Top 10 Family Beaches in the UK

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Now that winter is (happily) behind us, thoughts are turning to summer holidays. William Gray, editor of 101 Family Holidays, picks his favourite family beaches in the UK and has a few suggestions on where to stay nearby.

Bantham Beach
Bantham Beach

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Bantham, South Hams, Devon

The beach:

It’s impossible to hold your children back at Bantham. The moment you walk through the dunes to reach this beach beauty, west of Kingsbridge, they’ll be off, sprinting across acres of rippled sand, splashing in lagoons or skipping through waves clutching a surfboard.

Close-by, Bigbury-on-Sea has another large, sandy beach, while Thurlestone is renowned for rockpooling at low tide.

The boltholes:

With plenty of space for eight people in two doubles and two twins, this Edwardian property is just over a mile inland from Bantham and has lovely views over a sheltered valley. Nearby at Thurleston, Warren House sleeps up to ten people, making it another great option for a multigenerational self-catering holiday – or sharing with friends. Located on an exclusive estate with far-reaching sea views, it’s just a short stroll from restaurants, tennis courts and a golf course. For something a little more cosy, try this two-bedroom picture-postcard thatched cottage dating from the 1700s and less than a mile from the beach at Bantham.

Haven Park on Lydstep Beach
Haven Park on Lydstep Beach

Barafundle Bay, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

The beach:

Tucked into the crinkle-cut coastline south of Pembroke, the sandy scimitar of Barafundle Bay requires a bit of an effort to reach. The half-mile walk over the cliffs has no doubt helped to preserve its special, secluded quality. Backed by dunes and woodland, this is a true hidden gem and a great spot for a beach picnic and swim.

The bolthole:

A short distance to the east of Barafundle Bay, the Haven holiday park at Lydstep Beach is smaller and more intimate than most. Spacious self-catering chalets overlook the stunning Pembrokeshire coast, while park facilities include an indoor pool, climbing wall and watersports, as well as a fantastic range of nature activities such as bushcraft, bug hunting and rockpooling.

Sykes Cottages - Coastguard Cottage, Northumberland.
Sykes Cottages – Coastguard Cottage, Northumberland.
Sykes Cottages - view of the Sound of Mull from Sunset Cottage.
Sykes Cottages – view of the Sound of Mull from Sunset Cottage.

Fidden Bay, Isle of Mull, Scotland

The beach:

A day on the beach might not be the first thing that springs to mind in the Hebrides – but Fidden Bay near Fionnphort on the Ross of Mull is a gem not to be missed. A swathe of soft sand with pink-granite outcrops and pockets of pebbles, speckled like birds’ eggs, anything goes at Fidden – from sandcastles and rockpooling to paddling in startlingly turquoise inlets. Calgary Bay, near Dervaig in the north of Mull, is another spectacular Hebridean beach – an arc of silver-white sand backed by woodland and flower-rich machair grassland.

The bolthole:

Sykes Cottages has a wide choice of cottages and houses, some with views over the Sound of Mull. Enjoy the breathtaking views from Sunset Cottage, sleeping up to four – it’s a great base for roaming the island. Keep an eye out for eagles and otters, which are frequently spotted in the area – or join a wildlife safari with one of Mull’s local guides.

Holkham Beach by Ian Watts
Holkham Beach by Ian Watts
Holkham Beach and sand dunes.
Holkham Beach and sand dunes.

Holkham Bay, Norfolk

The beach:

Wind-rippled dunes and whispering pine woods, sheltered lagoons, teeming saltmarsh and four miles of pristine sand: Holkham sits pretty in one of Britain’s largest nature reserves. Take a picnic, some binoculars, a sense of adventure and go exploring.

The boltholes:

Located in the pretty village of Stanhoe about four miles inland, this attractive flint cottage sleeps four and overlooks a duck pond. As well as Holkham, it’s close to sandy beaches at Brancaster and Wells-next-the-Sea, while Hunstanton – with its Sea Life Centre and boat trips – is also nearby. For holiday village accommodation, check out these four Haven parks on the Norfolk coast.

