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The 23 Best Beaches Near London for a Day Trip

Published on August 28, 2018 by admin

Find the Best Beaches Near London

Looking for your next beach adventure outside of the city? You can find many beautiful sandy beaches within two hours from London as well as rivers and lakes for a relaxing day outside of the capital. London is connected with some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK. Here you can go for a swim, build a sandcastle or enjoy special time with friends and family.

Whether you are looking for a day trip or a weekend away, there are many beautiful UK beaches to choose from. Find my pick of the top beaches near London below.

Find the best beaches near London!

 

1. Camber Sands, East Sussex

Camber Sands, East Sussex

Camber Sands beach is located at the village of Camber in East Sussex near Rye. You can find Camber Sands east of the estuary of the River Rother at Rye Bay as it stretches as one expanse beyond the Kent border. Camber Sands is one of the region’s few to have a sandy beach, as neighbouring beaches are stone and shingle beaches. This beach stretches five miles, with the most popular area being the western end at the mouth of the River Rother. If you go east, the sands begin to make transition into shingle.

Getting there: If you are going by car then you can get here via Camber Road, a road leading off the A259 near Rye. The closest train station is in Rye which is four miles away. Trains to Rye go from Hastings in one directions and also from Ashford International in the other. From London you can take the Eurostar from St Pancras and change at Ashford.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs are allowed on the beach from May to September. They must be kept in restricted zones so always read the signs to find out where these areas are. During the winter months, dogs are allowed to roam the full stretch of the beach.

Parking: There are three car parks available here next to the beach. One at Camber Central (TN31 7RH) is open between 1st April and 30th September which is pay on entry and all other times pay and display. The second one is on Old Lydd Road (TN31 7RH) and is a pay and display car park. The third parking area is the Western Car Park (TN31 7RB) and operates by Automatic Number Plate Recognition and managed by Smart Parking.

Postcode: TN31 7RT

Lifeguard service: No lifeguard cover at this beach.

Awards: Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award

Facilities: Campsite, cafe/restaurant, toilets, shops, litter bins and slipway

Popular activities: Bird watching, donkey rides, swimming, water sports, windsurfing, cycling, sunbathing and walking

Nearby walking routes: Rye to Camber Sands (see here)

Interesting fact: The beach is the only sand dune system in East Sussex

Tide times: Check Magic Seaweed for daily tide times.

Nearby attractions: You can find Rye only a short 4-mile drive away, situated at the top of a hill with gorgeous views across the Romney Marshes. Here you can find cobbled streets, crafts, cafes, antique shops and a medieval church. Not to mention, there are many annual events taking place in Rye such as the Rye Arts Festival (September), Rye Bonfire (November), the Rye Society of Artists Summer Exhibition, the Rye Jazz Festival and Rye Bay Scallops Week.

Historical Sites: Explore Camber Castle, a fort close to the village of Winchelsea which is further along the west coast. You can also visit nearby castles Bodiam, Sissinghurst and Knole. The author Henry James once lived at Lamb House in nearby Rye which is now managed by the National Trust and acts as a museum.

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Image: dayoutwiththekids.co.uk

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” – Henry Beston

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2. Holywell, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Holywell, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Holywell is a shingle beach found near Eastbourne in East Sussex. This section of coastline offers pools full of marine life at low tide as well as dramatic chalk cliffs at Beachy Head. The beach backs onto Italian gardens which were formerly known as Holywell Retreat, nestled on the greenery is the Holywell Tea Chalet.

Type of beach: Shingle

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs are welcome but must be kept under control.

Parking: Free

Postcode: BN20 7XL

Lifeguard service: No

Awards: Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award and Marine Conservation Society Recommended

Facilities: Toilets, disabled toilets, beach shower, litter bins and shops

Popular activities: Fishing, surfing, walking, sunbathing and swimming.

Nearby walking routes: Eastbourne & Beachy Head circular walk. A great circular walk from Eastbourne taking in the famous Beachy Head, Britains highest chalk cliff. (see here)

Getting there: This beach is located three miles from Eastbourne Station.

Nearby attractions: Nigel Greaves Gallery, Beachy Head, Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters and Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park.

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Image: hiveminer.com

3. Cuckmere Haven, Seaford, East Sussex

Cuckmere Haven, Seaford, East Sussex

This is a remote shingle beach in East Sussex. The pebble beach is dominated by the white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters just to the East and sits at the mouth of the the meandering Cuckmere river. This is a popular place for anglers since the area is abundant with wildlife.

Getting there: This beach is just of the A259 between Eastbourne and Seaford and easily accessible from anywhere in the South East. You can get the buses 13 & 12 from Brighton/Eastbourne and from further along the coast. If you are coming by train, the beach is only two miles from Seaford station.

Type of beach: Pebble

Dog friendly? Yes dogs are allowed and there are no restrictions.

Parking: Find the car park at the Country Park Centre near the Golden Galleon pub. You can also find free parking at Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve.

