7 best summer beaches UK

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

View north east along the beach near Studland Heath, Isle of Purbeck
The beach near Studland Heath, Isle of Purbeck © Phil Champion

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.

Studland Bay Isle of Purbeck Dorset © Tiia Monto
watersports and sunbathing at Studland Bay © Tiia Monto

Best wild beach

Scolt Head Island Norfolk,  © Zorba the Geek
Scolt Head Island Norfolk, © Zorba the Geek

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.

Scolt Head island © visitnorfolk.co.uk
A spot of mud bathing at Scolt Head island © visitnorfolk.co.uk

Best dinosaur beach

Charmouth beach looking towards Lyme Regis © Philip Pankhurst
Charmouth beach looking towards Lyme Regis © Philip Pankhurst

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

Bamburgh castle and beach © David Simpson, englandsnortheast.co.uk
Bamburgh castle and beach © David Simpson, englandsnortheast.co.uk

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

Crosby beach, Merseyside UK  © Tim Hill, Pixabay
The statues stare out to sea at Crosby beach, Merseyside UK © Tim Hill, Pixabay

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.

Crosby beach, Merseyside UK  © Jill Jennings, VisitSouthport
Spot the statue on Crosby beach © Jill Jennings, VisitSouthport

Best traditional seaside beach

Cromer pier, Norfolk © Pixabay
See the end of the pier show at Cromer © Pixabay

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.

Looking east along Cromer Beach from the pier Cromer, Norfolk, © Kolforn, Wikimedia
Looking east along Cromer Beach © Kolforn, Wikimedia

Best family beach

Filey beach, Yorkshire  © Tim Hill, Pixabay
Filey beach, Yorkshire © Tim Hill, Pixabay

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?

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