A Selection of the Best English Beaches and Nearby Campsites.
The UK boasts some of the world’s most stunning beaches and to save you scouring every coastline, we’ve rounded up the very best for the summer ahead. Sit back, relax and take a peek at what we consider to be some of the most stunning beaches England has on offer. We’ve also added lists of campsites local to the beaches where you can pitch up and fall asleep to the surf!
Charmouth Beach, Devon
Charmouth beach is an ideal family beach with a mix of sand and pebbles, clean sea and safe swimming. Fossils abound thanks to the winter month’s rough seas and there are even regular guided fossil walks from February to September – tides permitting! The beach is divided into two by the mouth of the River Char which is quite often dammed by the beach forming a fabulous lagoon, perfect for boating or watching the wild birds. No dogs allowed between 1st May and 30th September.
Hive Beach, Dorset
Stretching for over a mile and surrounded by towering cliffs as well as farmland, the beach is very easily accessible. It is a shelving, shingle beach with breath taking views right round to the east Devon coast. No lifeguard onsite at this beach, although it does offer wonderful water quality. Great beach for fishing and more of those Dorset fossils.
Durdle Door, Dorset
Famous for the Durdle Door Arch, this magnificent limestone arch was formed when the power of the waves eroded the rock, forging a hole through the middle. The arch protects the eastern area of the beach and the whole beach is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for excellent water quality.
The beach also allows dogs, making it ideal for pet owners.
Several music videos and have been made at Durdle Door plus it has featured in a number of films including Wilde and Nanny McPhee. Travel back in time to 1984 and have a go at spotting it in Billy Ocean’s Loverboy video:
Crackington Haven Beach
Crackington is a pretty sand and shingle cove located on the North Cornish coast just a few miles south of Bude and surrounded by the towering steep cliffs of Pencannow. The beach itself is a quiet spot, sheltered thanks to the cliffs and is in our opinion a real gem! There’s a lovely stretch of golden sand at low tide and an abundance of rock pools jam-packed with all sorts of amazing creatures so don’t forget your net! The beach is monitored during the summer months, with no dogs allowed from Easter to October.
Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
Widemouth Bay is a wide expanse of open sand that stretches for almost 2 miles with a genuinely wild feel to it. Technically, it's divided into two beaches - North Beach and South Beach (also called Black Rock) by a natural barrier of rock. It’s a surfer’s paradise and there’s no shortage of marine life in the rock pools at low tide. If you're bringing your four-legged friend, head for the southern end - dogs are welcome all year round on Black Rock beach. The beach itself is owned by The National Trust, with a car park conveniently found within 10 minutes’ walk.
Sandymouth Beach, Cornwall
Sandymouth is approx. 3 miles north of Bude and nestled between two headlands, Steeple Point and Menachurch Point. Sandymouth Beach is a lovely sand and shingle bay tucked away behind rugged cliffs. A beautiful bay on a very picturesque coast and generally blissfully quiet! There are even waterfalls tumbling from the lofty clifftops above. When the tide is out, it's possible to walk right along the sands to nearby Crooklets Beach and Summerleaze Beach and return via the South West Coast Path – an impressive circular ramble.
Beadnell Bay, Northumberland
This is a very distinctive beach because of its unique horseshoe shape and boasts a stunningly soft, sandy cove. It is also a part of the Heritage Coastline, which gives it even more of a unique appeal for visitors. The beach is backed by huge sand dunes and stretches south for miles.
Minehead Beach, Somerset
Located in the county of Somerset, Minehead Beach is an easily accessible sandy beach that offers a range of facilities. Situated on the banks of the Bristol Channel, it has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world, often as great as 48 foot (second only to the Bay of Fundy in Canada)! A long, sandy beach stretching for a mile along the promenade and offering spectacular views out across the Channel to Wales.
The train station that is situated right next to the beach makes it easy for people to visit even if they are not driving, although there is also a pay and display car park for those who do want to drive.
Normans Bay Beach, Sussex
Normans Bay Beach is a mixture of shingle and pebbles that slope gently down to the water. Great opportunities for fantastic kite flying due to the strong sea breezes. On a clear day the beach offers lovely views of Beachy Head white chalk cliffs.
With no restrictions on our four-legged friends, pet owners can let them off the leash and allow them run free to enjoy the open space. As the name of the area reveals, the Normans landed here in 1066 and you can find a World War II coastal defence battery nearby to explore too. Car parks can also be found only a 5-minute walk from the beach front.