The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - Travel
Hot stuff ! Britain’s best beaches revealed
Our experts select their favourites – from stunning stretches of sand to quirky coves and family-friendly bays
Britain’s relationship with its beaches might best be described as “complicated”. There are days when the rain arrows in sideways, and that excursion to the seaside is reduced to huddling in fish-and-chip shops and on Victorian bandstands. There are days when everyone has the same idea – or, as was the case during the two pandemic summers, no other option – and you can barely see the sand for damp picnic blankets, grouchy children, yapping dogs and giant, beady-eyed seagulls. Then there are days when the sun shines at the right temperature and the ideal angle, the shoreline looks like a tropical postcard, and you briefly wonder why, for all the glorious places dotted round the globe, you would ever go anywhere else.
For now, let’s focus on that third scenario – and the best that this country and its 11,073 miles of coast can offer. Especially in light of an expected heatwave predicted for this summer. There will be many column inches devoted to “African plumes” pushing us into the 30s over the coming months – on whether these surges of hot air, coming north from the Sahara, are a standard weather phenomenon or a sign of climate crisis. But there will be weeks when the perimeters of Wales, Scotland and England – and their surrounding islands – are holiday heaven.
But where? Our experts have picked out their favourite beaches in the British Isles. Some will be familiar – along the popular waterfronts of Cornwall, Devon and Sussex. Others can be found a little further from what might be deemed the beaten track – up in the Highlands, and out in the Hebrides. But all of them have that essential something that makes a beach a splendid place to spend an afternoon or early evening – scenic beauty, a certain magic.
Of course, one thing they may not include is your own favourite – that little cove on Cumbria’s edge, the blissful bay chiselled into Pembrokeshire’s rocky outline, that hidden strip on Yorkshire’s flank. And if this is the case, then let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org; see page 34). Unless, of course, you would rather do anything but. For it is entirely possible that the best British beaches are those that we keep to ourselves.