While the term “exotic” (or, many times, even “sunny”) doesn’t apply to beaches in the U.K., they have a rustic beauty that is all their own. Britain’s array of seaside destinations is also remarkable, ranging from pristine sandbars to inviting pebbled stretches. Yet, you may wonder which will be the best choice for your next adventure, or even what your available options are. To help you discover what this country has to offer in terms of beachside beauty, here are the seven must-visit beaches scattered across the island nation.

Brighton

Located in the beautiful oceanside hamlet of East Sussex, Brighton has drawn quite the crowd over the last 150 years. And there’s a good reason for this, as it has been named one of the 10 best beach vacation spots on the globe. Having enjoyed such popularity for so long, the area offers an abundance of attractions. You can take a stroll along the renowned Brighton Pier, or wait for night to fall and visit one of the myriad of oceanfront clubs. Either way, you’ll find plenty to explore!

Compton Bay

Situated on the Isle of Wight, this beach attracts droves of surfers. But it isn’t lacking in beautiful vistas either, if you prefer to just sit and enjoy the warmth of the sand. Compton Bay is also lined with eye-catching cliffs that fold their way down to the shore, and you can even trek these promontories via the Tennyson Trail, which starts at Carisbrooke and continues to the Needles.

Pentle Bay is one of the beaches in the Isles of Scilly.Alum Bay

If hiking isn’t your scene, then you may prefer Alum Bay, which is also located on the Isle of Wight. Boasting a chairlift that will do all the hard work for you, this area includes both cliff-sides and beaches. Most people who visit Alum Bay do so to take in the spectacular sight of the Needles — three famous limestone stacks of chalk that jut prominently out of the surrounding sea. While they can be clearly seen from the beach on Alum Bay, hop on a boat for an up-close view!

Durdle Door

Although it’s not actually the name of the beach, Durdle Door is an incredible natural rock arch that divides the beaches of Man O’War Cove and St. Oswald’s Bay. Located on the aptly named Jurassic Coast in Dorset, this destination is not for the faint of heart. The walk down to the beach involves traversing a stairway built into the side of the cliff with over a hundred steps. Also, don’t expect to take a dip in the frigid waters unless the weather is truly hot — but regardless of weather, be sure to bring your camera! If you want a vacation spot that is off-the-beaten-trail and offers a unique view you can’t find anywhere else, then Durdle Door is ideal.

Alum Bay is also located on the Isle of Wight.Pentle Bay

If you visit Pentle Bay on Tresco Island, you may forget you’re in the U.K. altogether. Named one of Britain’s 20 best beaches in 2017, this sandy stretch boats white sand and turquoise waters normally associated with destinations far closer to the Equator.

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If you’re looking for a quiet beach away from prying eyes, or fancy the notion of vacationing on an island, then Pentle Bay is an excellent choice. The island also offers several attractions beyond its pristine beaches, including arresting rock formations and the crumbling remnants of at least one ancient castle.

Woolacombe Beach

Perhaps you’re not looking for a romantic beach getaway with that special someone, but want to bring the whole family along instead. If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with Woolacombe beach in Devon, as it is often referred to as the best family resort in England. And, with its quiet atmosphere, clear water, and family-friendly eating establishments, it’s easy to see why.

Another U.K. beach that boasts towering cliffs and picturesque stretches of sand, Woolacombe offers a rather dramatic landscape. Here, you can also enjoy beautiful views of Lundy Island, and the surfing conditions are quite good as well.

Marloes Sands

If you’d rather venture to Wales for your next beachside holiday, then consider visiting Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire. A departure from tropical beaches and white-sand vistas, this coastline offers a rugged, untamed, and wild beauty. Even the sea itself has a ferocious nature, as it engulfs the entire beach when the tide rises. Home to cliffs, pools, and large rock formations, Marloes Sands is the perfect escape for anyone looking to explore a more remote area.

Whether you’re planning an upcoming vacation or moving to the U.K., you’ll want to acquaint yourself with the natural beauty that the nation is known for. Each of the above beaches has their own unique features to commend them, so you can even select more than one for your travels! Either way, any of these destinations will make for a wonderful holiday, which you, your friends, and your family are sure to enjoy.

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Jason Mueller
Jason is an expat who enjoys helping others travel and relocate around the world. His work is inspired by his travels and his encounters with people from various cultures.