15 August 2018

UK’s Best Hidden Beaches

The greatest secret beaches across the world differ in topography, climate, and accessibility, but they all have one thing: breathtaking isolation. Every continent has its own version of this, attracting adventurers, romantics, and sun worshipers alike to revel in the natural splendor. While some of these stunning vistas may be found in peaceful resort towns or within an hour’s drive of major metropolises, many of them are off the beaten path and well worth the trip. These secret beaches will have you dreaming of a genuine holiday in every sense of the word…something we could all need right now, from the hidden marvels of Northern Ireland and West Cornwall.

1. Kynance Cove, Cornwall – Many visitors overlook the unobtrusive sign on the right alerting them to Kynance Cove as they race along the A3083 to Lizard Point. It’s a pity, because this dramatic location is very stunning. The dramatic contrast between the white sand beach littered with outcrops, arches, and caves and the colorful 200ft cliffs behind them is incentive enough to come; throw in the vivid blue tones of the sea on a sunny day, and you have what many consider to be Cornwall’s greatest beach. Bedruthan Steps’ crags and summits are as stunning if you’re on the north shore.

2. White Park Bay, Northern Ireland – A three-mile arc of white sand hidden into a remote location on the usually craggy Giant’s Causeway — Northern Ireland’s first World Heritage Site. Even on hot summer days, the secluded setting keeps the throng at bay. There’s an old dune backdrop, Elephant Boulder (a rock that, in the proper light, appears strangely like a gigantic elephant), and you could even see dolphins or porpoises.

3. Oxwich, Wales – We enjoy Oxwich for the seductive combination of sand dunes, salt marshes, and woods that back its two-mile sandy strip, as well as the beautiful hamlet of Oxwich, on the Gower coast. Rhossili is startling and spectacular along the headland, while Oxwich is milder, with rolling hills behind it and safe shallow seas. During the summer, the crowds thin out as you go east towards Tor Bay and Three Cliffs, and walkers, twitchers, and cyclists take advantage of the beautiful stretch of hard-packed sand.

4. Man O’War Beach, Dorset – Dorset is a worthy chart-topper when it comes to great beaches, thanks in no little part to its stunning collection of limestone-carved arches and amazing vistas of them from the South West Coast Path. Man O’War Beach, in our opinion, is the best beach in the area for being a respite from the crowds of more famous and accessible spots (it’s a steep 800-meter long footpath with 150 steps from the clifftop car park), for being a great (and safe) swimming spot, for its appealing mix of sand and fine pebbles, and for its clean, shallow waters.

Man O War Bay

5. Botany Bay, Kent – Our next secret beach in the United Kingdom is a true gem. This peaceful beach in Kent, backed by magnificent white cliffs and chalk stacks, is ideal for visitors seeking a little tranquility on a sunny day. The secret beach is ideal for people who just want to relax and soak up the sun, hunt for fossils, or try their hand at a variety of watersports such as canoeing, kayaking, and surfing.

6. Barricane Beach, Devon – This quiet UK beach is nestled between the cliffs at Woolacombe’s extreme northern end in Devon. Barricane Beach is noted for its cowries and other unique seashells, which some believe have traveled thousands of miles across the Atlantic from the shores of a Caribbean island. Enjoy getting away from the crowds at the neighboring popular and award-winning beach, which is also within walking distance of a variety of cafés, bars, and restaurants. If you come during the summer, be sure to stop by the café at this secret beach to have their famed curry, which can be savored on the immaculate beaches.

7. Cuckmere Haven Beach, East Sussex – You may recognize our next hidden beach in the UK from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film and the opening scene in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Cuckmere Haven is a quiet beach in the flood plains of Sussex, sitting at the meandering Cuckmere River and dominated by the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Alternatively, come here to retrace the steps of the smugglers who frequented the shore in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

8. Broad Sands, Combe Martin, North Devon – A double-fronted cove with turquoise seas and swimmable sea caves. Climb to the top of the island’s lookout tower and keep an eye out for pirates. The high steps appear to keep all but the most adventurous tourists away from this beach. Explore the area south of Turks Cave to find Golden Cove. 

9. Pedn Vounder, Treen, West Cornwall – Perhaps Cornwall’s most stunning beach. It’s a tough slope down, with Logan’s Rock on one side and the Minack cliff-top theatre on the other, but at low tide, off-shore sand bars form with shallow lagoons that warm in the sun. A simple cliff top campground with spectacular views is located above.

10. Moor Sands, East Prawle, South Devon – The most beautiful of a trio of beautiful white coves along this stunning south Devon coast. There’s a rope to aid you down to the beach, the sand is formed of thin pearl quartz beads, and the water is crystal pure, almost translucent. This is a beach where visitors are not required to wear any clothes. The iconic Pig’s Nose in East Prawle is well-known for its live music (TQ7 2BY, 01548 511209), and there are a few modest campsites nearby.

Hundreds of beaches have yet to be discovered. What country would like us to feature next?