When you think of England, beautiful beaches are not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. But even if the weather may not be able to keep up with the Mediterranean climate, there are beautiful beaches in England too.
England boasts thousands of miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches. In almost every corner of the country you will find the most diverse types of sandy bays: secluded oases of tranquility, family-friendly spots, surfer’s paradises and dream beaches to relax on.
England’s most stunning beaches are scattered across the country and easily rival those in sunnier climes in Europe at the height of summer. Incidentally, all the beaches on this list have been awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness and environmental management – to put your ecological conscience at ease.
Here is a great collection of the best beaches of England, prepared by our team for you:
- Fistral Beach, Cornwall
- Bournemouth Beach, Dorset
- Woolacombe Beach, Devon
- Whitby Beach, Yorkshire
- Wells-next-the-Sea Beach, Norfolk
- Bambourg Castle Beach, Northumberland
- Ventnor Beach, Isle of Wight
- Blackpool Beach, Lancashire
- Studland Bay, Dorset
- South Bay Beach, Yorkshire
- Pelistry Bay, Isle of Scilly
- Porthcurno, Cornwall
- Portstewart, Northern Ireland
- Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
- Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
- Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall
Fistral Beach, Cornwall
The most beautiful beach in England is undoubtedly Fistral Beach in Cornwall. Because here not only the fine sandy beach inspires, but also the impressive coastal landscape. In front of a spectacular backdrop, you can show off your surfing skills or watch the daring maneuvers of the local surfers. You can then strengthen yourself in one of the small restaurants not far from the beach.
Fistral Beach in Cornwall is considered the most beautiful beach in England, especially among surfers. Just a few kilometers from Newquay, this unique sandy beach lures with impressive waves and a dreamlike coastal landscape. Rugged rocks, light, soft sand and the emerald green sea will certainly amaze you too. It is up to you whether you then also plunge into the rough waters or enjoy the wonderful view from one of the small restaurants or bars. If you want to be pampered in front of this backdrop, you should treat yourself to a spa day with a view of the beach.
Bournemouth Beach, Dorset
Bournemouth has one of the finest beaches in England, with award-winning miles of soft golden sand stretching for around eleven miles. The English Channel isn’t exactly known for pleasantly warm water temperatures, but fortunately Bournemouth has a microclimate that makes for one of the warmest stretches of water in the whole of the UK.
There are plenty of beach-specific activities here, including kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, and Bournemouth Pier has plenty of innovative offerings like a zipline and climbing wall. All this makes Bournemouth a very attractive and busy beach resort. The best thing to do is to book your accommodation directly on Bournemouth Beach.
For those who get goosebumps at the thought of swimming in England’s cool waters, consider a visit to Bournemouth Beach. Thanks to the unique microclimate, this bathing resort attracts with what is probably the warmest water in the whole country. But see for yourself! Dig your toes in the golden sands of this beautiful beach. Enjoy the wonderful sea air on long walks along the more than 11 km long beach promenade and dare to swim, kayak or with one of the SUPs in the turquoise blue waves. Afterwards, the lively place awaits you on land with lots of entertainment.
Woolacombe Beach, Devon
At first glance, Woolacombe Beach in Devon has something Caribbean about it. Azure sea, white sandy beach and lush green vegetation will surely delight you. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this English dream beach is popular with the locals, especially during the summer months. And although you won’t have this paradise to yourself, Woolacombe Beach offers every imaginable beach comfort. Changing rooms, ice cream vans, restaurants, lifeguards and even bouncy castles for the little ones are available here. So sit back, relax and enjoy this enchanting beach while swimming or walking.
Woolacombe Beach is generously wide and offers a seemingly endless view of sand and sky at low tide. Families and surfers in particular visit this beach frequently and dog owners will find their own section where their four-legged friends can let off steam. It’s very lively in the summer and there are plenty of handy facilities and activities such as changing rooms, lifeguard stations, restaurants, ice cream vans and even bouncy castles!
The place itself lies on the flank of the lush green hills that frame the beach, giving it a very idyllic feel. Strolling along the coast to the next headland, you’ll discover more rugged coves like Combesgate Beach and Grunta Beach that invite you to explore further.
Whitby Beach, Yorkshire
Whitby Beach is a classic among English seaside resorts. Surrounded by verdant landscapes and boasting a variety of excellent fish and chip shops, Whitby invites you to a seaside holiday to remember. While the place is suitable as a year-round travel destination, bathing is only possible during the summer months due to the cool water temperatures. In Sandsend in particular, you can expect the typical colorful beach huts, ice cream vans and a motley range of exciting activities. Surfing, kite flying and donkey rides are just the top of the program. So, stay tuned to see what awaits you at Whitby Beach and look forward to an unforgettable beachside atmosphere.
Whitby is an interesting seaside town with quayside arcades, beautiful countryside and some of the best fish and chip shops in the country. It may only be a small town nestled on the coast on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, but it has an evocative atmosphere.
