Kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes on the beach © John Millar

Kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes on the beach

Beside the seaside

With over 775 miles of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we care for some of our most spectacular places, including many of the most breathtaking beaches.

From secluded coves and family-friendly, sandy bays to places that are just perfect for the dog or for a picnic, here are some of our favourite beaches. Time to hit the sand, relive special moments and create hundreds of new ones.

Some of our best beaches

  • Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

    Set amongst grand limestone cliffs, this secluded beach is the perfect place to get away from it all. To reach this hidden gem, follow a cliff path walk along Stackpole Quay, where you can see the green-topped sand dunes and lush woodland scattered throughout the area. The blue waters are popular with families for swimming, and kayaking expeditions often launch from the beach to explore the manysmall coves and creeks

  • Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

    This spectacular spot along the Isle of Wight coastline showcases the some of the best beachside scenery around, surrounded by distinctive chalky white and golden cliffs. To take in the views, walk along the Tennyson Trail which meanders around the bay, while the surrounding Compton Downs are a honey pot of diverse flora and fauna and one of the best places to see butterflies for miles around.

  • Embleton and Newton Links, Northumberland

    Embleton Bay is a magnificent stretch of sand and dunes between Low Newton and the majestic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, perfect for an easy wander. The 14th-century ruins dominate the horizon, but you will also find a whole variety of wildflowers living amongst the dunes.

  • Formby, Liverpool

    The sweeping sands of Formby beach entice people from miles around to come and enjoy a day out on the coast. With plenty of space for everyone, families can run and play to their hearts content. Spectacular sky scapes can be glimpsed at sunset and if you stand atop a sand dune the beach stretches as far as the eye can see. A closer look reveals thickets of pine woodland, home to the red squirrels.

  • Kynance Cove, Cornwall

    This secluded cove is a situated on the Lizard peninsula. The area around the beach is renowned for its distinctive geology and rare wildlife, where the call of the rare Cornish chough can often be heard. At low tide you can descend the steps down to the sand and picnic on the shore surrounded by the multicoloured rocks which rise up to the cliffs above.

  • Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

    Winding its way along the Marloes peninsula, the beach is renowned for its natural beauty. The geological scenery unfolds in jagged layers of sandstone rock and is overlooked by an Iron Age fort. The beach is off the beaten track, but once you immerse yourself in its spectacular scenery you’ll find that it is well worth the walk. The sheltered waters off the beach are ideal for swimming and surfing.

  • Portstewart Strand, Co. Londonderry

    Showcasing a glorious two-mile stretch of golden sand known locally as ‘The Strand’, Portstewart is a much loved regional treasure. There is lots of open space to take family picnics while you spend a day making sandcastles in the sunshine to your hearts content. The grass-topped sand dunes also offer curious minds a wealth of opportunities for spotting wildlife.

  • Rhossili Bay, South Wales

    With some of the most splendid views on the Welsh coast, you won’t want to miss this magnificent three-mile long beach. If you stand atop Rhossili Down, you can see not only the peninsula, but the coast of West Wales and the North Devon coast visible on the horizon. At low tide, the beach has secrets of its own to reveal as the remains of the Helvetia, shipwrecked in 1887, can still be seen lying in the sand and our very own, oak leaf challenge also took place on Rhossili beach.

  • Studland Beach, Dorset

    Studland’s scenic four-mile stretch of golden sand marks the start of the South West coastal path there are plenty of opportunities to go walking, whether you prefer a short sandy stroll or fancy making a day of it. This bbq-friendly beach is perfect for picnics and there are boats for hire in the summer. We welcome naturists and have marked out nearly 1km of beach with green-topped posts with blue signs, where clothing is optional.

  • Woolacombe beach, Devon

    This beautiful three-mile stretch of coastline has plenty of things to see and do for all. Rolling hills provide a wonderful backdrop to a beach where many come to swim and surf on sunny days. In the summer holidays you’ll find National Trust beach rangers on hand to show little ones how to go on rock pool safaris and build the best sand castles for miles around.

Surf beaches

Let our friends in Cornwall show you the delights of some of the best surfing beaches in the region. Why not make a day of it? Pack a picnic, grab your board and head onto the water.

Great sea views

We're spoilt for choice when it comes to sea views - from blustery, wild cliffs to tranquil beaches, Here's our pick of the best as nominated by you, and our coastal rangers.

Protecting our coast

We now care for 775 miles of coastline, this is a huge task and we depend upon your support for this. Find out how we approach this challenge and the impact on our places.