England’s Top Beaches

England is not known as a sun seekers destination, none the less there’s no shortage of glorious sandy beaches. And when the cloud finally breaks you’ll need to know where to go. Check out our guide to England’s top beaches. 

Beaches in Southern England

The southern coast of the country is sometimes called the English Riviera, especially the area around Torbay and the towns of Torquay, Brixham and Paignton.

Torquay was the setting for Fawlty Towers, however no scene was actually filmed here. It was also the hometown of Agatha Christie, one of the best selling authors of all time. Torquay has been a popular beach destination since the Victorian times. Much of the life of the town revolves around the promenade which overlooks the beach. Torquay has a total of 8 beaches to choose from.

Other attractions in the area include Living Coasts Wildlife Attraction, Babbacombe Model Village and the Kent’s Cavern where there’s evidence of caveman settlement.

To the southeast of Torquay is the town of Paignton which has many kilometres of fine sandy beaches. Paignton beach and Preston Sands are both popular destinations for water sports including kite surfing and dinghy sailing. Another site of interest is the Torbay Picture House, formerly the oldest operating cinema in Europe built in 1907 – though it’s now closed.

Located further west near the tip of Cornwall you’ll find Polzeath which is regarded as one of the finest surfing destinations in Europe. In addition to the beach there’s the Voluntary Marine Wildlife Reserve which runs events and various other activities.

Bournemouth is one of the largest towns on the southern coast and it’s very much a resort destination with many fine beaches on 11 kms of continuous golden sands. Attractions to be found here include Alice In Wonderland Family Park, Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre and an Oceanarium to name a few.

In the eastern end of the southern coast, you’ll have the best chance for fine weather. The biggest destination in the area is Brighton. (Check out our article Day Trip From London – Brighton)

Eastbourne is your traditional seaside resort with 8 kilometres of unspoilt blue flag beaches. These beaches are popular for watersports, such as windsurfing and canoeing, as well as swimming. The promenade is a great place to do some rollerblading as well.

You can find 4 top class golf courses in the area and the town is host to a number of festivals throughout the year including the Eastbourne Beer Festival, the Eastbourne Bandstand and the Airbourne International Airshow.

Hastings is close to the site of one of England’s most important battles. The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was the last successful invasion of England. Today you can still find the remains of William the Conqueror’s first castle. This was also the town where television was invented by John Logie Baird in 1923. The town has 5 kms of beaches and it’s also home to Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet.

Southsea is a seaside resort town located close to Portsmouth. The beach is stony but still very nice for sun bathing and swimming. Portsmouth has a very important naval history and this can be explored at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which is home of the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. This town is also the birthplace of Charles Dickens.

Other Top Beaches in England

You don’t have to be on the south coast to enjoy England’s top beaches!

To the east of London there’s the town of Great Yarmouth. Great Yarmouth is popular with people travelling out of London and wishing to stay away from the crowded south coast beaches. The area features up to 24kms of beautiful beaches as well as a host of great attractions to keep you entertained when you are not sunning yourself. These include the historic South Quay, Nelson’s ‘other’ Column, Elizabethan House Museum, and much more.

In the east midlands there’s the picturesque town of Skegness. Sometimes called ‘the laughing coast’, this town has an excellent beach and is also the site of the world’s first Butlins holiday resort. Also located just up the coast is the theme park Fantasy Island.

Further up the east coast in Yorkshire there’s Scarborough. Scarborough is known as England’s first seaside resort and it has been a popular destination for 360 years since the 17th century! The safe and sandy beaches as well as picturesque clifftops and a fantastic shopping centre have ensured that Scarborough continues to be a popular destination today.

North of this there’s Bamburgh, located half way between Sunderland and the Scottish border. The beach here is quite large and has been used in the past for movies. Other attractions in the town include Bamburgh Castle and the RNLI Grace Darling Museum.

On the west coast, north of Wales, the most significant seaside resort is Blackpool, just a few kilometres north of Liverpool. As well as the beach there’s a very popular theme park here. (Check our our article on Best Theme Parks in England for more).

If you’re heading to England ON holidays be sure to hire a car as it really is the best way to get around. Check out our car hire UK.

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