Marloe Sands, Pembrokeshire
If gentle, picturesque beaches don’t really do it for you, and dramatic is more your style, then you should head for the raggedly beautiful coastline of Marloe Sands. The National Trust-owned beach is all sandstone cliffs, rippling rockpools, outlying islands and fossils. There are tons of private bays for romantic evening drinks as the sun sets, and it’s been the film location for many a Hollywood blockbuster (including most recently Snow White and the Huntsman). The perfect place to blow away the cobwebs.
Quite possibly one of the loveliest stretches of wild and woolly coastline in the UK runs from Creswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. There are over 40 hectares of rolling sand dunes (perfect for picnicking on) and clear views out to sea – on a cloudless day you can see right across to Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands. Then, of course, there’s the beautiful Bamburgh Castle watching over it – which is well worth checking out.
Luskentyre, Outer Hebrides
Laid out along the west coast of the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, Luskentyre Beach is wonderful not only because of its flour-white sands, crystal-clear waters and endless clear views, but also because it’s deserted most of the time, so you pretty much get the run of the place. It’s been named as one of the 10 best beaches in the world and, needless to say, it’s pretty spectacular. It truly has to be seen to be believed.
Pentle Bay, Tresco
The Isles of Scilly are one of Britain’s very best-kept secrets. Just off the southwestern tip of the Cornish coastline they're bathed in sunshine, dotted with palm trees, white sands and turquoise waters and are, from start to finish, pretty much picture-postcard perfect. Add in the fact that most of the transport here is via helicopter or seaplane and you have one glamorous getaway. It really is the closest to tropical you’ll get in the UK (in fact, it’s hard to believe you’re in the UK at all). Until you dip your toes into the sea, that is...
It’s hardly much of a secret that Cornwall's home to quite a few of the best British beaches, but when there’s so much choice, which one should you go for? A particular ELLEuk favourite is Whipsiderry, over on the North Cornish coastline. A huge expanse of golden sands, it’s far enough from the crowded beaches of Newquay to offer a bit of privacy, but still offers a great surfing location. It’s also close to the gorgeous Watergate Bay and the secluded Mawgan Porth. We know where we’ll be heading this summer for a post-festival chill out after Port Eliot.
Like our pick of the best British beaches but looking for somewhere a little further afield? Check out our pick of the very best beaches in Europe.