Postcode: BN25 4AR

Lifeguard service: No lifeguard cover at this beach

Facilities: Food available, toilets and shops

Popular activities: Sunbathing and swimming

Nearby walking routes: An easy to moderate stroll taking in the chalk down-land of Seaford Head local nature reserve, with stunning views of the Seven Sisters (see here).

Interesting facts: In the Middle Ages, Seaford was one of the main ports serving Southern England and commonly used by smugglers in the 16th, 17th and 18t centuries.

At low tide you can spot ironwork in the sea close to the river mouth which is the wreck of the Polynesia, a German sailing ship the ran aground in April 1890.

The beach and cliff backdrop has been used in numbers films including Harry Potter and Robin Hood.

Nearby attractions: The nearest town to this beach is Seaford and the famous chalk cliffs of Seven Sisters are right next to the beach.

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Image: mapio.net

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras

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4. Fairlight Glen, Covehurst, Hastings, East Sussex

Fairlight Glen, Covehurst, Hastings, East Sussex

Fairlight Glen is located two miles east of the fishing port of Hastings and 1.5 miles west ot the small village of Fairlight Cove, found on the East Sussex Coast. This is a wooded area forming part of the Hastings country park which leads down to Covehurst Bay. Here you can enjoy awe-inspiring coastal views that extend from Beachy Head in the west to the white cliffs of Dover in the East.

This is a nudist/naturist beach also shared by non-naturist visitors. People do swim at this beach but please keep in mind there are hidden rocks submerged in the surf and no lifeguard service. You will not find any facilities or building at this beach, nor in the the country park or cliffs found above the beach.

Type of beach: Sand & shingle

Dog friendly? Yes and there are also dog free zones.

Parking: The nearest car park from the beach is at the Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre where there are also toilets, caffe and an information centre. This is about a 20 minute walk from the beach along a fairly steep and somewhat hazardous path.

Postcode: TN5 7PR

Lifeguard service: Yes

Facilities: Parking and beach cleaning

Popular activities: Nudist/ naturist beach

Nearby walking routes: Fairlight to Hastings. This walk offers dramatic valleys, sweeping coastlines and ancient woodland (see here).

Interesting facts: Find peregrines, black redstarts and fulmars on the cliff tops during the autumn migration. Also, watch out for families of purse-webs, the only tarantula-type spiders in Britain.

Bear in mind: The three clefts that run down to the shore have been declared dangerous routes – Warren Glen, Fairlight Glen and Eastbourne Glen.

Getting there: The nearest car park is at the Hastings Country Park Visitor Centre can be accessed from the A259. From here it is a 20 minute walk from the beach along a fairly steep path. You can also access the beach from Hastings along a cliff-top path where you will see signposts pointing the way leading down the cliff to the cove. You can also take the 244 bus between Hastings (Breeds Place) and Pett, alighting at Fairlight church.

Nearby attractions: The Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, a special area of conservation backs on the beach and is very popular with walkers. Here you can find wildflowers in spring and summer as well as many interesting species of birds in the spring and autumn months.

You can also find the Hastings fishing museum, which is a former fishermen’s church which now houses ship models, nets and photographs.

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Image: The Times

5. East Head at West Wittering, West Sussex, Chichester

East Head at West Wittering, West Sussex, Chichester

This beach is a sand dune split on the eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour and is considered one of the best beaches in West Sussex. Here you can enjoy a sandy beach that is backed by dunes and salt marshes. The spit is 10 hectares and is linked to the mainland by a narrow spit that is referred to as ‘The Hinge’.

West Wittering is a great place for spotting wildlife with skylarks nesting in the marram grass, growing amongst the dunes. Also, you can discover ringed plover nests in the shingle in the north end of the beach. There is also the chance of seeing seals in the mudflats at low tide.

This is a great place to enjoy the sunshine and build sandcastles. You can also enjoy walks out into East Head to enjoy the surrounding landscape. In summer months, you can find beautiful wildflowers like sea bindweed and scarlet pimpernel.

Getting there: Access the beach via West Wittering car park and taking the footpath leading out from the western end of the parking area. Drivers can access this beach from the A286 south from Chichester. Go right at the Birdham roundabout then follow signs to West Wittering Beach. By train Chichester is seven miles away. Get to the beach from Chichester by taking the Stagecoach South 52/ 53/ 652/ 653 circular bus alighting at Old House at Home stop. Then take the Pound Road (opposite the bus stop) and walk 1.5 miles following signs to the beach.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs are allowed from the end of September to the beginning of May. In summer (May to September) you can take your dog on the beach but you must be outside groynes 14A-18.

Parking: West Wittering Beach car park

Postcode: PO20 8AJ

Lifeguard service: No

Popular activities: Swimming, walking, spotting wildlife, canoeing, surfing and paddle boarding

Nearby walking routes: East Head and Ellanore circular walk. A circular route taking in East Head, Chichester harbour and West Wittering Village. Pretty coastal paths, leafy lands, coffee shops and pubs along the way (see here).

Facilities: Shop

Interesting fact: Bosham Quay is six miles away by boat and is the site where King Canute proved he couldn’t command the sea to stop.

