Best beaches in Somerset
Somerset’s magical coast lies just minutes from many of the county’s most prominent towns, meaning that it’s one of the easiest shores to explore in the UK. However, it’s not only the convenience that makes Somerset’s coast so wonderful, but also sheer variety of its beaches. From golden sands to shingle mixed with fossil rocks, there is something for every type of beach lover.
There’s plenty to think about when selecting a beach and Somerset has a lot to offer, from geological and wildlife wonders to seaside resorts full of glittering amusements, fishing and sailing to long distance walking trails. With so much choice it can be difficult to decide where to head when the sun comes out. That’s why we have compiled this list of the best beaches in Somerset to help you find the right location for you.
Main Beach, Weston-super-Mare
Weston-super-Mare is from the Latin meaning Weston-on-Sea, and it remains a fitting name as the seaside is still the greatest attraction in this town, that draws thousands of visitors every summer. A visit to this beach will bring you back to the old-style seaside that you enjoyed during your childhood summers; all is sandcastles, ice cream, fish & chips and arcades. There are even donkey rides available to enjoy the huge, clean sands of the beach from which you can take in the spectacular views over Wales and down to Exmoor.
The promenade has been significantly redeveloped in recent years and is a nice place for a stroll while the majestic Grand Pier is serviced by a land train and is host to indoor rides, arcade machines with plenty of candy floss, ice cream and tearooms in between. There are plenty of amenities in the town of Weston-super-Mare itself, which is only a short walk away, as well as a wealth of tourist attractions including further amusements, a helicopter museum, and an aquarium.
Sand Point (Middle Hope Beach), Weston-super-Mare
This beautiful National Trust owned beach is found to the north of Weston-super-Mare and is made up of rock and shingle making the name “Sand Point” quite ironic. Middle Hope is also dog friendly with no end of nooks and crannies for your dog to sniff about in - it’s a great place to enjoy quality time with your furry friend. There are strong currents here, so avoid swimming and be sure to keep your dog and children from straying out too far.
There is so much to see walking around this area including World War Two gun emplacements and lookouts, Bronze Age Burial mounds and the curious natural phenomenon of pillow lava, unusual pillow-shaped rock formations. There is also a captivating cross section of birdlife, wildlife and fauna to be seen. While there is a National Trust car park at the end of Kewstoke Road, there are no facilities, shops, toilets or cafes, which adds to the wild, remote charm of the area.
Clevedon Beach, Clevedon
Covered in pebbles and fossils, Clevedon is by no means a classic bucket and spade resort beach. However, the seafront is still charming and is home to a grade I-listed historic pier, which was restored in 1869, and has a Japanese pagoda as well as a glass restaurant for seaside picnics and candlelit dining. The beach had a lot to explore, with fossils to find and crabs to be fished. The sea also feeds into a marine lake that is likened to a giant saltwater infinity pool and is loved by open water swimmers. It’s these unusual and enticing features that give Clevedon its place as one of the best beaches in Somerset.
Clevedon itself is an old Victorian resort town located at the mouth of the River Severn which is home to a good range of delightful cafes and restaurants as well a miniature railway, a mini-golf centre and plenty of other family-themed activities during the summer holidays.
Minehead Beach, Minehead
Certainly one of the most well-known beaches, Minehead also stakes a claim for being one of the best beaches in Somerset. Also known as The Strand, it is mainly made up of sand, meaning that it is an excellent place to take the kids for some traditional seaside fun. However, there are also some small areas that are formed of shingle which are great for exploring with your pooch.
Dogs are welcome in the area all year round but are restricted between the harbour and the golf course between April and October. In the way of facilities there are deckchairs available to hire as well as toilets and car parking nearby.
Glenthorne Beach, Lynton
This quiet beach straddles the border of Somerset and Devon and is the ideal retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of other more popular coastal areas. Perhaps because it was once part of a country estate, the beach is often overlooked in favour of the more famous beaches in Somerset such as Minehead, as listed above.
Bring your family, partner or pooch to this pebbly gem on the edge of Exmoor National Park to enjoy a stroll to discover some of the beach’s unique features. You will find a ruined boathouse, some old lime kilns, a trout pool, a small waterfall and several caves lining the impressive cliffs. The car park is found at County Gate at the top of a path through the wooded cliffs and is some way above the beach itself so bring sturdy shoes to walk in.
