Time to make summer plans and if you’re taking a break in Britain a beach-trip is likely to be high on the bucket-and-spade list.
We’ve previously shared a list of best winter beaches on our shores, so here are our recommendations for the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
Best sandy beach
Whilst Bournemouth is pretty high on the list we’d say Studland Bay, on the opposite peninsula, has the edge. Miles of smooth sand in a series of coves with shallow, gently shelving waters it’s ideal for sandcastles, beach games, watersports and sunbathing.
Best wild beach
For a real back-to-nature feel the coast of North Norfolk is a winner. Scolt Head, a tiny island of sand dunes between Brancaster and Wells-next-the-Sea, is hard to reach but worth the ferry trip. Take a picnic and binoculars to catch the wildlife in this protected conservation area and do some serious beach-combing. Not a candy-floss stall in sight.
Best dinosaur beach
If you’ve got a family obsessed with dinosaurs a trip to the Jurassic Coast in the West Country is a must with 90 miles of world heritage coast to explore. Lyme Regis is a popular choice but we’d recommend Charmouth Beach – we spent hours there when our kids were young and still have the fossils to prove it!
Best dogfriendly beach
Whilst many beaches allow dogs out of season the choice in high season is more limited, though every county has a few. The wilder, less calm coastlines will yield the best results for our four-legged friends and Bamburgh Castle beach in Northumberland ticks all the boxes. The sea’s too chilly for swimming most days and there’s usually a biting wind blowing so sunbathing’s not an option. But the castle dominating the skyline and the Inner Farne Islands opposite the beach, where hermits and monks lived for centuries, make it a spectacular choice.
Best quirky beach
It has to be Crosby Beach just north of the teeming city of Liverpool for the controversial Antony Gormley figures which look out to sea. As the tide rises and falls the human statues, dotted around 2 miles of the sand, appear and disappear. Eerie and faintly disturbing.
Best traditional seaside beach
Okay our home-city of Brighton almost takes the crown, beloved as it is of daytrippers and worldwide holidaymakers but it has to be said that the pier, the amusements and the deckchairs can’t quite make up for the fact the beach is a bust. Sharp stones from seashore to promenade except for the teeniest, tiniest patches at very low tide. So soz Brighton in our opinion you miss out to…. Cromer in Norfolk. Fish and chips, fresh crabs, and the gloriously tacky Seaside Special end of the pier show full of song, dance and saucy jokes.
Best family beach
Spoilt for choice as Britain is known for the traditional bucket-and-spade family holiday but we’re plumping for Filey Beach in Yorkshire. Five miles of golden sand, a sculpture trail on the promenade, rock pools and a paddling pool on the seafront. There are chalets to hire, sailing lessons and pony rides with a lifeguard service in the main summer season. Who could ask for more?
So have we mentioned your favourite summer beach or do you have a secret one you want to share?