. Tip: Wear waterproof shoes in case the trail is boggy.
The walk is worth it when you get to see Am Buachaille, a 213-foot-high sea stack. Am Buachaille stands at the tip of the Rubh’a Bhuachaille headland at the southern end of Sandwood Bay.
Seacliff Beach – Scotland
Discover one of Scotland’s little treasures in Seacliff Beach. You can reach Seacliff via a private road, and you will need to pay a nominal fee to access the beach.
You will also get to discover Tantallon Castle, a semi-ruined mid-14th-century fortress on the estate. This is the last medieval curtain wall castle constructed in the UK. Watch out for the remains of Auldhame Castle and the original Seacliff House. Seacliff House was built in 1750 and has been unoccupied since 1907.
You’ll also love the tiny harbor, which dates back to 1890. This little harbor was carved from red limestone using steam-driven compressed air.
Brilliant Beaches Of Wales
And on we go to Wales where we will discover a few more incredible beaches.
Traeth Abermaw Beach – Wales
Traeth Abermaw Beach is ranked in the top 5 best beaches in Europe. It is found in Barmouth, close to Snowdonia National Park. Long and spacious with an amazing promenade all the way along and no shortage of facilities and parking, you would want to miss a trip to this beach.
The seaside town of Barmouth is well-loved for its fairs, donkey rides, and of course, fish & chips.
Castle Beach – Wales
The seaside resort of Tenby has a few beautiful beaches, and the most popular is undoubtedly Castle Beach. With Tenby Castle, scenic cliffs and a picturesque cobbled town, you will love your visit to Castle Beach.
Have you enjoyed this selection of beaches in the UK? If you’re ready to embark on a coastal tour, you certainly won’t be short of scenery, history, charm and fun. So now, just look out for some sunshine!