Are you dreaming of sandy shores, gentle waves, and delicious fish and chips but don't want to shell out a ton? Well, contrary to popular belief, you don't need to head to the likes of Spain, Croatia or Italy to experience the joys of a perfect beach holiday. Yes, you heard me right! The UK, with its picturesque coastline and miles of golden beaches, offers some of the best beach holidays right on your doorstep. In this blog, we'll provide you with all the practical tips that will help you plan your beach holiday in the UK before unveiling the 12 best beach holidays the UK has to offer. Whether you're planning a couples getaway, friends trip or family holiday, you can't go wrong with a seaside holiday in the UK.

What to Pack for a UK Beach Holiday

a family having fun on a cloudy day on a seaside holiday uk
To ensure you have the best beach holiday in the UK possible, you have to make sure you're properly equipped for the unpredictable British weather and diverse activities on offer. Here's a checklist to ensure you're prepared for a fantastic seaside getaway:

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Pack layers to accommodate the very unpredictable British weather, think lightweight tops, jumpers or hoodies, waterproof jackets, and comfortable trousers or shorts.
  • Your Swimming Gear: Of course, if you're going on a seaside holiday in the UK, you can't forget your swimming gear. Maybe you want to take a wetsuit if you're venturing
  • Sensible Beach Shoes: Bring sturdy walking shoes or sandals for exploring coastal trails and rocky shores, as well as flip-flops or water shoes for sandy beaches and paddling in the shallows.
  • Sun Cream: When spending a day at the beach, you can't forget a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun's rays, even on cloudy days you still can get burned!
  • Beach Essentials: Don't leave home without a beach bag to carry your essentials, such as water bottles, snacks, a good book or e-reader, and beach games or toys for the kids.
  • Outdoor Gear: If you're planning outdoor activities like hiking or cycling, bring a backpack, water-resistant clothing, sturdy footwear, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Entertainment and Gadgets: Bring along a camera or smartphone to capture memories of your beach holiday, as well as chargers, power banks, and waterproof cases to keep your devices safe and powered up.
  • First Aid Kit: It's always wise to carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like plasters, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need during your trip.

Remember to check the weather forecast before you travel and adjust your packing list accordingly, but always be prepared for a bit of British unpredictability!

How to Save Money on a UK Beach Holiday

A seaside holiday in the UK doesn't have to break the bank. With a bit of savvy planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a fantastic seaside getaway without emptying your wallet. Here are some tips for saving money on your UK beach holiday:

  • Travel Off-Peak: If you don't mind slightly bleaker weather, try visiting the best beaches in Britain during the off-peak season, outside of school holidays and peak tourist periods, when hotel prices are lower, and the beaches are less crowded.
  • Book Self-Catering Accommodation: Save money by booking self-catering accommodation, such as holiday cottages, apartments, or campsites, where you can prepare your meals and save on pricey restaurant meals.
  • Take Picnics and Packed Lunches: Pack picnics and packed lunches for days out at the beach, stocking up on local produce and snacks from budget supermarkets like LIDL or ALDI or farmers' markets to enjoy alfresco dining without the hefty restaurant bills.
  • Take the Bus or Train: Use trains, buses or car share to reach these top British beaches, saving on petrol costs and parking fees, and reducing your environmental impact - a win-win!
  • Make Use of Free Activities: Take advantage of free activities and attractions, such as coastal walks, beachcombing, nature reserves, and cultural events, which offer memorable experiences without the price tag.
  • BYOB (Bring Your Own Beach Gear): As recommended above, pack your own beach gear, including umbrellas, chairs, and toys, rather than renting or purchasing them at inflated prices from beach vendors.

By following these tips and being mindful of your spending, you can enjoy a fantastic beach holiday in the UK without breaking the bank. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for some seaside fun on a budget. Now let's dive in to the best seaside holidays in the UK.

The 12 Best Beach Holidays in the UK

1. Nairn, Scotland

nairn beach is one of the best beach holidays uk for 2024
Nairn, a charming seaside town nestled along the Moray Firth, is a Scottish hidden gem close to Inverness waiting to be discovered. A handy spot to stay at when completing the North Coast 500, Nairn boasts expansive sandy beaches and stunning coastal views. Kids will love the park adjacent to the beach and make sure to enjoy delicious fish and chips from Salt & vinegar on the High street.

