You may think you’re familiar with the beaches that the UK has to offer, but think again. The British Isles are full of beach gems just waiting to be discovered. Here are five beaches that you may never have considered before.
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1) Ladram Bay: Budleigh Salterton, East Devon
Summary: Good for history, geology, family, couples
For a UK beach with a great deal of history, why not venture down to Ladram Bay? Ladram Bay has gained a worthy reputation as one of the best holiday parks in Devon thanks largely to its exceptional location on the Jurassic Coast – the 95 mile stretch of coastline between East Devon and Dorset, that has been designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site. The cliffs and coves reveal 185 million years of the history of the Earth, so take a geological ‘walk through time’ and move from the Triassic, to the Jurassic to the Cretaceous periods.
More recent history links Ladram Bay to smuggling. The infamous Devonian Jack Rattenbury was a smuggler who worked in conjunction with the Mutters, a Ladram based family. The Mutters used their legitimate business – selling wood and turf in the towns and villages of East Devon – as a cover to distribute contraband that had been landed on East Devon beaches such as Ladram Bay.
You won’t find that smuggling is a problem these days, however the beach is only accessible via boat or through the Holiday Park. You can choose to bring your tent, caravan or mobile home to Ladram Bay or stay in the static caravans or luxury lodges for hire, including some with hot tubs. Whichever you choose you’ll have access to a full range of facilities and activities including crazy golf, pools, restaurants, and kayak and boat hire. Choose a location directly overlooking Ladram Bay and the beach and ponder the daredevil doings of ne’er-do-well Jack Rattenbury and the Mutter family.
How to get there: Ladram Bay is approximately 20 minutes from the M5. Exit the M5 at Junction 30 and take the A3052 signposted to Sidmouth and take the B3178 towards Budleigh Salterton.
2) Bluepool Corner: Llangennith, Gower
Summary: Good for rock pools, families, something completely different
Nature has wrought a pool of perfection here. The great rock is a perfect tub, and there is a fantastic stretch of sand beyond along with the Three Chimneys caves. Bluepool Corner is one of the best plunge pools in Britain. It has been scoured out over the millennia by giant cobbles that are thrown around by the waves. Kids will love it. It is a little tricky to get down to the rock pool but once you’re there, it’s a real thrill to jump into the pool from an assortment of heights, depending how much of a dare-devil you’re feeling!
How to get there: Follow the A4118 and take the first right after Oxwich. Llangennith is at the far north-west corner of the Gower. Park at the Broughton Farm Caravan Park (01792 390000, broughtonfarmcaravanpark.co.uk) and take a 20 minute walk. Through the park and then bear left on to the coast path for a mile. Bluepool Corner Bay is directly below, with the rock pool at the near end.
3) King Edwards’s Bay Beach: Tynemouth
Summary: Good for families, water based activities
Popular with families, King Edward’s Bay is a small and sandy beach that is sheltered by cliffs and grassy banks. There are spectacular views from the hills around, and the beach is overlooked by the historic Tynemouth Priory and Castle which are both worth a visit. There is a lifeguard service throughout the summer, and dog restrictions apply May-October.
There is a range of activities available to suit the adventurous including diving and snorkelling, great fishing, swimming and surfing.
How to get there: From the A1058 at Billy Mill roundabout, continue on Beach Road to the seafront. Turn right to Tynemouth. King Edward’s Bay is below the promenade to the left just before you arrive at the Gibraltar Rock public house.
4) Castlerock Beach: Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Summary: Good for families, golfers, fishing fans, rock pools
Castlerock is a small coastal town that lies west of Portrush and eight miles from Coleraine along the North Coast. The easily accessible Castlerock beach, with its dunes, cliffs and promenade, is set among the spectacular Northern Irish landscape, and offers visitors a fine golden sandy beach along with an excellent championship golf course. There’s plenty of opportunity here for boating, fishing, walking, golf, swimming and tennis or just relaxing.
Free parking is available on the beach all year round, and dogs are allowed on certain sections of the beach. A RNLI lifeguard service available daily between June and early September. There are opportunities locally for canoeing, fishing, shore angling, surging and horse riding
How to get there: Castlerock Beach is located off the Mussenden Rd (A2), 12 miles north of Limavady and 8 miles west of Coleraine. Travel along Sea Road through the village, and you’ll come upon the beach entrance.
5) Freshwater Bay: Freshwater, Isle Of Wight
Summary: Good for rock pools, hidden caves, surfing
Just south of the little town of Freshwater on the Isle of Wight lies one of the most picturesque beaches in West Wight. The beach is composed of a mixture of grey flint and chalk pebbles that give rise to the unique sound you can hear as the waves surge and fall against the shore. Freshwater Bay was once used by smugglers who accessed the caves around the bottom of the chalk cliffs. These caves are exposed at low tide, however it is wise to use an experienced guide if you would like to explore them.
Freshwater Bay is a popular beach for water sports, particularly kayaking and surfing. Keep your eyes peeled for the Freshwater Independent Lifeboat which is launched from this bay when it is required by those experiencing difficulties out at sea.
How to get there: Freshwater Bay is serviced by the number 12 Southern Vectis bus and during the summer months the Dinosaur Line runs from here to Ventno.
So what do you think? Would you be visiting these beaches in the UK that you’ve yet to discover?