Best UK Beaches: Where to Celebrate the Late Summer Sun

Perhaps better known for its pebbled beaches, the UK may not be your first thought for a beach break. For those brave enough to take on the unpredictable British weather, the rewards are high, with sweeping bays and picture-perfect coves. This week in The Edit we take a look at our favourite sandy spots in the UK, from tourist hotspots in Cornwall to remote escapes in Northern Ireland, and the best places to stay in the local area.

 

Located in West Cornwall, this award-winning beach is a must-visit for anyone Summering in the UK. With fine, white sand, turquoise waters and rugged cliffs surrounding each side, this stunning beach benefits from spectacular scenery. Unsurprisingly this is a popular spot, no less so for families, as children can play in the small stream which runs down the beach.

Only thirty minutes’ drive from this beautiful beach lies the small village of Mousehole, dotted with small galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Stay at Fallen Angel, a magical two-person hideaway on the hillside, overlooking Mounts Bay. Blending a traditional granite build with truly distinctive, modern touches, guests are treated to a stylish and contemporary stay within this charming fishing port.

 

This Cornish beach is endearingly nicknamed Polly Joke by the locals and offers a place of calm from the other, much busier beaches nearby. Framed by a beautiful display of wild flowers, this picturesque, north-west facing cove is completely untouched, with a perfect little stream trickling through it and numerous caves and rockpools to explore. Despite it only being a stone’s throw from Newquay, this beach is so peaceful and undisturbed that often seals are spotting playing in the water.

Just a short drive – or a scenic walk – from Porth Joke, and equally far from busy Newquay, lies the elegant Lewinnick Lodge. Wind down a secret path with sweeping views of the glistening Atlantic to find this charming boutique Bed and Breakfast, offering king-size beds and a TV with movies on demand in every room. The Lodge’s restaurant serves a delightful, locally-sourced breakfast each morning and also has a beer garden and a sun terrace to watch the sunsets from in blissful peace and quiet.

 

This ancient beach has been part of the National Trust since 1938, completely undisturbed in a secluded spot on the North Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. Nature is the reigning force along this vast stretch of sand, with many rare plants such as orchids growing, wildlife roaming the grasslands and even many archaeological fossils being found here. The untouched nature and geological importance of White Park Bay awards this beach an air of true grandeur.

Further down the east side of the coast, perched on the tip of the famous Causeway Coastal Route is Ballygally Castle. This 17th century castle, in line with White Park Bay’s grand nature, provides a regal and luxurious place to stay after an adventurous day out. It is decorated in contemporary style, perfectly blending with the original features of the castle and has a restaurant serving traditional dishes, afternoon tea and Sunday buffet lunch. The rooms were designed with comfort in mind and boast stunning views of the ocean or the beautifully landscaped castle gardens, guaranteeing a relaxing stay in a unique setting.

 

As part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the iconic Durdle Door arch and beach are so breath-taking, they remind of a fairy tale. Privately owned, yet open to the public, this shingle beach is a geological goldmine, with fossils often being found in caves and amongst the limestone cliffs. It also has the most crystal clear water, making it ideal for swimming and snorkelling, sometimes inviting dolphins into the bay.

A little further along the coast, perfect for regrouping after a long day at the beach, lies The Bull Hotel. This award-winning, luxury boutique hotel is set in the charming market town of Bridport, surrounded by nothing but beautiful, natural scenery. The rooms have a grand, vintage décor and offer the highest quality in comfort, featuring designer beds, Nespresso machines and flat-screen TV. The hotel restaurant crafts a delectable daily menu of local produce and fresh fish, with all breads, cakes and scones baked on-site.

 

With excellent water quality and facilities, this Sussex beach is a family favourite. Uncommon for this coast, this is a sandy beach, great for picnics and ideal for children to play on. This large, sandy beach is only 2 hours away from London and offers plenty of space to find a quiet spot for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city, or for those who like to take advantage of the perfect wind conditions and go kite or windsurfing.

For an après-beach bite to eat, The Gallivant is only a few minutes’ walk away from the sand dunes and offers an award-winning menu of modern British food made from locally-sourced ingredients. Conveniently, The Gallivant is also a Bed and Breakfast, with nautical-themed, cottage-style rooms featuring king-size beds with flat-screen TVs. There is also an idyllic coastal garden and a spa room, providing a peaceful retreat after a busy beach day.

 

This beautiful nature reserve spread across 1,439 acres on the coast of Scotland was the very first in the UK; completely untouched and with various different habitats, it is a haven for wildlife, making it very popular with birdwatchers. A winding path leads across a wooden footbridge over the marshes, through the grassy track, across high dunes and towards the clifftops. Also, to be seen here are a number of shipwrecks, including two submarines from when this beach was a military firing range.

The marvellous city of Edinburgh is only a short drive away and is home to the luxury boutique hotel, Nira Caledonia. Housed in a 19th century building, this hotel blends traditional elegance with a modern, bohemian style, with each room offering a unique, quirky charm as well as a luxury bed, flat-screen TV and a Nespresso machine. The restaurant serves the best beef farmed in the Highlands, and with Scotland being the home of golf, the hotel also offers a golfing experience.

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