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The Top 10 Beaches in the UK

A breakdown of the best UK beaches


Parkdean Resorts by Parkdean Resorts on 13/10/2021
A clifftop view across waves rolling in at Crantock Beach, Cornwall

When it comes to UK beach holidays, our beautiful country really comes into its own - boasting a whole spectrum of coastal landscapes from golden crescents of soft sand to craggy, pebbled bays.

If you’re on the hunt for a beach break that doesn’t require you to cross oceans to find stunning sights and sounds galore, Britain is blessed with a huge selection of holiday hotspots, meaning you can enjoy plenty of sun, sea and sand without having to board a plane.

Looking to escape the daily grind and enjoy a relaxing beach holiday with the family? We’ve put together a list of what we believe are the top ten beaches in the UK – perfect for anyone eager to book their next seaside getaway.

1. Blackpool Sands, Devon

  • Best for: Beautiful scenery
  • Where to stay: Challaborough Bay Holiday Park, a 45 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dog ban in place between Easter and November

Taking the number one spot on our list of the top ten beaches in the UK is Blackpool Sands in Devon – owing to its crystal clear turquoise waters and fragrant pines, it could easily be mistaken for somewhere on the Mediterranean coast. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this Blue Flag shingle beach is undoubtedly one of the prettiest to grace the UK. Its unspoilt, sheltered position makes it ideal for families and there’s a lifeguard on duty during the summer months ensuring the little ones will stay safe in the water. If you’re feeling peckish, you can sample some locally produced food in the Venus Beach Café, or if you’re a water sports enthusiast, equipment is hireable from the neighbouring beach shop.

Video courtesy of Cosmin Picleanu

2. Druridge Bay, Northumberland

  • Best for: Families with kids
  • Where to stay: Cresswell Towers Holiday Park, a 15 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dogs are welcome all year round

Northumberland’s spectacular coastline will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring some of the top beaches in the UK, but Druridge Bay is definitely one of our all-time favourites in the region. Backed by grassy dunes and WWII anti-tank blocks, this 7 mile stretch of well-preserved, sandy beach is a hit with families with kids. The beach is adjacent to a country park, home to a lake and pretty woodland walks, as well as an adventure playground and opportunities for water sports like kite surfing, wind surfing and more. Discover more of the best UK family beaches here.

Sunset over the grassy dunes of Druridge Bay, Northumberland

3. Rhossili Bay, Wales

  • Best for: Dogs
  • Where to stay: Rhossili Bay makes a great stop-off if you're travelling to any of our holiday parks in South Wales
  • Dog friendly? Dogs are welcome all year round

To be found on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, Rhossili Beach has been nominated by the Times as the UK’s number one dog friendly beach – and it welcomes your four-legged friends all year round. Despite the steep walk down to the sand, you’ll be rewarded by 3 miles of shoreline - which when exposed at low tide is perfect for your pooch to roam around. There are numerous clifftop walking trails nearby too if you wish to venture further, boasting outstanding panoramic views of one of the best UK beaches. Head to our dog friendly holidays page for more tips on travelling with pets.

A sunny day at Rhossili Bay, Wales

4. Fistral Beach, Cornwall

  • Best for: Surfing
  • Where to stay: All four of our holiday parks in Newquay are under a 15 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dogs are welcome all year round

Considered to be one of the best surfing beaches in not just the UK, but the world, it’s no wonder that Fistral Beach in Newquay has made it onto the list. The waves can reach an impressive 40ft and some of the most famous surf competitions take place here each year. Whether you’re a fully-fledged surfing pro or a beginner, you’ll be welcomed at Fistral Beach, with lessons available to book and gear to hire. It’s also Cornwall’s most popular beach, meaning it can get quite busy, but due to the wide expanse of sand there’s usually plenty of room for everyone to enjoy it.

Video courtesy of FullEnglishProductions

5. Brora Beach, Scotland

Scotland is renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and Brora Beach in the Highlands certainly doesn’t disappoint. This small, sandy beach is nestled behind a golf course, backed by Jurassic rocks with stunning views spanning across the Moray Firth. Its spot on our UK best beaches list is well-deserved, as it’s a fantastic place for wildlife watching and you can expect to see seals, otters, herons and other seabirds – you might even be lucky enough to glimpse dolphins and whales! At low tide, the beach is also great for games, sandcastle building, kite flying and beach-combing, so there’s more than enough to keep you busy for a full day out. Explore even more of Scotland’s top beaches here.

