10 of the best UK beach holidays
Many of us are searching for the perfect UK beach break. Here are 10 of the best seaside sojourns for summer 2021
Find official peace: Yorkshire
Seeking seaside serenity? Research found the tranquillity of the North York Moors to be of national significance. Take a self-guided Mindful Walk around Ravenscar or breathe in sea air at Robin Hood’s Bay; secreted away here is Boggle Hole YHA, a delightful base for fossil-hunting, rock-pooling and wild swims.
Private rooms (sleeps three to six) at Boggle Hole YHA cost from £99pn (0345 371 9504; yha.org.uk).
Whizz west: Isles of Scilly
Even in summer, privately owned Tresco never feels overrun. Perhaps it’s the effort you have to put in to get to this remote outpost. But it’s well worth it, to discover this car-free idyll of wildflower fields, farmland and dazzling beaches, blessed by Britain’s warmest climes. Top pick is Pentle Bay: sugar sand, clear-blue sea, hardly another soul to be seen.
Sea Garden Apartments (sleeps two) cost from £305pn (01720 422849; tresco.co.uk).
Head north: Gower
Britain’s first AONB, the Gower has glorious beaches: Rhossili, Three Cliffs Bay, and Port Eynon. But for greater solitude, head north to the Blue Pool, Broughton Bay’s dunes, and National Trust-owned Whiteford Burrows.
Burrows Cottage (sleeps five) costs from £318 for three nights (0344 800 2070; nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays).
Own an isle: Outer Hebrides
The best beach is the one that is all yours. And Eilean Sionnach offers just that – this handsome lighthouse cottage sits by a private beach, on a private island, just off Skye. Departure times are dictated by weather and tides; if stranded, there’s nothing to do but stroll and beachcomb, read and sketch, scan for dolphins, watch the storms (there’s no TV). Socially distanced heaven.
Lighthouse Cottage (sleeps eight) costs from £295pn (01273 692300; coolstays.com).
Find the best south west: Somerset and Devon
Exmoor is the UK’s least-visited national park, and the stretch of South West Coast Path here is arguably least walked. But the seaside variety! Marshy Porlock, rock pools at Kilve and Combe Martin, bucket-n-spade Ilfracombe, secretive Woody Bay, the cove of Heddon’s Mouth.
Doubles at Hunter’s Inn near Heddon’s Mouth cost from £89pn B&B (01598 763230; thehuntersinnexmoor.co.uk).
Sing for the sand: Argyll & Bute
Despite Paul McCartney’s warbling, the wild beaches of the Kintyre peninsula remain largely empty – from near-endless Carradale Bay to surfy Machrihanish and the white-sand shallows of Bellochantuy. The Kintyre Way, a 100-mile trail from Tarbet to Machrihanish, links several and promises spectacular views. Look for otters and basking sharks too.
A seven-night self-guided Kintyre Way hike costs from £620pp including B&B accommodation (01629 363123; contours.co.uk).
See beyond: Skegness, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire’s first official stretch of All England Coast Path was the 16-mile between Skegness and Mablethorpe, an undersung shore of wild beaches, wading birds, the North Sea Observatory and Anderby Creek, a local’s-only type of place and the world’s first official cloud-spotting zone. Here you’ll find Twentysix, a bright, architect-refurbed 1950s chalet tucked into the dunes, in earshot of the sea.
Twentysix (sleeps five) costs from £80pn (0117 204 7810; sawdays.co.uk).
Look east: Norfolk
Shift your gaze from North Norfolk’s lauded beaches to the stretch from Sheringham south to Happisburgh (rich in prehistory), blue-flagged Sea Palling and seal-favoured Horsey: less fashionable than Holkham, less brash than Great Yarmouth, but endless lovely sand. Stylish Sandy Lodge is sunken right into Sea Palling’s marram grass, with a gate leading on to the beach.
Sail away: Hampshire
Admire England’s crowded south coast from a safe distance aboard a private yacht. An expert skipper will sail where you fancy – maybe across the Solent. Good spots to drop anchor include East Head, Bembridge Bay (lovely for swimming) and the spit at Milford on Sea that leads to Hurst Castle.
A seven-day skippered yacht (sleeping six) costs from £2,500 (02380 457023; fairviewsailing.co.uk).
Investigate in-between: Ceredigion
Tucked between popular Pembrokeshire and majestic Snowdonia, Ceredigion is an oft-overlooked slice of Wales. But its beaches are brilliant: rocky inlets, sandy bays, long surfing strands. The three Ty Cwch cabins – cool, converted shipping containers in a secluded valley, by little Cwmtydu Beach – are a great base: there’s plenty of activity potential, plus seals rear their pups in the coves nearby.
Ty Cwch cabins (sleep four) cost from £120pn (01348 830922; qualityunearthed.co.uk).
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