When it comes to visiting top-notch beaches, you can leave your passport at home, as good old Blighty has plenty on offer when it comes to seaside delights.
The restorative qualities of the seaside cannot be underestimated. Who doesn’t feel like a million dollars after a spell at the beach? The air, the sea, the spray, the piles of chips and the irresponsible quantities of ice-cream.
But there’s more to the British seaside than building sandcastles and wearing knotted hankies on you napper. There’s the watersports, the long walks and the fabulous views. Here’s our pick of some of the South West’s best beaches, to be enjoyed come rain or shine.
A two-mile stretch of golden sand awaits you at Exmouth beach, the perfect spot to while away a few hours with the family – including the dog. Whether you want to sit back and relax with a picnic on the sand, take to the waves for an afternoon of watersports (windsurfing, paddle boarding, kitesurfing and much more on offer), or spend an afternoon exploring the pretty rock pools and admiring the breathtaking views out to sea, Exmouth beach prides itself on being a clean and safe place that everyone can enjoy.
Paignton in Devon might have a good few beaches to choose from, but if we had to pick a favourite, Goodrington Sands would be our winner – beautifully sandy with rock pools to boot. During the summer season the local steam train can be seen running alongside the beach, making its way towards Churston.
With colourful beach huts lining the pavement and an abundance of cafes, pubs and amusement arcades nearby, a day out here is perfect for those who can appreciate some good, old-fashioned seaside fun.
With clear blue water and soft, bright-white sand, East Looe beach easily rivals seaside destinations abroad. Who needs the Mediterranean when you have the British coast on your doorstep? Looe itself is a bustling seaside fishing town, so the beach can get quite busy on sunny weekends, but it’s still a cracker all the same.
Deckchairs, sunbeds, parasols and even kayaks are usually available for hire and there are plenty of shops and cafes nearby for an ice-cream pit stop. Pretty houses cling to the sides of the cliffs on either side of the beach, which makes for a great photo opportunity. No Instagram filter needed.
Beautifully clean, with clear water, sea life and shells nestled into the sandy shore, this gorgeous main beach in Weymouth is spot to take the family. There are lots of places nearby where you can pick up an ice cream (very important) and a scrumptious fish and chip lunch. In general, Weymouth offers visitors a traditional seaside town vibe with funfair rides, souvenir shops and even a Punch & Judy stall.
There are a variety of stunning beaches in Newquay to visit, but one worth putting at the top of your bucket list is Lusty Glaze beach which rests in a secluded, privately owned cove just a short walk from the centre of Newquay.
Crowned ‘Beach of the Year 2017’ by The Times and The Sunday Times, Lusty Glaze offers a truly tranquil experience. At the heart of the small cove resort lies the Lusty Glaze bar and restaurant which can be enjoyed all year round, with tables in the afternoon sunshine or next to the roaring fire weather depending on the time of year. The menu is seafood-centric, as you might expect, and completely mouth-watering. Make sure to book ahead if you’re after a table for lunch or dinner.
Thatched-roof cottages, golden stone buildings, great pubs and British countryside. Visit the Cotswolds with GWR. Check out one of the prettiest patches of rural England, only a short journey London Paddington.
With plenty of beautiful beaches just a train-ride away, there’s no need to travel abroad for a seaside holiday this summer. We’ve picked some of our favourite UK beach retreats from across the network for the whole family to enjoy – just don’t forget to pack your shades!