| Victoria Zurakowski

From Quintessential English Seaside Towns to Cornwell Beaches - The Best Beach Escapes in The UK This Summer


Best Seaside Towns in the UK to Plan Your Summer Holiday


Beaches and the UK are two words that many people from outside the United Kingdom would never put together. But back home, we know differently.

While our beaches may not be Rio's Copacabana Beach, Miami's South Beach, or Zakynthos' Navagio Beach, there's something special about the quintessential English seaside town.

Despite lockdowns easing and the promise of the imminent return of normal, people are still reluctant to venture far. And given the changing quarantine rules, it's no wonder that few are planning anything. This doesn't mean we should turn our backs on the idea of a summer holiday altogether. With 31,368km of coastline, there's a lot to explore! So if you don't fancy flying long-haul this summer, why not visit the best seaside towns in the UK instead?

best seaside towns UK

Bournemouth Beach, Formby Beach, Brighton Beach, Hengistbury Head...these are just a few of the best seaside towns in the UK. Yes, some of the best beaches are right under our noses! You'd be hard-pressed not to find at least one UK beach town that ticks all the boxes.

So, where can you go to enjoy some of the best sandy beaches in the UK without having to jump on a plane? The truth is, almost anywhere! Each UK beach town has its charm, and it's not just for their sandy status either.

best sandy beaches in UK

Surfing, Instagramming, amazing fish and chips, delicious ice cream (did you think we were going to leave this out?)...there are even donkey rides! 

Let's be honest, we don't travel at home much, and we should. But now, there's no better time to check out some of the UK's best beaches. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we've hit up our Sand Dollar crew to find out which UK beaches they think are worth travelling to.

best beaches in UK

Braunton Burrows, Devon

Hands down, one of the best sandy beaches in the UK would have to be Braunton Burrows in Devon. It's one of the most untouched, picturesque beaches in the entire country. Perfect for getting away from the busy crowds, this beautiful Devon beach is amazing. And, if you've got kids, they'll love rolling and sliding down the burrows - and so will you! Word of warning - pack a picnic -you're not going to stumble across any restaurants or Mc Donald's any time soon.

Formby Beach, Lancashire

As one of the most dramatic and diverse beaches in the country, Formby Beach, which backs onto an extensive backdrop of dunes and pinewood forests, has a distinctly rural feel, making this one of the best beaches in the UK. This dog-friendly beach is also perfect for families with small kids - they'll have so much fun going on a pretend "dinosaur hunt" when the low tides reveal the prehistoric mud layers.

Lusty Glaze, Newquay, Cornwall

Forget Hawaii, Australia, or Brazil; Cornwall beaches maintain some of the top spots for the best seaside towns in the UK. Dreamy, with its rolling surf and white sandy shores, Lusty Glaze, located north of Newquay, is one of the best pieces of coast in Britain. This privately-owned beach resort is an idyllic escape if you're looking for a slower pace away from the crowds. And if you're looking for the best seaside towns in the UK for sunsets, this Cornwall beach is worth mentioning.

Cornwall beaches

Frinton Beach, Essex

If it's a quintessential British seaside town you're after, Frinton Beach in Essex is iconic. With its small but cute and colourful seaside huts that line the long stretch of promenade and flat sand, this popular UK beach is perfect for sunbathing, running about, playing games, and building sandcastles. An ideal beach for families!

Scarborough, Yorkshire

Beaches in the north of England? Yes, despite the cooler climes in winter, the Yorkshire coastline is home to several English seaside villages, with Scarborough seaside town being number one. Split by a rocky promontory that houses castle ruins that date back to the 11th century, Scarborough Beach is more than just sand. With plenty to do, from visiting the ruins to playing in the sand to taking a coastal boat trip to visiting the busy seaside funfair, this is one place that you won't bore you.

Castle Beach, Tenby

Castle Beach in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, is unrivalled when it comes to the best sandy beaches in the UK. Backed by low-hanging cliffs, what makes this Welsh beach unique is that come high tide, the beach disappears. Low tide, however, is a different story. At only 150m wide, this picturesque cove is conveniently located close to the ancient ruins of Tenby Castle - history buffs will love it!