The place is worth a visit all year round, but except in midsummer the North Sea is usually a bit chilly. The village of Sandsend at the end of Whitby Beach is one of the most popular spots for relaxing sunbathing. In and around Whitby you will find typical British beach activities during the summer months, such as donkey rides, ice cream vans and colorful beach huts. This beach is also ideal for surfing, kite flying and searching for fossils.
Wells-next-the-Sea Beach, Norfolk
Wells-next-the-Sea is not only a lively fishing port with a special flair, but also a popular seaside resort on the English coast. While the water temperature allows hard-boiled swimmers to swim, the beach invites you to linger and relax. On the huge sandy beach you have enough space to enjoy both the magical view of the North Sea and the lively chirping of the birds in the nearby bird sanctuary. If you still can’t resist the sea despite the low temperatures, you can paddle wonderfully in Wells-next-the-Sea. At the end of the day, a walk through the dense pine forest or the picturesque city center is worthwhile for a less maritime experience.
This expansive Norfolk beach is lined with towering pine trees and a row of cute beach huts. Especially in summer it exudes an enchanting atmosphere and directly behind it is a bird sanctuary, from which the chirping and cawing of the native birds can be heard throughout the day. Although the North Sea is usually a bit too cool for swimming, it is wonderfully suitable for brisk paddling.
The seaside town itself is still a lively fishing port and many of the restaurants serve the fresh fish and crab caught just offshore. Well-next-the-Sea, the town itself, with its numerous historical buildings, invites you to take a stroll if you want to spend a few hours away from the inviting sands. This beach is particularly beautiful for couples looking for a relaxing getaway with a bit of culture and history.
Bambourg Castle Beach, Northumberland
One of the most beautiful beaches in England lies against the breathtaking backdrop of Bamburgh Castle. Whether for long walks on the beach, adventurous paddling tours or for surfing – Bamburgh Castle Beach is a unique spot that you will not soon forget. Only for swimming is the North Sea 30 kilometers south of the Scottish border perhaps too cold. Nevertheless, a visit to this beautiful beach is worthwhile. Ideally, you’ll also take some time here to visit the historic castle and learn about the region’s lively history. From the Vikings to the Scottish Rebellions, there is a lot to discover here.
Dominated by an impressive Norman castle, Bamburgh Beach is a rugged, iconic beach on the north coast of England. It’s the perfect place for long walks on the beach and the perfect escape from the modern world. Only about 30 kilometers south of the Scottish border you can expect a mostly rough, cool North Sea, which invites you to paddle in the summer months. The offshore wind also makes this beach an attractive surf spot. Staying close to Bamburgh Castle is also popular with travellers.
After relaxing on the beach, don’t miss Bamburgh Castle – the castle is a true experience for young and old with its exciting stories about Viking invasions and Scottish rebellions.
Ventnor Beach, Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight boasts 17 magical beaches that invite you to swim and soak up the sun. But Ventnor Beach in particular is considered one of the best beaches in the United Kingdom. Ventnor Beach stretches out with glorious soft sands against the backdrop of the laid-back seaside resort. And just beyond, the calm waves of the picturesque bay invite you to swim and relax. Above all, families with small children undoubtedly swarm here. Because whether you’re digging in the fine sand, splashing around in the water or exploring the Victorian city – there’s no chance of boredom at Ventnor Beach.
With 17 beaches that have been awarded the famous Blue Flag and around 80 kilometers of coastline, the Isle of Wight boasts one of the greatest ranges of beautiful sandy beaches. The island off the south coast of England is just off Portsmouth and is a great destination for a beach holiday. It is only about 35 kilometers wide and its fantastic beaches are not far from each other.
But with a beach to choose from, we picked Ventnor Beach: it offers the perfect combination of soft sand, gentle waves and family attractions. Here you will find numerous shops and entertainment venues whose nostalgic flair is reminiscent of times gone by. The Victorian town that stretches along the beach offers numerous hotels and B&Bs overlooking the sea.
Blackpool Beach, Lancashire
Blackpool Beach in Lancaster is not a classic sandy beach. Instead, the many small pebbles require appropriate footwear to stroll along the beautiful beach promenade. In addition to the fantastic view of the sea, Blackpool Beach inspires above all with the numerous attractions that provide constant entertainment here. From the Blackpool Tower to the Pleasure Beach amusement park, there is a lot to discover along Blackpool Beach. So indulge in the unique atmosphere, enjoy one or the other variety show or explore the beach on a traditional donkey ride.
Blackpool’s shingle beach may not be one of England’s prettiest beaches, but it is certainly one of the country’s most entertaining beaches with its many attractions. Its Blackpool Pier is known as one of the best in England: the Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach amusement park ensure that there is never a dull moment.
Donkey rides, colorful arcade games, and variety shows have changed little over the past generation, lending a nostalgic flair. After dark, Blackpool becomes one of the most popular spots for stag and hen parties, who often party late into the night.
