Your first summer destination has to be the beach, no need to plan a trip or book a flight, just pack your towel, your swimming costume, some sunscreen and you’re set. With the British Coast offering up some of the best beaches in the world, why not take advantage of the local beauty, there really is no need to go anywhere else! Here's the top ten lesser known beaches worth visiting during your summer, you are sure to find one you've never visited before.
Porthminster Beach, Cornwall
St Ives is known as one of the loveliest bays in Britain - and the luckiest as it often gets the warmest weather, thanks to the Gulf Stream. The beach is famed for alluringly soft sand and incredibly clean water. Being close to town as well as the railway station and with lifeguards on duty, makes this beach even better, as it is safe and accessible for all.
This beach is ideal for families, with café facilities and restaurants. For those who want to grab a bite to eat, the Porthminster Café is a popular restaurant for returning visitors. The loveliest bay in Britain includes scenic cliff walks along the South West Coast Path, so don’t forget to take your camera. And what’s a day at the beach without ice-cream? The ice-cream parlour in Porthminster offers a selection of sundaes, milkshakes, ice-cream floats, biscuit and waffle cones and tubs, all served with delicious toppings and sauces.
For more information visit www.porthminstercafe.co.uk
Blackpool Sands, Devon
Not to be mistaken with Blackpool Beach, the picturesque Blackpool Sands is tucked away in a South Devon bay. You will feel as if you are in the Mediterranean without having to leave home with its beautiful turquoise-blue water. Blackpool Sands is a shingle beach, which means you are saved from sand in your eyes, hair and food if there happens to be a gust of wind. Also the tide does not vary much, so the little ones can play closer to the waters edge. The beach is cleaned daily, and has shower and toilet facilities, disabled access and lifeguards on patrol during the summer months - however no dogs are allowed during this time. The beach even has a special sandpit just for children, so they can enjoy hours of sandcastle fun.
Surf-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking and bodyboarding are all available for the whole family to take part in and enjoy at Blackpool Sands. Your fun doesn't end at the surface of the water as you can also hire snorkels and wetsuits to discover the amazing marine life below.
Situated directly behind the beach is Blackpool Garden, a secret garden that follows the sloping path through the trees and shrubs with glimpses of the ocean along the way. Take a relaxed stroll and enjoy the varieties of Callistemons, Embothriums and Olearius as well as other plants and shrubs in the well preserved garden.
For more information visit www.blackpoolsands.co.uk
Hastings Beach, East Sussex
Hastings Beach is located in East Sussex, a charming seaside town. It is a stunning stretch of sandy-pebble beach. It lies a short distance from the town's facilities, which include boutique hotels and restaurants with great views of the beach. The beach is child and wheelchair-friendly, making it a pleasure for anyone to come and enjoy their day out. Hastings is a great for a day of fishing, with the dinky fishing boats lining up ready to head out - who knows, you might even get lucky and catch your own fish for supper!
Other than enjoying your day at the beach, Hastings offers a number of activities in and around town. Why not go for a spot of shopping in one of their lovely little antique shops? And after that, you can try out one of the restaurants in the area. You can also go on the cliff-top tram for lovely views of the ocean, or explore the Castle.
To extend your day trip into a mini getaway, book into a guesthouse in town, such as Tower House 1066, St Leonards on Sea, elegantly set in a 19th century Victorian building. This hotel is within walking distance (just 1.1 miles) of the beach, surrounding pubs, and restaurants. The rooms range from £45 to £95 per night and breakfast is included. Tower House offers personal service with the comfort and privacy of your own home. With a lovely landscaped garden ideal for relaxing at sunset and stunning four-poster bedrooms to ensure you’ll wake up rested and relaxed, this will be the perfect place to enjoy your time at the beach and enjoy the seaside charm of East Sussex.
For more information and to book go to www.historicbritain.com and search for Tower House.
Harbour Beach, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Why not take a boat trip at Harbour Beach in Tenby to surrounding islands like Caldey. Tenby encompasses North Beach with its rock pools, and South Beach's sand dunes that lead to Wale's oldest established golf course. These beaches, including Harbour Beach, are on the list of Britain's cleanest beaches. Just a short walk from the centre of town, the beach is both a welcoming stretch of sand, and at the end near the rear of the harbour, a resting spot for a variety of fishing boats. Popular activities include kite-surfing and fishing.
With the various cafés available, breaking tradition and getting Indian food rather than Fish and Chips is quite tempting. On a different note, visit the glassblowing shop where you can buy nifty ornaments and glass, blown and shaped right in front of your eyes.
Mundesley Beach, Norfolk
Mundesley is centrally located on the North Norfolk Coast. With a Blue Flag showcasing it as one of Britain’s cleanest beaches and beautiful sands stretching for miles, there's really no excuse not to visit Mundesley Beach. Not only is this beach one of the cleanest, it is also safe with Mundesley having its own inshore lifeboat and Coastwatch manned by local volunteers.