Nearby attractions: Nearby find Bosham Quay, Chichester Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace Gardens, Chichester Festival Theatre, the Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve, Royal Marines Museum and Fishbourne Roman Palace.

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Image: Condé Nast Traveller

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

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6. East Beach, Littlehampton, West Sussex

East Beach, Littlehampton, West Sussex

East Beach is over a mile long and is a great location for relaxation and seaside fun. Here you can build sandcastles, take a walk along the promenade or take a dip. The beach is bordered by seafront greens that are perfect for picnics throughout the year.

During summer months the beach is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards and there are also Kidcare wristbands available.

Type of beach: Sand and pebble

Dog friendly? Dogs are restricted to the area East of Norfolk Road between the 1st May to the 30th September.

Parking: Yes, there are three pay and display car parks on the seafront. Spaces for coaches are on Banjo Road.

Postcode: BN17 5LG

Lifeguard service: Yes, RNLI lifeguarded beach daily from the 19th May to 9th September from 10am to 6pm.

Popular activities: Beach-side activities include fishing, kite-surfing, sailing and diving from Littlehampton Harbour.

Nearby walking routes: Littlehampton to Climping. This walk is ideal for children starting in Littlehampton and using the beach to reach Atherington (see here).

Awards: Keep Britain Tidy & Blue Flag

Facilities: Barbecue

Getting there: Park at one of the three Pay & Display car parks on the seafront.

Interesting fact: The Long Bench on Littlehampton’s Eastern Promenade is a 1,000 foot long sculptural structure that twists and winds its way along the seafront. It is thought to be the longest seaside bench in Britain that is engraved with hundreds of personal messages from the public.

Nearby attractions: The Seafront Greens make the perfect spot for a picnic, along the promenade with free to use barbecues available. You can also take a walk to Climping Beach where there are views of the South Downs and the River Arun on either side. The famous East Beach Cafe is a great place for a break and you can also find seaside amusements at Littlehampton’s Harbour Park.

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Image: Day Out With The Kids

7. Felixstowe, Sussex

Felixstowe, Sussex

This is a Blue Flag beach with a long promenade and lovely seafront gardens. You can find Felixstowe between the rivers Orwell and Deben. Here there is a wonderful mix of activities and attractions for different ages and interests.

The town of Felixstowe is a Victorian town that is referred to as the ‘Garden Resort of the East Coast.’ This is because of the beautiful gardens that are situated along the level promenade and also in the town centre.

Type of beach: Sand and shingle

Dogs: There are dog restrictions in place from May to September. You can find dog friendly beaches on either side of the restricted area stretching from Spa Pavilion to Arwela Road. They are signposted and easy to spot. However, even in these areas dogs must be kept on leads.

Parking: There is a large car park in town, just behind the gardens as well as many parking options along the seafront. Some areas are pay and display while other areas are free.

Postcode: IP11 2AQ

Lifeguard service: Yes, during high season

Popular activities: Cycling, swimming, dog walking and swimming

Nearby walking routes: Suffolk Coast Path (see here).

Getting there: From London, take the A12 north and then the A14 to Felixstowe. The train Felixstowe train station offers local services by Greater Anglia to Ipswich and also ongoing connections to Lowestoft, Norwich and London. By bus there are local services to Ipswich where onward connections can be made.

Nearby attractions: For a day out with the family you can head to Manning’s Amusements and Ocean Boulevard for children’s rides. There is also a bustling town centre with plenty of boutique shops and crafts. Or enjoy a visit to the hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry where you can take a walk up the banks beside the river Deben and take a ferry for a trip to Bawdsey.

Historical Sites: Visit the Landguard Peninsula with its 18th C. Fort, which is one of Britain’s best preserved coastal defences.

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Image: Pinterest – Visit Felixstowe

“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.” – Jeanne Moreau

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8. Dungeness, Kent

Dungeness, Kent

Located on the coast of Kent, Dungeness is a headland formed largely of a shingle beach in the form of a cuspate foreland. This area shelters the low-lying land, Romney Marsh and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The beach is one of the largest expenses of shingle in Europe and of international conservation importance for its geomorphology, plant and invertebrate communities and birdlife. There are over 600 different types of plants here (a third of all those found in Britain).

One of the most interesting features of the site is an area known as “the patch”, where waste hot water from the Dungeness nuclear power station is pumped into the sea through two outfall pipes. This has enriched the biological productivity of the sea bed and also attracted birds from all around.

Type of beach: Shingle

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs are allowed.

Parking: Free parking

Postcode: TN29 9NE

Lifeguard service: No

Facilities: Find public toilets in Lade Car Park as well as the train station. If you’re looking for something to eat visit The Pilot Inn on Battery Road for a fish and chips or the Fusciardi Ice Cream Parlour on Marine Parade.

Popular activities: Fishing, bird watching and walking

Nearby walking routes: A walk starting at the old lighthouse and taking you through the shingle to the nature reserve – before bringing you back to the shore (see here).

Getting there: Dungeness is a four mile walk from the town of Lydd. If you are going by train, you can go from Charing Cross or London Bridge to Rye and changing at Ashford (1 hr 45 mins).