Activities in Nairn for your Seaside Holiday:

  • Dolphin Watching: Set sail on a boat trip and keep your eyes peeled for the playful dolphins that frequent the waters of the Moray Firth.
  • Golfing: Tee off at one of Nairn's prestigious golf courses, including the Nairn Golf Club, renowned for its challenging links and scenic surroundings.
  • Coastal Walks: Lace up your walking boots and explore the picturesque coastline on foot, with scenic trails from Nairn to the Port of Ardersier offering breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding countryside.

Where to stay in Nairn for your seaside holiday

Only a 10-minute walk from Nairn Beach, we recommend booking accommodation at the Invernairne Guest House. This guesthouse offers free onsite parking, luggage storage and luggage facilities. It's cosy interiors make for comfortable stay in this quaint seaside town. Guests have particularly raved about the delicious breakfast served daily to fuel you up before a day at the beach.

2. Devon, England

go to devon as one of the best beach holidays in the uk
Next up on our list of the best seaside holidays in the UK is stunning Devon. Situated along the UNESCO-certified Jurrasic Coast, Devon is famous for its sandy beaches, surfers and picturesque villages making it a quintessential British beach holiday destination. From sunbathing on golden sands to exploring historic landmarks like Dartmouth Castle and Exter Cathedral, Devon offers something for everyone.

Activities in Devon:

  • Surfing: Ride the waves at popular surfing spots like Croyde and Bantham Beach, perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike.
  • Coastal Hiking: Embark on a coastal hike along the South West Coast Path, which winds its way through stunning cliffs, hidden coves, and panoramic vistas.
  • Cream Tea Indulgence: Treat yourself to a traditional Devonshire cream tea, complete with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and fruity jam, at one of the many charming tearooms dotted along the coast.

Where to stay in Devon for your UK beach holiday

Close to Dartmoor National Park and Fairy Cove, we recommend booking a stay at the upscale English Riviera Coastal Holiday Home. This elegant apartment includes a deep bath, fireplace and free wireless internet ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay for your beach holiday.

3. Achiltibuie, Scotland

go to Achiltibuie on your beach holiday uk
Achiltibuie, nestled in the rugged wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, offers a remote and unspoiled beach holiday. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking scenery, it's the perfect destination for those seeking solitude and natural beauty.

Activities in Achiltibuie:

  • Sea Kayaking: Explore the tranquil waters of Loch Broom and the Summer Isles by sea kayak, spotting seals, otters, and seabirds along the way.
  • Wildlife Watching: Embark on a wildlife safari and discover the rich biodiversity of the region, from red deer roaming the hillsides to golden eagles soaring overhead.
  • Beachcombing: Spend lazy days combing the beaches for shells, sea glass, and other treasures washed ashore by the tide, immersing yourself in the tranquillity of the coastal landscape.

Where to stay in Achiltibuie

As you can imagine, good accommodation is hard to come by in the remote (but beautiful Scottish Highlands). We recommend booking your beach holiday accommodation at the Summer Isles Hotel. The hotel is only a short drive from the region's best beaches Inverkirkaig Beach and Achmelvich Beach. The hotel boasts a delicious restaurant that serves seasonal produce along with wine, Scottish gins and real ale. Acclaimed dishes include the Achiltibuie Langoustine Skewer, Summer Isles Fishcake and Highland Venison Cooked Over Coals.

4. Cornwall, England

go to cornwall - one of the best beach holidays in the uk
Cornwall, with its rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and charming fishing villages, is a beloved destination for beach holidays in the UK. From surfing and sunbathing to exploring ancient ruins and sampling fresh seafood, Cornwall has something for every traveller.

Activities in Cornwall:

  • Surfing and Bodyboarding: Catch some waves at renowned surfing spots like Fistral Beach in Newquay or Sennen Cove, perfect for surfers of all levels.
  • Exploring Historic Landmarks: Discover Cornwall's rich history by visiting iconic landmarks such as Tintagel Castle, perched dramatically on the cliffs, and St. Michael's Mount, a tidal island topped with a medieval castle.
  • Seafood Feast: Indulge in a seafood feast at one of Cornwall's many seaside restaurants, savouring freshly caught fish and shellfish while enjoying panoramic views of the coast.

