When it comes to white sand and turquoise waters, you’d be forgiven for thinking of Barbados before the British Isles. However, the UK is home to some stunning seaside scenery, with a number of surprisingly exotic vistas you won’t believe are right on our doorstep! And while the water might not be as warm as that of their Caribbean counterparts, these British beaches are equally as spectacular in their own right - and well worth a visit on your next UK break.
Step through the screen of lush green foliage into the secluded bay of Blackpool Sands, one of South Devon’s most beautiful beaches. This privately managed, Blue Flag award-winning beach offers the perfect family day out if you’re looking to escape to paradise.
In the height of summer, locals and visitors alike can be seen sunbathing on the fine shingle sands and swimming in the azure blue bay - a scene that could easily be mistaken for the Côte d'Azur. If you’re visiting in the cooler months, the bay is transformed into a quiet and serene setting - ideal for a relaxing walk with the dogs, permitted on the beach during the off-season.
Image courtesy of Blackpool Sands
Parking: Blackpool Sands benefits from its own car park, with parking charges varying depending on the season. Contact Blackpool Sands on 01803 771800 for up to date pricing information.
Facilities: Being privately operated, you’ll find a wide range of facilities on offer - including toilets with wheelchair access, showers, watersports equipment hire, a beach shop and a cafe.
Dogs: Seasonal dog ban in operation between 12th March - 30th October.
Rhossili Bay, Wales
Occupying prime position on South Wales’ Gower Peninsula, Rhossili Bay has been a regular feature in TripAdvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards for the top 10 beaches in the UK, and holds a number of accolades to its name. And it’s not hard to see why. The sweeping 3 miles of golden sand creates a breathtaking panorama of the Welsh coastline. For the ultimate vantage point, walk out onto the adjacent Worms Head - just keep an eye on the time, as the headland gets cut off from the mainland during high tide. With hills of the Gower Peninsula abruptly sloping down onto the flat and seemingly endless expanse of sand, Rhossili Bay could be a mirror image of South America’s dramatic coastline.
In the summer months, you’ll find plenty of opportunity to bask in the sunshine, build sandcastles and splash in the surf - if you’re lucky, you might even spot the local dolphins and seals amongst the waves! In winter, the bay is ideal for long walks and welcomes dogs all year round.
Video sourced from blusnapper
Parking: There is a pay and display car park at Rhossili. Note, there is a steep path down to the beach from the car park which is unsuitable for wheelchairs and buggies.
Facilities: You’ll find a National Trust shop, visitor centre and accessible public toilets next to the visitor car park overlooking the beach, as well as a local pub serving food and drink.
Dogs: Dogs allowed throughout the year.
Rhossili is just over an hour’s drive from Trecco Bay Holiday Park, and is well worth trip if you’re planning an escape to South Wales - making for a perfect day out.
No, that’s not Majorca you’re looking at! It’s Porthminster Beach in Cornwall, just a short stroll from the vibrant town centre of St Ives. This Blue Flag awarded beach faces north-east, and is shielded from the Atlantic’s swells and winds by St Ives’ harbour. The resulting microclimate gives the beach an extra tropical feel, and you’ll even find palm trees growing behind the sand.
Porthminster’s sheltered location turns it into a suntrap in the summer months, and it's calm and safe waters make it a popular destination for families with children swimming and playing along the shoreline. If you’re visiting outside of the summer season, you’ll still find plenty to do - with a cosy beachside cafe and restaurant where you can enjoy a tasty treat and warm drink while admiring the view over the bay.
Image courtesy of Visit Cornwall / Matthew Jessop
Parking: There is a pay and display car park overlooking the beach, however, it can get very busy during peak season. St Ives train station is mere steps from the sand, so why not park in a neighbouring town and enjoy a short and scenic train journey to Porthminster Beach?
Facilities: There are accessible public toilets available behind the beach. Porthminster is also just a short stroll from the centre of St Ives, putting the whole town’s amenities within easy reach.