Mundesley hosts a number of gift shops, pubs and cafés dotted around the seafront, so whether you want to grab a little souvenir or a meal, there's something for everyone. The play area in the Gold Park ensures that even the little ones will be kept occupied for hours.
With its warm and friendly atmosphere the Manor House in Trunch, Norfolk is the ideal place to stay while visiting Mundesley. With its location a mere 2 miles from the beach, it’s no surprise that the tranquility of the ocean can be felt in every room. Add views of the nearby village and coast that can be seen while enjoying a delicious breakfast made from fresh, local produce, and you have the perfect place to stay while holidaying in Mundesley Beach. Manor House also has great facilities, including a garden and terrace and free internet access. Rooms range from £65 to £86 per night and includes breakfast. Don’t fancy waking up early for breakfast? That’s okay - they also accommodate for self-catering holidays.
For more information and to book go to www.historicbritain.com and search for Manor House.
Portobello Beach, Edinburgh
Although Scotland is not ideally known for its great beach weather, it does have some delightful seaside charm to experience, especially when the weather warms up. Affectionately known as ‘Porty’, Portobello Beach in Edinburgh offers a more traditional and humble British seaside experience.
Dog-friendly all year round with a lovely long, flat stretch of beach, it's perfect for taking a sunset stroll. After which Fish and Chips for supper will definitely be in order, this you can get at any of the cafés along the pleasant promenade, which is also great for cycling. Portobello Beach is five minutes from shops, easy to get to from the town centre and is accessible by bus. It's a great beach for children and those still young at heart with its classic arcade nearby (so make sure you have your spare change ready). With clear views across to the valley of Forth and often with an ocean breeze ideal for kite flying, this beach is great for a lovely picnic day out.
Bournemouth Beach, Dorset
Bournemouth, with warmer sea temperatures than most UK beaches, boasts sandy and friendly beaches, not forgetting the amazing views of the Isle of Wight and Purbecks. Bournemouth Beach has everything you need for a great day out and really caters for families and large groups - with facilities and activities on offer for everyone. It's easily accessible with lifts along pathways on the East Cliff, West Cliff and Fishermans Walk. It's also a safe beach with lifeguards based along the stretch of the shoreline.
Whether you want to laze about on a deck chair at the beach or take a stroll on the seaside pier, Bournemouth is the beach to do it. For something a bit more upbeat, hire some bikes and go cycling, play a round of golf or hit the waves to go surfing, bodyboarding or swimming.
Gwithian Towans Beach, Cornwall
Cornwall makes the list again with Gwithian Towans, a great beach overlooking Godrevy Lighthouse, with rock pools to enjoy. The beach is accessed along a path through the open sand dunes - great for adventures. With consistent, quality waves it's a fantastic beach for surfers of all levels. During the summer months lifeguards are on duty to ensure the safety of swimmers. At low tide, the caves are uncovered, so the kids will really enjoy exploring. And a regular sighting at Gwithian is a colony of seals over the headland.
Gwithian Beach is no doubt a great place for those looking for more than a spot of suntanning. Why not take a cliff walk? The area has some of the best views that Cornwall has to offer in this remote, unspoiled area. After which you can visit the Sunset Surf beach café and bar, fully licensed and open all year round. This is a relaxing setting for you to sit back and enjoy the locally sourced and good quality food and drink on offer, as you gaze out across the water.
Sandbanks Beach, Dorset
There is something fantastic for everyone at Sandbanks. With more Blue Flags awarded than any other UK beach resort as well as golden sands and crystal clear water, what more can a beach offer? Well Sandbanks offers a lot more. You can tick safety off the list as Sandbanks has separate zones across the beach for swimmers and windsurfers, with lifeguards and wardens patrolling regularly. Sandbanks also offers designated barbeque areas, as well as a beach office to hire equipment (snorkels and wetsuits) to make your experience that much more enjoyable. You can try something new every day at Sandbanks, host of the British Beach Polo Championships, with a variety of activities ranging from sailing, windsurfing and beach volleyball.
Port Eynon Beach, Gower
The Best Beach in Britain for 2011 had to make this list because it still ranks highly as an all-round great beach. Port Eynon, on the Southern Point of Gower in Wales is the most tourist-oriented beach. It's a great place if you want a weekend away at the seaside. It has a large collection of seaside shops as well as tents, caravans and bungalows available for renting, and a youth hostel offering cheap accommodation (for young and old) at the beachfront. Port Eynon is surrounded by a stunning landscape - rugged, but family-friendly, and boasts an idyllic village offering a charming pub and great local chippie. It's the epitome of a truly British seaside getaway.
What’s your favourite British seaside destination? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
by Sipelele Ndungane