Sandcastles, ice cream and fish and chips, there’s nothing quite like a British beach on a sunny day. If you’re planning a staycation this summer or just making the most of the weather, check out our pick of the nation’s finest coastal stretches. Long live the heatwave.
Studland Bay, Dorset
For quintessential British seaside vibes look no further than Studland Bay’s four glorious miles of beaches. Knoll, Middle and South beaches are popular with families thanks to their gradual slopes into the sea, ideal for paddling small folk.
West Wittering, West Sussex
This Sussex beach is unspoilt and sheltered with plenty of space for kids with steam to run off this summer. It’s popular with windsurfers, kitesurfers and wildlife spotters with a beach café for drinks and ice-cream pit stops.
Luskentyre Sands, Outer Hebrides
You’ll have to head pretty far north for this show-stopper but it’ll be worth it. Get the right weather and Luskentyre’s picture-perfect white sands could be mistaken for those of a far-flung tropical island. Magical.
Rhossili Bay, Swansea
Adored by surfers for its Atlantic swells and kids for its expanse of sand and sun-bathing grey seals, this beauty on the Gower Peninsula is a fine place to while away a weekend. The walk down is steep so best for families who’ve passed the buggy stage.
This gorgeous beach below the iconic open air Minack Theatre has soft white sand, a stream for paddling and sparkly clean sea. It’s popular with families in summer and brilliantly wild in winter. Nearby Porthcurno beach café is great for refuelling.
Red squirrels, sand dunes and pine forests are among the attractions at this stunning beach near Liverpool. The views across the Irish sea are amazing on clear days. If you fancy adding a spot of art to your beach itinerary, Crosby beach with its otherworldly Anthony Gormley sculptures is half an hour down the road.
This beautiful stretch has miles of golden sand, rolling dunes, clean water and good surf. It’s family-friendly with plenty of space, rock pools, a shop and a café. Old-fashioned bucket-and-spade fun at its best.
Sandsend, North Yorkshire
This golden beach on the edge of the North York Moors National Park is a winner for summer family fun. Let the kids run wild hunting for fossils and digging about in the rock pools till the sun goes down.
Beach huts, amusements and sand galore, this beautiful bay is kid heaven. Send them off rock-pooling while you watch from a deck chair in the sun. Retro ice-cream parlour Morelli’s is worth a visit for a post-swim sundae.
A heavenly dune-fringed stretch with plenty of space for sandcastles and running wild. Part of its beauty is the lack of building and facilities so pack a picnic and make the most of the unspoilt beauty and big sky views.