Dogs: Seasonal dog ban in operation between the Sunday before Easter and 30th September.
The beautiful seaside town of St Ives and its stunning beaches are just a 45 minute drive away from Lizard Point Holiday Park. It’s a must visit if you’re planning a holiday in Cornwall.
Druridge Bay, Northumberland
Reminiscent of the wild beaches of America’s Northeastern Coast, Druridge Bay in Northumberland could easily be confused with the grassy sands of Long Island or Cape Cod (minus their population of great white sharks!). With miles of sweeping sand stretching between Amble and Cresswell, Druridge Bay is the perfect place to see Northumberland’s spectacular coastline.
The sand dunes, grassland and lake behind Druridge Bay beach also provide a natural haven for wildlife, with Druridge Bay Country Park operating as the official visitor centre for the area. The park offers shelter from the sea breeze during cooler months; while in summer, the golden sands await and visitors can even learn to surf on the gentle waves. Find out more about watersports and local activities near Druridge Bay at Visit Northumberland.
Image courtesy of Mario Czekirda / Visit Northumberland
Parking: Free parking is available at Druridge Bay Country Park visitor centre.
Facilities: The visitor centre houses accessible toilets and a cafe. You’ll also find a children’s play area and family picnic area outside.
Dogs: Dogs allowed all year.
Druridge Bay is just 15 minutes’ drive from Cresswell Towers Holiday Park, making for the perfect day out at the beach if you’re staying nearby.
Sandbanks Beach, Dorset
This stretch of golden sand on the Sandbanks Peninsula has held its Blue Flag award since 1987, making it one of the UK’s most highly decorated beaches. Sandbanks has been continually praised for its cleanliness, facilities, safety and environmental commitments. And this hasn’t gone unrecognised by Britain’s elite. Aside from the fantastic public beach and facilities, the spit of land is home to a staggering concentration of spectacular multi-million pound properties - boasting swimming pools and private jetties. Aerial photos of the peninsula could easily be confused with the likes of Miami’s famous Star Island and the Florida Keys!
The beach’s pristine sand gently slopes into the shallow water, making it ideal for less confident swimmers and families with young children. There’s also plenty to do when the sun goes into hiding too. Enjoy a walk along the beachfront, play a round of mini golf or take the ferry across the water to visit Studland Nature Reserve.
Image courtesy of pooletourism.com
Parking: There is a pay and display car park behind the beach, as well as limited on road parking.
Facilities: You’ll find plenty of facilities on the Sandbanks Peninsula, including cafes and beach shops as well as accessible toilets.
Dogs: Seasonal ban in operation between 1st May - 30th September.
Sandford Holiday Park is less than 30 minutes away from Sandbanks Beach, and is ideally located for exploring the beautiful Dorset coast.
Achmelvich Bay, Scotland
Situated on the rural north western coast of Scotland, Achmelvich Bay attracts visitors from far and wide - all coming to witness its neon blue waters. On sunny days you could think you’re looking at a scene from the Seychelles, as the sheltered bay’s pure white sand reflects the light through the crystal clear water.
There are a couple of beaches to choose from, and in summer the beach is popular with watersports enthusiasts - with the sheltered bay providing ideal conditions for windsurfing or exploring in a kayak. Throughout the year, the bay is a popular spot for fishing, and the surrounding hills offer a number of rewarding walking trails.
Video courtesy of Graham Fisher
Parking: Free car parking is available at the dedicated beach car park.
Facilities: While Achmelvich is fairly isolated, there are public toilets available at the beach car park, alongside an information hut.
Dogs: Seasonal ban in operation during peak tourist season.
Achmelvich’s isolated location in the Scottish Highlands is one of the main reasons this spectacular beach has retained its unspoilt beauty. An hour and a half’s drive from Grannie’s Heilan’ Hame Holiday Park, the beach is located along the popular North Coast 500 route, making it an ideal first port of call.
Tell us about your favourite beach on our Facebook page, we may even include it in our next Amazing Memories blog!