With travel abroad still looking uncertain, many Brits are planning a staycation in the UK this August. If you’re thinking of a trip to the seaside, but want to stay mindful of social distancing – or just want to get away from the popular stretches of beach – then read on to discover some of the most beautiful hidden gems our coastline has to offer.
Ideal for: Birdwatching, sand dunes and a 12th century castle
The pretty village of Bamburgh is the nearest place to stay if you want to visit the vast expanses of white sandy beaches that lie a three mile walk away. The views as you stroll to the beach are spectacular, with a 12th century castle on one side and views of the Farne Islands as you look out to the sea.
Bamburgh Castle is a privately-owned castle standing guard over the coastline but visitors are welcome to view the magnificent staterooms filled with treasures from all over the globe.
Farne Islands are accessible via a short boat trip from Bamburgh and are well worth a day trip. The cluster of unspoilt islands are Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place in the UK to view nature at its best. Seabirds such as razorbills, eider ducks and puffins flock to the beach, which you can explore by yourself or via a guided tour with a professional birdwatcher who will show you the best places to spot feathered friends.
Hayburn Wyke, Yorkshire
Ideal for: rockpools, old railways and a waterfall
With its cobblestone beach, secret waterfalls and busy rock pools Hayburn Wyke is an enchanting gem on the Yorkshire Coast. It’s accessible through a woodland walk, although the steps down to the beach are quite steep.
The curved bay is rocky, so it’s not a place for building castles, but there are plenty of fossils and rare plant species to look out for. The beach is a welcoming beauty spot just off the Cleveland Way coastal walking route, and can also be reached via a cinder track, which is now a disused railway track that connected Scarborough and Whitby.
After a day exploring the twin waterfalls, make your way back through the woods to enjoy a pint of real ale and some traditional pub-grub at the 18th century Hayburn Wyke Coaching Inn, which also has six ensuite rooms to stay in.
Sea Palling, Norfolk
Ideal for: kitesurfing, seal watching and fossil hunting
Boasting a Blue Flag beach, the village of Sea Palling on the North Norfolk Coast is tucked away from the hustle and bustle yet has plenty on offer for those who crave adventure, whilst also catering for anyone who enjoys a slower pace of life.
The beach plays host to a range of water sports from jet-skiing and kite-surfing to simply swimming or simply paddling, and the sandy dunes are ideal for long walks and exploring this spectacular coastline.
Sea Palling is an ideal location for nature lovers to spot seals close to the shoreline, and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Hickling is just five miles away.
If you have a budding archaeologist in the family, then they might strike fossil gold as the North Norfolk Coastline was the place where the UKs largest mammoth skeleton remains were discovered.
Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight
Ideal for: Stepping back in time, crab pasties and seclusion
If ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats and amusement arcades are not your thing, then Steephill Cove should fit the bill perfectly, nestled between rocky cliffs and ancient smugglers’ coves.
With its few cottages and beach huts it’s an unspoilt sandy, safe beach which doesn’t have any road access at all (Parking is just five minutes away at the Botanical Gardens).
It’s a secluded bay, where beach-goers can laze in a deckchair all day and watch the local fisherman unload their catch. The kids will love the golden sand – ideal for making sandcastles – and there are plenty of rockpools for them to explore safely too.
After a day at the beach, enjoy freshly caught lobster and crab at the Cove’s Boathouse Restaurant whilst overlooking the breath-taking coastal view and sipping a glass of fizz.
Porth Iago, North Wales
Ideal for: Dog walking, fishing and dolphin watching
Porth Iago is a tiny yet picturesque cove of sand on the coast of the Llyn Peninsula. The bay is edged by low grassy headlands, which protect it from the wind, making it a sheltered spot for sunbathing and swimming in its blue waters, but be aware that there is no lifeguard on duty at Porth Iago.
Dogs are welcome on the beach and the golden sand is ideal for a game of ‘fetch’ before letting your four-legged friend cool off with a dip in the ocean.
Locals report that the rocks that form the north side of the cove are a bountiful fishing spot and bass can be caught there, so remember to pack your fishing rod.
The beach is also overlooked by an ancient hill fort which gives the perfect vantage port for watching dolphins enjoying the waves at sunset.
Beautiful beaches without the tourists
The UK boasts an abundance of stunning stretches of coastline, many of which are hidden off the beaten track and welcome families, dogs, nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts who want to enjoy a tourist-free day by the seaside.
So, pack your picnic, grab your bucket and spade and head off to one of the hidden gems we’ve suggested to get away from the crowds.