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The UK's 10 best beaches

From the Outer Hebrides to Dorset, we look at the UK's best beaches now that the sunny weather is here

Ronan J. O'Shea
Thursday 26 July 2018 12:49 BST
Bournemouth Beach was ranked Europe's 5th best beach this year, and the UK's number one
Bournemouth Beach was ranked Europe's 5th best beach this year, and the UK's number one

It was a long, cold, dark and at times snowy winter in the UK, but – for a time at least – the sun is out and is set to blaze gloriously for the next few weeks.

And what better way to celebrate springtime than with a trip to one of the best beaches in the UK, some of which are among the most scenic spots in the country?

Trip Advisor has ranked the top beaches in the UK, Europe and the world for 2018, with Bournemouth Beach proclaimed number one domestically and fifth in Europe overall. Here’s the full list and why they gained their place at the top of a very sandy (though occasionally pebbly) pile.

Bournemouth Beach stretches for 11 miles (Bournemouth Tourism)

With 11 miles of golden sand running from Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks, Bournemouth Beach is also feted for nearby attractions including the secluded Fisherman’s Walk and Oceanarium. The beach also hosts Bournemouth Air Festival each year.

Best hotels near Bournemouth Beach

The only Scottish entry on the list this year, Luskentyre in the Outer Hebrides boasts sand dunes, cycling, hiking and views of Taransay, where the early noughties show Castaway was filmed, launching a then unknown Ben Fogle to the wider world.

Best hotels near Luskentyre

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Voted Wales’s best beach, Rhossili Bay is popular for water sports, surfing and its numerous walking routes, such as Worm’s Head. From the cliffs visitors can sometimes spot dolphins and whales.

Best hotels near Rhossili Bay

With its restored pier, proximity to Brighton’s famous Lanes shopping quarter and easy access by train, Brighton Beach is the perfect day trip destination. Popular for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, it’s now also home to British Airways i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower.

Best hotels near Brighton Beach

Weymouth's long, sandy beach is close to the historic town centre (TripAdvisor)

Weymouth’s three-mile beach is just a stone’s throw from the town centre and still has traditional donkey rides and Punch and Judy shows, but is also known for its volleyball championships, live music and firework displays.

Best hotels near Weymouth Beach

Jersey’s family friendly St Brelade’s Bay Beach has a number of restaurants and cafes overlooking the sea and numerous sunbathing spots for those looking to catch some Vitamin D.

Best hotels near St Brelade's Bay

Dorset’s second entry in the UK’s top 10 is known for its rugged clay and ironside cliffs, pebble beach and Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve; an ideal place for kids to learn about wildlife and conservation projects in the UK.

Best hotels near Hengistbury Head

Three Cliffs Bay in Swansea is best known for its three stark, imposing limestone cliffs. Famously wild, swimming and water sports are not encouraged but the beach itself is ideal for walks and is highly photogenic, particularly on the Gower Coast Path.

Best hotels near Three Cliffs Bay

Families enjoying their holiday on Fistral beach, Cornwall, England. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Considered one of the best surfing beaches in both the UK and Europe, the long and sandy Fistral Beach is backed by rocks and cliffs and, on a fine day, is an ideal spot for families to take surfing lessons or relax with a picnic.

Best hotels near Fistral Beach

Pembrokeshire’s Barafundle Beach is characterised by clear waters and a calm atmosphere engendered by its relative remoteness. The beach can only be accessed by a half-mile walk from the nearest car park, which gives it a tranquil isolation different to other beaches on the list.

Best hotels near Barafundle Beach

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