Tolsta Beach, Isle of Lewis

Scotland doesn't immediately come to mind when conjuring up contenders for the best beaches in the UK. Still, this beach on the Isle of Lewis is fabulous! A surfer's haven thanks to the immense and impressive swell, this sandy beach in Scotland also has several scenic walks and natural beauty spots.

Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth

Romantics and dreamers love this Bournemouth beach for many reasons. The sunset, countryside backdrop, and isolated sandy beaches create a spectacular setting - so do the panoramic views of the nearby nature reserve. Hengistbury Head is also a favourite UK beach for conservationists. For even more adventure, why not ride the train from Hiker Cafe to Mudeford, stopping off at all the little inlet beaches along the way?

Brighton Beach, Brighton

Eclectic, fun, inclusive, colourful...there are plenty of words we could use to describe one of the best beaches in the UK. Although pebbly, this unique beach in Brighton is unique for its length and breadth. Whether you're heading there to get some photos for an Instagram fashion shoot or looking for some adventure, there are a plethora of exhilarating activities, including windsurfing and kiteboarding. After a day of activities, try your luck at the penny arcade followed by fish and chips on the pier.

Perranporth Beach, Cornwall

Another one of the best Cornwell beaches, Perranporth, where the novelist Winston Graham sought inspiration, is a well-known sprawling beach backed by gorgeous dunes. A beach for all ages, this sandy British beach is perfect for rock pooling, surfing, and paddleboarding. What makes this Cornwall beach so special? It's one of the few UK beaches with a pub in the centre of the sand (we're in!)

Weymouth Beach, Dorset

An award-winning UK seaside, Weymouth Beach in Dorset is a popular holiday destination for families and couples. Overlooked by grand Georgian homes lining the seafront, this UK beach destination is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The town's high street is a stone's throw away and is lined with quaint cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Beach Outfits - Dressing for Best British Seaside Towns and More

When visiting some of the best seaside towns in the UK, you need to think about style. What are you going to wear?

It doesn't matter whether you're visiting one of the many Cornwall beaches, Bournemouth Beach, Fomby Beach, or somewhere different - how you dress for a British seaside town depends entirely on your personality.

Can't think about what to wear to a British seaside town? Here are some of our favourite beach outfit ideas to suit your style.

Beach Day Outfits

If you're heading to the British coast for a relaxing day out, go for a beach day look that's both comfortable and cute. Partner a cute bikini set with a casual beach dress cover-up and bring it all together with a large tote to carry your beach day essentials, including a good beach read, sunscreen, water, and a towel.

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Sexy Beach Outfits

OK, so you may not be heading for Ibiza this year, but nothing is stopping you from wearing a sexy beach outfit to some of the best seaside towns in the UK. Perhaps you're going on a date to the beach? If so, a sexy beach outfit is a must! Opt for classic black swimwear and a delicate sarong tied around the waist, allowing the side split to reveal a small amount of leg. Make your look even more enigmatic with a pair of oversized sunglasses and a wide-brimmed sunhat.

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Boho Beach Outfits

If you find inspiration in gorgeous boho beach looks, you're in luck - it's such an effortless style to nail! Stand out beautifully among a sandy setting and show off your free-spirited side with easy-going swimsuits and playful prints. A good place to start is to choose a printed bikini or one-piece and partner them up with a volume sleeve boho top, a pair of cut-offs, and flip flops.

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Dress-Up Beach Outfits

It doesn't matter whether you're going for a Prossecco picnic with the girls, for cocktails at a trendy new beachfront venue, or you just like to dress up. Choose something fashionable that also works in a more relaxed beach atmosphere, like a short animal print dress complemented by simple accessories.

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Cute Beach Outfits

If you're going for a cutesy fun look, it's easy to curate. To pull this off, opt for a colourful bikini and a lightweight, simple cover-up or dress that allows the colourful bikini to dominate underneath. Add a sweet straw hat to the mix to help complete the cute beach look.

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Beach Occasion Outfit

A year or so ago, destination beach weddings were huge. It wasn't uncommon to fly to a Greek Island to exchange vows. This year, with so many travel restrictions, some couples are choosing seaside towns in the UK for their big day instead. If you're a guest and want to nail the UK beach wedding guest dress code, opt for a maxi dress and pair it with some dressy sandals or wedges, chic jewellery, and a clutch to create a practical yet elegant look.

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What are your best seaside towns in the UK? Drop us a line and share your holiday beach tips at home. Happy summer!

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