Video courtesy of Monkey Air TV

6. Studland Bay, Dorset

  • Best for: Swimming
  • Where to stay: Sandford Holiday Park, a 30 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dogs must be kept on a short lead between 1st May and 30th September

Providing 4 miles of glorious sandy beach, Studland Bay in Dorset is regarded as one of the best beaches for swimming in the UK, so is a great place to take the kids for a day at the seaside. The gradual slope into the sea from the sand means they can safely access the water and the gentle shelving makes it suitable for bathing, snorkelling and other water activities. Relax on the sand while the kids play and soak up sea views stretching all the way to the Isle of Wight! It’s worth noting that the beach is split into three sections – Middle Beach, Knoll Beach and Shell Beach – and part of Knoll Beach is sectioned off for naturists, but this is well signposted so is easily avoidable.

A view through the grassy sand dunes towards the sun shining over Studland Bay, Dorset

7. Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire

  • Best for: Rock pooling
  • Where to stay: Cayton Bay Holiday Park, a 45 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dogs are welcome all year round

Perched on the edge of the fishing village of the same name, Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire is next up on our list of the top beaches in the UK. Lined with craggy cliffs and part of the Dinosaur Coast, it’s a popular spot for fossil hunters and rock poolers. At high tide, the beach is largely submerged by water, but visit when the tide goes out and an abundance of interesting rock pools will be revealed. Be careful though, as the tides change quickly, and make sure you’re on the lookout for falling rocks too! If rock pooling isn’t your thing, it’s a great beach for dog walks, so why not take your pooch for a stroll whilst admiring the sweeping bay views?

A view across the town and beach of Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire

8. Botany Bay, Kent

  • Best for: Couples
  • Where to stay: St Margaret's Bay Holiday Park, a 50 minute drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? Dog ban in place between 1st May and 30th September, 10am-6pm

One of Kent’s hidden gems, pay a visit to the beautiful Botany Bay and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere with views of remarkable white cliffs and chalk stacks. Its Blue Flag status means you can expect clean sands and superb water quality, and the beach is a popular place for more relaxed water sports like kayaking and canoeing, as well as rock pooling and fossil hunting at low tide. It’s the ideal location for a couples’ break, with lots of nearby coastal walks to explore, or if you’d prefer to take things a little easier, you can hire deckchairs to simply wind down and bask in the sunshine.

Video courtesy of Aerial Videos & Images by David Wilson

9. Blackpool South Beach, Lancashire

  • Best for: Amusements
  • Where to stay: Ocean Edge or Regent Bay Holiday Park, both under an hour’s drive from the beach
  • Dog friendly? The majority of the beach has a dog ban in place between 1st May and 30th September, however there is a small section welcoming dogs all year round which can be found south of the Mirror Ball in front of the Solaris Centre

If it’s an all-out traditional seaside experience you’re after, look no further than Blackpool’s legendary South Beach – a resort packed full of fun, sun and sand. Slightly quieter than its adjoining beaches on the Golden Mile, South Beach benefits from a huge expanse of sand, perfect for games, sandcastle building and sunbathing. You’ll be just a short distance from the promenade, so take a wander along to Blackpool’s three piers and enjoy rides, arcade games and amusements galore - as well as the famous Pleasure Beach a stone’s throw away.

Sunset over Blackpool South Beach with the Tower and pier in the background

10. Crantock Beach, Cornwall

  • Best for: Walks
  • Where to stay: Crantock Beach Holiday Park, with the beach right on the doorstep
  • Dog friendly? Dogs are welcome all year round

It probably comes as no surprise that Crantock Beach is the final contender to make our list of the top ten beaches in the UK, given that our holiday park of the same name is just steps away! Nestled between the Pentire Headland and Gannel River, the cliffs adjacent to the beach provide shelter from the wind and at low tide, a wide stretch of soft white sand is exposed. Positioned away from the hustle and bustle of the Newquay crowds, its pure blue waters are a dream for surfers and swimmers alike. If you’re a keen walker, the South West Coast Path runs right alongside the beach, serving up incredible views of the surrounding landscapes.

Video courtesy of Łukasz Knasiak

Do you agree with us that these are the best UK beaches? Don’t forget to share your recommendations with us via our Facebook and Instagram pages!