You Won't Believe These 15 Beaches Are All in the UK

Tropical islands and bright and bold destinations are all well and good, but sometimes, the most surprising places are found where you'd least expect them. As well as cities and towns rich in history and culture, and beautiful countryside, the UK has a coastline of around 11,000 miles (depending on who you listen to), and that includes a lot of incredible beaches! Whether they're sweeping sands or pretty pebbles, backed by dramatic cliffs or woodland pines, British beaches are beautiful. And while the UK may not have the kind of weather that allows year-round sun worshiping, in the Summer months you won't have to go far to find somewhere to lay your towel. We've rounded up some of our favorite UK beaches, from surfing meccas in Cornwall to secret finds in the highlands of Scotland. Whether you want to sunbathe, hike, or even watch a play, these UK vacation destinations have you covered. What are you waiting for, grab your bucket and shovel (and your waterproof) and get ready for an adventure!

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

Not only is Porthcurno Beach a beautiful soft sandy beach beloved by families, it's also home to the Minack Theater, an open-air performance space built into the cliffs to the side of the bay. In the Summer months, visitors line the stone seats (take a cushion!) to watch plays and performances with the sea as a backdrop.

Dunraven Bay, Glamorgan, Wales

Fans of TV's Doctor Who may recognize this long, rocky beach as "Bad Wolf Bay," where Rose and The Doctor said their final goodbyes. It also stood in for alien landscapes in various episodes. Backed by dramatic cliffs, this is perfect for keen walkers who love the dramatic scenery.

St Brelade's Bay, Jersey

The island of Jersey sits in English channel, and it's actually closer to France than England. St Brelade's Bay is considered by most to be the best beach on the island, and it's easy to see why. Clean, sheltered, and surrounded by great cafes and shops, it has everything you need for a seaside day out.

Wells Next the Sea, East Anglia

If pastel-colored beach huts are your thing, this gorgeous beach is a must visit. The long, sweeping 1.5-mile beach backs onto pretty pine woodland, and Wells itself is a historic seaside town you'll fall in love with.

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Dorset's Jurassic Coast is home to some of the country's most striking sandy beaches, including this one, which was formed over 10,000 years ago and offers incredible views if the water's too cold for a dip. Just along the coast from this sweeping arc you'll find our next must-see British beach . . .

Durdle Door, Dorset

. . . An Instagrammer's dream, Durdle Door is a natural rock arch jutting out next to a pretty sand-and-shingle beach. Brave the cold if you dare to swim out to the "door" itself, or just climb the dunes to snap that famous view.

Sandwood Bay Beach, Scotland

This remote beach in Sutherland can only be reached by a pretty taxing four-mile walk, but it'll be worth it when you get there, as you're likely to be the only one there to look out at the sea stack that looms over the bay. It'll be worth the effort, we promise.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives is one of Cornwall's prettiest and most popular holiday resorts, home to its own Tate gallery, which looks out over the impossibly pretty Porthmeor Beach. Its position on the coast makes it the perfect spot for some body-boarding or surfing in the Summer.

Whiterocks Beach, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland isn't short of spectacular beaches, but the dramatic chalk cliffs at Whiterocks in Portrush make it one of the most memorable, an incredible place to enjoy a cliff walk. Water-sports enthusiasts also love the beach in the Summer months, when you can hire kit and hit the waves.

Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales

One of Wales's top surfing locations, Freshwater West is the place to head if you're serious about riding the waves. It's also been used as a filming location. Ridley Scott's Robin Hood crew once took over the beach, and in the final two Harry Potter films, Shell Cottage was constructed here, ready for some emotional scenes starring Dobby the house elf.

Brighton Beach, East Sussex

A classic seaside resort that's become a cool creative hub, its proximity to London means over 150,000 people visit Brighton's famous pebble beach during peak Summer weekends. The pier is the place to head for fun rides and entertainment, or just pull up a deck chair and enjoy the sunshine.

Woolacombe Bay, Devon

To say Woolacombe is popular would be an understatement. Trip Advisor reviewers rate this as the UK's top beach, and it's easy to see why. This three-mile strip of sand in Devon attracts holidaymakers in their droves as soon as the sun comes out. The sand is soft, the water is clear, and there are plenty of nearby amenities.

Porth Beach, Newquay, Cornwall

Newquay and its surrounding area is lousy with beaches and everyone has a favorite, be it Fistral beach for surfing or Crantock beach for dog walking. Porth Beach is a fairly well-sheltered option sand that's great for families.

Balnakiel Beach, Scotland

While you probably won't want to take a dip in the water at this picturesque beach in the Northern Highlands, you will fall for its windswept charms if you enjoy an adventure. Wrap up warm and head off on a walk with views you won't soon forget.

Runswick Bay, Yorkshire

Not far from the seaside town of Whitby, this bay sits next to a pretty village full of tiny alleys you'll want to explore. Rent a holiday home nearby for a traditional English beach experience. Just remember to pack for the great British weather!