Top 10 beaches to visit this winter

A sandy bay may not be the first place to spring to mind when thinking of winter, but the UK’s coastline can be a mesmerising treat at this time of year. Visit one near you with our guide to Britain's top 10 winter beaches 

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Horsey, Norfolk
Sandy seal. Grey Seal on the beach on a windy day. The animal is caught in a sand storm. From the Horsey wild seal colony, Norfolk, UK.
Sand-blown grey seal at Horsey in Norfolk ©Getty

On the edge of the Broads National Park, Horsey is the perfect spot to visit. The seemingly endless beach is the perfect place to get your wellies on, wrap up warm and enjoy England’s beautiful coast as well as some of its wildlife. Humpback wales have previously been seen off the coast as well as communities of seal frequenting the beach. With the national park on one side and the coast on the other, Horsey is the perfect place to take in a bit of the UK’s more rural side.

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Robin Hoods Bay, Yorkshire
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The tide ebbs at Robin Hood’s Bay in the North York Moors National Park to reveal a series of wave-cut platforms – Landing Scar, High Scar, Billet Scar – beyond which lies the snow-dusted headland of Old Peak ©Alamy

Robin Hood’s Bay is a hidden bit of history, with its raw, brooding cliffs, red roofed cottages and unusual architecture. The beach itself is one of the UK’s best spots for fossil hunting. Perfect to visit in the winter, you can enjoy a walk along the cliffs or beach to take in the historical village and spectacular scenery and end in one of the many cosy pubs.  

Jurassic coast
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On a cold winter morning in Dorset, the coastal cliffs become veiled with mist ©Getty

Running from Orcombe Point near Exmouth to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage; the Jurassic coast is a wonder in the soft light of summer, but in the winter its striking, rugged beauty really shines through. With over 90 miles of coastal walks, stunning beaches and impressive cliffs, there is plenty of choice about where to go. Wrap up warm and enjoying the coast without the crowds of the summer. Durdle Door in particular is worth a visit; try and get there early on a misty morning and watch the sunrise through the door.

Dunbar, East Lothian
Winterfield Golf Club, Dunbar
Winter field Golf Club on the outskirts of Dunbar ©Getty

Another beautiful Scottish beach surrounded by both countryside and coast, Dunbar is an enchanting spot for a winter walk. Two popular walks around the area encompass both the rural and historic side to the town – the first explores the red sandstone cliffs and golf courses and the second the historic high street and and harbours. Or why not go a bit further and walk part of the John Muir Way from from Dunbar to North Berwick further up the coast.

Looe, Cornwall
A tranquil scene showing Looe beach and west/east Looe. This picturesque fishing village is located in southeast Cornwall and is a popular location to visitors and tourists to the area.
Take a stroll on beach then warm up in one of the town’s many pubs ©Getty

At the mouth of the river Looe, the town is an enchanting place to go this winter. With a section of the South West Costal Path cutting right through there’s some lovely walks around the area. With a choice of costal views, hidden caves, woodland valleys and open moorland, the area looks spectacular empty of people and dusted in frost.

Walberswick, Suffolk
Walberswick Beach, Suffolk, England, on a sunny day
Walberswick offers solitude and space in the winter months ©Getty

Listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, tucked away between the mouth of the river Blythe and the Suffolk coast, Walberwick is well worth a visit this winter. It has miles of marshland, heath and coast to enjoy as well as access to the Suffolk Coast Path that stretches 50 miles along the east coast. A bustling holiday destination in the summer, it’s relaxed and quiet during the winter, with the crumbling Pump Mill ruins and beautiful natural scenery, contrasted with a the historic trading village, there is lots to enjoy.

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

A hidden beauty throughout the year, during the winter this spot is really an isolated wonder. The sunken bay is eerily quiet during the winter, with the surrounding cliffs enclosing the beach. You can also enjoy a coastal walk up to the ruined castle to really take in the spectacular views and sounds of nothing but the nature around you.

Embleton Bay, Northumberland
"Dunstanburgh Castle and Embleton Bay at Dawn, Northumberland UK"
Dunstanburgh Castle stands tall over Emblazon Bay ©Getty

A beautiful long stretch of beach overlooked by the impressive ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, Embleton Bay is a perfect winter beach. On a clear cold morning the ruins can be seen perfectly from the beach and beach itself backs onto dunes, famous for there flowers, grasses and birds.

Heysham, Lancashire

The village of Heysham has some wonderful views to enjoy this winter. The town backs directly onto the cliffs and beaches creating some beautiful contrasting scenery. The famous graves in the ruins of St Patrick’s chapel are also worth a visit and look particularly spooky shrouded in a winter mist.

Killantringan, Portpatrick
A beautiful sunset on Killantringan Bay in SW Scotland
Sun sets over Killantringan Bay ©Getty

A coastal point just outside of Portpatrick, Killantringan is an impressive area of raw cliffs and rugged beaches. A lonely lighthouse position at its peak adds to the surrounding view. With the rolling Galloway hills to one side and coast to the other, it’s a hotspot for wildlife, including golden eagles and red deer. Half a mile south there is also the Dunskey Castle ruin, a 12th century tower house.

What ever the season, Britain’s beaches are great places to visit with friends, family or on your own. Here are 10 more sandy splendours to inspire a trip to the coast.

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Image credit: Getty