The 16 Best Beaches in England

View of beach at Brighton Pier, England.
View of beach at Brighton Pier in England. .

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While England doesn't always have the warmest, sunniest weather, the island country is covered with beautiful beaches. From surfing favorite Fistral Beach in Cornwall to art-filled Crosby Beach near Liverpool, England's coasts are comprised of memorable seaside destinations worth visiting. Whether you are looking for a busy city beach like Brighton or Blackpool, or something more remote, like Studland Bay, there are numerous popular beaches on all sides of England. Here are the best beaches in England, all of which will welcome you whether the sun is shining or not (and it does shine more frequently than you'd think).

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Fistral Beach

Tourists enjoy beach during summer in Cornwall.

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Fistral Beach, Newquay, UK

Fistral Beach, located on Fistral Bay in Cornwall, is one of England's most well-known beaches and one of the top surfing spots in the world. It's very popular, especially during the summer, and it hosts several major surfing events including Famous Night Surf and Boardmasters Surf Championships. The iconic Headland Hotel overlooks the beach, and there are numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants along the beach. If you're a surfing novice, book a lesson at Fistral Beach Surf School, which teaches individuals and groups how to hit the waves. Lifeguards patrol Fistral Beach from Easter until the end of October, so if you visit during the off-season use your best judgment.

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Whitby Beach

Picture of a lineup of colourful beach huts in Whitby, UK.

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Whitby Beach, 1 Pier Road, North Yorkshire, Whitby YO21 3PT, UK

Located on the North Sea, Whitby Beach, in the picturesque town of Whitby, is one of North Yorkshire's most scenic beaches. The long strip of sand is perfect for a stroll, swimming or sunbathing, and there are toilets and a cafe along the boardwalk. The town itself is worth a visit as well, with tons of small shops, local cafes and the famed Whitby Abbey on offer for travelers. After you get your fill of sun and sand, head to The Moon & Sixpence, a modern bar and restaurant overlooking the harbor, for a snack.

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Bournemouth Beach

Crowds of sunseekers on the sandy beach at Bournemouth, with the pier in the distance, and beach huts in the foreground

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Undercliff Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth BH1 3NZ, UK

Head down to the southern coast of England to experience Bournemouth Beach. It's a notably expansive stretch of sand (7 miles!), with beach huts and a pier jutting out into the water. Technically, the area is divided into several different beaches and you can't go wrong with any of them. Bournemouth itself is a charming seaside resort town, with plenty of hotels and holiday rentals to pick from. Don't miss the amusements at Bournemouth Pier, a great spot for families and kids.

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Woolacombe Beach

view of a crowded beach with hills in the background and wild grasses in the foreground

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Woolacombe Beach, United Kingdom

Woolacombe Beach can be found in North Devon in the seaside town of Woolacombe. It's particularly popular with families and surfers, although you can find all sorts of visitors on the beach during the warm months of the year. The 3-mile-long beach has three large parking lots and lifeguards on duty during the summer. The town of Woolacombe is a nice vacation spot with historic pubs and charming hotels. Hikers can stop by the beach as they trek the South West Coast Path.

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Blackpool Beach

North Pier and Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, England.

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Promenade, Blackpool FY1 5JA, UK

Blackpool is one of England's most famous seaside towns and is known for the historic amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The 7-mile beach is ideal for families, boasting lots of ice cream shops, cafes, and a pier with games, as well as open areas of sand for sunbathing. Look for nearby attractions like SEA LIFE Blackpool, Madame Tussauds, and Sandcastle Waterpark, or ascend the famous Blackpool Tower. The beach is open year-round, 24 hours a day.

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Studland Bay

Beach Path with wildgrasses growing around wooden posts

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Studland Bay, United Kingdom

Dorset's Studland Bay boasts 4 miles of scenic beaches, including Knoll Beach, Middle Beach, South Beach, and Shell Bay. It's has the feel of a remote beach, with opportunities to walk along the coast, but visitors will find paid parking lots, a cafe, and toilets. The area is part of the National Trust, which makes it a protected space, so be mindful when visiting and be sure to take all trash with you when you leave. Studland Bay also has a designated spot of beach for naturists on Knoll Beach where clothing is optional.

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Camber Sands

Sand Dunes with footprints in the sand

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Camber Sands, United Kingdom

East Sussex's Camber Sands, located in the village of Camber, is a dune-covered beach that stretches about 3 miles. It has several parking lots, and it's popular for windsurfing and kite surfing, as well as for beachcombing. It tends to be less crowded than other area beaches, making it a great pick for those who want some solitude or a quiet stroll along the shore. There are not many facilities, so pack your own lunch and bring anything you need along with you. When you leave, pay a quick visit to the nearby town of Rye, which features medieval, half-timbered houses.

