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With more and more of us opting for 'holidays at home' each year, it seems that the UK is waking up to the fact that we have some perfect holiday destinations right here on our doorstep. Whilst the weather can often be a bit iffy here in Blighty, when the sun's out it can feel like a real paradise. And even when it's tipping down with rain, there's still plenty of indoor activities to enjoy. In this post, however, we're looking on the bright side, giving you a rundown of the UK's best beaches so that you and your family can have a wonderful day out, whether or not the sun decides to come out to play.

Let's start with the West Country, a real favourite for holidaymakers, and home to some of the best beaches in Britain.

Watergate Bay, Newquay

A favourite for surfers as much as for families, couples and groups of young friends celebrating the end of exams, summer on Watergate Bay is simply heaven. With over two miles of unspoiled golden sands, and backed by unmistakeably Cornish cliffs and caves, it's a beautiful place to spand the day. Kids will love all the rock pools, wherein you might just spot a crab or two, or if you're lucky, perhaps some sea anemones. For those with older kids, or if you're kid-free for your summer holiday, why not book a surfing or kiting lesson? You'd be in just the right place for it! 

Porthcurno, near Land's End

Many people name Porthcurno the most beautiful bay in Cornwall, and when you take a look, it's easy to see why. Nestled among ancient granite cliffs, the pure white sands and clear waters are enough to make you feel as though you're on a faraway beach in the Mediterranean. Porthcurno is particualrly popular with families, and is pretty easily accessible from the clifftop. The best time to visit is at low tide, when it's possible to walk to other nearby beaches in the bay. It's not free to visit the site, however, although it's pretty reasonably priced (£2.50 for 15 and under; £4.50 for adults), and that fee helps to keep the bay in the beautiful state it's in, so it's worth it, really. For your money, you also get access to the gorgeous gardens. The coffee shop at the Minack Theatre above the beach is a perfect place to enjoy some traditional Cornish cream teas, so all-in-all, Porthcurno makes for a perfect day out.

Saunton Sands, North Devon

Travelling back east to Devon, our next stop is Saunton Sands, a wonderfully wild three mile stretch of sumptuous sandy heaven. Behind the beach, you'll find Braunton Burrows, one of the largest set of sand dunes in the country, and home to some rare plants and butterflies. 

Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Not to be confused with that other Blackpool up north, Blackpool Sands is located three miles south west of Dartmouth. The beach is mainly fine shingle, and is backed by hilly woodland. Its clean, calm turquoise waters make Blackpool Sands a real hit with families.

Next, we travel to Wales, where - in spite of its gloomy reputation - there are some simply stunning beaches to behold.

Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

This National Trust-managed beach is set half a mile from the car park, which seclusion makes it all the better. With crystal-clear waters and views of outlying islands, the beauty of Marloes Sands is matched only by the fun to be had by the kids. There are rockpools and tonnes of wide open space on which to build sandcastles. If you're lucky, you might find a fossil or two, or even spot a local seal bobbing its head in the water. 

Rhossili Beach, Swansea

A four-mile stretch of golden sand, situated at the western tip of the peninsula, Rhossili Beach is blessed with ideal surfing conditions, although the journey town the cliff path carrying your suf board might be a bit of a chore without a bit of help! Not the ideal swimming spot, due to the rough Atlantic swells, chilling out on the sand or taking a long, relaxing walk is just the ticket at this gorgeous stretch of Welsh coastline.

From Wales, next we stop off in Northern Ireland, where an atmospheric, deeply ancient spirit seems to dwell all along the coast.

Portstewart Strand, Portrush

The dunes backing onto Portstewart Strand rise to over 100ft high, giving the beach an aura of wild nature in keeping with that sense of ancient spirits that Ireland is renowned for. Crashing waves make for good surfing conditions, whilst the views of low basalt cliffs and the River Bann are simply amazing to behold. A little along the way, at White Rocks beach, you can view some extraordinary sea-scuplted shapes in the limestone cliffs, which bear some fascinatingly evocative names: the Lion's Paw, Wishing Arch, and the Cathedral Cave.

Skipping east again, and back across the Irish sea, our next destination is Scotland.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland

Some would argue that Sandwood Bay is the best beach in Scotland. This is down to its glorious sparkling sand and undulating dunes. It's a wonderful place for hikers, with so much natural beauty to explore, whilst the rolling Atlantic waves crashing onto shore create an idyllic vision of historical Scotland. So much so that you can almost hear the sound bagpipes carried on the wind.

Lunan Bay,  Angus

A gorgeous two mile stretch along the Angus coastline, Lunan Bay is backed by low red cliffs and the looming presence of the Red Castle, a 12th century fortress of pink sandstone, which gives the castle its name. Popular with horseriders and surfers, as well as birdwatchers who come for the array of beautiful birdlife that comes to the bay each year. The pink hued, glistening shores that sparkle in the wake of a storm, and the presence of stones such as agate and jasper give Lunan Bay a magical quality, that contrast beautifully with the wild, craggy Scottish hills that roll back from this stunning stretch of Scottish shoreline.

Heading back down south now, we land in Kent, where the wilds of Scotland are replaced by a more English flavour.

Botany Bay, Broadstairs

Botany Bay is a pretty beach comprised of a 660 foot curve of sand, backing onto white cliffs. The water is calmer here, making it more suited to swimming than some beaches on the Atlantic coast. Just a little walk away, at low tide, you'll find Joss Bay, perhaps Kent's finest surf beach, whilst a day at Botany Bay with the kids will surely involve a fair amount of rockpooling!

West Wittering, Sussex

Way out in the Sussex countryside, West Wittering beach is a little bit of a chore to get to. However, once you arrive, you'll realise it's all been worth it, as you emerge onto fine, spotlessly clean sands that stretch for miles. The south coast offers some of the best weather in the UK, so a sunny day at West Wittering is not only the archetypal beachy British beauty, with pastel beach huts and matching ice cream cones, it's also a blissful place to soak up the sun, while the kids paddle in the little pools at low tide, or run free through the vast expanse of stunning open space.

So, where's your favourite beach in the UK? These are just a few of our favourites, but of course there's many more! Wherever you're choosing to stay for your summer break in Britain, you're sure to find some gorgeous beaches to enjoy, and you can do so even on the tightest of budgets when you book your break with Monster Travel!

 

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