Most Beautiful Beaches in England

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For its relatively modest size England has a lot of coastline (over 2,000 miles), and a fair bit of variety along the way. People tend to assume England's best beaches are concentrated in the southwest, and while many of the nicest beaches are indeed found in Devon and Cornwall, there are actually beautiful sandy beaches all around the coast.

Another misconception about the English seaside is that it is somewhat stuck in the golden days of bucket and spade holidays and donkey rides across the shingle. While there are still plenty of nods to the Victorian heyday with proudly restored piers and promenades, things have moved on. These days the best beaches in England are more coffee shop than tea room, but you'll be glad to know sandcastles have never gone out of fashion!

Below are a list of the best and most beautiful 15 beaches in England as selected by the users of the Beach Guide website.

The current top-rated beach in England is West Wittering. If you would like to have your say on which are the best beaches in England just follow the link to the beach and vote by clicking the star ratings at the top right of the page.

  • 1. West Wittering Beach, West Sussex

    West Wittering © Aurélien. | BY-SA

    Located at the mouth of Chichester Harbour, West Wittering has an attractive sandy beach within a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The sloping sandy beach is lined with multi coloured beach huts (available to hire) in a relatively flat coastal area. 

    Access is fairly easy over the sand dunes but there is limited disabled access. The beach is divided by groynes to prevent coastal erosion and faces the Solent and the Isle of Wight. 

    It's an ideal beach for sunbathing,…

  • 2. Camber Sands Beach, East Sussex

    Camber Sands © All Rights Reserved

    Camber Sands is a little unusual for a Sussex beach and the reason is right there in the name. Yes, sand! Unlike most beaches along the Sussex coast which are lined with pebbles and shingle held in place by a series of groynes, Camber Sands is covered in fine, golden sand. Not only that but Camber is home to the only sand dunes in East Sussex.

    The best section of beach is the western end near where the River Rother empties into the sea. Here it is wall to wall sand whilst further along…

  • 3. Wells / Holkham Beach, Norfolk

    Wells / Holkham © Alan Reed

    Holkham beach is a widely recognised as being one of the finest beaches in Norfolk, if not England. The beach itself is a vast expanse of unspoilt golden sand which seem to stretch on for ever. In fact it can be a fair stroll to the water's edge at low tide.

    Even in the summer you will be able to find a peaceful spot at Holkham; in the winter you can usually find a bit of solitude should you desire.

    Over recent years there has been some controversy about Holkham's status as a naturist…

  • 4. Woolacombe Beach, Devon

    Woolacombe © Ian Woolcock

    Award-winning Woolacombe Beach is widely recognised as one of the best beaches in the UK. Located on the North Devon coast, between Croyde and Ilfracombe, the 3-mile sandy beach is popular with surfers and families looking for a traditional seaside experience.

    Since 1848, the beach has been in the private ownership of Parkin Estates (3rd generation) who continue to manage and invest in the resort. Previously it was owned by the Chichester…

  • 5. Kynance Cove, Cornwall

    Kynance Cove © Mr Moss | BY-SA

    Kynance Cove is a picturesque sandy beach two miles north of Lizard Point. A ten minute walk from the National Trust car park, Kynance is reached via a set of steep steps. 

     Look out for the distinctive serpentine rock formations, unique to the area.

  • 6. Bamburgh Castle Beach, Northumberland

    Bamburgh Castle © Rickbowden

    Majestic Bamburgh Castle, once a Norman stronghold towers over the wide expanse of pristine, sandy beach, backed by sand dunes.

    Bamburgh Castle beach is a perfect place to go for long, wind-swept walks at any time of year. The water temperatures don't really get particularly warm even in the height of summer, but in the milder months of the year children enjoy playing in the waves and the sand is good for building sandcastles…

  • 7. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

    Porthcurno © Cornwall Beaches

    Porthcurno beach is a stunning spot that joins up with two others beaches at low tide to create an expanse of golden sand that runs all the way from the Minack Theatre to the Logan Rock. The clear turquoise water can be good for both swimming and surfing, although conditions are changeable and sometimes dangerous.

    There is easy access from a large car park.

  • 8. Botany Bay, Kent

    Botany Bay © Graham Ó Síodhacháin | BY-SA

    Botany Bay is the northernmost of seven bays in the popular Kent resort of Broadstairs. This sandy beach is deservedly popular with clean sands and a Blue Flag award for water quality. It was named after Botany Bay in Australia as local smugglers were caught on the beach and deported to Botany Bay, hence the name. 

