It’s that time of year again. The sun is out (sometimes), the shorts are on, and you’ve got the whole of the UK at your fingertips now you’ve passed your driving test! Most people say they’d prefer to be sunning themselves in Spain than sweltering in Swansea, but we think the UK gets a bad rep.
You’re going to want to make the most of that new licence, so we decided to put together a list of the best UK beaches you need to stop off at on your travels this year.
Image source: TimHill via Pixabay
Although it’s a stunning sight, there is a lot more to Saltwick Bay than first meets the eye. If you’re a keen collector or love trying to figure out a mind-boggling mystery, you’ll be in your element here.
Saltwick Bay is well known for its abundance of fossils, such as reptiles and shells. You may also find the famous Whitby Jet here, which is a gemstone formed organically over millions of years from the remains of the Monkey Puzzle tree.
Speaking of puzzles, Saltwick Bay is also home to the mysterious wreck of Admiral Von Tromp, which crashed in September 1976. The boat was found 90 degrees off course, but nobody knows why. The weather was fine — the crew weren’t drunk, and the boat wouldn’t have veered that way by itself.
If you fancy a day of sleuthing or gem collecting, head to Saltwick Bay and enjoy that calming sea air.
Directions: Take the coastal road from Saltwick Bay Abbey. Look out for a caravan park called ‘Holiday Park’. Once you’re there, drive down the lane until you reach the wooden barriers.
Food nearby: Pop into the Saltwick Bay Café for a cup of tea and a slice of pizza. Your furry friends won’t have to wait outside either as pets are welcome here!
Image source: Greg Willson via Unsplash
Singing sand may sound like something from an episode of Stranger Things, but it does exist, and White Park Bay is one of the few places in the world where you can witness this phenomenon.
The sand won’t exactly become the Kelly to your Beyonce, but it does produce a sound unlike any other. The sound is created when you walk across the sand and is a result of a perfect combination of the right humidity and the size of the grains.
When you’re sunbathing on the bay and dozing off to the tones of the shore, don’t be surprised to be woken by the “moo” of a cow soaking up the rays alongside you. The cows belong to a local farmer nearby and at certain times of the year, they’ve got free reign to wander down to the beach. No need to worry about buying a pint of milk then!
Directions: White Park Bay is located 8 miles west of Ballycastle and 6 miles east of Bushmills. There is free parking available there, but spaces can fill up quickly on a sunny day.
Food nearby: Visit Bothy Coffee for a pick-me-up or a bite to eat. With everything from chicken burgers to falafel salads or a cheese toastie for the kids, there is something for everyone.
Image source: Phil Hearing via Unsplash
Holkham Beach is one of those places that makes you completely forget where you are. With 4 miles of picturesque white sand, it’s perfect for reliving your youth and creating an extravagant sandcastle big enough to make Queen Elizabeth do a double take.
As if the views weren’t stunning enough, Holkham Beach is also pet-friendly. Dogs and horses are more than welcome! Galloping across the sand with the sea breeze blowing through your hair would make a perfect pic for Instagram.
Maybe you’re thinking that this luscious landscape wouldn’t look out of place on a Hollywood rom-com? You’d be right! Holkham Bay has featured in a number of different movies, TV shows and music videos over the years.
You could retrace the steps of Gwyneth Paltrow from Shakespeare in Love, or belt out the suitably named Pure Shores by All Saints. Or you could create a palace to go with your new castle. The opportunities are endless!
The beach is also home to England’s largest national nature reserve. If you have a long journey on the motorway before you get home, make sure to stretch those legs first before you leave. There are 9,600 acres of grazing marsh, woodland and sand dunes just waiting to be explored.
Directions: Pop NR23 1RG into the sat-nav and follow the instructions until you reach Lady Anne’s Drive. Take a 10-minute walk across the boardwalk and through the pine woods. They’ll soon open out onto Holkham Bay.
Food nearby: Fancy your tea and cake with a view? Head into The Lookout café, which is perfectly placed above the Holkham National Nature Reserve.
Image source: Matthew Browne via Unsplash
If you’re looking for beaches in Wales, Castle Beach is definitely up there as one that you need to visit. Not only was it awarded the Sunday Times Beach of the Year award in 2019, but it also holds a prestigious blue flag. Talk about showing off!
Though it’s quite a small bay, Castle Beach is pretty popular with watersport enthusiasts. Kayakers don’t look out of place here, and if the waves are right, you can also jump on the surfboard or do some body boarding.
It’s pretty much an unwritten rule to climb up to Castle Hill and explore the breathtaking castle ruins that sit here. Even if you’re not a big fan of history and heritage, you can’t deny that the ruins and the views that come with them make for some stunning pictures.
After all that exercise, you’ll probably want to spend the rest of the day sunbathing on the sand. Who could blame you? Just don’t doze off — the whole beach can disappear at high tide!
Directions: Follow your sat nav to Five Arches (SA70 7DL), which is a car park a short walk away from the beach.
Image source: Google Maps
Nothing screams “adventure” more than driving through the magma chamber of an extinct volcano. You can do just that, by embarking on this unforgettable road trip, without having to worry about the lava erupting and scratching your new paint job.
As you travel north from Kilchoan, the landscape will change from rocky and uneven to a much smoother ride. That’s when you know you’re driving through the gap of this once-ferocious volcano.
Once you make it to Sanna Bay, you’re sure to enjoy the tranquillity and calmness that comes with a beach that is usually quite empty. You won’t find any amenities such as toilets and cafes here, so make sure you’re packed with everything you need.
The beach is known for its striking turquoise sea and white sands, and if you still have some life left in you after making it past a volcano unscathed, there are plenty of rock pools to explore here. You might even be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or whale living its best life in the sea.
Directions: Enter the postcode PH36 4LW into your sat nav and enjoy the scenic journey to Sanna Bay. Once you’re there, you should be able to park up at the edge of the bay and walk over the sand dunes towards your destination.
Food nearby: There are no creature comforts for quite a few miles around Sanna Bay, so you might want to pack a few sandwiches and drinks before you head off on your journey.