Summer might be winding down but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a short break.
With scenes of travel chaos at UK airports and long queues at Dover over the last few months, you might have decided to stick to a staycation.
The UK has some stunning stretches of coastline, from jagged clifftops to quaint harbourside fishing villages.
We also have some amazing beaches, whether you’re looking to relax, sunbathe, or surf.
Here are seven of them.
1. Sandhaven, South Shields
Sandhaven recently topped a Sunday Times’ list of Britain’s best beaches. Visit the mile-long beach and you’ll be instantly captivated.
Topping the sweeping expanse of sand to the north is the Ocean Park Pleasure Beach, perfect for a family day at the funfair. Elsewhere, you’ll find all the amenities you need, including great value parking.
There’s also plenty of wildlife to enjoy, including the chance to see dolphins and a wide variety of bird life.
For history buffs, take a walk to the south end of the beach where you’ll find a replica of a gun positioned in the same spot during the Crimean War.
If you tire of the beauty of Sandhaven, head north and you’ll find Whitley Bay and Long Sands, two more undiscovered treasures of the northeast.
2. Llanddwyn Beach, Anglesey
Anglesey in North Wales is home to some truly beautiful beaches, but few more so than Llanddwyn Beach.
Llanddwyn sits on the edge of Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest, an intricate system of dunes and Corsican pines shaped by the coastal winds and now home to red squirrels.
The beach itself offers opportunities for sunbathing, windsurfing and kitesurfing as well as stunning views across to Snowdonia national park from the nearby Tŵr Mawr Lighthouse.
Llanddwyn Island becomes disconnected from the mainland during the very highest tides so be vigilant and wrap up warm – the site is heavily exposed so surrounding temperatures can be misleading.
The Blue Flag beach is also a designated dark sky area. The lack of light pollution here means that if you stay until nightfall, you’ll have a great opportunity to witness the epic scale of the Milky Way overhead.
Dogs are allowed at all times but must be kept on a lead from May to September.
3. Chapel Point, Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire also boasts some incredible stretches of beach, like Chapel Point at Chapel St. Leonards.
The wide beach is backed by traditional beach huts and is a perfect spot for walking, kitesurfing, or surfing. It’s a great fishing spot too.
The sand and shale beach is wide and dog-friendly and there are more nearby walks perfect for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
The area is also home to the spectacular North Sea Observatory. Opened in 2018, the impressive building incorporates a gallery, café, public toilets, and car park. You’ll also be provided with free-to-use binoculars to ensure you don’t miss out on the incredible views out to sea, along the coast, and inland.
4. Chesil Beach, Dorset
Forming part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, the 18-mile-long stretch of Dorset coast is a must-see.
Not a beach for sunbathing and relaxing, maybe, it does however offer millions of years of history. The bracing pebble and shingle beach is comprised of Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks. It’s also perfect for blowing away the cobwebs and reconnecting with the UK’s rugged coast, even for non-geologists!
If you want to witness the full power of the beach, head to coast road Abbotsbury for a view that has been voted Country Life’s third best view in Britain. It’s also an incredible place to take in the scale of the beach and the Fleet Lagoon that sits behind the shingle.
5. Woolacombe Beach, Devon
Woolacombe Beach in north Devon was recognised as the 20th best beach in the world by TripAdvisor in its Travellers’ Choice awards. It was the only UK beach to make it into the website’s top 25.
The two-mile beach is over 700-metres wide, backed by dunes, and the perfect place to enjoy surfing, kitesurfing, or simply a coastal walk. Hike to the National Trust-owned headline at Baggy Point or keep going to arrive in nearby Croyde Bay.
Back at the beach, you’ll find plenty of facilities from showers and toilets to cafés and funfair rides for the kids. If you’re keen to head into the sea but a water sports novice, you’ll find equipment to hire and people to teach you the basics.
Woolacombe beach is dog-friendly all year round, with some restrictions applicable during the height of the summer season.