Where to stay in Cornwall on your UK seaside holiday

5. Isle of Wight, England

The Isle of Wight, just a short ferry ride from the mainland, boasts picturesque beaches, charming seaside towns, and stunning coastal landscapes. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, the Isle of Wight has something to offer every beachgoer.

Activities in the Isle of Wight:

  • Cycling Along Coastal Paths: Explore the island's scenic coastline on two wheels, pedalling along the Isle of Wight Coastal Path or the Red Squirrel Trail, which offer stunning views and opportunities to spot wildlife.
  • Fossil Hunting: Embark on a fossil-hunting expedition along the island's beaches, where you can uncover ancient treasures dating back millions of years, including dinosaur bones and fossilised remains.
  • Visiting Osborne House: Step back in time with a visit to Osborne House, Queen Victoria's former seaside home, set amidst beautiful gardens overlooking The Solent - the strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Britain.

Where to stay in the Isle of Wight on your UK seaside holiday

For an unforgettable seaside holiday on the Isle of Wight, the Royal Esplanade Hotel in Ryde is the ultimate choice. Its prime location near sandy beaches and the esplanade offers easy access to the island's coastline. This historic hotel, dating back to the Victorian era, seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern comforts in its well-appointed rooms. Guests can indulge in exceptional dining at the onsite restaurant, showcasing locally sourced ingredients. With impeccable service and a commitment to hospitality, the Royal Esplanade Hotel promises a truly memorable stay for those seeking seaside luxury.

6. Ayr, Scotland

When taps-aff weather arises, Ayr, with its long sandy beaches and bustling seaside promenade, becomes a popular beach holiday destination for families and beachgoers (optimistically) seeking sun, sea, and fun-filled days by the water. With its vibrant atmosphere and range of activities, Ayr promises a memorable beach holiday experience.

Activities in Ayr:

  • Eating Fish and Chips: It's not a trip to the beach without scoffing some delicious fish and chips. Head to Rabbie Burn's Fish and Chip shop handily located on the beach where you can tuck into all the chippie favourites.
  • Amusement Park Thrills: Enjoy classic seaside fun at Ayr's Esplanade, where you'll find arcades, fairground rides, and traditional seaside attractions.
  • Seafront Strolls: Take a leisurely stroll along Ayr's seafront promenade, lined with cafes, ice cream parlours, and shops, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this bustling seaside town.

Where to stay in Ayr on your seaside escape

Fairfield House offers an unparalleled retreat for beach enthusiasts and families alike on your seaside holiday. With its elegant ambience and breathtaking sea views, Fairfield House provides a luxurious Scottish escape for guests to unwind in style. Indulge in sumptuous dining experiences at the onsite restaurant, featuring an exquisite selection of local seafood delights.

7. Dorset, England

go to dorset on your UK beach holiday
Dorset's Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famed for its dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and fossil-strewn beaches. From fossil hunting to cliff-top walks, Dorset offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure by the sea.

Activities in Dorset:

  • Fossil Hunting: Explore the Jurassic Coast's beaches, such as Charmouth and Lyme Regis, in search of ancient fossils, ammonites, and even the remains of dinosaurs.
  • Coastal Walks: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a coastal walk along the South West Coast Path, where you'll encounter breathtaking views of the coastline and picturesque villages.
  • Visiting Durdle Door: Marvel at the iconic limestone arch of Durdle Door, one of Dorset's most famous landmarks, and relax on the sandy beach below, surrounded by towering cliffs and crystal-clear waters.

Where to stay in Dorset

For a cracking seaside getaway in Dorset, you can't beat the Dorset Hotel. Tucked away along the stunning Dorset coastline, this hotel's got that perfect mix of coastal charm and modern comfort. And let's talk about the food – their restaurant serves up top-notch nosh made with local ingredients that'll have your taste buds singing. Plus, with its handy location near Dorset's best beaches and attractions like the Jurassic Coast, you're sorted for all sorts of seaside adventures.

8. Newquay, England

go to newquay beach on your uk seaside holiday
Surfers rejoice! Newquay in Cornwall is a mecca for wave riders, with its world-class surf breaks and buzzing beach culture. But there's more to Newquay than just surfing – this vibrant seaside town offers a plethora of activities for beach lovers of all ages.

