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Top picnic spots on the coast

A man sits with two children, a girl and a boy likely under the age of ten, at the bottom of tall sand dunes on a sandy beach. It's a warm sunny late afternoon or early evening and the sea can just about be seen in the distance.
Formby beach, Merseyside | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Pack up your favourite foodie treats, grab a rug, bucket and spade and head to the coast for a picnic. We’ve picked some of our top seaside spots where you can enjoy a bite to eat with a great view – from secret coves like Hayburn Wyke in Yorkshire to some of Britain’s best-loved beaches like Brancaster in Norfolk and Portstewart Strand in Northern Ireland.

Barafundle, Pembrokeshire
Only reached by a cliff path from Stackpole Quay, Barafundle is well worth the walk. The clear waters are perfect for a dip or paddle to work up an appetite for a picnic and the crescent-shaped sandy beach has plenty of space for games. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a walk around the lily ponds at nearby Bosherston Lakes.Visit Barafundle
Brancaster Beach, Norfolk
At low tide Brancaster Beach provides a huge expanse of sand and seemingly endless views out to sea. During the summer months the miles of golden sand make the beach an ideal spot for a barefoot walk or building sandcastles. With dog-friendly areas, the whole family can enjoy a scenic picnic by the sea.Visit Brancaster Beach
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
The multi-coloured cliffs behind Compton beach and sweeping coastal views of Tennyson Down and the English Channel is a wonderful backdrop for a family picnic. Kids can turn detective by looking for dinosaur fossils in the cliffs. You won’t have to leave four-legged friends behind as dogs are allowed on the sandy beach.Visit Compton Bay and Downs
An aerial view of a sandy beach in the foreground backed by sandy cliffs. Behind it a wide bay curves around with white cliffs behind it. The sea is deep topaz blue and the cliffs are topped with bright green grass.
Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris
Formby, Liverpool
Backed by dramatic sand dunes and surrounded by pine woodlands – which are home to red squirrels – the beach at Formby is a great picnic spot for those who like to explore in between munching their sandwiches. The sandy beach is also ideal for kite flying, jumping in the waves or a barefoot walk.Visit Formby
Hayburn Wyke, Yorkshire
Take a break from a walk along the Cleveland Way and find a picnic spot on this secret pebble bay hidden away on the Yorkshire Coast. Cool off under the twin waterfall which tumbles down onto the shore, discover what creatures can be found among the rock pools or pick a boulder for a front row seat of the views out to sea.Visit Hayburn Wyke
Lundy, Devon
Undisturbed by cars, three-mile-long Lundy in the Bristol Channel is a haven for seabirds, seals and wildflowers. Home to a small village and a 13th-century castle, for a picnic with stunning scenery it’s well worth the climb to the disused lighthouse. Called the Old Light, it offers panoramic views over the north part of the island.Visit Lundy
Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Sweeping along the edge of the North Coast, this two-mile stretch of golden sand is one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches and has views of the Inishowen peninsula and Mussenden Temple on the Downhill Demesne. It’s an ideal place for lazy picnics, surfing and making sandcastles or discovering wild flowers and butterflies in the sand dunes.Visit Portstewart Strand
Two boys jumping off sand dunes on a sunny summer day with blue skies
Children jumping among sand dunes at Portstewart Strand in Northern Ireland | © National Trust/John Millar
Sandymouth, Cornwall
Sandymouth beach near Bude sits against a backdrop of sheer cliffs and rolling grassy hills. Along the shingle shore you’ll find rock pools aplenty and don't forget to look out for a dolphin or a basking shark out at sea, or a peregrine falcon or buzzard overhead. At low tide the beach transforms into expansive golden sands and you’ll find ample room for a homemade bite to eat.Visit Sandymouth
Soar Mill Cove, Devon
Follow the coast path down to the golden sands at Soar Mill Cove near Salcombe in the South Hams for a secluded picnic on the South Devon coast. Only reached by foot or boat, this is a sheltered, peaceful beach away from the crowds. Look out for rock samphire, sea beet and rare rock sea-lavender on the lower cliffs.Visit Soar Mill Cove
Studland Beach, Dorset
With four miles of golden sand you’ll find plenty of space at Studland Beach to set up camp for a day’s picnic. There’s plenty to do for all ages including soaking up views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight, paddling in the shallows, exploring the dunes behind the beach or taking to the water in a kayak.Visit Studland
Visitors on the beach at Bucks Mills, North Devon

Coast and beaches

From wild cliffs and open seas to tranquil beaches and hidden coves, there are endless beautiful places along the coastline we look after to explore.

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