    The bay is very attractive with chalk cliffs, golden sands and some rock pools. There's a small (somewhat inadequate) car park but you can park on the nearby streets off…

  • 9. Brancaster Beach, Norfolk

    Brancaster © Julian Dowse | BY-SA

    This expansive stretch of flat golden, unspoilt sand is a year round favourite. With literally miles of beach there is plenty of room for summer picnics and romantic winter walks. As well as being a good family beach with all this sand space Brancaster is a popular spot for windsurfing, kite surfing and various buggies. It is also one of the best dog friendly beaches in Norfolk. Brancaster beach is part of the Brancaster Estate which is now owned by the National…

  • 10. Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk

    Aldeburgh © Ian Rees | BY-SA

    This sand and shingle beach is probably the best known of all Suffolk's beaches. Backing on to the pretty seaside town of Aldeburgh there are no shortage of facilities either. Aldeburgh has plenty to explore on and around the beach. Along the beach front are any number of quirky historic buildings. These include the 400 year old Moot Hall, a Martello tower, a converted windmill and a Norman church. There is cultural heritage here too; composer Benjamin Britten is strongly linked with the town and…

  • 11. Birling Gap Beach, East Sussex

    Birling Gap © All Rights Reserved

    The beach at Birling Gap is set at the base of the imposing, sheer chalk cliffs known as the Seven Sisters. Despite being set between the well known seaside resorts of Eastbourne and Brighton this is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on England's south coast. Birling Gap beach is a mix of mostly pebbles which give way to the occasional patch of sand. As the tide goes out rocky platforms are revealed which provide an array of rock pools to explore. Access to the beach is via a…

  • 12. Filey Beach, Yorkshire

    Filey © Tim-hoggarth | BY-SA

    The traditional seaside resort of Filey is less commercial than some of its East-Coast neighbours and is an ideal seaside location for young families or anyone looking for a fine stretch of good sand for walks, playing in the sand, kite-flying or even horse riding.

    The glorious 5-mile stretch of golden sand stretches from the rocky peninsula of Filey Brigg to the north down to Bempton, home to an RSPB reserve.  At low tide a quarter-mile width of sand is exposed. Younger visitors will…

  • 13. Studland - Shell Bay, Dorset

    Studland - Shell Bay © Chris Leather

    Set at the very tip of the National Trust owned Studland Peninsula is the lovely Shell Bay. Depending on where you start this either the first or last of Studland's beautiful sandy beaches. There are two ways to reach Shell Bay; you can drive along the peninsula from the Swanage end or, alternatively, you can take the short ferry ride over from Sandbanks on the other side of Poole harbour mouth. Most of the year the beach here is a haven of tranquility and the extensive dunes beyond give a feeling…

  • 14. Cromer Beach, Norfolk

    Cromer © Arran Bee | BY-SA

    Cromer is a traditional Victorian seaside resort, with a wide sand and shingle beach popular for swimming and surfing. Many of the buildings in the town date back to the Victorian era, although the town has expanded rapidly in the last fifty years. 

    Cromer originated as a fishing community and is still famous for its crabs and lobsters. The name "Cromer" is probably derived from “Crow's Mere”. 

    Located within the Norfolk Coast AONB, the sandy beach faces the North Sea and…

  • 15. Dungeness Beach, Kent

    Dungeness © A Guy Taking Pictures | BY-SA

    This vast expanse of shingle on the edge of Romney Marsh has an almost surreal quality. The otherwise flat and bleak landscape is punctuated by two lighthouses and the hulking form of the Dungeness nuclear power station.

    There are many odd things about Dungeness, not least the environment. It is one of the most unique habitats in Britain and is technically classified as a desert. Despite this it is home to a wealth of wildlife including 600 species of plant and any number of rare insects.


  • 16. Bantham Beach, Devon

    Bantham ©

    Situated at the mouth of the River Avon, Bantham beach looks out over Bigbury and Burgh Island. Backed by sand dunes and the rolling hills of the South Hams, Bantham has little trouble fitting in with the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Bantham is an ideal family beach; a wide expanse of shallow sloping sands, rock pools and plenty of facilities such as the…