Best beaches in the South West
The South West is one of the first places we think of when it comes to a seaside staycation, with beaches at the heart of the region’s appeal.
From Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to Devon’s English Riviera, the counties in this corner of England provide visitors with some of the most beautiful coastal retreats in the whole of the UK. Whether these beaches serve bustling towns or the quietest of countryside, all on this list give goers an experience to enjoy and memories to go home and cherish. The South West is uniquely backed by two coastlines. The rugged Atlantic coast is ideal for a spot of surfing, whilst the southern counties backing onto the English Channel make for much calmer waters. Allow us to elaborate. Here is our quintessential list of the best beaches in the South West of England.
Thanks to its mild climate, beautiful beaches and rideable waves, Cornwall has become the surf capital of the UK, attracting beach bums from all around during the summer months. But there’s plenty more to Cornwall than just catching the swell. Cornwall’s balmy weather and beautiful beaches are perfect for a relaxed staycation of sun, sea and sand. So, whether you want to get the adrenaline pumping, or just sunbathe your worries away, Cornwall’s beaches have you covered. Here are three beaches in Cornwall we’re sure you’re going to love.
1. Holywell Bay, near Newquay
At first glance, Holywell Bay might just look like scrub land, but get past the dunes and you’ll be met by a stunning stretch of golden sand and turquoise sea. Holywell Bay is close enough to Newquay’s top-notch pubs and cafes, but far enough away to escape from the student crowd, giving the beach a fantastic family vibe. Remember to check out the stunning rock formations in Holy Well cave; it’s accessible to explore at low tide.
2. Carbis Bay Beach, Carbis Bay
This mile-long sandy beach sits on a calm turquoise sea, flanked by sub-tropical plants, giving the illusion of some foreign paradise. At the nearby Carbis Bay village you’ll find all the amenities you need, with pubs and cafes serving local favourites. What’s more, it’s just a 15-minute drive from our Riviere Sands holiday park.
3. Kynance Cove, near Helston
Kynance Cove has been a popular sun lounging spot since the Victorian period. With brilliant white sand lining turquoise water that plays host to dragon-like rock formations, Kynance Cove makes quite a shot for the photo album. If you’re peckish, check out Kynance Cove Beach Café. The establishment has operated for over a century and still makes some of the best crab sandwiches and traditional Cornish cream tea around.
Home to the English Riviera, Devon is an ideal location for beach-based staycation this summer. It’s been popular with holidaymakers and weekend get-awayers since the Victorian period thanks to the stunning views and warm, sunny climate, and that hasn’t changed. Here are a few of Devon’s best beaches that have stood the test of time.
1. Woolacombe Beach
This three-mile stretch of sandy beach is overlooked by the stunning scenery of the South West Coast Path, and rims beautiful blue water that just pulls you in for a paddle. It’s also cleaned daily, making it one of the most pristine beaches around. You can get the full traditional English seaside experience at Woolacombe Beach, from beach hut rentals, to fish and chips by the sea.
2. Sandy Bay Beach, Exmouth
This half-mile stretch of lush sand is set in what feels like a secluded bay, back by stunning red cliffs. If all you’re looking for is a bit of a lounge and a paddle under the sun, then simply grab your bucket and spade and make a day of it. If you’re up for something a little more active, then there are plenty of water sports for you to try. You’ll also find plenty of rockpools in the area, perfect for a bit of crabbing or combing. Oh, and best of all, it’s just a five-minute walk from our Devon Cliffs holiday park.
3. Dawlish Warren Beach, Dawlish
Opt for a day out to Dawlish Warren Beach and you can be sure you’ll never be bored. If you’re looking to get the adrenaline pumping, then there are plenty of water sports to try your hand at, from paddle boarding to jetskiing. But that’s not all - backing onto the beach is a feast of family-friendly amusements, including children’s rides, crazy golf, arcades and so much more.
Dorset is famous for its fossil-flecked coast. Its gorgeous beaches are flanked by dramatic cliffs and rock formations that date all the way back to the Triassic period. So, if you’re looking for sun, sea and sand in a dramatic setting with a bit of fossil hunting thrown in, then Dorset is the place for you. To help you choose your perfect seaside spot, here are some of the best beaches in Dorset.
1. Weymouth Beach, Weymouth
Weymouth Beach has the prestigious honour of being named one as of the top 25 beaches in Europe by TripAdvisor in its 2022 Traveller's Choice Awards. It's clear to see why. Its calm waters are great for a paddle with the little ones and with plenty of attractions, such beach donkey rides, summertime Punch & Judy shows and pedalo rides there's fun for all the family.
2. Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth
Lulworth Cove is truly a gem of the Jurassic Coast. Ringed by dramatic cliffs and reptilian rock formations, it really is a prime example of what makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site so stunning. Chill on the sand and shingle beach, splash around in the calm, turquoise waters, or explore 150 million years’ worth of history and see if you can find yourself a fossil.
3. Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth
Bournemouth Beach is a favourite that’s been welcoming families since the Victorian period.The beach itself is soft and sandy, and its waters are calm, making it great for a paddle with the little ones. The top attraction has to be Bournemouth Pier, which has been entertaining beach-goers since 1880. Here you’ll find an indoor climbing wall, zip wire, an amusement arcade, and all manner of shows to keep you entertained.
Somerset has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for the buzz of a seaside town like Weston-super-Mare, or just want to chill on a secluded beach somewhere with a good book, Somerset has you covered. Here are three of the best seaside spots in Somerset.
1. Main Beach, Weston-super-Mare
Weston-super-Mare is a classic seaside town that’s been pulling in the punters since the 1800s. This seaside town is abuzz with donkey rides, amusements, fish & chips and a whole swell of beachgoers and staycationers. The pièce de résistance must be the Grand Pier, where you’ll find all manner of thrilling rides, neon arcades, soft play, and much more.
2. Doniford Beach, Doniford
Doniford Beach is a rough and rugged beach that’s a mix of pebble and sand. With gorgeous views out to Wales, this stretch is fantastic for a stroll. It’s also a fantastic spot for some fossil hunting too. So grab the kids and the pooch too and explore all that Doniford Beach has to offer.
3. Burnham-on-Sea Beach, Burnham-on-Sea
This gorgeous stretch is all sand, so great for a spot of sand castle building. Boats and jet skis have their own area, so you can be sure the water is clear and safe for a bit of a paddle with the little ones. If you’re in the mood for some entertainment, then the famous pier is just a stone’s throw away where you can enjoy the arcade or a little refreshment.