HomeAway travel expert
Let’s get things straight, England is not a country known for its beaches. Castles, abbeys and lakes maybe; cities and sporting events and galleries - but golden dunes? Get out of town. When you do, though, loop back at the roundabout because I’ve got news for you: England has some pretty cool beaches. At any time of the year, there are numerous UK towns and cities that make for enticing getaways, but in scorching weather you’re going to have one thing on your mind: a nice sandy beach.
The prototypical British beach still exists. You know the one I’m talking about; jam-packed promenade, funfairs, kids jumping off the pier, the smell of fish and chips in the air. The heavens may not always confer radiant sunshine on our beaches, but when they do the seaside comes to life. From Dorset to Cornwall, Blackpool to Scarborough, Pembrokeshire to Weston-Super-Mare, the UK’s beaches have received more attention of late - and deservedly so. Have a read at our rundown of England’s best beaches, and if you’re planning to visit one, you can find the perfect rental accommodation at HomeAway.
England's top five beaches
Beach holidays in Porthmeor Beach, St. Ives
Perhaps the finest beach in Cornwall, Porthmeor boasts a long stretch of spotless golden sand and benefits from excellent Atlantic swells due to its north-west facing position. It’s also home to a popular surf school during peak season, should you wish to take to the waves yourself, and the shimmering blue-green water is lovely to swim in. If you crave some culture, the Tate St. Ives Gallery overlooks the beach, while if you’re hungry there are plenty of shops, cafes and ice cream parlours within easy walking distance. Lifeguards also patrol, making it an ideal choice for families. Oh, and the surroundings coves within St. Ives Bay aren’t half bad either!
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Beach holidays in Woolacombe Beach, Devon
Woolacombe Beach is faultless. Don’t take my word for it, though; Woolacombe was given the title Best Beach in Britain by the Mail on Sunday, has been awarded both Blue Flag and Premier Seaside Beach awards, and was rated Britain’s second best beach in the 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. So, what can you expect, other than satisfaction? An impressive three-mile stretch of gently shelving sand, for starters - cleaned to a fine polish daily - not to mention surf-able waves and hidden rock pools. Typical beach amenities - toilets, showers, lifeguards, parking - are also provided. Go along to see what all the fuss is about.
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Beach holidays in Watergate Bay, Newquay
The sands at Watergate Bay stretch for two miles, but the primary attraction here is the water, which becomes a playground for surfers, body-boarders, paddle-boarders, swimmers - you get the idea. Its charms don’t stop there, though. If you love wildlife, Watergate Bay is the beach for you; peregrine falcons and fulmars wheel overhead in the wind, flying to and from the surrounding cliffs, while scuttling crabs prowl the rock pools. If your day lounging on the beach leaves you with an appetite, the superb Jamie Oliver Fifteen restaurant is literally on the beach! Fly a kite, build a sand castle or just sit back and watch the waves wash over this vast bright beach: you’ll be glad you didn’t book that flight.
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Beach holidays in Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth
Bournemouth is one of Britain’s premier seaside towns: in fact, in 2012 it placed number one in TripAdvisor’s rundown of the country’s best beach resorts. The town overlooks a whopping seven miles of beach, including Hengistbury Head, so there’s acres of space to toss down your things and cast your eyes towards the sea. On a good day, you can see as far as the Needles on the Isle of Wight. The terrain surrounding Hengistbury is ideal for walks and cycling; hop on the ferry to Mudeford Spit of an afternoon, or take in the Iron Age settlement on the Head. This is one of Bournemouth’s quieter beaches, away from the crowds, but is all the better for it. If you prefer a buzz, the busier Bournemouth Beach isn’t far away.
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Beach holidays in Weymouth Beach, Weymouth
Weymouth Beach embodies everything that’s great about the British seaside. Families venture down from the pavilion to find a spot on the sand and shingle beach, which is busily brushed each morning. There are fish and chip shops along the prom, plenty of ice cream parlours, and donkey rides and volleyball competitions let the kids blow off some steam. Moreover, the water is shallow for a good distance out, and lifeguards patrol at peak times: this is a very family-friendly beach. Catch a Punch & Judy show, hire a pedal boat, or drop in for a visit at the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park to meet the penguins or feed a reef shark! The view from atop the Tower also affords you a terrific view over the beach.
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Beach Holiday Rentals in England
19 Gordon Street is a terraced cottage in the fishing port of Amble. The cottage has a double room and a twin room, along with a family bathroom. Downstairs is a kitchen, dining room and sitting room with electric fire. Outside, there is a small e...
The Anchorage is a detached chalet bungalow in the suburb of Hamworthy, 1.5 miles from Poole Quay in Dorset. This cottage sleeps five people in three bedrooms, consisting of one first floor king-size double with en-suite shower room, one ground fl...
44 Devondale Court is a ground floor apartment in a block of properties in the seaside village of Dawlish Warren near to Dawlish in Devon. The apartment sleeps four people and has one double bedroom, one twin room and a family shower room. Also in...
2 The Villa is a third floor apartment in the Devon seaside town of Ilfracombe. There are two double bedrooms (one with an ensuite) and a twin room plus a family bathroom, making it suitable for six people. The apartment also has a fitted kitchen ...
Apartment 6 is a ground floor apartment in a modern development just a couple of minutes walk from the centre of Whitby in North Yorkshire. The apartment sleeps four people and has two double bedrooms, a family bathroom and an open plan living are...