Jul 28, 2014

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From Blackpool to hidden Huisinis: Britain’s best beaches


Rhossili Bay, in Wales: Britain’s best beach, according to TripAdvisor users


Watch TravelSupermarket’s travel expert Bob Atkinson discuss Britain’s best beaches on ITV’s This Morning programme

There hasn’t been this good an advertisement for Britain’s beaches in YEARS. The UK’s basking in sunshine this summer – why bother jetting off to Spain when, for the next few months, it appears we’ve got our very own Costa del Sol.

From cheery hotels to holiday parks, Britain also has a great range of coastal accommodation. Or you could visit our sandy gems on a day trip if you live within striking distance by rail or car.

Our round-up of the best British beaches includes the cream of the old favourites as well as some luscious, more hidden coves around the country.

Brighton, south-east England
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Peerless pier: Brighton

This fun-time south coast town is one of the originals. Today it’s just as much a piece of London by the sea as it is a beach resort, with many treating it as an increasingly stylish but more laidback escape from the big city.

Explore the pier and shingle beach, swim in the English Channel or head into town for a whirl around the quirky and decadent Brighton Pavilion, built as a seaside home for George, Prince of Wales. The Lanes area is packed with cute boutiques, cool bars and great places to eat out.

Hop on the Brighton Wheel for wonderful views and a commentary on the history of the area.

Find hotels in Brighton in all price ranges.

Blackpool, Lancashire
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Don’t be an ass: do the donkey in Blackpool

THE place to go for everything making up a traditional British seaside resort.

Ice cream, candy floss, kiss-me-quick hats and rock candy to get stuck into. There are also world class theme park rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, a long sand beach, three piers and wall to wall entertainment from the immense Comedy Carpet – a concrete art work incorporating jokes and music hall catchphrases – at the foot of Blackpool Tower, to West End shows such as Mamma Mia! at the Opera House in the Winter Gardens complex.

Add in sea front trams, donkey rides, horse and trap trips, a superb zoo, fortune tellers and the Illuminations light show in early autumn and you have the UK’s premier resort. Stay over in Blackpool for a fun and quintessentially British break.

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Scarborough Castle’s shadow looms over the ‘Queen of the North Sea Coast’

The so-called Queen of the North Sea Coast, Scarborough has refreshing sea breezes, fantastic views of the coastline and three wonderful beaches, including Cayton Bay for surfing.

Set on a cliff overlooking the bay is atmospheric Scarborough Castle; the town is packed with gift shops and, on the run down to the harbour, some of the best fish and chip shops in Britain. The beach front is packed with the amusement arcades and funfair rides no self-respecting seaside resort would be without.

Or you could hop on the Miniature Railway within the zoo or see the sharks, seahorses and turtles at the Sea Life aquarium.

Choose from a big range of Scarborough hotels.

MORE: Europe’s most beautiful beaches

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream in Great Yarmouth

This East Anglian resort is located close to the Norfolk Broads waterways, making it an ideal place to combine the beach with the countryside.

There are 15 miles of golden sands, among them the central Golden Mile packed with amusement arcades, gift shops, fish and chip shops and ice cream parlours. On Britannia Pier you can take a spin in the mini theme park, Joyland, or head to the Pleasure Beach for bigger rides, burgers and shakes.

For culture vultures there’s the Tollhouse museum, with its original dungeons, the Potteries for exhibitions of historic clay pot throwing and the Time & Tide fishery museum.

Find a Norfolk hotel for your seaside stay.

Newquay, Cornwall
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Surfer’s paradise… in Newquay

The surfing capital of the UK is also rapidly becoming a culinary hotspot with restaurants from chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein in the area.

The quality of the beaches make this Cornish resort a delight. Fistral for surfers, Crantock to get away from the crowds, Polly Joke reachable only on foot or two mile-long Watergate Bay. Porth Beach is good for families – a sedate spot suitable for sandcastles and beach games.

If you want to learn surfing, body boarding or the skiing-surfing hybrid known as wakeboarding, the Cornwall Surfing Academy and other schools within the resort will soon have you mastering the waves.

Find hotels around Newquay.

Huisinis, Outer Hebrides
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Huisinis: the Scottish Caribbean?

A little further afield than these traditional resorts, on the west coast of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll find the remote beach of Huisinis. Get the weather right here and, with the clear blue waters and golden sands, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Caribbean – all that’s missing is palm trees.

Along with many beaches in this part of Scotland, the appeal of Huisinis lies partly in what you won’t find here. No fish and chip shops. No gaudy amusement arcades. No entertainment, apart from what nature provides – eagles, deer, cormorants and maybe even seals, dolphins and whales are among the attractions.

A ferry operates from the mainland to and between the islands of the Outer Hebrides.

READ: World’s best places for a cycling holiday

Rhossili Bay, Wales

Wales’s world-class beach

To the west of the Welsh county of Glamorgan is this little beach beauty. Not as isolated as Huisinis, Rhossili Bay has been voted the best beach in Britain and the ninth best in the world by Trip Advisor reviewers.

If you love coastal walks and superb sunsets, then you’ll be in heaven in this little nook of the UK. Like Huisinis it lacks big resort facilities, although a National Trust visitor centre will help you to get the most out of the area.

Consider staying in a country cottage to really enjoy this corner of Wales.

Tenby, Wales

Take the temperature of Tenby, a more traditional Welsh resort

A traditional Welsh resort this time, 90 miles west of Cardiff and combining a medieval town with three sandy beaches and lots to see and do. Harbour beach has won awards, beating competition from across Europe for its beautiful setting.

Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, cafes and gift shops, you can visit places out of town such as the Dinosaur Park, for kids, Saundersfoot beach for crabbing, Pendine Sands to visit the site of many a land speed record attempt, and Laugharne, home to Dylan Thomas’s writing shed and currently celebrating 100 years of his Under Milkwood novel.

Find a hotel in Tenby today.

Where’s your favourite British seaside spot? Share your thoughts below

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You left out Woolacombe Bay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. winston omero says:

    how can anyone put stoney beach Brighton ahead of half a dozen beaches (SANDY)on the ISLE OF WIGHT ?????

    • John Davies says:

      BRIGHTON!!!!. Britain’s worst beach maybe.

    • randy says:

      Brighton beach is stony (note correct spelling) but at least you don’t get sand everywhere you don’t want it! Also this resort has atmosphere and loads of entertainment other than lying on a beach all day whereas the Isle of Wight offers nothing and is full of OAPs.

  3. Ivan Rowe says:

    You don’t have a clue. I could take you to the Uk’s finest beaches and they are all here in Cornwall. In fact at least 5 of the 10 are virtually tourist free and that is in July and August.
    However, I am not going to tell you where they are otherwise the beaches will be destroyed with thousands of unwanted visitors.

  4. Thanks for not including any of the fantastic beaches in Nortthumberland, they are much better for being unspoilt.

  5. John Hadland says:

    Why is Great Yarmouth’s flag upside down.

    My favourite is Llanddwyn Island.

  6. Margaret Terry says:

    How could anyone possibly think Scarborough north beach is one of UK’s best beaches? It is small, crowded and usually grubby! Further down the east coast is Bridlington, with miles of golden sand which is cleaned every day. You won’t find a better beach anywhere.

  7. Laurence Woolcott says:

    Woolacombe Bay is fantastic….miles and miles of soft sand, and the tide goes out nearly half a mile.
    Great for kids, a very safe gently shelving beach..
    Kite Boarding, Surfing and Wind Surfing.
    Rock-pools galore on the Northern end of the Beach.
    National Trust land behind the Beach.

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