Doniford Beach, Doniford
Accessed directly from our Haven Doniford Bay Holiday Park, this beach has a lot going for it. You will find sand and mud, but also amazing rock formations and plenty of fossils. Wild and beautiful, the beach is great for families wanting to rock pool, fish and explore at low tide. With amazing views across to Wales, it’s also a great stretch for dog walking too as dog’s are welcome all year round.
Doniford Beach can also easily be reached by walking from Watchet, an ancient harbour town with real character and plenty of pubs for your post-exercise refreshments. There is a well-hidden car park next to the beach as well as facilities available in the village of Watchet. If you’re staying with us at Haven Doniford Bay Holiday Park, this should be first on your list of beaches in Somerset to visit.
St Audrie’s Bay, Watchet
On a walk along St Audrie’s Bay you will encounter fascinating fossils, staggering rock formations, and stunning cliffs. This beach, much like the neighbouring Doniford Beach, is made up of sand, rocks, shingle and mud, and is within walking distance of Haven Doniford Bay Holiday Park. The drive is much shorter than the walk, clocking in at under 10 minutes, and there is inexpensive paid parking available.
The highlight of St Audrie’s Bay is undoubtedly the waterfall that drops right into the sea from the cliffs above, resembling something straight out of a Jurassic Park film! Access to the shore is a walk of about 150 yards down a wide track followed by a short flight of steps so it may be difficult for disabled visitors. Dogs are allowed at all times and the facilities include a small shop and toilets.
Burnham-on-Sea Beach, Burnham-on-Sea
Burnham's award-winning beach, a stone’s throw from our Haven Burnham-on-Sea Holiday Park, is great for children who can enjoy digging, sandcastle building and picnics. Paddling and swimming are also options when the tide is high with lifeguards on hand during summer 10am-6pm from May 1st through to September 30th, (though note that it’s dangerous to approach the sea when the tide is out). Dogs are banned from the beach and there is a separate area for boats and jet skis to launch meaning that you are free to lie back, relax, and soak up some rays without being disturbed.
The sea wall at Burnham-on-Sea is perfect for sitting and eating fish & chips, while the beach is also visited by an ice cream van during summer months, so you can enjoy traditional seaside refreshments. The famous pier is also nearby with various shops and cafes. Parking is available on the seafront as well as public toilets and showers at the Tourist Information Centre.
Berrow Beach, Burnham-on-Sea
Found on the south section of a stretch of six miles of sand and mud flats between Burnham on Sea and Brean Down, Berrow Beach makes up part of the second longest stretch of sand in Europe. This makes it lovely for a stroll, especially with dogs, who are welcome all year round at the beach. You will see many other visitors at Berrow Beach who come to carry out their hobbies, from metal detectorists, horse riders and fishermen to drone flyers and photographers.
The north part of the beach is also home to the historical wreck of the SS Nornen which ran aground in 1897. Take caution around the wreck as it’s located in the wide expanse of wet mudflats. These flats have sections of dangerous sinking sands, so it’s advised to watch the tides carefully and take note of the beach signage as you explore. A cafe and toilet facilities are available at Barrow Beach, just a six-minute drive from Haven Burnham-on-Sea Holiday Park.
Brean Beach, Weston-super-Mare
This sandy beach that comprises the north section of the Berrow Flats also makes our list of the top beaches in Somerset. Climb the headland for a magnificent view over to South Wales, then descend to Brean Fort, perched on the peninsula to discover the staggering history of the gunners who once manned it.
Run by the National Trust, the craggy promontory of Brean Down, north of the beach, is an excellent place to explore with wild grazing animals and an abundance of birds including peregrine falcons. The beach is dog friendly, and dogs will love running off-lead, although just like on Berrow Beach, they should not be allowed too far out on the mudflats. There is plenty of parking available next to, and on the beach itself, meaning that access shouldn’t be a problem. There are also toilets, food vans and drinking water available so there’s really no need to leave the beach at all!
Dunster Beach, Dunster
Dunster Beach is just eight miles away from our Doniford Bay Holiday Park overlooking the beautiful Bristol Channel. Occupying a magnificently wide stretch of the coastline, the beach is a brilliant place for a walk, and the immensely popular West Somerset Coastal Path passes along the shore here. Dunster Beach is just one picturesque stop along its 25-mile length.
You’ll spot the West Somerset Railway Line on a visit here, adding to Dunster’s quaint atmosphere. You can pick this up from Dunster Station and head into the heart of the Somerset countryside. As beautiful as Dunster Beach is, it’s also practical and parking is easy with a range of spaces right next to the beach which make this one of most accessible coastal locations in Somerset.