Interesting fact: The name ‘Dungeness’ derives from Old Norse nes: “headland”, with the first part probably connected with nearby Denge Marsh. According to popular etymology, it ascribes as French origin to the toponym, giving the interpretation “dangerous nose”.

Nearby attractions: The nearest town is Lydd. A popular site is Prospect Cottage with its driftwood garden, the home to English film director Derek Jarman. Here he put the place on the map with the sculptural garden he wrote about in ‘The Garden’. You can also visit nearby Rye for vistas and afternoon tea.

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Image: Melvin Nicholson

9. Tankerton Beach and The Street, Whitstable, Kent

Tankerton Beach and The Street, Whitstable, Kent

Tankerton Beach is a great destination for families and sun worshippers with painted beach huts and sloped grassy banks. At low tide enjoy a walk right out into the sea, this walk is known as ‘The Street’. You can explore rock pools, discover sea life and swim around.

There is also a grassy area for picnicking and relaxing that gently slope down into the shingle beach. This is a great beach for swimming and there is a lifeguard present from May to September. You can also find free off street parking at the top of Tankerton slopes as well as many pay and display parking a short distance away.

Type of beach: Shingle and pebble beach

Dog friendly? No dogs are allowed on this beach between the 1st May and 30th September (between the first house and start of the beach huts at Safety Point 14). You will find clear boundary lines marked on the promenade.

Parking: Yes, free on-street parking at the top of Tankerton slopes with ample pay and display parking within a short distance.

Postcode: CT5 2BE

Lifeguard service: Yes

Popular activities: Walking, swimming, paddle-boarding, biking trails, boating, surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing.

Nearby walking routes: Whitstable to Herne Bay. A coastal walk between these two Kent towns (see here).

Awards: Blue Flag

Facilities: Disabled facilities and cafe/ restaurant

Getting there: You can find Tankerton Beach below Tankerton slopes, approximately one mile east of the Whitstable town centre. The beach is adjacent to Kent Coastline Walk and a 14 minute walk from the nearby train station of Whitstable. You can also take an 11 minute bus journey from Whitstable or a three minute taxi ride to the beach. A train journey from London St Pancras Intl to Whitstable is one hour and 11 minutes. Driving from London, take the M2 and it is just over two hours to get there.

Interesting fact: This beach was designed in the late 19th century as the train network brought holidaymakers to the sea.

Nearby attractions: This beach is a suburb of Whitstable in Kent. Nearby visit Whitstable town centre, The Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre, Whitstable Museum and Gallery or the Whitstable Castle and Gardens.

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Image: Airbnb

“I honestly think the beach is the only place children actually entertain themselves.” – Donna McLavy

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10. Botany Bay, near Broadstairs, Kent

Botany Bay, near Broadstairs, Kent

Botany Bay in Thanet offers smugglers caves and large expenses of soft sand and is the northernmost of seven bays in Broadstairs, Kent.

The beach is tucked away behind the residential streets on the way to Broadstairs and much less popular than neighbouring beach Joss Bay. Here you can find safe swimming with spectacular chalk cliffs and stacks. When the tide is out, it’s the perfect place for fossil hunting and exploring rock pools. Not to mention a relatively quiet and secluded location for a day out.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? Dogs are not allowed on this beach from the 1st May to the 31st September from 10am to 6pm.

Parking: Yes, find free on-street parking on Percy Avenue and Marine Drive. This tends to get busy on hot summer days. There is also Pay and Display parking available in Broadstairs town centre which is a 30 minute walk away.

Postcode: CT10 3LG

Lifeguard service: Yes (seasonal)

Awards: Blue Flag Award & Marine Conservation Society Recommended

Facilities: Deck chair hire, cafe/restaurant, pubs toilets (seasonal) and first aid point

Popular activities: Fossil hunting, swimming, walking and rock pooling

Nearby walking routes: Margate to Broadstairs (see here).

Getting there: This beach is found between Broadstairs and Margate in an area called Kingsgate and can be accessed via steps or slope.

Interesting fact: Botany Bay found its name when those found in possession of smuggled goods were deported to Botany Bay in Australia.

Nearby attractions: The nearest town to this beach is Broadstairs.

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Image: Shepherd Neame

11. Minnis Bay, Birchington, Kent

Minnis Bay, Birchington, Kent

Minnis Bay is regarded as one of the nicest beaches on the North Kent Coast. Here you can find a long stretch of sand with plenty of free parking as well as a children’s play area. There is also a grassy picnic area between the car park and the area of the promenade where the beach huts begin and is used by groups to play rounders and other games.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? There is a dog ban in place from the 1st May until 20th September.

Parking: Pay and display parking at the very end of the parade. Disabled parking available.

Postcode: CT7 9QR

Lifeguard service: Yes (seasonal)

Awards: Blue Flag

Facilities: Paddling pool where you can hunt for crustaceans, restaurant with a bar, kiosk on the prom, first aid point, toilets (in the pay and display car park behind the Brasserie/next to Viking Coastal Bike Hire), beach chalets, beach wheelchairs available (more information 07432 648275).

