Fancy a British beach getaway? The UK is packed with incredible beaches where you can walk barefoot in the sand, paddle in the shallows, breathe in fresh, salty air AND tuck into some delicious seafood with epic views. It’s not all hanky hats and deckchairs!
From quiet coves in the Outer Hebrides to sprawling sandy stretches with everything you’ll need to keep the kids happy, here’s our round up of the best beaches in Britain…
If your girlfriend is a sucker for tropical getaways, show her the next best thing (kind of) at Luskentyre
Caribbean coves may be idyllic, but why bother with St Lucia when you can head up to Luskentyre? Located on the idyllic Isle of Harris, it’s widely considered one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches thanks to its white sand and crystal-clear waters.
Luskentyre is also huge, meaning you’ll have plenty of space to stretch out. On warmer days, you can take a dip in the brilliantly blue sea or traipse along peaceful pathways to soak up views of tiny remote islands just offshore. You might not come away with tan lines, but you will have some awesome memories (and photos).
If you’re feeling a little lazy, easy-to-access Skegness is ideal
Want sea, sand and hopefully some sun without the effort? While some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches can sometimes be a little tricky to get to, here’s one that isn’t.
Award-winning Skegness beach, and the seaside town it sits in, are both stretched out along the Lincolnshire coastline. You’ll only have to walk 250m from your car to get on the sand, plus there are loads of great amenities along the promenade. Why not treat the kids to an hour at the Pleasure Beach Fairground, satisfy your sweet tooth with a Mr Whippy or stroll to the end of the pier to snap a family photo with a backdrop of the sea?
If the kids want to splash around in the shallows, check out Blackpool Sands
Holidaying with curious kid? They can look for crabs and other sea critters to their hearts content at Blackpool Sands. Despite its name, this beach is actually nowhere near the seaside resort famed for its vibrant light displays and tower.
Situated along the Dartmouth coast in Devon, Blackpool Sands is very sheltered and safe, making it a fab pick for families with tiny tots. Younger children can run wild on the sand or paddle in the cool yet calm water. Travelling with teens? If they’re tired of lounging around in the sun there’s the option to rent kayaks or test out their balance on paddleboards.
If you want to pretend you’re in an episode of Poldark, hit up Porthcurno Beach
Tucked away in Cornwall, pretty Porthcurno Beach looks like something straight out of a TV show. Well it literally is as it was one of the filming locations for season two of Poldark. If you’re a romantic at heart and want to walk barefoot with your other half along its powdery sand, you’ll have to drive almost all the way to Land’s End to get to it first.
It’ll be well-worth the journey, though, as Porthcurno also sits just below Minack Theatre, a magical outdoor theatre which showcases popular plays throughout the summer season. The beach itself is equally as enchanting thanks to its tinkling coastal stream and turquoise ocean. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins leaping about in the surf!
If you’re craving top-class fish and chips, get ready for some of the best at Robin Hood’s Bay
Love getting out in the fresh sea air? The North Yorkshire coast is made up of dozens of dramatic coves backed by sheer cliffs which are criss-crossed with amazing walking trails. One of the best beaches in the region has got to be Robin Hood’s Bay.
Sandwiched between Whitby and Scarborough, the coastal village is extremely picturesque, and the food is pretty good too. Want some real fish and chips? Head up the cobbled jetty into the village itself to taste some fresh, beautifully battered seafood at a local spot like Fish Box or Mariondale Fisheries.
If you (correctly) believe you’re never too old for sandcastles, build an absolute beauty at Formby
You really can’t ignore Formby. Located just north of Liverpool, it’s a Site of Scientific Interest and made up of miles of gorgeous dunes perfect for constructing sandcastles.
Want to see some rare wildlife or just soak up the views? If you’re quiet enough you might also catch sight of a red squirrel in the reserve just behind the beach – it’s one of the few places in the UK where you can still see them in the wild! On a clear day, clamber up the highest dunes and get ready to soak up panoramic vistas as far as Blackpool and the Cumbrian Hills.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to surf, shimmy on down to Pease Bay
Ready to hang 10? This beach close to Scotland’s border is a real paradise for both pro surfers and those who just want to stay up on a board long enough to say they caught a wave. Pease Bay is surrounded by rugged cliffs and its exposed position means there’s almost always great conditions for surfing!
You’ll find it less than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and a short walk away from the quaint seaside village of Cocksburnpath. Can’t tempt everyone to ride the waves? The Pease Dean Wildlife Reserve a few minutes inland is a wonderful spot for a walk.
Check out our other driving holiday guides to the UK and get ready to explore the Scottish Highlands, relax in the Lake District or channel your inner wizard on our Harry Potter themed road trip.
More from Europcar
Romantic Retreats: An Idyllic Stay in the Loire Valley
Castles and Cobblestones: What to See and Do on Germany's Romantic Route
Say ‘no’ to pre-meeting anxiety by devouring french fries around brussels
Swap your tie for a Viking helmet and conquer Stockholm’s surroundings
When on a business trip in Stockholm, travel back in time around the city and get a taste of Norse mythology.