Classic Cottages - Kynance Bay.
Classic Cottages – Kynance Bay.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

The beach:

The rough diamond in the Lizard’s crown, Kynance is the stuff of childhood fantasy. The moment you first glimpse this wild cove, countless adventures surge to mind – from delving in caves and rockpools to exploring the serpentine stacks that rear above the cove. There’s also an excellent beach café.

The boltholes:

Tucked down a lane on the edge of The Lizard, this fabulous four-bedroom house has panoramic views towards Kynance Cove, an easy hour’s walk away. More modest in size, but with an equally irresistible location, Frog Rock Cottage sleeps three (plus cot) and would make a great base for a young family. Just to the east of The Lizard, near the fishing village of Coverack, this whitewashed stone farmhouse sleeps up to six and has a secluded woodland garden.

Beachcombing with Haven Park Rangers.
Beachcombing with Haven Park Rangers.

Newton Haven, Northumberland

The beach:

Sheltered by offshore reefs, this beautiful sandy bay has good rockpooling at low tide, plus a trail that leads to a birdwatching hide overlooking Newton Pool. Nip around the low headland and you’ll get fine views of skeletal Dunstanburgh Castle presiding over the sandy curve of Embleton Bay – a popular surf spot.

The boltholes:

This former coastguard’s cottage in Low Newton by-the-Sea is within walking distance of the beach. A two-bedroom property with open-plan living area, it has a large garden and is just a short stroll from the family-friendly village pub. Further up the coast, near Berwick, you’ll find this holiday park with plenty of indoor and outdoor facilities.

Surfing at Sands Resort.
Surfing at Sands Resort.

North coast of Cornwall

The beaches:

From rockpooling at Portreath and seal spotting at Godrevy to surfing at Watergate Bay and bodyboarding at Trebarwith, Cornwall’s north coast is one long, sandy beach bonanza.

The boltholes:

Located near Newquay, Sands Resort Hotel is a superb family-friendly hotel, while Gwel an Mor – further up the coast at Portreath – offers high-quality self-catering lodge accommodation and its very own wildlife centre.

Sheepskin. The view from Shell House.
Sheepskin. The view from Shell House.

North coast of Devon

The beaches:

Three-mile-long Woolacombe is beach heaven whether you’re a bucket-toting toddler or wave-riding teen, while Tunnels Beaches at Ilfracombe has the ultimate tidal pools for swimming or shrimping.

The boltholes:

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to self-catering accommodation in Devon. For a special treat, this 10-bed contemporary-style property at Porlock Weir offers luxury family accommodation a stone’s throw from the sea.

Plemont Bay, Jersey.
Plemont Bay, Jersey.
Plemont Bay, Jersey. Photo courtesy of Jersey Tourism.
Plemont Bay, Jersey. Photo courtesy of Jersey Tourism.

Plemont Bay, Jersey

The beach:

A spectacular sandy beach on the north coast of Jersey, Plemont Bay has everything from rockpools and sea caves to an excellent beach café, surfing and swimming.

The bolthole:

The Merton Hotel is one of the best family-friendly options on the island, offering an excellent range of accommodation and restaurants, plus an Aquadome with pools, slides and fountains.

Rhossili Beach. Copyright Crown Copyright (2014)
Rhossili Beach. Copyright Crown Copyright (2014)
Rhossili Beach. Copyright Crown Copyright (2014)
Rhossili Beach. Copyright Crown Copyright (2014)

Rhossili, Gower Peninsula

The beach:

With miles of surf-raked sand, Rhossili is the ultimate run-wild-and-free beach: play cricket, fly a kite, build a sandy rampart against the tide, scrawl your name in house-size letters, go bodyboarding, or join a surf lesson. Up on the clifftop above the beach, there’s also an easy half-mile stroll to the coastguard hut with views across to Worm’s Head.

The bolthole:

A super-stylish property with a fenced patio area and swimming pool, Bury Holt sleeps four and has views towards the Loughor Estuary on the north coast of the Gower. Rhossili and other sandy beaches, like Oxwich and Broughton Bay, are just a short drive away.

Top 10 Family Beaches in the UK was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3252 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!