What, besides the obligatory bucket and spade and a big blob of ice cream, will make those lazy hazy days beside the waves even more enjoyable?


Britain is rich in beaches, from wild bays to family-friendly sweeps of sand. There are few places most of us would rather be than beside the seaside, whiling away the hours rockpooling, paddling and playing games. But to make the most of our glorious shores, it helps to have everything you need to make a day of it. From super shades to swinging hammocks, we have rounded up the essential seaside kit to ensure you have a splashing good time.

Best beach accessories 2023

Oakley Leffingwell sunglasses, £125

Surfy shades for endless summer days

Oakley_Leffingwell sunglasses with green frame

Inspired by the design lines seen on surfboards, these comfortable square-lens sunnies have a frame made with plant-based BiO-Matter, with a tastefully small logo on the temple that doesn’t scream ‘brand poser’. The Prizm lenses are superb, emphasising natural colours and amplifying contrast so everything from cloud-flecked azure skies to rolling ocean waves appear in hyper-real detail. With a universal fit, the Leffingwell is available in six frame/lens colour combos. RRP £125. PK

Finisterre Walker Hybrid Shorts, £75

Hybrid shorts for water-loving hikers

Cutout of Finisterre walker adventure shorts

We’ve all been fooled into forgoing swimwear by cloudy mornings that mischievously morph into bluebird afternoons, leaving us high and dry. These hybrid shorts, designed for both walking and swimming, banish that scenario. Made with recycled nylon, they’re ultra lightweight, very quick drying and offer next-to-skin comfort, so whether you’re hiking a coastline or following a river, you can always dive in for an impromptu dip without resorting to swimming in your pants. Other features include two hand pockets, a zipped rear pocket and side tightening straps. PK

Helinox Beach Chair, £149.95

A throne for the sand zone

Helinox Beach Chair

Weighing just 1.6kg and folding down to an extremely portable carry size (11.5 x 14 x 47cm) this is the perfect pew for soaking up rays on the beach or watching the sun dip into the ocean. The broad feet and splayed legs prevent it sinking into sand, while keeping it steady on uneven terrain. It’s very quick and easy to put together, the seat is all-day comfortable and the stuff sack doubles as a pillow, cleverly held in place with velcro (you need to supply the stuffing, but a jumper does the job). PK

Lifesystems Sport Sun Cream, £8.99

Jellyfish-repelling sun protection

Lifesystems sports sun cream spf50

While we all love a dose of vitamin D and the occasional caress from our nearest star, the importance of protecting skin from the harmful effects of the sun is well known, so carrying sun cream is de rigueur. But there’s sun cream, and then there’s Lifesystems’ Sport Sun Cream, which provides 50+ SPF protection for up to 8 hours (80 minutes in the sea), is reef friendly and made to an anti-jellyfish formula. And who doesn’t want an invisible suit of jellyfish-deterring armour? PK

Speedo Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Tri goggles, £35

Awesome outdoor swimming goggles

Futura Biofuse Flexiseal Tri goggles

Sea swimming is one of the joys of summer, whether you’re putting in some serious strokes or simply exploring. And you don’t necessarily need full snorkelling kit to enjoy the subaquatic landscape – good goggles will open up a new world. Light and easy to carry, the Futura are ideal for outdoor swimming, with glare-reducing polarised lenses and a comfortable, soft, non-rubbing fit, thanks to the gel-like materials and Biofuse technology. PK

Lomo Wild Swim Backpack and Tow Float, £34.99

Stay safe and keep gear dry with this multifunctional miracle bag

Lomo Swim Run Tow Float

It’s essential to make yourself really obvious to motorboats and jetskis while swimming. This innovative high-vis orange tow float not only does that, it also doubles as a lightweight drybag and backpack for carrying gear to your get-in point, and keeping it dry while you swim if you want to dive in at one spot and get out at another. The detachable harness goes inside the bag while you’re in the water, when the waistbelt and leash is used to connect you to the tow float. Perfect for swimrunning, it’s also ideal for wild swimming, coasteering and shoreline exploring. PK

Buy the Lomo Swim Run Rucksack from Amazon

Lifeventure SoftFibre Recycled Towel, £21.99

A lean, green, multifunctional drying machine

Lifeventure printed towel

A good towel is a beach essential, but it needn’t take up half your bag. This ‘Giant’ (90 x 150cm) SoftFibre trek towel, made from 8.7 recycled plastic bottles, is large enough to wrap around your body or lay down on. It’s highly absorbent, dries mega quickly, weighs just 203g and doesn’t collect sand. You need a black belt in origami to fold it back up neatly, but however you bundle it, an integrated elastic strap keeps things compact. Multiple funky designs available. PK