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Bamburgh Beach

Bamburgh Castle on hill near beach

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Bamburgh Beach, Bamburgh NE69 7DF, UK

Head north to find Bamburgh Beach, located in Northumberland. The pristine beach is overlooked by Bamburgh Castle, a former Norman stronghold, and it's very popular for surfing thanks to the large waves. Because the beach is so far north in England, the water tends to be cold even in the summer so Bamburgh is more of a visiting and walking beach than a swimming beach. Be sure to take a boat trip to the Farne Islands, where visitors can spot puffins, seals, and dolphins. Boat trips run between March and October from nearby Seahouses.

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Southwold Beach

View of the seafront and beach at Southwold, Suffolk UK

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Southwold Beach is a scenic seaside destination on the Suffolk Coast. Known for its colorful beach huts, it's a great place to visit for a day or spend a weekend. The town is notably scenic, and its Southwold Pier boasts amusements, shops and restaurants. Be sure to stop by the beach's iconic lighthouse, which welcomes visitors for short tours. There is free parking around Southwold to access the beach, which is particularly beloved by families.

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Wells Beach

line of beach huts on sand with tall trees in the background

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Wells Beach, Wells, ME 04090, USA

Located near the harbor town of Wells-next-the-Sea, Wells Beach is a pristine stretch of sand on the Norfolk coast with particularly impressive beach huts. There is a parking lot, cafe, and the beach is dog friendly. While Wells Beach is great for sunbathing, swimming, or games, it's also ideal for coastal walks and it's part of the Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way. Visitors can follow the path for 2 miles to Holkham Beach through the Holkham Nature Reserve. You can also opt to camp nearby at the Pinewoods Holiday Park, which is a great way to stay near the beach and experience the outdoor beauty of Norfolk.

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Brighton Beach

Large crowd on people sitting and standing on the sand at Brighton Beach in England

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Brighton Beach, Brighton, UK

Brighton is England's most well-known beach destination, located less than an hour south of London. The resort town boasts the 200-year-old Brighton Palace Pier, which is filled with games, rides, and eateries. The beach itself, which is pebbled rather than sandy, gets crowded with hundreds of visitors on sunny days each spring and summer.

Brighton is great for a day trip, although its historic and contemporary hotels are welcoming for those looking for a longer stay. Don't miss the British Airways i360 observation tower, which offers amazing views of the shoreline, as well as the many annual events that take over Brighton, including a massive Pride festival.

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Sennen Cove

Looking towards the breaking waves on the famous surfing beach at Sennen Cove in Cornwall.

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Fistral may be Cornwall's most famous beach but the southwest of England also has some smaller, quainter beaches like Sennen Cove's beach. The small coastal town, which is worth a visit even without the beach, overlooks Whitesand Bay, which has a very nice beach perfect for walking or surfing. The South West Coast Path passes through Sennen Cove, so hiking enthusiasts can trek parts of the trail. Sennen Cove Beach has lifeguards on duty from Easter until the end of October.

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Ventnor Beach

two wooden beach chairs on sand

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Ventnor Beach, Ventnor PO38 1EJ, UK

Hop a ferry to the Isle of Wight to discover Ventnor Beach, a popular summer holiday destination. Beach huts are available for rent on a daily basis, and the Ventnor Paddling Pool is open for kids from May to September. The seafront is often busy and there are plenty of amenities for visitors, from cafes to shops. Look for the Spyglass Inn, a gastropub that overlooks the water and serves up local seafood. While on the Isle of Wight, stop by a few of the other nearby beaches as well, including Small Hope Beach and Shanklin Beach.

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Durdle Door

Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England

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Durdle Door, Wareham BH20 5PU, UK

The Jurassic Coast is filled with impressive rock formations, but perhaps none more so than Durdle Door, an arched rock that stretches along the end of a cove. Dorset's pebble and shingle beach can be accessed by foot from Lulworth Cove, as well as from the area's parking lot, which has parking available for a fee. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the walk and note that toilets are located near the parking lot, not on the beach. Durdle Door can be very popular on hot days, especially in summer and on bank holidays, so plan your trip accordingly and arrive early.

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Crosby Beach

Crosby Beach in England

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Crosby Beach, United Kingdom

A quick journey from Liverpool, Crosby Beach can be found on the Merseyside coastline, stretching for about 2.5 miles. It's the home of Antony Gormley's "Another Place" sculptures, and many visitors come just to see the human-shaped artwork in the sand. It's a great spot for a long stroll, and during the summer many locals come for a swim. There is free parking nearby and dogs are welcome on the beach. Life guards do patrol the beach, but the hours and days may vary so be sure to keep an eye on the tides and waves.

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Beadnell Bay

Beach and sea scene taken in Beadnell Bay, Northumberland, UK

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Beadnell Bay, United Kingdom

Beadnell Bay, located south of Beadnell in Northumberland, is a sandy, horseshoe-shaped beach that is immensely popular for water sports like windsurfing and sailing. Because the beach is so pristine, with soft sand and clear waters, it attracts a lot of visitors for swimming and sunbathing. The town itself is small, but there are a few notable places to go, including an old pub, The Craster Arms, and the chic Beadnell Towers Hotel.

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The 16 Best Beaches in England