The thought of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters normally has us looking abroad. However, as a nation surrounded by the sea, Britain has more than its fair share of dramatic coastlines and a wealth of beaches waiting to be explored
Whether you are looking for family friendly, romantic and secluded or dramatic, there are bound to be many beaches that appeal. If you want the traditional family beach with miles of golden sand, you can’t go far wrong with tried and trusted beaches such as Brighton, Weymouth, Bournemouth and Studland Bay. All boast a family friendly feel with easy access to all the traditional seaside attractions!
For those looking for something a little more isolated and off the beaten track – and if you have the energy to walk along cliff paths or down steep cliff steps – there are gems to be discovered all around the country. For example, Man O’War beach in Dorset; once you have walked down the 150 steps to reach the beach, you will be rewarded by a stunning bay famed not only for its array of limestone carved arches but also it’s amazing sea views, sandy beach and clean shallow water.
Other hidden gems include several beaches along the Gower Peninsula in Wales, most famous of which is probably the spectacular Rhossili Bay but there is also the lesser known, but by no means less impressive, Oxwich which has a mixture of sand dunes, salt marshes and woodlands all forming a backdrop to two miles of sandy beach with safe shallow waters.
Further afield yet just as isolated and difficult to reach is Steephill Cove on the Isle of Wight. There’s no road access to this stunning shingle and sand beach, just a steep winding cliff path – perfect for those wanting to relax, get away from it all and watch the fishing boats bobbing in the water with no noise of traffic. Much as a hidden beach may be perfect for some, it must be remembered though that at the end of a relaxing day there will always be the climb back up!
If calm and peaceful is not for you it may be worth considering something a little more dramatic. With its vast panoramic views in all directions, miles of sandy beach and sand dunes, a visit to Formby beach may be in order. Here you can sit and stare at the horizon and watch the spectacular sunsets in an area which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Another dramatic beach is Bamburgh in Northumberland where rolling seas crash onto the beach. Look out in one direction and you will have views of Lindisfarne (Holy Island), which can be reached at low tide by a causeway, and the Farne Islands. In the other there is the spectacular and imposing Bamburgh Castle, built by the Normans. Although due to its location this is not a beach ideal for sunbathing it is, however, perfect for walking and admiring the amazing views.
For those who prefer their beaches a little less traditional, and tend towards the quaint or quirky, Britain’s beaches will again not disappoint.
Take a trip to Crosby beach (near Liverpool) where figures of the sculptor Anthony Gormley have been strategically placed so they appear to move in and out of the water as the tides change. Many of the beaches on the Yorkshire and Cornish coasts are famed not only for their sand and the cleanliness of their water but also for the quaint villages surrounding the bays and beaches. These include Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire which boasts a sweeping sheltered bay surrounded by charming red roofed cottages and is famed for its breath-taking sea views and clifftop walks.
If you wish to follow in the footsteps of the famous while buildings and castles or eating fish and chips out of newspaper, where better than Saunton Sands in Devon. With its dunes and acres of sandy beach it was the chosen location for Robbie William’s iconic video, ‘Angels’ and many scenes from the 1946 film ‘A matter of life and death’. It is also very popular with those who need a bit more of an adrenaline rush as it is an excellent surfing beach.
For the adrenaline seekers there are indeed many beaches around the country which will cater for this need, including many on the Cornish coast including Marloes Sands in Newquay and Lunan Bay Angus, Scotland where they have the required wild waves but will also appeal to the more sedate with sea, sand, cliffs and castles. If you are lucky enough to be surfing at Marloes Sands you may be joined by the seals who regularly appear in the clear waters!
As a nation we all enjoy a trip to the beach whatever the weather, so no matter whether you enjoy sunbathing, exploring rock pools and caves, swimming, surfing or just strolling along admiring the breath-taking and panoramic views of Britain’s amazing coastline, there really is no need to leave the UK to get your beach fix.
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