Red Paddle Women’s Long Sleeve Pro Change Robe Evo, £149.99

Red Paddle Co Pro Change robe

This oversize dry robe is perfect for those post-swim, post-paddle awkward changes, when wriggling out of damp costumes is no easy feat. The robe provides plenty of coverage and a thick, fluffy fleece lining for cosiness, while a waterproof outer fends off any inclement weather (swimming in the rain is lovely; changing in it, not so much). With fleece-lined long sleeves and toggle hood, this is designed for year-round changing; a wind baffle prevents any breezes whisking through the two-way zip that runs the length of the robe. A tucked-away inner storage pocket keeps valuables dry, while an outer chest pocket provides extra storage and side pockets keep hands warm. It available in a range of appealing colours; I was particularly taken with the olive green outer / orange fleece lining combination. MH

Jack Wolfskin Ocean Crewneck, £70

A shiver-busting sweatshirt made from rescued ocean waste

Jack Wolfskin Ocean Crewneck sweatshirt

After a swim, or when the sun gets low and a breeze begins to bowl along the beach, you need a long-sleeve layer to keep warm at the coast. Made from organic cotton and Seaqual, a yarn constructed from upcycled marine plastic waste, this jumper is the perfect climate-positive-apparel solution. PK

Primus Campfire Cooler Backpack, £94

Keep drinks and food cool with this innovative insulated pack

Primus cooler backpack

Exploring coastal paths to discover picturesque picnic spots is delightful, but you need a good bag to lug liquids and lunch. This 22L roll-top backpack is super spacious (it can hold four 6-packs) and the inner is made with waterproof PU-coated polyester. Fill it with ice (easy to pour away afterwards) or frozen blocks, and it will chill food and drink for hours. EVA foam simultaneously insulates the inside while providing padding for your back. The buckle features an integrated bottle opener, and a second compartment accommodates kitchen accessories. PK

Yeti Rambler Wine Tumblers and Lowballs, £25 / £20

Glass free drinking vessels

Yeti Rambler Lowball drink container

These non-smashable lowball beakers (above) and wine tumblers (below, both 296ml) are ideal for enjoying evening sundowners or taking a morning coffee while watching the waves. The double-wall construction provides vacuum insulation, keeping drinks cold or hot for longer, without burning or chilling your hand. They have MagSlider lids, complete with magnets to keep them secure, and come in 12 funky colours. PK

Yeti Rambler wine Tumbler

Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc, £40

Protect your feet on rocky beaches

Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc water shoes

Whether you’re swimming from a pebbly beach, rummaging around rugged rockpools and coastal crags, or stand-up paddleboarding near reefs and rocks, protecting the soles of your feet is crucial. These slip-on watershoes, with a grippy rubber outsole, supply security from slips, stings, puncture wounds, barnacle grazes and nasty gashes. They’re lightweight (360g), comfortable and breathable. PK

Ticket to the Moon Original PRO Hammock, £129.95

Swing low, and sleep easy to the sound of the waves

Ticket to the Moon Hammock Pro

Nothing quite encapsulates the beach vibe than snoozing in a hammock strung between a couple of seaside trees. This sophisticated rig can be set up in under a minute and offers a full bug net and a tensioned ridgeline, so you can doze between dips during a day at the coast, or put a tarp over the top and spend the whole night swaying under the stars and remain fully protected. With a carry capacity of 150kg, it can accommodate couples. PK

Buy the Original PRO Hammock from Ticket to the Moon

Ticket To The Moon Pocket Frisbee, £9.95

A compact disc of foldable fun

Folding Frisbee from Ticket to the Moon

What’s the point of even going to the beach if you don’t have a few games? This foldable Frisbee made with parachute nylon weighs just 120g, easily fits in a backpack pocket and provides hours entertainment (and exercise) in and out of the water. PK

Bag containing folding Frisbee from Ticket to the Moon


All products have been tried and tested by Countryfile Magazine reviewers. Words by Maria Hodson (MH) and Pat Kinsella (PK).


Black and white image of Pat Kinsella
Pat KinsellaOutdoor writer and gear reviewer

Author of numerous books about the outdoors, including: 100 Great Pub Walks (National Trust)