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Bucket-list bulder: sandy British beaches

PUBLISHED: 11:29 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 06 July 2020

As a nation, we do love to be beside the seaside... but where are the best sandy beaches? Here are our favourites   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As a nation, we do love to be beside the seaside... but where are the best sandy beaches? Here are our favourites Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

BrianAJackson

Six stunning sandy British beaches to visit after the lockdown ends for your bucket (and spade) list.

A British beach is the perfect destination for a family holiday - so which one are you going to?   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoA British beach is the perfect destination for a family holiday - so which one are you going to? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We’re lucky, living in East Anglia. We have glorious beaches all the way around the coast, from Sunny Hunny all the way to the mouth of the Orwell. Traditionally, summer and the seaside go together like ice-cream and a flake – but that’s been more problematic this year.

Coastal resorts were empty at the height of the heatwave in the peak of the lockdown. Then as restrictions were eased, the news was full of pictures of packed promenades and crowded beaches (not in the east, it must be said) as people abused the first hint of freedom and threw caution – and Covid safety – to the wind.

So a return to the seaside needs to be done sensibly. That does mean finding a sandy beach, but one with space – to park, to spread out, to stay safely apart from people not in our social bubbles. Here’s our pick of six great British beaches for a sunny, sandy and above all safe seaside day out.

So many fine beaches in East Anglia, but we'd head to Holkham for four miles of unspoilt loveliness   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoSo many fine beaches in East Anglia, but we'd head to Holkham for four miles of unspoilt loveliness Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Holkham, North Norfolk

It’s one of the gems of the North Norfolk coast – four miles of soft white sand and grassy, wind-carved dunes in a glorious nature reserve (keep the family hound on the lead when crossing the reserve). It’s part of the Holkham Estate, so there is a parking charge, but there’s also a café and facilities – and you get the parking fee back if you spend over a certain amount at the café or shop. The whole estate is fascinating and, though Holkham Hall itself remains closed to visitors, the walled gardens, the woodland play area and the café are open.

For more information click here.

Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales is widely regarded as one of the world's finest beaches   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoRhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales is widely regarded as one of the world's finest beaches Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rhossili, South Wales

Where the Gower peninsula projects into the Bristol Channel from South Wales is the wide mouth of Rhossili Bay. In a 2010 poll by TripAdvisor, it was named the best beach in Britain – and one of the top three European beaches and one of the ten best in the world. It’s easy to see way: three miles of soft sand sloping gently down to the waves, framed by lush green hills and, at one end of the beach, the unspoilt isthmus of Worms Head. This is cut off from the mainland at high tide but active visitors can still explore it (just check the times before going – don’t risk getting stranded). There are good facilities in Rhossili village, but the descent to the beach is steep so not suitable for pushchairs or the infirm.

For more information click here.

For a beach that sings as you step on it, visit Whistling Sands on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoFor a beach that sings as you step on it, visit Whistling Sands on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Whistling Sands, North Wales

Porthor feels like a secret. It’s not as well-known as the other beaches on the list, but this National Trust property on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales is one of the most amazing sandy beaches you could ever visit. It’s known as Whistling Sands because, as you walk on the fine white sand it squeaks or whistles... it’s quite incredible. It’s a small, family friendly beach that catches enough gentle surf to suit bodyboarding children – though dogs aren’t allowed on the beach in summer. As well as the car park (free for NT members, but a charge for visitors) there are toilets and a café and shop – all closed during the pandemic, so reopening will be governed by how Wales comes out of lockdown.

For more information click here.

Miles of sand and spectacular views at Bamburgh beach on the Northumberland coast   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoMiles of sand and spectacular views at Bamburgh beach on the Northumberland coast Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bamburgh, Northumberland

The far north-east coast of England is truly spectacular – and nowhere more so than Bamburgh beach, with the majestic Bamburgh castle looming on one side an, across the sea, Lindesfarne Castle visible on Holy Island. The whole coast is sandy for as far as the eye can see (even out to Holy Island when the tides are favourable – but don’t risk getting caught on the causeway: cars have been washed away). With plenty of parking and good facilites, Bamburg village is the perfect base for exploring this unspoilt shore – whether you want to join the surfers, fly a kite, or simply build your own castle (of sand).

For more information click here.

The beach at Camusdarach in Scotland played a staring role in the 1983 film Local Hero   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe beach at Camusdarach in Scotland played a staring role in the 1983 film Local Hero Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Camusdarach Beach, Scotland

If you want a sandy beach of such exquisite beauty it could melt the hardest heart, try the beach at Moar on the west coast of Scotland – where the classic film Local Hero was filmed. With the Highlands on one side and Skye just across the water, it’s hard to imagine a more atmospheric place. It’s a long way from East Anglia to Scotland, but the journey there is worth being a bucket-list entry in its own right – through Glen Coe, through Fort William in the shadow of Ben Nevis, then out on the A830 past the Glenfinnan with the curving railway viaduct made famous films like The 39 Steps and the Harry Potter series. The miles of unspoilt sand, gentle break of surf and fresh sea air are just a bonus.

For more information click here.

Beach huts, sand, white cliffs... it's English summer heaven. Or Botany Bay in Broadstairs, as it's also known   Picture; Getty Images/iStockphotoBeach huts, sand, white cliffs... it's English summer heaven. Or Botany Bay in Broadstairs, as it's also known Picture; Getty Images/iStockphoto

Botany Bay, Kent

What’s more classically English than golden sand and multi-coloured beach huts? The white cliffs, perhaps... but you get the hat-trick at Botany Bay in Kent. This small sandy beach in the seaside town of Broadstairs is smaller and likely to be busier than the others on this list, but it’s great for swimming, surfing and soaking up the sun. A visit here also gives access to all the other attractions of the Isle of Thanet – from the Spitfire and Hurricane museum and the Turner art gallery, to the shell grotto and Dreamlands amusement park (not to mention the ice cream parlour Morellis). Plus when you tell your friends you went to Botany Bay, they’ll probably think you meant the one in Australia...

For information click here.


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