10 of the best UK swimming beaches

  • Penzance ©

    1. Penzance Beach

    There are a couple of areas that could be described as beaches between Penzance harbour and the end of the Promenade at Wherrytown.

    At lower tides there is a small band of sand and shingle running along the front of the Promenade.…

  • Stackpole Quay ©

    2. Stackpole Quay Beach

    Set along a stretch of coast best known for its beautiful sandy beaches is this hidden gem. Nestled in a gap in the wooded cliffs, this little cove is home to a small pebble…

  • Porthminster ©

    3. Porthminster Beach (St Ives)

    Porthminster is the easternmost and second-largest of St Ives' four beaches. Sheltered and sandy, with generally calm waters and excellent views across St Ives Bay to Godrevy lighthouse.

    A short walk from the town centre, Porthminster…

  • Gyllyngvase ©

    4. Gyllyngvase Beach

    Gyllyngvase Beach is a sheltered sandy beach on the outskirts of Falmouth. The most popular beach in the area, Gyllyngvase has plenty of facilities and good disabled access. A range of activities are on offer.

  • Trevone Bay ©

    5. Trevone Bay

    A lovely sandy beach set in a cove. It is situated in an area of great geological interest.

  • Longsands ©

    6. Longsands Beach (Tynemouth)

    Half a mile of golden sand in an urban setting, Long Sands offers a range of activities, including surfing and swimming.

    Accessible at both ends via an access road and steps from the seafront. A ten minute walk from both Cullercoats…

  • Stone Bay ©

    7. Stone Bay

    This pleasant sandy beach is backed by a promenade lined with beach huts which leads into Broadstairs town. Behind the beach are high chalk cliffs which provide shelter from the breeze and a feeling of seclusion. The cliffs to cast…

  • Weymouth ©

    8. Weymouth Beach

    Weymouth Beach is a curving arc of golden sand adjacent to the town centre, with Weymouth pier at the southern end. Family-friendly, the safe, shallow waters are ideal for swimming, and a range of other activities are on offer during…

  • Summerleaze ©

    9. Summerleaze Beach (Bude)

    Summerleaze is a wide sandy beach within easy walking distance of Bude town centre. Flanked by the river, backed by dunes and sheltered by an impressive breakwater, Summerleaze is popular with families and surfers. A seawater bathing pool…

  • Loughshinny Beach ©

    10. Loughshinny Beach

    Set between Skerries and Rush, Loughshinny Beach is a moderate-sized stretch of sand sheltered by the harbour wall to the east. The pretty beach is backed by a little village but there isn't anything in way of shops or cafes here -…