Beaches in the South East

Best beaches in the South East

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South East England is home to tens of millions of people, with activity centred around London, not only the biggest city in the UK but one of the world’s central hubs.

Amongst the hustle and bustle of the capital, it’s easy to forget that in many cases you’re just a couple of hours’ train or car ride away from some of the most charming coastline in Britain. Traditional towns are dotted along the seaside with beautiful beaches to match. And in the warmest part of the UK, you’re more likely to encounter a day where you can relax without having to wrap up! With several factors in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of the South East’s best beaches. Stretching from Norfolk down to Sussex, you’re sure to find a sumptuous stretch of sand ideal for a day out or close to an overnight stay with us.

Clacton Beach

Clacton Beach

Clacton-on-Sea's sand has been welcoming Londoners for nearly a century. It provided an escape from the hustle and bustle of tough, industrialised life in the East End of London and continues to offer an urban escape today. Whether you visited in the 1930s or are coming to Clacton in the 2020s, it really is a taste of the classic British seaside experience.

It’s easy to see why Clacton Beach is considered by many to be a jewel in the crown of the Essex coast. An abundance of clean golden sands awaits, with the stellar Victorian Pier as the centrepiece. You’ll be just steps from all the amusements, cafés and entertainment you could wish for. Particularly popular with families, the beach provides a seasonal lifeguard service meaning it’s more than a safe space for swimming.

Dymchurch Beach

Dymchurch Beach

A favourite of this writer, Dymchurch provides proximity to London with a chance to escape to one of the UK’s closest points to Europe. Indeed, a walk along the beaches of this area on a clear day and you’re sure to see the intriguing outline of France’s northern coast in the distance. Martello Towers along the beach serve as a reminder that the beaches on this narrow stretch of sea were not always as peaceful as they are today.

The beach was transformed in 2011 by a new and improved sea wall, meaning walkers can stroll from Hythe all the way up to St. Mary’s Bay. When the tide is out, the beach is huge, giving visitors an oasis to explore. There are cute bodies of water to paddle in and donkey rides in the holiday season. You’ll also be a stone’s throw from fish and chips and a small amusements arcade. Dymchurch is accessible without being over commercialised, making it one of the best beaches in the South East.

Cromer Beach

Cromer Beach

A traditional Victorian seaside area, Cromer Beach is neatly perched on Norfolk’s north coast, providing a haven for visitors from both the north and south of England. Many buildings in the town itself hark back hundreds of years, and neatly overlook the stretch of sand, certainly providing one of the prettiest human-made views of any beach in the country.

The beach’s location within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty wins it a place on the list of best beaches in the South East. It’s made up of sand and shingle and is particularly popular with swimmers and surfers. Within a few breaths of your arrival, you’ll be able to take in that fresh sea variation in the air. In all consideration, Cromer doesn’t lack anything in terms of amenities, with toilets, shops and food stands all in the vicinity. Taste the seafood here and you’ll realise why the area is a Mecca for fishing.

Aldeburgh Beach

Aldeburgh Beach

Astonishing Aldeburgh is worth the journey for its beauty alone. Nature and human activity combine perfectly to bring visitors an experience that few other coastal towns can bring to the table. The beach is backed by quaint buildings in the centre of the town, each with their own history. A 5-minute walk further along the coast brings you to where the River Alde meets the North Sea, showcasing a marina backing onto the sea with a pretty peninsula for you to continue strolling along.

Probably the best-known beach in Suffolk, Aldeburgh’s is primarily made up of shingle. You’ll see abandoned anchors and hibernated fishing nets, a reminder to all to visit some of the mouth-watering seafood stands just steps from the beach. Check out the over 400-years-old Moot Hall, a nod to the cultural heritage of the area.

Birling Beach

Birling Gap Beach

The beach at Birling Gap is one of Sussex’s hidden gems in our eyes, a real alternative best beach in the South East. In between the larger, more famous areas of Eastbourne and Brighton, the undeveloped nature of this stretch is also what wins it the hearts and minds of everyone that pays a visit.

Primarily pebbles with a hint of sand, access to the beach comes from cliff level. Rocky platforms are created when the tide is at its lowest, giving beachgoers several rock pools to explore. The imposing white cliffs provide ample photo opportunities, with the spectacular view out to the English Channel one that simply must be in the album. When you’re done below on the beach, there is a handy National Trust Café to pick up snacks and refreshments.

West Wittering

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering is perfectly positioned at the mouth of Chichester Harbour in Sussex. The coastline it sits on marries up nicely with a Site of Special Scientific Interest inland. Sandy and slopy, the beach is ideal for paddling and water sports. Its large space gives you the chance to stretch out and sunbathe, weather permitting of course. Shallow lagoons form when the tide is out, giving little ones an ideal space to play.

The area is also a popular spot with bird watchers, with many different species migrating to the West Wittering in good weather months. There are several facilities to make your stay comfortable, including the all-important toilets and a whole host of parking. Lifeguards, deck chairs and surf lessons are just some of the features added over the peak season. A great place for a day out or weekend away, West Wittering nicely rounds off our list of best beaches in the South East.