Secluded, secret and sooooooo swimmable, there’s nothing like stumbling upon a beautiful, deserted beach and escaping the summer crowds. So, to help you ditch the stress of searching for a free square foot of sand in a sea of sunbathers packed tighter than sardines, here’s a list of the best beaches in the UK that not everyone knows about.
But shhhh! Don’t tell too many people or they won’t stay unspoilt for long!
Tucked away near Land’s End, you’ll find the little piece of paradise that is Pedn Vounder Beach. With its pure white sand stroked by azure sea that wouldn’t be out of place in the Med, Pedn Vounder is certainly one of the UK’s best secret beaches. It’s worth noting that while Pedn Vounder isn’t officially a naturist beach, many visitors do enjoy a day on the beach au naturel. The pathway down (and back up!) can be a challenge to negotiate, too. You can walk round from Porthcurno Beach, the next cove along – but be aware of when the tide comes in!
What will strike you most when visiting the Isles of Scilly is the shimmering clear blue water that meets the shores. The island of Tresco boasts one of the best UK beaches at Appletree Bay, a kilometre-long stretch of sand bathed by warm, shallow waters in a vivid shade of turquoise. And if you’re staying on one of the other islands, such as the larger St Mary’s, it’s just a short boat ride away.
Hunmanby Gap’s arc of golden sand runs along the coast just south of Filey, a traditional seaside town famous for its gentle pace of life and mouthwatering fish and chips. Not all of Filey’s visitors know about this broad and beautiful beach, so it’s far quieter and less crowded. It’s a favourite with dog owners, too, with no restrictions on where they can run.
The antidote to its bigger (and busier!) brother Whitesands Bay, the beach at Porthmelgan is a remote, crowd-free cove sprinkled with gorgeous sand. At low tide, there are caves to explore and a waterfall to admire; all of which adds to its magical feel. Be sure to take everything you need along with you, as there are no facilities. Just you and the beach.
Achnahaird Beach on Scotland’s northwest coast is one of the best UK beaches for nature enthusiasts. The peaceful crescent of sand has spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, most of which forms part of the Inverpolly Nature Reserve. While you’d need to be made of stern stuff to brave the water, you’ll likely see pine martens and a whole array of beautiful birdlife, including the elusive golden eagle.
If you’re seeking a quiet and picturesque spot of sand when holidaying on the Isle of Wight, Compton Bay is the answer! Golden yellow sand lines the shore with lush green fields sitting atop tumbling cliffs of sandstone. Gaze into the distance and you’ll pick out the bright white of the chalk cliffs at Freshwater further along the coast. It’s the perfect spot for building sandcastles and even fossil-hunting; explore nearby Hanover Point at low tide and see if you can spot the dinosaur footprints!
Scotland is home to some of the most beautifully secluded beaches in the UK, and several of them have made it onto our list. The first is Sandwood Bay, located near Kinlochbervie, on the far northwest coast of mainland Scotland. The fact that it’s remained a secret may well have something to do with the four-mile walk from the car park. But, in our opinion, it’s well worth it for the breathtakingly beautiful views over this mile-long beach. A perfectly peaceful haven for coastal walkers.
A cluster of houses and beach cafés around a hairpin bend in the coastal road, Sandsend is one of North Yorkshire’s undiscovered gems. The beautiful stretch of beach runs the three miles or so down the coast to Whitby. With clearly marked areas where dogs are welcome and a pretty line of beach huts, Sandsend beach is a hit with its many visitors. And if you’re a fan of long walks on the beach, the inviting (yet slightly spooky) Whitby Abbey stands on the headland in the distance and makes for an intriguing expedition.
Yet another entry on our list of the UK’s best undiscovered beaches which lies in Scotland. This time, it’s the beach at Luskentyre on Harris and Lewis; sister islands in the Outer Hebrides. If it weren’t for the chill of the water, on a bright sunny day you’d easily mistake it for a sun-bleached corner of the Caribbean.
This stunning expanse of sand has a rugged beauty all of its own. It’s ideal for playing beach games or simply admiring the coastal scenery. Wander westward along the beach and you’ll find rock pools full of interesting sealife to explore. If you’re an adventurer at heart, keep going beyond the headland and another secret beach, Albion Sands, will be waiting.
Clear waters, white sands, spectacular scenery and wonderful wildlife… welcome to Uig! The magnificent Hebridean coastline is visible in all its glory here, where the islands of Harris and Lewis reach out into the Atlantic Ocean. A blend of grassy dunes, majestic peaks, and a sprinkling of islets dotting the shore, this beach is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most spectacular. Weather suitable for sunbathing may be rare (even in summer), but the setting is so beautiful, that hardly matters.