Britain's coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, from the far south to the remote north.
Grab your beach bag and a picnic and take to the coast with some of our favourite sandy spots.
1. Durdle Door, Dorset
Why it's special: That iconic stone archway, of course. This natural wonder soars out of the cliffs like a dinosaur curled around a stretch of beach and wonderfully clear water.
How to find it: West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5PU
2. Holkham, Norfolk
Why it's special: Four miles of unspoilt beauty with a pine forest on one horizon and the rugged North Sea on the other.
How to find it: Access is via Lady Anne’s Drive in Holkham village, just off the A149, opposite The Victoria Inn.
Take a walk through Holkham's creaking pinewoods and along its beautiful beach with our five-mile route.
3. Bamburgh Castle Beach, Northumberland
Why it's special: Bamburgh castle standing majestically on the basalt cliff side, watching down on waters home to inquisitive seals.
How to find it: Near Alnwick, NE69 7DF
4. Whistling Sands, Gwynedd, Wales
Why it's special: Walk along this stretch of beach and you may hear a curuous whistling from under your feet. The shape of the sand grains strike against your feet to produce this intriguing sound.
How to find it: Aberdaron, Pwllheli LL53 8LH
5. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
Why it's special: The beach at the end of our island is a lovely one, a rich seascape of blue waters and golden sand three miles fro Land's End.
How to get there: Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX
6. Bournemouth Beach, Dorset
Why it's special: A city beach, yes, but seven miles of sands are home to a pier, beach huts and water sports. Buzzy and fun.
How to find it: You won't miss it, but the postcode for the pier is BH2 5AA
7. Achmelvich Beach, Highlands, Scotland
Why it's special: This slice of the coastal good life is far from the madding crowds, and hence home to dolphins, porpoises and whales.
How to get there: Achmelvich beach is on a minor road sign posted to Achmelvich. Take the B869 about 1/2 a mile from the village of Lochinver on the A 83. Learn moe about Achmelvich.
8. Appletree Bay, Isles of Scilly
Why it's special: Robinson Crusoe would be at home on this wild beach on the island of Tresco, where white sand, turquoise water and sub-tropical plants may make you wonder if you've woken up in the Caribbean.
How to get there: Fly to the Isles of Scilly, catch a boat to Tresco and then hire a bike to pedal along the road to the beach (there are no cars on the island). Phew! More travel info here.
9. Sandwood Bay, Highlands, Scotland
Why it's special: Only accessible by foot, this remote and beautiful cove sits between a deep freshwater loch his beach and looks out at a tall sea stack standing sentinel in the ocean.
How to get there: The nearest bus stop is Kinlochbervie, or follow this route from Walk Scotland.
10. Southwold, Suffolk
Why it's special: The string of brightly painted beach huts and the bucket-and-spade charm of this shingly cove on the Suffolk Heritage Coast will take you back to childhood holidays by the sea.
How to get there: Explore Southold list travel advice.
11. Embletone Bay, Northumberland
Why it's special: Northumberland’s beaches are rarely crowded. Even on a beautiful summer’s evening you will often have the place to yourself
Take a stroll: Walk over ruddy-gold sands, across babbling coastal rivers and through wind-shaped dunes to the dramatic ruins of a 14th-century castle – welcome to Embleton Bay, one of Britain's most beautiful beaches. Walking route and map.
12. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
Why it's special: No roads in, no convenient cafés, no seaside stores – few Welsh beaches can compete with the isolated nature of beautiful Barafundle Bay on the southern coast of Pembrokeshire.
Walk there: The broad-crescent beach is accessible by foot through woodland and grassy dunes along a short trail from Stackpole Quay. Walk description and map.
13. Downhill Strand, County Down
Why it's special: From Downhill Strand, the sight of Mussenden Temple teetering on a blustery cliff edge is an incongruous one – the circular neo-classical building more at home in sun-kissed Rome than Northern Ireland’s wild Causeway Coast
Walk there: Discover wild shores, muscular mountains, surfing seabirds and an 18th-century Italian-style temple on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast. Find out more about the beach here.
14. Beer, East Devon
Why it's special: The small village of Beer, sheltered by white chalky cliffs above a steep shingle beach, sits on the Jurassic Coast near Lyme Regis. Along this stretch of the Devon coastline, the rocks provide a haven for wildlife, and it’s a site of geological and historical interest, too.
Walk there: If you’ve built up a thirst walking from Branscombe along Devon’s coastal cliffs and beaches to Beer, then you’re in luck – the tiny seaside village has a handful of traditional pubs, perfect for a well-earned pint. Find out more about the walk here.
Main image: Harris beach ©Getty
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