The i-escape blog / Lucy Richardson

By Lucy Richardson, Editor

There’s no need to jet off to the tropics for an amazing beach holiday; the shores of our delightful little island are awash with spectacular bays for all types of beachgoers. Here’s a handful of our favourite UK beaches to explore this summer.

Best beach for families…

Porthminster, Cornwall

The beaches on the St Ives coastline are some of the country’s finest. Porthminster is our pick for families because its sandy and sheltered, so the sea is generally calmer and good for paddling, swimming or kayaking/SUPing – equipment is available to hire. The fine, golden sand makes neat sand castles, there are rock pools for exploring at low tide, and the gardens at the back of the beach hide a mini-golf course. When it comes to eating out, you’ve got a beach cafe, a fish and chip takeaway or an award-winning seafood restaurant on the beach, or you can stroll into St Ives where there’s a whole host of lovely cafes. St Ives train station is right above Porthminster, so access couldn’t be easier. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer months (May – Sep).

Where to stay: At the back of Three Mile Beach, on the far side of St Ives Bay, there’s a collection of super-chic and cosseting houses (for 4-10), which are perfect for families.

Best undiscovered beach…

Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire

Just a few miles up the coast from Skegness lies Anderby Creek, an untouched, 10-mile stretch of sand often touted as one of the UK’s best undiscovered beaches. It forms part of a 60-acre nature reserve, so the landscape is ruggedly beautiful – worlds apart from neighbouring Skeggy and Mablethorpe. Sand dunes smothered in wildflowers border the beach, swaying marram grass leads directly to the sand, and wildlife is abundant: birds of prey, dolphins and porpoises are regular sightings. Kayaking, surfing, fishing, paddleboarding and horse riding are all on offer along the coast, but our top tip is to arrive early to watch spectacular sunrises spill over the deserted sands.

Where to stay: The Sandy Feet Retreat leads directly to the sand on Anderby Creek. It’s a striking, architect-designed house sleeping 4-7, and there’s a boat house with kayaks and surfboards to borrow.

Best beach for coastal walks…


Cast out at the entrance to Wells’ harbour, and almost a mile from the town centre, the sweeping, sandy beach at Wells-next-the-Sea is wonderfully secluded. The beach is lined with a colourful jumble of mismatched beach huts, and is backed by pine woods and rippling sand dunes. Take the mile-long walk along the sea wall to soak up lovely views of the harbour, or rent a boat and potter along the shore. Wells lies directly on the Norfolk Coast Path, an 85-mile trail from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea, so for something more challenging, join it for a scenic ramble by the sea. Holkham Nature Reserve and its wild sand dunes, creeks and marshes are just along the coastal path from Wells beach.

Where to stay: Cartshed Cottages, set a few miles inland from Wells-next-the-Sea, is a quintet of stylish, self-catering houses (sleeping 2-4) in the grounds of Jacobean manor Sharrington Hall. The coast is a 10-minute drive away.

Best beach for surfing…

Croyde, Devon

Croyde might just be the country’s cutest – and coolest – surf village. Its sandy bay forms part of the North Devon World Surfing Reserve – a status given to only the very best surf spots in the world. Lining the bay are myriad surf schools and board hire shops, plus some trendy shacks selling burgers and barbecued food. It’s an infectiously cool place – expect a laidback hippie atmosphere and fun surf festivals in summer. If you don’t want to take to the water, there are rock pools and sand dunes to explore and a picturesque coastal walk up to Baggy Point.

Where to stay: Croyde Boutique House is in the heart of Croyde village. The interior is decked out in smart, beach-chic decor, and it’s superbly well equipped – pizza oven and hot tub included. Sleeps 6-10 in four bedrooms (including a fab bunk room for kids).

Best vintage beach…

Margate Sands, Kent

For vintage fun by the sea, you can’t beat Margate. This classic seaside town is a fascinating mix of old and new, traditional and hipster, and is on a journey of regeneration. The beach, Margate Sands, offers swimming (in the sea or the tidal pool), amusement arcades, a sea scrub sauna, adventure golf, tennis courts, and the Esplanade for walks. Pop into the town to browse the vintage shops and pubs, then head back to the beach for good old fish and chips by the sea – it wouldn’t be a British beach trip without it!

Where to stay: Fun and fabulous No. 42 by Guesthouse sits right on the seafront, overlooking Margate Sands. It has an excellent restaurant and cocktail bar, a knockout roof terrace with sea views, and bedrooms infused with playful details.

Best remote beach…

© Islay Pictures Photoblog -

Kiloran Bay, Isle of Colonsay

Flaunting sheer beauty and complete seclusion, Kiloran Bay, on the remote Scottish Isle of Colonsay, is a photographer’s dream. This perfect, crescent-shaped beach hugs the Atlantic side of the island, where the waves are ideal for surfing. You probably won’t spot another soul, but you might see cows atop the green-fringed cliffs or eagles soaring over the deserted golden dunes, and at the northern end of the beach, you can peek inside hidden caves carved into the cliff. Despite Kiloran’s remoteness, it’s easy to reach by road – which isn’t true of most beaches on Colonsay!

Where to stay: The island’s one and only hotel, The Colonsay Hotel, is a charming retreat complete with crackling log fires and a restaurant specialising in home-grown produce and fresh seafood.