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British Travel Award

Winners 2018!

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Whether you’re planning a beach staycation this summer, or you’re just looking for inspiration for your next family day out, this definitive list of the best beaches of 2018 should help you on your way to finding sun, sea and sand. Chosen by millions of contributors, TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards aim to recognise the world’s most amazing places. Grab your sun hat, feel the sand between your toes and come with us on a journey across the UK to explore the country’s best beaches.

Barafundle Bay, Stackpole

In tenth place is the quirkily-named Barafundle Bay. Sitting on the stunning Pembrokeshire coast, Barafundle Bay is backed by luscious dunes and overlooked by rugged clifftops. Reminiscent of much more distant shores, Barafundle is for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse themselves in the truly beautiful Welsh coastline.

Barafundle Beach

The crystal clear waters of Barafundle Bay are reminiscent of distant shores - Photo © Jeremy Bolwell (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Be aware – when we say ‘remote’, we mean it! Barafundle has no facilities of its own, with the nearest café and toilets located just short of a mile away at Stackpole Quay. Car parking is also at Stackpole, but you’ll be grateful for the stroll as the footpath covers the awe-inspiring cliff tops that hide the idyllic golden sands and shimmering waters Barafundle is known for.

Holidaymakers staying at Pendine Sands Holiday Park looking for a bit of peace and quiet would be mad not to take the 45-minute drive to Barafundle. If you’re not in a hurry, why not take the scenic route along the Welsh coastline and take in the beautiful views? Dogs are welcome on Barafundle, making it a great place to visit with your pooch in tow!

Fistral Beach, Newquay

Just half a mile west of English seaside resort Newquay, you’ll find Fistral Beach. Cornwall has an international reputation for its stunning landscapes and beautiful Atlantic Coast, therefore Fistral Beach really is the cream of the crop.

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach in Cornwall is a surfer’s paradise - Photo © Ruth Sharville (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Often referred to as ‘the home of British surfing’, Fistral is awash with facilities including a dedicated surfing complex offering refreshments surf hire and even lessons for any budding surfers holidaying in Cornwall!

There’s always something going on at Fistral, as the beach hosts a wide range of events all-year round, including Europe’s largest surf and skate festival, Boardmasters Festival, which hits the beach in August. Boardmasters is more than just surfer and skating get together, it’s an immense beach bonanza with amazing music acts, delicious food and drink and an incredible range of activities for all the family. Watch the video below of 2017’s Boardmasters Festival to see for yourself!

Video Courtesy of Boardmasters Festival

Perfect for all the family, and just 15 minutes’ drive from Newquay Holiday Park, Fistral Beach boasts and extensive RNLI lifeguard presence from April until October. Dogs are welcome all year round, so even your furry friend can experience all the fun and excitement Cornwall’s top beach has to offer.

Hengistbury Head Beach, Bournemouth

A 45-minute drive from Sandford Holiday Park, you’ll find the seventh beach in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards.

Hengistury Head juts out into the English Channel, between Mudeford and Bournemouth. The Dorset beach known for its historical and geological significance, and has been named a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection and a Site of Conservation Interest. Visitors to the area should bear this in mind and always aim to leave the beach as you left it when you leave.

Video Courtesy of The Flying Fox

There’s more to Hengistbury Head than just the beach. Children will love the Land Train that runs from the Hiker Café down to the Beach Café on Mudeford Split. Just a short walk from the beach, wildlife lovers will find the local nature reserve. Not to mention the rows of shops, bars and restaurants in the nearby Mudeford Quay – you’ll find yourself returning to Hengistbury time after time and always finding something new.

Dogs are allowed on Henistbury Head all year around but visitors are encouraged to be respectful of the nearby nature reserve when walking their furry friends.

Weymouth Beach

We’re halfway through the list and where better place to rest than Weymouth? Easily accessible from West Bay, Warmwell and Sandford holiday parks, Weymouth is a must-visit for all holidaymakers heading to Dorset this year. 

Weymouth Beach

Weymouth Beach - Photo © Becky Williamson (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The three-mile long beach is a stone’s throw from the bustling town centre and historic harbour. From donkey rides to rainbow-colored beach huts, Punch ‘n’ Judy sideshows to freshly whipped ice cream, Weymouth has everything you could hope for from a British seaside break. 

There is a dedicated “dog exercise area” on Weymouth Beach by the pavilion, where dogs are allowed all year round.

Bournemouth Beach

TripAdvisor travellers selected Bournemouth as their top beach in the UK! This is great news for holidaymakers visiting Dorset, especially Sandford Holiday Park, who can enjoy country’s best beach just a half an hour drive away!

Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth beach and pier - © Paul Gillett -

Not only is Bournemouth recognised as the UK’s top beach, but it also makes an appearance in Europe’s best beach list. What makes Bournemouth so special? Well, it’s got to be the British seaside charm of this seven-mile stretch of sand with the warmest sea temperatures in the UK. The beach is easily accessed by all and has fantastic facilities, with access to shops, toilets and car parking all just minutes from the golden sands.

The beach is split into ten different sections, each offering a different experience. Keep an eye out for signage in the area to see which stretches are dog friendly.

Whether you’re looking for ice cream and deck chairs, or peace and serenity, you’re sure to find your perfect beach break in Bournemouth.

Honourable Mentions

Alongside the total ten beaches that made 2018 Travellers’ Choice list, here are some of our absolute favourite sandy spots in the UK.

Druridge Bay, Northumberland

This seven-mile-long stretch of golden sand and rolling dunes is regularly recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Druridge Bay is steeped in history, as it makes an appearance in WWII history books as it was surrounded by defences, which included scaffolding barriers, pillboxes and even an anti-tank ditch.

Dogs are allowed on Druridge Bay all year round and they’re bound to love the miles of beach and grassy dunes!  A short walk from Cresswell Towers, Druridge Bay is the perfect day out for all the family holidaying on the Northumberland coast.

Weymouth Beach

Druridge Bay - Photo © Bill Henderson (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Durdle Door, Dorset

Our next favourite beach certainly has the ‘wow-factor’. One of the most prolific spots on the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door needs to be seen to be fully believed. The natural formed limestone arch overlooks a beautiful shingle beach, popular with tourists and locals alike

Video Courtesy of imAGination

Be aware – Durdle Door isn’t easily accessible, with a steep hill down to the bay – it’s more than worth the trek to witness this piece of truly historic geology, especially if you’re staying at Warmwell Holiday Park! Dogs are allowed on the whole beach from 30 September – 1 May, and there is a section at the end of the beach by Queens Drive where they are allowed all year round.

Eyemouth, Scotland

Eyemouth Beach
Eyemouth - Photo © Alexander P Kapp (cc-by-sa/2.0)

We may be biased, but we didn’t feel like it was possible to write about the UK’s best beaches without mentioning the idyllic fishing town of Eyemouth. Overlooked by the eponymous holiday park, Eyemouth is a lovely sandy bay with plenty of rock pooling opportunities! The beach welcomes dogs all year around and has a fantastic choice of fish ‘n’ chip shops as well as cafes and restaurants. Visitors are really spoilt for choice in Eyemouth!

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