You don't have to leave the country to enjoy sandy beaches, water sports, coastal wildlife and seaside fun this summer. We've put together a list of our 10 favourite beaches right here in Britain.
Blackpool Sands, South Devon
Far from the hubbub of Blackpool's arcades, this privately-owned beach in the West Country is a haven for young families. Though the beach is covered in fine pebbles, there's a large, sandy area for toddlers wielding buckets and spades. There's also a beach cafe, a seaside shop (where you can hire boogie boards, wetsuits, snorkels and so on), lifeguards in peak season and a fresh-water paddling pool.
Purbeck Beaches, Dorset
The Purbeck Beaches, stretching from Studland Bay (north of Swanage) to Osmington in Weymouth, make up just a section of the 630-mile-long south-west coast. There's an amazing walking path along the cliffs, which overlook stunning coastal features from Old Harry Rocks and Anvil Point to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall
A quick look at the list of surfing events that draws the crowds to Fistral beach is proof enough that the swell is good. Rip Curl Boardmasters, Quicksilver Skins, the UK Pro Surf Tour and the BUSA Championships all take place here. Head to the beach to hire equipment, take lessons or just hit the waves.
Scarista, Western Isles
This stunning, white-sand beach on the Isle of Harris, off Scotland's west coast, is an idyllic paradise. Explore an often-deserted beach, play golf against a backdrop of rolling hills or go kite surfing to get your adrenaline pumping.
Rhossili Beach, South Wales
Found on the south-west tip of the Gower peninsula, Rhossili beach is a rugged, dramatic stretch of coastline constantly battered by the Atlantic (much to surfers' delight). Head up to the Rhossili Downs for the best panoramic views of the bay, the Bristol channel and Pembrokeshire. Alternatively, stroll along the sandy beach and try to spot the 19th-century shipwreck peaking out of the sea at low tide.
Long recognised as the quintessential traditional British seaside destination, Blackpool continues to serve up stripey deck chairs, penny-drop games, roller coasters, arcades, long, sandy beaches, candy floss, hot dogs and all the rock you can eat. You'll be hard pushed to beat Blackpool for family entertainment.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
If your beach has to come with enough sand to bury yourself in, Barafundle is the one for you. This stretch of glorious sand is sheltered by limestone cliffs and flanked by a gorgeous, sweeping bay. There are no facilities on the remote beach, so make sure you've packed everything you need for the day.
New Quay, Wales
The UK has plenty of beaches for birdwatchers, but it's not often you find dolphins bobbing around off the coast. Chances are you'll catch sight of groups of bottlenose dolphins at New Quay off Cardigan Bay in Wales. The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre organises boat trips so you can see them up close.
Brighton's pebble and rock beach may not satisfy your cravings for sand between your toes, but there's plenty to do; from shopping and nightlife to kite surfing and arts festivals, not to mention galleries galore, tea rooms, arcades, summer festivals and vintage markets. The biggest Pride festival in the UK takes place here from the 5th to 7th of August, so you're guaranteed not to be bored!
St Ives, Cornwall
If you like your sand with a side of culture, St Ives is the place. Head into town to visit Tate St Ives and explore the gallery's collection of modern and contemporary art (largely with associations to the West Country) or wander around the beautiful Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Theatre lovers, meanwhile, only need to drive 30 minutes to Porthcurno to visit open air amphitheatre Minack.
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