In an increasingly connected world, it can be hard to imagine there’s still places hiding under the radar that remain somewhat unknown -- but there is. And what’s even more remarkable about these show-stopping destinations is they’re hiding along the great British coastline, waiting to be explored when it is safe to do so.
For those living here in the UK, dreaming of an overseas escape, our stunning little island has places you never deemed possible; places with clear seas and white sands, hidden coves, dramatic bays and beautiful beaches. We will get to explore faraway places again sometime soon, but until then, these are the UK’s best-hidden beaches.
Langamull Beach, Isle of Mull
This Scottish isle has more than enough to steal your breath a hundred times a day, from the dramatic ridges of Ben More to the incredible basalt crags of Burg, Mull can boast some of the most forget-me-not scenery in the UK. But it’s the blinding white sand, rose-pink granite and emerald waters of Langamull Beach that will have you looking out of the window and mistaking your Scottish escape for a Caribbean getaway. And the best part: this beach is one of Mull's best kept secrets. So fill your backpack with some quick dry towels and enjoy a secluded stroll down to the water, complete with spectacular views the whole way. You may even catch a glimpse of the Isle of Skye on a clear day.
Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire
Nestled between the deeply-striped cliffs of Stackpole and surrounded by bright emerald fields, this secluded bay looks like a forgotten beach on some Greek island where every detail is designed to wow, including the journey. Ascending a dirt track that splits open green fields, head through the pine trees, beneath the rocky cliffs and over the steep dunes to finally stumble across this shimmering bay; a secluded and scenic retreat as far removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life as possible. It’s no surprise this strip of secret sand was previously named one of the best beaches in the world by both Passport Magazine and the Good Holiday Guide.
West Bay, Dorset
There’s something about the towering burnt orange cliffs and endless vista of clear waters that makes West Bay feel less like Dorset and more like the Algarve; a coast that’s flecked with sea-carved bays, crumbly cliffs and huge open beaches full of fossilised finds; a coast that turns swimming, kayaking and hiking into an adventure you won’t forget for a very long time. Whether you lay a picnic blanket beneath the sun-drenched cliffs to enjoy the beach or you fill your everyday bag with supplies and set off to explore the Iron Age hill forts, cheeky chalk figures, fairy-tale castles and impressive stately homes, you need to add Dorset to your post-lockdown bucket list.
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
A little more than a mile north of Lizard Point, this inlet is an absolute showstopper at low tide and high. From the rocky islands standing to attention just off the coast to the searingly white sands and tropical blue seas, a postcard of Kynance Cove could sit outside a Sardinian tourist office and no one would know the difference. But don’t just go for the serpentine cliffs around the cove, go for the adventure. When the seas aren't too rough, there’s nowhere more exhilarating for a wild swim and, when the tide is out, there’s a ton of sea caves, craggy islands and rock-towers to explore.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Hiding behind a belt of pine trees at the end of a long wooden boardwalk on the North Norfolk coast, Holkham looks like it was stolen straight out of South Africa, with its long rolling dunes, sprawling stretches of sand and huge lagoon that fills with high tides and good vibes to create a stunning shallow lagoon. If nothing else, this hidden beach proves you don’t need a plane-ticket and seasoned tour guide to explore the most unspoilt beaches on earth. And the beach is just the start. Follow the dunes east and you’ll discover more untouched parts of coastline, from Scolt Head island to Gun Hill, or hike a mile inland and set your adventure bag down in the grounds of Holkham Hall where there’s everything from highwire courses to mountain bike hire.
Lulworth Cove, Dorset
On a stretch of land-meets-sea that includes the Durdle Door and Man O’War Beach, just about everywhere along the Jurassic Coast can be called a must-explore destination. But the white pebble beaches and turquoise waters of Lulworth Cove snatches the top spot. Quite simply, it showcases some of the most show stealing views the UK has to offer, and it has done for millions of years, the elements carving out an intricate shoreline of curved bays, hidden caves, and weirdly mesmeric rock formations – most notably Stair Hole with its collection of natural caves, arches, blowholes and twisted rocks.
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris
When you’re looking for the most iconic and beautiful beaches in the British Isles, look no further than Harris. Each and every one looks like it has been plucked straight out of a scene from Game Of Thrones -- and none more so than Luskentyre Beach, where the sea is an addictive blend of blues and greens, the white sands are blinding and everywhere you explore is usually deserted. There is nowhere else on our incredible shores that looks more like the Maldives, even if we recommend packing a wetsuit. And if you fancy venturing beyond the picture-perfect views of Luskentyre, simply head along the coast until you fall hard and fast for Scarista beach, another one of Scotland’s hidden jewels.