South East England secret beaches

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You may have thought that secluded beaches with fine sand, crystal clear water and just the cry of the gulls for company were long gone, but they're not. Tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the South East England coast are any number of unspoilt hidden gems where you can enjoy a little peace and quiet.

Here at the Beach Guide we have compiled a list of your favourite hidden beaches in South East England that are just far enough off the beaten track to never get too busy.

Of course escaping the crowds may not be your only reason for visiting these little known spots. Not only are they a little tricky to find and get to, they are also some of the loveliest beaches in South East England.

  • Irlam's Beach © Flatland Wanderer | BY-SA

    1. Irlam's Beach

    Harwich, Essex

    Whilst Dovercourt Bay in Harwich is a popular spot with its own caravan park, Irlam's beach just along the coast is virtually unknown. Backed by dunes and marshes this is a quiet spot to relax and take…

  • Cart Gap Beach © Evelyn Simak | BY-SA

    2. Cart Gap Beach

    Happisburgh, Norfolk

    Set between the better known beach of Happisburgh and ever popular Sea Palling is a somewhat unspoilt gem - Cart Gap beach. Located at the end of a narrow, single-track lane the beach here is somewhat…

  • Samphire Hoe Beach © Alfred Gay | BY-SA

    3. Samphire Hoe Beach

    Dover, Kent

    Although the beach may always have been here in some form Samphire Hoe itself is a fairly recent creation. The area dates back to the 1980s and 90s when it was built using nearly 5 million cubic metres…

  • Trimingham Beach © Evelyn Simak | BY-SA

    4. Trimingham Beach

    Cromer, Norfolk

    Trimingham is a secluded beach, largely owing to the challenge of finding and accessing it. Located at the end of a steep narrow lane it is easier to park at nearby Mundesley and walk along the coast.Despite…

  • Kingsdown Beach © Oast House Archive | BY-SA

    5. Kingsdown Beach

    Deal, Kent

    Located just up the coast from the White Cliffs of Dover, Kingsdown has a secluded shingle beach, with plenty of benches suitable for picnics. At low tide some areas of sand are exposed as well as a chalk…

  • Seasalter Beach © Gordon Griffiths | BY-SA

    6. Seasalter Beach

    Whitstable, Kent

    The small town of Seasalter sits just across the mouth of the River Swale from the Isle of Sheppey. It is a fairly quiet, laid back town that spills right down to the long sand and shingle beach. Seasalter…

  • Sandwich Bay © Mike Pennington | BY-SA

    7. Sandwich Bay

    Sandwich, Kent

    This long, somewhat featureless, stretch of sand and pebble beach is backed by three golf courses and a private estate. This makes actually getting to the beach a little more complicated than it look…

  • California Beach © Jthomas | BY-SA

    8. California Beach

    Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

    A little slice of California in Norfolk! Well it's a lovely sandy beach, surf isn't too great and the sun doesn't always shine, but besides that... Located just down the coast from the less exotic sounding…

  • The Naze Beach © Robin Lucas | BY-SA

    9. The Naze Beach

    Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

    The Naze is a peaceful stretch of sand that is a world away from neighbouring Walton-on-the-Naze. Backed by crumbling cliffs it can feel quit exposed being on the Naze as it juts out into the sea. This…

  • Covehithe © Adrian S Pye | BY-SA

    10. Covehithe

    Beccles, Suffolk

    Covehithe beach sits on a somewhat forgotten stretch of the Suffolk coast. The beach is set at the end of a lane which runs across fields before abruptly stopping at the cliff edge. The pace at which…

  • Dunwich Heath Beach © Lewis Potter | BY-SA

    11. Dunwich Heath Beach

    Minsmere, Suffolk

    A remote sand and shingle beach backed by the dunes, heathland and lagoons of the National Trust owned Dunwich Heath. The area is also home to RSPB Minsmere and is home to a range of interesting wildlife…

  • Birling Gap Beach © All Rights Reserved | BY-SA

    12. Birling Gap Beach

    East Dean, East Sussex

    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…

  • Cuckmere Haven Beach © Stephen Dawson | BY-SA

    13. Cuckmere Haven Beach

    Seaford, East Sussex

    This quiet pebble beach is dominated by the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters just to the east. It sits at the mouth of the meandering Cuckmere river. One of the best known views of the beach is…

  • Brancaster Beach © Julian Dowse | BY-SA

    14. Brancaster Beach

    Titchwell, Norfolk

    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…

  • Littlestone Beach © Ian Yarham | BY-SA

    15. Littlestone Beach

    New Romney, Kent

    The wide beach at Littlestone is largely shingle above the shoreline with wooden groynes disappearing into the sea. However, when the tide goes out a vast expanse of rippled sand is revealed. To the back…

  • Fairlight Glen Beach © Oast House Archive | BY-SA

    16. Fairlight Glen Beach

    Hastings, East Sussex

    Fairlight Glen is a popular naturist beach, also enjoyed by non-naturist visitors. It is found in a suitably secluded location overlooking Covehurst Bay a mile or so east of Hastings. Whilst people do…

  • Snettisham Beach © Rob Farrow | BY-SA

    17. Snettisham Beach

    Kings Lynn, Norfolk

    The expansive sands of Snettisham are in fact Norfolk's only west facing beach. Given that Norfolk is generally considered to be on the east coast this is worthy of mention. This, of course, means it…

  • Titchwell Beach © Hugh Venables | BY-SA

    18. Titchwell Beach

    Hunstanton, Norfolk

    Titchwell is generally known for the RSPB nature reserve which comprises the large swathe of saltwater marshland and freshwater lagoon. This important habitat is a twitchers paradise with its reedbeds…

  • Church Norton Beach © Simon Carey | BY-SA

    19. Church Norton Beach

    Selsey, West Sussex

    Six miles south of Chichester the shingle bank of Church Norton beach forms part of the Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve.The parking nearby at St Wilfrid's Chapel is very limited, and combined with the 1/2…

  • Weybourne Beach © John Salmon | BY-SA

    20. Weybourne Beach

    Sheringham, Norfolk

    Just to the north of the charming, archetypal English village of Weybourne is Weybourne beach. The steeply shelving pebble beach at Weybourne was said to once be the haunt of smugglers as it was easy…

Please note: we would have preferred it if these beaches could have remained secret forever and would like to make it clear that the Beach Guide would never be the first to publish the details of any hidden beach.