Popular activities: Cafe/restaurant, water sports, windsurfing, kite-boarding, biking (there is a 3.75 mile section of the Viking Coastal Trail to Margate Main Sands)

Nearby walking routes: Minnis Bay to Reculver Country Park (see here).

Getting there: The nearest station to the beach is Birchington and trains from London to Birchington are two hours from London St Pancras International. There are buses that you can take you from Birchington station to the beach. If you are driving to Minnis Bay the best postcode to use is CT7 9QP (postcode for the cycle hire place) as SatNav may take you to Birchington rather than Minnis Bay. There is also an open-top coastal bus that serves Minnis Bay in the summer months.

Interesting fact: The tidal paddling pool was constructed by the victorians and is the perfect location for crab catching.

Nearby attractions: The Powell-Cotton Museum, West Bay Beach and St Mildred’s Bay. It is also 30 minutes away from the cathedral city of Canterbury and the coastal towns of Margate, Whitstable and Broadstairs. You can also visit the newly reopened Dreamland which is only five miles down the road.

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Image: Flickr – garryknight

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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12. Sandgate, Kent

Sandgate, Kent

Sandgate is a secluded shingle beach based on the Kent coastline between Folkestone (two miles away) and Hythe. This town is known for antique shops and a connection to HG Wells. The beaches here have views over the English channel with a town full of antiques, restaurants, inns and independent shops. The two mile of coast extends inland to wooded hills.

One mile west of the town centre, this pebble beach is popular with fishermen and those looking for a relaxing place by the sea. There is a promenade backing the beach that runs all the way between Hythe to the west and Folkestone to the east. Here you can find benches, cafes and kiosks for ice cream and snacks.

It’s an easy one mile stroll to Folkestone in one direction and an equally flat three-mile walk to Hythe in the other direction. The actual town of Sandgate offers many pubs and independent shops.

Type of beach: Pebble

Dog friendly? This beach is dog-free from 1st May to 30th September.

Parking: Yes, along the seafront. Although it can get busy at peak times.

Postcode: CT21 5RJ

Lifeguard service: No

Awards: Marine Conservation Society and Seaside Award

Facilities: Promenade, showers, drinking water, toilets, shops, cafes and pubs

Popular activities: Cycling, fishing, kayaking, wind sailing, rowing and swimming

Nearby walking routes: Sandgate to Folkestone (see here).

Getting there: From London you can get here in 1 hr 12 mins by train to Folkestone from St Pancras or London Bridge station, then it is 12 minutes by taxi or bus.

Interesting fact: The Morsheeba song ‘The Sea’ is written about the beach-side bar ‘Bar Vasa’.

Nearby attractions: Lower Leas Coastal Park, The Leas Promenade, Inn Doors Micropub, Crypt of St. Leonard, Kent Battle of Britain Museum, Folkestone Harbour Arm, Battle of Britain Memorial, Hythe Beach and Sunny Sands.

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Image: walkingclub.org.uk

13. Deal, Kent

Deal, Kent

Deal offers a long pebble beach with a pier dating back to the 1950s (one of two piers in Kent). This town in Kent lies on the border of the North Sea and the English Channel, eight miles north-east of Dover.

Here you can find plenty of water sports and a promenade. This beach is a short walk from independent shops, restaurants and quirky cafes. It’s the perfect place for long dog walks along the beach, lazy lunches and browsing shops.

Type of beach: Pebble

Dog friendly? From 1st May to 30th September between 9am to 8pm dogs are not allowed on the stretch from Deal Castle to Sandown Castle. Dogs on leads are allowed on the pier and on the promenade between Deal Castle and Sandown Castle.

Parking: Pay and display car park on Beach Street and Victoria Road where there is two hours free during daytimes. For free parking go to Marine Road.

Postcode: CT14 6HY

Lifeguard service: No

Facilities: Slipway

Popular activities: Cafes and restaurants, cycle hire, fishing along the pier, crazy golf, swimming, paddling and sailing.

Nearby walking routes: Dover to Deal – one of the finest coastal walks in England, taking you right along the top of the famous White Cliffs of Dover (see here).

Getting there: Deal is between Sandwich and Dover, accessible via the A2 and M2. Train journeys from London to Deal are 90 minutes from St Pancras.

Nearby attractions: Deal Castle, Walmer Castle, St Margaret’s Bay Beach, South Foreland Lighthouse, Deal Maritime & Local History Museum and The Astor Theatre

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Image: Trover

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Cousteau

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14. Shellness, Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey

Shellness, Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey

Shellness is a nudist beach located near Leysdown-on-Sea which is on the far eastern end of the Isle of Sheppey on the north Kent coast. This beach is perfect for skinny dippy and is found half a mile from the main beach of Leysdown.

Here you will find lots of amusement arcades for children to enjoy. If you visit out of season then there is a nice quietness in Leysdown which is peaceful for any visitor. It offers the old seaside resort feeling with arcades, cafes and nice pubs to eat at.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? Dogs are not allowed from the 1st May to 30th September.

