Wrestling with whether to book a holiday abroad this year? We get it – you miss the beach, you miss the sunshine, you want that break from everyday normality more than ever.
But there’s just so much up in the air still. Will we be allowed to travel abroad by then? Will you need a vaccine to fly? What countries will even be open to tourists, with a spring rise in infections across many popular European holiday destinations currently looking ominous?
The alternative, of course, is to book your holiday in the UK instead. And if you feel like that means sacrificing those two weeks on the beach you are longing for – well, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
The UK might not be able to guarantee hot weather you get in Spain or Greece, but one thing it does have in abundance is beautiful beaches. We’ve stuck to the more southerly beach destinations in this list where you are more likely to find weather that goes some way to mimicking what you get in the Mediterranean – but there are, of course, plenty more beautiful options throughout the British Isles.
Isles of Scilly
Did you know the UK has its own small scattering of sub-tropical islands packed with gorgeous Atlantic beaches and more sunshine than anywhere else in the country? Located 28 miles southwest of Land’s End, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are the UK’s most southerly point.
With five inhabited islands covering an area of just 16 km squared combined, you are never far from a beach anywhere in Scilly and most of them are gorgeous.
Pelistry Bay, on the largest island St Mary’s, is ranked number one in Rough Guide’s 20 Best Beaches in the UK, and with good reason. Picturesque, unspoilt and lacking the crowds that fill the beaches of most mainstream tourist destinations throughout the summer, Pelistry Bay is within easy reach of Hugh Town, the largest settlement in the Isles.
The Isles of Scilly may be one of the best ways to escape for a little summer sun without leaving the country, but be warned – the islands are small and accommodation options are likely to fill up very quickly.
Cornwall’s premier resort town is a magnet for the young surfer crowd and has a nightlife to match. It is also smack bang in the middle of a stretch of coast boasting a collection of the very best beaches you will find anywhere in the UK.
The town’s three main beaches – Newquay, Great Western and Fistral – are renowned surfer hotspots making the most of the Atlantic swells. Just to the north, the horseshoe-shaped enclosure of Lusty Glaze offers shelter from the ocean elements and the option to stay in chalets right on the beach.
To the south, both Crantock and Holywell Bay beaches are wonderful expanses of open sand backed by weather-beaten cliffs, with family-friendly holiday parks adjacent. And don’t miss out on Poly Joke beach, tucked away in a deep cove, where you might just catch a bob of seals taking a rest on the sand.
Stretching from Exmouth in Devon to Swanage in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast gets its name from the abundance fossils to be found in the sandstone and limestone cliffs – a great way to get the kids excited about a staycation beach holiday.
A world heritage site, the Jurassic Coast is also packed full of great beach destinations. From gorgeous and historic resort towns like Sidmouth, Lyme Regis and Weymouth to the famous Durdle Door sea arch, it’s hard to think there won’t be something for everyone to fall in love with along this jewel of the British coastline.
The 15-mile long Gower Peninsula near Swansea in South Wales is another destination which spoils you for choice with so many stunning beaches packed into such a small area. It was the very first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the country and it is not hard to see why.
Three Cliffs Beach in the sheltered southern Oxwich Bay has been named both Britain’s Best Beach and Best View and is surrounded on both sides by other beaches in the bay that are just as worthy of attention. Right at the very end of the peninsula is Rhossili Bay, a gigantic three-mile stretch of sand under the care of the National Trust.
While there are plenty of accommodation options in Swansea and a number of campsites and lovely B&B’s on the peninsula proper, this is not traditional seaside resort country – more a place to enjoy beach life in all its natural glory. Only a short drive round to the other side of Carmarthen Bay, however, you can find much more recognizable resort towns like Tenby, in a corner of the Pembrokeshire Coast with plenty of beaches to boast about itself.
Remember, even for staycations, there’s no telling how COVID-19 might affect our holiday plans this year. Make sure you protect your UK beach holiday by taking out comprehensive UK travel insurance, including cancellation cover. Click here for more information.