Activities in Newquay:

  • Surfing and Bodyboarding: Hit the waves at Fistral Beach, renowned for its consistent surf breaks and hosting international surfing competitions, or try your hand at bodyboarding at nearby beaches like Watergate Bay.
  • Coasteering Adventures: Embark on a thrilling coasteering adventure along Newquay's rugged coastline, scrambling over rocks, leaping into sea pools, and exploring hidden caves with experienced guides.
  • Beachfront Dining: Indulge in fresh seafood and local cuisine at one of Newquay's beachfront restaurants and cafes, while soaking up the laid-back atmosphere and panoramic ocean views.

Where to stay in Newquay

For an unforgettable seaside getaway in Newquay, Cornwall, The Harbour is a standout choice. Situated right on the waterfront, this boutique Newquay hotel offers unparalleled views of the picturesque harbour and the stunning coastline beyond. With its stylish and contemporary décor, the hotel provides a chic yet comfortable retreat for beach enthusiasts and travellers alike. The Harbour's restaurant serves up mouth-watering dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, while the bar offers a tempting selection of cocktails and fine wines to enjoy while soaking in the sea views. With Newquay's vibrant beach culture and array of water sports activities right on its doorstep, The Harbour promises an unforgettable seaside escape for those seeking relaxation and adventure alike.

9. Brighton, England

A vibrant mix of old-school charm and bohemian flair, Brighton's pebble beach and iconic pier offer endless entertainment and seaside charm. From quirky shops and bustling markets to lively bars and world-class restaurants, Brighton has something for everyone.

Beach Holiday Activities in Brighton:

  • Strolling Along the Promenade: Take a leisurely stroll along Brighton's iconic seafront promenade, lined with colourful beach huts, street performers, and breathtaking views of the English Channel.
  • Exploring the Brighton Lanes: Get lost in the maze of narrow lanes and alleys that make up Brighton's famous Lanes, home to an eclectic mix of independent shops, vintage boutiques, and quirky cafes.
  • Riding the Brighton Wheel: Soar high above the city on the Brighton Wheel, a giant observation wheel offering panoramic views of Brighton's coastline, landmarks, and beyond.

Where to stay in Brighton on your UK beach holiday

With its prime location on Brighton's iconic seafront, the Leonardo Royal Hotel Brighton Waterfront offers unrivalled views and luxurious accommodations. Stylish rooms equipped with modern amenities ensure a comfortable stay, while the onsite restaurant serves up mouth-watering dishes made from fresh local ingredients. With Brighton's vibrant seafront just steps away, guests have easy access to all the excitement this seaside city has to offer, making the Leonardo Royal Hotel the perfect choice for an unforgettable coastal getaway.

10. Durness, Scotland:

go to durness beach on your seaside holiday
Tucked away in the remote Highlands of Scotland, Durness surprises visitors with its otherworldly landscapes, white sandy beaches, and turquoise waters. Far from the crowds, Durness offers a peaceful retreat for those seeking solace and natural beauty.

Activities for your UK Beach Holiday in Durness:

  • Exploring Smoo Cave: Venture into the depths of Smoo Cave, one of Scotland's largest sea caves, where you can marvel at the dramatic underground waterfall and limestone formations.
  • Beachcombing and Sunbathing: Spend lazy days on Durness's pristine beaches, combing the sands for shells and basking in the sunshine against the backdrop of dramatic cliffs and clear blue skies.
  • Scenic Drives and Walks: Take a scenic drive along the North Coast 500 route, stopping at viewpoints and hidden gems along the way, or lace up your boots and explore the surrounding countryside on foot, with trails offering stunning views of the coastline and mountains.

11. Uist, Scotland:

a beach in uist is one of the best uk seaside holidays
One of the stunning Outer Hebrides islands, Uist boasts pristine white sandy beaches, clear azure waters, and a sense of tranquillity that's hard to find elsewhere. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, Uist offers a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Activities in Uist:

  • Beachcombing and Wildlife Watching: Explore Uist's secluded beaches and dunes, where you can spot seals basking on the sands, seabirds soaring overhead, and even otters playing in the surf.
  • Watersports and Sailing: Take to the waters surrounding Uist for a range of watersports, including kayaking, windsurfing, and sailing, with calm sheltered bays and crystal-clear waters perfect for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike.
  • Exploring Ancient Ruins: Discover Uist's rich history and heritage by visiting ancient ruins and archaeological sites scattered across the islands, from Neolithic chambered cairns to medieval castles and abandoned villages.