Parking: Yes, parking area behind the beach just past some cottages. Park at Mile End Wall where the road meets the seawall.

Postcode: ME12 4RH

Lifeguard service: Yes

Facilities: Toilets, cafe, arcades

Popular activities: Skinny dipping, sunbathing and swimming.

Nearby walking routes: Leysdown Coastal Park (see here).

Getting there: You can get to the Isle of Sheppey via the A249 road from the A2 or junction 5 of the M2 near Sittingbourne.

Nearby attractions: Merlins Entertainment Complex, Mr G’s Amusements, Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre and Brewery Tour, The Royal Cinema, Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, The Tankerton Arms and the Black Dog.

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Image: Pinterest

15. Lydden Spout (Samphire Hoe), Dover

Lydden Spout (Samphire Hoe), Dover

Lydden Spout beach, also known as Samphire Hoe is found under the famous white cliffs of Dover. This area was made from the material dug to create the Channel Tunnel. This beach offers a calm and peaceful day out.

The beach is mainly shingle but you can find some patches of sand between the rock pools at low tide. It is advised to sit away from the cliffs here since there has been risk of rock falls from the cliff face (like in neighboring Abbot’s Cliff beach).

At low tide you can find up to seven species of crab, butterfish, blennies, masses of prawns and shrimp, mermaid purses, dogfish eggs and anemones. There is multicoloured seaweed and shells on the beach.

The area is a nature reserve and area of outstanding natural beauty which offers a stunning location, wildflowers and a lovely coastline with grassy areas. There is also a walking path which makes a full circuit of 2 kilometres.

Type of beach: Sand and shingle

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs allowed.

Parking: Yes car park open between 7am and dusk with free admittance and parking for £2.

Postcode: CT17 9FL

Lifeguard service: No

Awards: Green Flag (efforts in conservation and community involvement)

Facilities: Kiosk for snacks and wheelchair friendly.

Popular activities: Rock pooling, fishing, swimming, painting, walking and bird watching

Nearby walking routes: Samphire Hoe Trail (see here).

Getting there: This beach can be found off the A20 carriageway, between Dover and Folkestone.

Interesting fact: This area was created using 4.9 million cubic metres of chalk marl from the Channel Tunnel excavations. The name ‘Samphire Hoe’ comes from the wild plant rock samphire that was once collected from the Dover cliffs. A ‘hoe’ is a part of land which sticks out into the sea.

Nearby attractions: Dover Sea Safari, Dover Castle, Fan Bay Deep Shelter, Dover Museum, White Cliffs of Dover, Kearsney Abbey Gardens, Dover Transport Museum and Battle of Britain Memorial.

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Image: Condé Nast Traveller

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” – E.E. Cummings

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16. Mersea Stone, Mersea Island, Essex

Mersea Stone, Mersea Island, Essex

Mersea Stone beach can be found at the eastern tip of Mersea Island. This is a sand and shell beach that is popular with walkers. This beach is the landing point for the St Osyth and Brightlingsea ferry.

Next to this beach you can find Cudmore Grove Country Park at the far point of East Mersea which is perfect for dog walking and flying kites.

Type of beach: Sand & shell

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs allowed.

Parking: Yes, pay and display.

Postcode:  CO5 8UE

Lifeguard service: No

Popular activities: Dog walking, flying kites, fishing, swimming and motorboats

Nearby walking routes: Walk around Mersea Island (see here).

Getting there: If you are going by car, take the A12 and leave at junction 26 which is signposted Halstead & Stanway A1124 and follow signs to Mersea Island B1025. If you are taking the train from London you can go Liverpool Street to Colchester Station or to Colchester Town Station. From Colchester Town station it is a short taxi journey to the island (about 20 minutes to East Mersea and the beach).

Interesting fact: You can find the remains of a World War II pillbox on the eastern shore of the beach. The island itself has been strategically important for centuries and you can also find remains of a Tudor fort here too.

Nearby attractions: The island is only ten miles from the popular military town of Colchester.

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Image: Time Out

17. The Naze, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

The Naze, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex


This beach is on a small coastal town in northeast Essex. Walton on the Naze offers visitors a large sandy beach and also the second longer pier in Britain (the longest can be found in Scotland). This sandy beach is perfect for sandcastle making and family days out.

The town is bordered in the north by a stretch of cliffs and beach known as The Naze. The Naze headland is regarded as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a great place to go fossil hunting due to the rapidly eroding cliffs.

Here you can also find a yacht club and marina as well as an iconic tower at The Naze where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Walton backwaters, Harwich and Felixstowe and the Suffolk coast.

Type of beach: Sand

Dog friendly? Yes but no dogs in summer months (from 1st May to 30th September). The restricted areas are from the pier to the end of the parade opposite Suffolk Street and north east from Percival Road to Naze Park Road.

Parking: Yes, at The Naze car park on Old Hall Lane. Or also at Station Yard car park and Mill Lane car park. All car parks charge up to £5 for a full day.

