There's nothing that says summer in the UK like a trip to the seaside, and with so many child-friendly activities, it's a perfect place for the whole family to enjoy a day out. Taking into account safe paddling, rockpooling, cafés, ice-cream parlours and great picnic spots, we've put together some of the best beaches for mums, dads, grandparents and kids alike.


Whether you’re after a sprawling sandy bay for beach games or guaranteed waves for surfing or body-boarding and lifeguarded beaches for safe swimming and paddling, here is our guide to the UK's best family-friendly beaches, including facilities and how to get there.

UK's best family friendly beaches

1. Porthminster, Cornwall

Porthmminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
Enjoy the golden sands of Porthmminster Beach in St Ives/Credit: Getty

This crescent beach enjoys one of the UK’s mildest climates. Hire everything from buckets and spades to windbreaks, and enjoy award-winning seafood in the café. Then take in the views of Godrevy Lighthouse while the kids bury you in golden grains. St Ives train station is a three-minute walk away.

Woman hikes on coastal route at Godrevy Point, Godrevy Lighthouse on Godrevy Island, near Gwithian, Cornwall, England, Great Britain

2. Joss Bay, Kent

Kids of all ages will love learning to surf at Joss Bay in Kent/Credit: Getty

The 200m-long sands of Joss Bay – named after a 19th-century smuggler – are sheltered by chalk cliffs. There’s plenty of parking, plus a café and deckchair hire. Little ones will no doubt make a beeline for the bouncy castle in the kids’ corner, while teenagers can learn to surf with Kent’s longest-running surf school.

3. West Wittering, West Sussex

England, Sussex, Chichester, Beach at West Wittering
Easily accessed from London, the beautiful West Wittering beach makes a perfect day trip/Credit: Getty

Bordered by wildlife-rich saltmarsh, The Witterings’ best beach has white sand and top-notch water quality. The watersports school offers kids’ lessons on the low-tide lagoon, plus a full range of kit hire, from paddleboards to surfboards.

4. Ballycastle, County Antrim

Ballycastle's beach is almost a mile long/Credit: Getty

A stunning spot en route to the Giant’s Causeway, Ballycastle’s sand and shingle stretch is almost a mile long. Dogs are welcome, so bring the whole family for ball games and beach fun with views (and boat trips) out to Rathlin Island.

5. Benllech, Anglesey

Benllech Bay, Isle of Anglesey
The view at Benllech Bay on the Isle of Anglesey/Credit: Getty

This golden bay is a family favourite. The clear waters are considered ‘exceptionally safe’, the ice creams are excellent and pushchairs can be rolled down the ramp to the beach where there are rockpools to be explored. At low tide, the sand reaches out for miles – the best time for kite flying.

6. Frinton-on-Sea, Essex

Stroll along the promenade at Frinton-on-Sea/Credit: Getty

Frinton’s sand is spotless, firm and plentiful, perfect for building sandcastles. The gently shelved beach is ideal for safe paddling, and the promenade is lined with colourful beach huts. This Sunshine Coast gem has toilets and free parking but no outlets, so bring a picnic or stroll into town for supplies.

7. North Berwick, East Lothian

North Berwick is only 30 minutes from Edinburgh/Credit: Visit Scotland

Famous for its puffins, North Berwick is a must for young explorers, and it’s only 30 minutes from Edinburgh by train. Go paddling in the tide-filled pool on sandy Milsey Bay, then stroll to the Scottish Seabird Centre and see wildlife up close with a boat ride to Bass Rock.

Discover more of Britain's beautiful beaches


Black and white photo of Lucy Grewcock
Lucy GrewcockTravel writer

Lucy is the co-author of Wild Guide Southern and Eastern England.