13 Beautiful Secret British Beaches

If you’ve previously day tripped to Brighton or summered in St Ives, why not explore some of Britain's more off-the-beaten-track beaches when the time comes? From quaint fairy tale coves, to bathtub sized rock pools, here are the hidden gems to put on your future must-visit list.
Richard Elliott

Church Doors & Skrinkle Haven, Pembrokshire

Take the secret tunnel to these two, small connected beaches, home to huge sea caves and stone archways which have been christened Pembrokshire’s ‘Church Doors’. Separated by a small limestone headland, these beaches are considered areas of geological interest thanks to their red sandstone cliffs, grotto-style caves, blowholes and rich local wildlife. If you visit during low tide, you’ll be greeted by an expanse of soft, golden sand. 

Bosahan Cove, Cornwall

This secret, sheltered cove is a peaceful alternative to Cornwall’s busy bays. Away from the seaside hustle and bustle, Bosahan Cove is a fairy tale-like inlet, hidden among vast oak woods. Unlike other Cornish beaches, there is little in the way of generous surf , but plenty of soft sand to relax on. Reach it by foot or hire your own boat and moor up on the shore. 

Gaddings Dam, Yorkshire

Located on the top of the Yorkshire Moors, this tiny hidden beach is classed as one of the highest in the UK. With golden sand and clear water, it’s an ideal spot for some wild swimming, while the vast surrounding moorland allows for plenty of wildlife spotting. Once a working reservoir, the area is now cared for by a group of locals who rescued it from being drained and transformed it into a secluded slice of sandy paradise. 

Bluepool Corner, Gower 

Gower Peninsula’s Bluepool Corner is the place to head to for wild swimming. Giant rock pools the size of bathtubs are dotted around the beach, which more experienced swimmers can dive into from high, clifftop ledges. Rumoured to have once been populated by pirates, the beach’s Three Chimneys rock arch is ideal for shipwreck spotting. Simply follow the pretty meadow coastal path down to the sand, and you’ll most likely have this vast beach all to yourself. 

Bosahan Cove
Blue Pool Beach

Speke’s Mill Mouth, North Devon

This rugged beach is located near the Devon/Cornwall border, with high cliffs and rocky statues framing an impressive ocean view. While the pebbled shore makes sunbathing unlikely, spend the day admiring this beach’s dramatic scenery instead, including a beautiful natural waterfall. It’s a great spot for surfing too, but not if you’re a first timer. 

Botany Bay, Kent

The Kent coastline is home to some beautiful beaches, and the lesser known Botany Bay is one. Think towering chalk statues, soft golden sand and vast white cliffs. The northernmost of seven bays in the area, find this stretch of sand hiding behind a quaint residential street, making it a far quieter alternative to its popular neighbour, Joss Bay. When the tide is out, explore the rock pools and dig for fossils to keep children happy. 

Mupe Bay, Dorset

Accessible only by foot, Mupe Bay can be found in a secluded spot around the corner from the ever-popular Lulworth Cove. Sitting below towering white cliffs, this shingled beach is the ideal respite from other, busy Jurassic Coast beaches. In low tide, the shallow crystal-clear water gives way to fantastic rock pools and diving rocks. 

Nanjizal, Cornwall 

At the very edge of Land’s End you’ll find Nanjizal, a remote, and often deserted, beach perching on the Cornwall coast. Home to the Song of the Sea, an impressive natural rock formation, this beach is known for its picture-perfect scenery. It’s also home to an array of rock pools and a freshwater waterfall. With no nearby road or car park, be prepared for a walk, although the sense of calm at the end of the journey is certainly worth the effort. 

Crook Point Sands, Devon

Follow the hedge tunnel and use the ropes to reach this secret cove. Completely invisible from the cliff face above and only accessible at mid-tide, this is a true hidden gem. Once you reach the shore, expect to find soft golden sand and foamy turquoise water, as well as a plethora of leafy floral and fauna. A secluded tropical-like paradise on the Devon coastline, head here for some well-deserved peace and quiet. 

Speke's Mill Mouth Beach
Coves Haven
Nanjizal Beach

Covehithe Beach, Suffolk

A quieter alternative to Suffolk’s popular shingle beaches, the lagoon-style Covehithe is all sand, making it ideal for sunbathers. Punctuated with ancient tree trunks that once fell from high cliff tops, there’s also an array of walking routes which will lead you up to St Andrews, a derelict church that now lies in ruin – equal parts eerie and beautiful.

Atherington Beach, West Sussex

Already known for its glorious beaches, there aren’t many in Sussex that are still relatively undiscovered. Rural and wild, this pebbled beach is great for sunbathing and swimming, acting as a quieter alternative to other South Coast beaches like Brighton and Worthing. After a waterside picnic, take the pretty walking route around the protected shores, which have now been classed as a site of special interest. 

Coves Haven, Northumberland

This remote beach can be found on the northside of Holy Island, so called because of the important part the island played in bringing Christianity to England. Follow the path down to Coves Haven and you’ll be greeted with golden sand and some excellent seal spotting, with high sand dunes and steep cliffs providing shelter from the chilly wind coming off the North sea. Rural and ethereal, this one’s a must visit. 

Seilebost Beach, Isle of Harris

This beach is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. With soft, white sand and turquoise waters, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean. Surrounded by grassy dunes and a dramatic mountain backdrop, this is the place to drink in the fresh sea air while gazing out to the Sound of Taransay and North Harris hills. Make sure to visit in the summer, when pretty primroses bloom along the shore line. 

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