Postcode: CO14 8EA

Lifeguard service: Yes (seasonal)

Awards: Marine Conservation Society and Quality Coast Award

Facilities: Pier and amusements, toilets, promenade, kiosks, shops, restaurants, cafe and pubs, beach hut hire, deck chair hire, lost child centre and RNLI shop.

Popular activities: Fossil hunting, swimming, sand castles and amusements

Nearby walking routes: A walk around The Naze with its adjacent nature reserve (see here).

Getting there: By car – follow the A120 to Harwich then A133 and follow signs to Walton following the B1033 and B1034. Train services operate from London Liverpool Street and Walton is only 96 miles from London (with one train an hour).

Interesting fact: The clays and sands exposed in The Naze area have provided evidence of prehistoric life and conditions 54 million years ago (mya) and c.2.5 mya.

Nearby attractions: The pier is a great place for families to enjoy rides and an amusement arcade. You can also find a children’s playground close to the beach.

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Image: Pictures of England

“My soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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18. Tollesbury tidal pool (or Woodup Pool)

Tollesbury tidal pool (or Woodup Pool)

Woodup Pool in Tollesbury is a salt-water pond or lake used as an open-air swimming pool (also referred to as Woodup Pool). Tollesbury village is located on a jut of land to the south of the Blackwater Estuary. This pool is open between May and September and is free to visit.

The pool is filled by the tide and controlled by a sluice gate. The pool is flushed out and replenished every ten days and has been recently renovated. The water has a maximum depth of 8 feet and there is a good length for swimming.

Find the pool next to the marina where there is also a campsite and a bistro. Enjoy a meal at Tollesbury Cafe and The Loft.

Type of beach: Salt water bathing pool

Dog friendly? No dogs allowed

Parking: No parking available

Postcode: CM9 8SE

Lifeguard service: No lifeguards in attendance

Facilities: Picnics allowed, toilets

Popular activities: Swimming, paddle-boarding, canoeing and dinghies

Nearby walking routes: A coastal walk through the historic centre of Tollesbury, past the marina and along the sea wall beside the Blackwater estuary (see here).

Getting there: The pool can be found next to the marina.

Nearby attractions: Combined Military Services Museum, Colchester Arts Centre, The Munnings Art Museum, Colchester Zoo, Mercury Theatre and Castle Park

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Image: Wikipedia

19. St Peter on the Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex

St Peter on the Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex

Bradwell-on-Sea is 25 miles east of Chelmsford. This is a small village located on the south bank of the River Blackwater where it meets the North Sea. Here you can enjoy panoramic views of the wild low-lying Dengie marshes that surround the village.

You can also find the oldest church in England, the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, which stands isolated on the flat Essex landscape against the sea. The church is a focus of an annual pilgrimage on the first Saturday in July.

Type of beach: Sand and shell

Dog friendly? No restrictions for dogs

Parking: Yes, car park available.

Postcode: CM0 7HW

Lifeguard service: No lifeguards.

Facilities: Pub, restaurant, pier, boardwalk and visitor centre

Popular activities: Walks, swimming, nature and history

Nearby walking routes: Bradwell-on-Sea walk – stony and grassy paths with some road walking (see here).

Getting there: Rail service to Southminster and also a bus service runs from there to Bradwell.

Interesting fact: The area has been inhabited since the time of Roman occupation in the third century.

Nearby attractions: Dengie National Nature Reserve and Essex Outdoors.

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Image: Flickr – Debbie Gascoyne

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller

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20. Thorpeness, Suffolk

Thorpeness, Suffolk

The quirky village of Thorpeness is found on the north side of Aldeburgh, offering everything an English seaside should be. Here you can find a large boating lake (The Meare), golf course and mock Tudor buildings. You can find many of these buildings lining the beachfront along with modern houses.

This beach is an expanse of steeply shelving shingle that leads down to sand at low tide. To the south the beach stretches all the way to Aldeburgh and to the north Dunwich. This beach is dog friendly with a good amount of cafes, shops and restaurants to enjoy.

Type of beach: Shingle

Dog friendly? Yes, dogs allowed. Restriction in place from May to September o the main beach.

Parking: Car park (paid)

Postcode: IP16 4NT

Lifeguard service: No

Facilities: Picnic area

Popular activities: Cafe/restaurant, shops, swimming, fishing and sailing

Nearby walking routes: Aldeburgh and Thorpeness (see here).

Getting there: By car – from London, follow the M11 (M25), A12 and then onto the A1094 and B1353. By train – the nearest station is located at Saxmundham where there is a direct line to Lowestoft, Ipswich and London Liverpool Street and onward connections from Ipswich to Cambridge. By bus – there is a regular bus service to and from Leiston and Aldeburgh.

Interesting fact: In 1910 Stuart Ogilvie bought the hamlet and transformed into into a private fantasy holiday village. This is why you see the mock Tudor houses and the fairy-tale ‘House in the Clouds’.

