UK & Ireland

The perfect staycation: 10 British beaches to soak up the sun

When the sun's out there’s no better place to be than the seaside. Here's our favourite British beaches - ideal for your perfect staycation.

Every summer we wait with bated breath to see if this year will be a scorcher, with the hopes of the nation resting on the latest BBC weather report – living in the hope of finally catching some sun. And when the clouds finally clear and the rain blows over, there’s no better place to be than by the seaside.

With bucket and spade in hand, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite UK beaches. From Scotland to Cornwall and everywhere in between we’ve found the best of British. So leave your passport behind and start your sun holiday at home.

A beach holiday in Cornwall

Near the bustling town of St. Ives, you’ll find the pristine Carbis Bay. This privately owned Blue Flag beach is one of Cornwall’s best hidden gems and is a must-visit for anyone holidaying in the sunny South-West. While it’s a steep walk down, the unspoilt scenery and calm, crystal clear waters ensure it’ll be worth it.

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A beach holiday on the Isle of Wight

One of the best kept secrets on the Isle of Wight, Compton Bay is an expansive yet quiet beach offering visitors an escape from the pandemonium of city life. The white-faced cliffs are an impressive backdrop and give the beach a dramatic atmosphere. At low tide, there’s even the chance to see some dinosaur footprints – great fun for big and little kids alike.

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A beach holiday in Yorkshire

Boasting three miles of glorious coastline, Sandsend is the ideal rural escape for any keen walker. Fancy a Sunday stroll? Begin your journey at the seaside town of Whitby and walk down to the end of the beach, where you can take in spectacular views of the historic Whitby Abbey – ideal for any romantic at heart.

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A beach holiday in the Isles of Scilly

Walking along Pentle Bay, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d somehow teleported to the Mediterranean. This crescent-shaped beach is a beautiful oasis found on the Isles of Scilly – the unusually warm islands found off the coast of Cornwall. The beach’s immaculate white sand and clear blue sea provide the perfect location for sunbathing and a dip in the ocean.

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A beach holiday in Devon

Situated in North Devon, Saunton Sands is a surfer’s paradise. Perfect for both longboarders and kitesurfers, it offers prime surfing conditions all year round. This vast sandy beach is surrounded by the famous Braunton Burrows sand dunes and is continually popular with families and dog walkers.

A beach holiday in Norfolk

A visit to the stunning Holkham beach isn’t complete without a long walk along the miles of clean, soft sand. The beautiful scenery is a treat for the senses with an endless expanse of blue sky stretching out as far as the eye can see. The last scene of Shakespeare in Love was famously shot here, so why not take your very own Romeo along for a stroll?

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A beach holiday in Merseyside

A glorious hideaway situated close to Liverpool, Formby beach is comprised of more than 500 acres of rolling sand dunes, clear water and an endless beach to explore. A climb to the top of those epic dunes offers outstanding views across the Irish Sea. The beach is backed by the awe-inspiring Pinewoods, a treasured national heritage site which is home to the country’s last remaining red squirrel colony.

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A beach holiday in Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand is a Blue Flag beach which offers exceptional water quality, soft golden sand and spectacular views out to the Northern Atlantic. It’s not surprising then that this beach was chosen as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Experienced lifeguards are on duty every day during high season making it the ideal spot to take all the family.

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A beach holiday in South Wales

At low tide, you’ll see the ocean-stripped oak carcass of the Helvetia shipwreck poking out through the sands. The ship foundered in 1887 and is a prominent landmark on Rhossili beach. Regularly named as one of the best beaches in the UK and Europe, Rhossili beach offers visitors miles of fine sandy shore to explore as well as exceptional walking routes for any fitness fanatic.

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