If you’re a lover of beaches and think you’ve found every gem the British Isles has to offer, maybe it’s time to think again. Here’s five beaches – each offering a spectacular experience – that you may not have considered visiting before.
If you are looking for an easily accessible and family friendly beach with plenty to offer then Ladram Bay, one of the foremost holiday parks in Devon, may well suit your needs. Ladram Bay is a private beach belonging to privately run Ladram Bay Holiday Park, and although there is access for daily visitors, if you have the time and the inclination, a stay at the holiday park will be money well spent. The only way to the beautiful beach is via the Holiday Park entrance or by boat.
What makes Ladram Bay so special is its unique place on the Jurassic coast – the East Devon coastline. This provides a spectacular environment with superb opportunities for nature walks and bird spotting. Those interested in sporting pursuits can hire kayaks and motor boats on the beach.
Beach lovers will adore being able to stay at Ladram Bay just metres from the waves. The Park houses camping, caravan and touring van facilities, but it also has its own static caravans and hot tub lodges to rent – and all of them overlook Ladram Bay.
Nairn Beach, Nairn, Scotland
Nairn Beach, once described as the ‘Brighton of the North’, has reached the top ten on Trip Adviser for ‘most desirable destination’ on several occasions, including 2014. Well known for its two championship golf courses, Nairn provides a great starting point for you to explore the Scottish Highlands. From Nairn, you’re just a stone’s throw from Culloden Battlefield, Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, Fort George and Cawdor Castle.
However, it’s the beach that draws visitors to Nairn’s shores time and time again. Unspoilt by commercialism, takeaways and shops selling cheap souvenirs, you’ll have access to a long, sandy, Blue Flag beach and a famous Victorian promenade. When the tide is out you can walk for miles and try to spot sea lions and dolphins who are occasional visitors to the area.
Longsands Beach, Grand Parade, Tynemouth NE30 4JF, England
Winner of a Blue Flag Beach Award in 2014, Longsands offers beach lovers a long stretch of golden sand, along with rocks, dunes and cliffs for some added interest. The views along the beach have been described as ‘breath-taking’ and certainly you’ll recognise just why Longsands is the UK beach of choice for so many artists and photographers. Lately, Longsands has also become renowned as a wind surfing destination, and has even held the national championships. If you fancy trying your hand at surfing you can book some lessons or hire a board and wet suit on the beach. Alternatively have a go at the newly popular paddle boarding or opt for some good old fashioned swimming.
There are restrictions on dogs on the beach between May and October, but during the summer you will find beach lifeguards on patrol. There is an Aquarium within walking distance of the beach and if you prefer something quieter, there is a smaller version of Longsands close by.
Public transport links are great. Cullercoats and Tynemouth Metro Stations are only 10-15 minutes’ walk from the beach.
Mwnt Beach, Cardigan, Wales
From the top of the conical hill (Foel y Mwnt) you can enjoy some sweeping views across Cardigan Bay. A picturesque walk, with a climb down some steps will find you on the gloriously secluded and perfectly sheltered Mwnt Beach in Cardigan. While this winner of a Green Award is a little off the beaten track, the walk is worth it in order to bask in the spectacular scenery. The water is considered safe for swimming, but note that there is no lifeguard service here. Dogs are not allowed on the beach in the summer and there is no disabled access. There is the opportunity for some great wildlife spotting in the area however, so keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins and other birds and animals, along with a diverse number of unusual plants and lichens that are native to the area.
Mwnt has a great deal of ancient history attached to it. The beautiful 14th century Church of the Holy Cross (Eglwys y Grog) once served as a sailors’ chapel of ease and is well worth a visit. The Church provided a refuge for those medieval pilgrims en-route to St David’s shrine.
Shell Beach, Guernsey
If secluded is your thing then a visit to Shell Beach on Guernsey is well worth your while. Shell Beach is totally unspoilt because so few people can visit it. It’s located on the island of Herm which has no cars or traffic and you have to catch a ferry to cross to the island. Places on the ferry are limited.
The water at Shell Beach is crystal clear, while views across the white sands, ululating dunes and turquoise sea are spectacular. Due to the location of the beach, in the Gulf Stream, the sand is made from crushed shells which are deposited naturally. At high tide you can search for newly deposited perfect shells and start a collection.
The facilities and amenities of Shell Beach are limited, as you would imagine, but the isolation is what makes this beach so special. However there is a small snack bar where you can purchase ice creams, drinks and beach necessities.