Nearby attractions: Peter Pan Boating Lake, Thorpeness Golf Club and Thorpeness Emporium

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Image: Giles Ford

21. Pangbourne Meadows, River Thames

Pangbourne Meadows, River Thames

This is an undeveloped and picturesque stretch of the river that runs along the edge of the Chiltern Hills. Pangbourne is where the River Pang joins the Thames. Here you can find clear chalk beaches, an outdoor river swimming spot that is perfect for family days out. This river is as unspoilt as it was 100 years ago and also a whole lot cleaner.

Type of beach: River

Dog friendly? Yes

Parking: Yes, car park available.

Postcode: RG8 7AB

Lifeguard service: No

Facilities: Picnic area

Popular activities: Swimming and boating

Nearby walking routes: Whitchurch-on-Thames Circular Walk (see here).

Getting there: By train – you can get here in one hour from Paddington and then a five minute walk to Goring on the north east bank. Just head upstream three miles via the ancient oaks of Coombe Park and find the river with chalky banks. You can also gain access from the opposite the bank at Lower Basildon (signed off A329 north of Pangbourne).

Interesting fact: Pangbourne is famous for Kenneth Grahame, author of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ who was inspired by this area.

Nearby attractions: Beale Park, Modern Artists Gallery and Basildon Park

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Image: Metro

“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.” – Bram Stoker

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22. River Beane, Hertford

Bengeo, River Beane, Hertford

The river can be accessed from Hartham Common, a large well established public open space in the centre of Hertford. Here you can find a network of paths and various recreational facilities. The common is the meeting point of four rivers – The Beane, the Lea, the Rib and the Mimram. This area combines urban park with rural landscape, set within Hertfordshire’s historic county town and beautiful countryside.

Along the River Beane, you can find little woods and pocket-sized nature reserves. The Beane is a river in miniature that rises only a few miles above Watton-at-Stone and ends when it joins the Lea. Here you can swim up and down the river and jump of the bridge (for thrill seekers).

Type of beach: Chalk stream and tributary of the River Lea

Dog friendly? Yes

Parking: Yes, parking at Hartham Common (paid)

Postcode: SG14 1QR

Facilities: Leisure centre and swimming pool, play areas, skate park, football pitches, bowling green and tennis courts

Popular activities: Swimming, canoeing, walking, exploring and family days out

Nearby walking routes: Hartham Common and King’s Meads walk (see here).

Getting there: This is best accessed from the river meadow on the Bengeo side of Hartham Common. There is a footbridge and nice swimming spots up or downstream and a waterfall and weir.

Interesting fact: In medieval times there were a number of watermills along the course of the Beane.

Nearby attractions: Hertford Castle, Hertford Heritage Trail, Hertford Museum and Hertford Theatre

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Image: Condé Nast Traveller

23. Frensham Great Pond, near Farnham

Frensham Great Pond, near Farnham

Frensham Great Pond is located between Farnham and Hindhead on either side of the A287. This is a man-made beach that stretches along a 13th century lake, the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in warm weather. This is a beautiful sandy beach that has been formed by the sandy soil of Frensham Common. There are also woodland trails and bridle paths around the pond which provide the perfect location to enjoy this area.

You can often spot rare birds (around 90 species seen each year) and other small wildlife around the pond. Keep in mind, this pond can get very busy during the summer months so get there early to make the most of this space (the car park is usually full by noon).

Remember to check the water quality first since it often changes considerably, especially after heavy rainfall, as this increases contamination with faecal bacteria from upstream areas.

Type of beach: Lake

Dog friendly? No dogs allowed on the beach. Dogs are welcome along the designated dog route surrounding the beach area.

Parking: Yes, and it is free during the week. However, charges apply Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. You can find the car park on Bacon Lane, Churt, Surrey, GU10 2QB. The fee is £4 for all vehicles. No charge for Blue Badge holders and National Trust members.

Postcode: GU10 3BT

Lifeguard service: No

Awards: Green Flag

Facilities: Car parks, restaurant, toilets, wheelchair friendly, pushchair friendly and picnics allowed.

Popular activities: Swimming, sailing and fishing

Nearby walking routes: Frensham Great Pond to Thursley (see here).

Getting there: By car – you can be there from west London in less than an hour. Take the M3 down to Junction 4 and then take the A331 towards Farnham. You will then join the A31 and once you reach the outskirts of Farnham you need to turn off onto the A287 and head south. Turn off at Priory Road for Little Pond on the left and quarter mile later turn off at Bacon Lane for the Great Pond on the right. By bus – take the stagecoach bus route no 19 from Farnham Station to Haslemere Station stopping opposite Frensham Pond (hourly service). Does not run on Sundays.:

Nearby attractions: The Sculpture Park, Alice Holt Forest, Farnham Park, Birdworld, Hogs Back Brewery, Fleet Pond and WInkworth Arboretum

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Image: Pinterest

“Little islands are all large prisons; one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.” – Richard Francis Burton

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What are your favourite beaches near London? Please share below!

Read more posts about London

—> Find walks near London

—> Discover the best walks in London

—> Inspiration for UK walks

—> Find places to visit in London

—> Find luxury spas in London

Category: Beaches, London

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