Studland Bay, Dorset
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts should definitely make a note of Studland Bay in Dorset. Why? The natural beach is located in a picturesque, sheltered bay with a unique dune landscape. The snow-white sandy beach stretches almost six kilometers in length and offers enough space for an unforgettable summer holiday. Only the northern end of the beach is reserved for nude bathing. The rest of the beach is great for swimming, sailing or walking in beautiful Studland Bay. For example, follow the South West Coast Path through the beautiful surroundings. Or simply enjoy the breathtaking views of England’s coastal landscape.
If you’re looking to get back to basics on your beach holiday, Dorset’s Studland Bay is well worth the long journey via the Hartland Moors. This National Trust managed beach is set in a sheltered bay which is considered one of the finest in England with fine sand.
It stretches from north to south for about six kilometers and has something to offer for all kinds of beach holidaymakers. There are several sailing clubs at the south end, a hard-to-see section at the north end is reserved for nude bathing and in the middle the soft, golden sand invites you to relax. The South West Coast Path walks along this beach, making it a great destination for hikers too.
Studland Bay is only about eight miles from Bournemouth, but you will need to take a ferry to cross a small strait, adding a bit to the travel time.
South Bay Beach, Yorkshire
South Bay Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Northern England. Not only the fine sandy beach, but also the lively fishing port of Scarborough and the Victorian Grand Hotel create a very special atmosphere. If you don’t want to miss any of these three highlights, you should first visit the impressive hotel. After enjoying the fantastic view of the sea, you can take the historic beach lift down to the beach. And after a long day of soaking up the sun, you can end a varied day in one of the excellent restaurants in the harbour. You will hardly find fresher fish than here!
Scarborough’s South Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches in northern England – which is hardly surprising given its inviting soft sands, entertaining arcades, donkey rides and impressive Grand Hotel looking down from the cliffs. Today you can still take the historic beach lifts from the hotel down to the beach, just like Victorian holidaymakers did. This special atmosphere makes the accommodations on South Bay Beach highly recommended.
On a sunny day, South Bay Beach is as crowded and entertaining as a Mediterranean beach, even though the North Sea is a few degrees colder. The historic harbor has been the focal point of Scarborough for centuries: even today the fishermen go out daily and catch fresh fish which is served in the excellent restaurants on the harbor.
Pelistry Bay, Isle of Scilly
Are you looking for a picturesque retreat with a great ambience? Then Pelistry Bay is for you. Not far from Hugh Town, Pelistry Bay is one of the best beaches in England. Fine, white sandy beach, bright green hills and of course the view of the deep blue sea will put you in the holiday mood as soon as you reach this beautiful stretch of coast. While the largest of the Isles of Scilly attracts more holidaymakers during the summer months, with a bit of luck you may have this dream beach all to yourself during the off-season. So enjoy the wonderful tranquility, grab a good book or take relaxing walks by the sea.
While it can get quite stormy in Porthcurno in Cornwall when the weather is bad, the idyllic landscape with the first rays of sunshine is all the more exciting. Now the rugged cliffs off the coast are ablaze with bright colors. They stand in stark contrast to the bright sandy beach and the turquoise blue sea. Whether it’s for a stroll on the beach, sunbathing or enjoying the scenic surroundings, the journey to the east end of the UK is well worth it. And should the weather change, Porthcurno has a number of cozy cafes that make waiting for the sun extra fun.
Portstewart, Northern Ireland
The north coast of Ireland also has a lot to offer in terms of dream beaches. And Portstewart’s beach in particular boasts a magnificent view over the wide Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the sandy beach, which is more than three kilometers long, invites you to explore. So kick off your shoes, dig your toes into the soft sand, and stroll along the beautiful shore. Enjoy the view over the surrounding grassy landscape and the shallow ocean. Collect some souvenirs of shells and take the opportunity to experience Ireland’s natural beauty in a wonderfully peaceful setting. You can see for yourself that Portstewart has one of the most beautiful beaches in England.
Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
This dream beach can be considered as one of the best beaches of England. Not only the wide, fine sandy beach inspires, but also the surroundings. Because the impressive rock formations, the play of colors between land and water, the simple surroundings and the breathtaking view over the sea create an unforgettable atmosphere. So it’s no wonder that Sandwood Bay in Scotland is a wonderful place to switch off and relax. Forget all your worries as you explore this enchanting stretch of coast and walk (barefoot) along the blue sea. Observe the numerous seabirds and take in the beautiful coast of Scotland.
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Compton Bay enchants less with its sandy beach than with the breathtaking colors of the coast. The brown-golden sand and snow-white limestone alone make for a wonderful photo motif. Add to that the roaring waves of the ocean and a good four kilometer long beach. Together, a spectacular panorama awaits you in Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight. Ideal for photography, hiking or just enjoying, this bay is a must for all outdoor fans. So don’t miss out on discovering the beautiful surroundings and the unique nature of the region in peace and quiet.
Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall
The bay in Cornwall was awarded in 2017 for its exceptional water quality. Here you can relax wonderfully between the towering cliffs and sand dunes. Treyarnon Bay is particularly popular with families.