Where to stay in Uist

For a uniquely tranquil and authentic Scottish seaside experience, look no further than the Polochar Inn on the Isle of Uist. Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Outer Hebrides, this charming inn offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere coupled with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. With comfortable and cosy accommodations, guests can unwind and immerse themselves in the peaceful surroundings. The inn's restaurant serves up delicious locally sourced cuisine, including freshly caught seafood, providing a true taste of Scotland's coastal bounty. Whether you're exploring the windswept beaches, embarking on outdoor adventures, or simply soaking in the breathtaking scenery, the Polochar Inn offers a memorable escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making it a top choice for a UK seaside hotel.

12. Jersey, Channel Islands

jersey beach
Last but certainly not least, Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands that comprises of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, captivates visitors with its idyllic beaches, rich history, and Mediterranean-like climate. When you go on a beach holiday to Jersey, you get the benefits of European weather while still staying technically in the UK. From sandy bays and hidden coves to bustling harbours and picturesque coastal walks, Jersey offers a taste of paradise just a stone's throw from mainland UK. Our picks of the best Jersey beaches include St. Ouen's Bay (a favourite among surfers) and the secluded Plémont Bay that boats the island's largest caves.

Activities in Jersey:

  • Beach Relaxation: Unwind on Jersey's sandy beaches, soaking up the sunshine and cooling off in the crystal-clear waters, with popular spots including St. Brelade's Bay, St. Ouen's Bay, and the secluded coves of Bonne Nuit and Beauport.
  • Exploring Historic Sites: Step back in time with a visit to Jersey's historic sites and landmarks, including Mont Orgueil Castle, Elizabeth Castle, and the German War Tunnels, which offer insights into the island's rich and varied past.
  • Coastal Walks and Cycling: Lace up your walking boots or hop on a bike and explore Jersey's scenic coastal paths and cycle routes, which offer breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs, sandy bays, and emerald-green countryside.

Where to stay in Jersey

When it comes to selecting a top-tier UK seaside hotel, The Atlantic Hotel stands out as a prime choice. Perched majestically on the rugged coastline of Jersey, this hotel offers a blend of luxury, charm, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Boasting elegant rooms and suites adorned with modern amenities and plush furnishings, guests are treated to unparalleled comfort and relaxation. The hotel's acclaimed restaurant showcases exquisite culinary creations using the finest local ingredients, providing a gastronomic experience to remember. With its serene seaside location and impeccable service, The Atlantic Hotel promises a truly memorable escape for those seeking a classic British seaside holiday.

Gift a UK Beach Holiday with a Hotel Gift Certificate

gift a seaside holiday uk with hotelgift
Are you searching for the best personalised gift for that special someone who dreams of a beach holiday in the UK this summer? Look no further than our hotel gift vouchers, the ultimate solution for giving the gift of unforgettable experiences by the sea. With access to over 750,000 hotels worldwide, including a wide selection of top brands, a hotel gift certificate opens the door to endless possibilities for their seaside adventure.

So, take the pressure off them booking a hotel and gift them the ultimate flexibility with Hotelgift. Your recipient can choose from over 1,200 top brands and have two whole years to redeem their hotel voucher (which can be done easily online). Whether they're craving a fabulous summer holiday in the UK, an autumnal escape, or a wintery adventure to the slopes, Hotelgift ensures that their dream holiday becomes a reality.

What makes Hotelgift truly special is its simplicity and convenience. With just a few clicks, you can send a personalised hotel voucher directly to their inbox, making it the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or any special occasion. Plus, with a generous two-year validity period, your loved one has plenty of time to plan and enjoy their beach getaway to the fullest. So, why settle for ordinary gifts when you can give the gift of freedom and choice with a hotel gift voucher? Treat your loved one to a beach holiday they'll never forget and let them create memories that will last a lifetime. And to really give a gift to remember, why not pair your Hotelgift with an Activtygift or Flightgift?