Ok, so we might not have the climate of the Canaries or the same sun-drenched days as Dubai, but here in the United Kingdom we have some outstandingly beautiful beaches. Swap the Cretan coast for Cornwall's, or the Peloponnese for Pembrokeshire, and you'll be amazed at what you'll find: there are lots of activities to try, so many attractions to visit, and guaranteed fun for the whole family. Devon has 14, Dorset boasts 9, and Cornwall has 5: what are we talking about? Blue Flag beaches, of course! This prestigious award scheme grants only the world's best beaches with flags, so you're assured to find excellent waters, safe shores, and pristine sands.
Forget foreign sands: we've got beautiful beaches at home!
Of course, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own fair share of blissful beaches, and luckily we have accommodation throughout each and every country. Fancy staying in the Highlands or exploring Country Antrim? Look no further than UK properties made available through HomeAway Holiday Rentals. Affordable, comfortable and boasting convenient locations, each of our properties places you perfectly for exploring the UK coastline. So forget long-haul flights and associated price tags: enjoy beach holidays in the UK with the help of HomeAway.
The West Country - particularly its northern coastlines along Devon and Cornwall - is renowned as one of the best beach destinations in the world. Shores here are frequently featured in European 'top-ten' lists, enjoying beautiful sands, great places to surf, and slightly warmer weather than the rest of the UK! Torbay is regarded as having the best sands in the country for making sandcastles, whilst Cornwall's sands in Falmouth often beat those of Spain and France! What's more, you're never far away from associated seaside activities: from candy-floss to old-fashioned arcades, the West Country has everything you could ever want from brilliant beach holidays in the UK.
Norfolk is home to a number of Blue flag beaches, namely those at Cromer, Hunstanton and Sheringham, but boasts plenty of other spots which are equally as beautiful. And what better place to stay than somewhere with the 'sea' in its name? Choose from Wells-next-the-sea where you'll find sweeping sands and water-sports, or Cley-next-the-sea, where you can expect local seafood, traditional pubs and excellent birdwatching. If interested in a balance between history and the beach, why not head for Thornham? Originally a smuggler's paradise in the 18th and 19th centuries, today the village is a tranquil resort which attracts artists from across the country.
With over 750 miles of coastline, you're never far from the Welsh waterfront, and the country's many magnificent beaches. The Snowdonia Mountain Coast has wonderful marinas at Caernarfon and Pwllheli, whilst the Glamorgan Heritage Coast offers beautiful Rest, Whitemore and Trecco Bays. Pembrokeshire, however, is possibly the country's best spot for beaches: it has more Blue flag beaches than anywhere else in the United Kingdom! Play games on Amroth, ride an old tram along Coppet Hall, or practice kitesurfing on the sands of Newgale. And if looking for a smaller or more secluded spot, look no further than the long stretch of sand at Saundersfoot.
With over 8,000 miles of coastline, choosing the best beaches in Scotland is somewhat of a tricky affair! There are simply too many to list, and each affords a different appreciation of the country's diverse coastline. Yet enjoying a stay in the Highlands is always a good place to start: the north and west coast of Scotland are rugged yet diverse, awash with small coves and vast stretches of sand, towering waves and gently lapping seas. The Scottish Islands, meanwhile, are home to dazzlingly white beaches and turquoise seas, reminiscent of the Caribbean (but without the associated climate!). Simply look for the word 'Traigh' as you make your way north: it's the Gaelic word for beach!
Here at HomeAway, we have properties throughout Northern Ireland, including those in Counties Derry, Antrim, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. But where's the best spot for beaches? Well, pretty much anywhere! County Antrim has a number of Blue flag beaches, including those at Ballycastle and Portrush, whilst County Derry has its own fair share in Ballyronan, Benone, Downhill and Portstewart! Portrush Whiterocks is widely regarded as the must-see beach for visitors, whilst Portrush East Strand is a typical seaside resort, replete with excellent surfing opportunities. Portstewart swathes of golden sand, meanwhile, are now managed and protected by the National Trust.