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8 Amazing Hidden British Beaches To Discover

Explore, swim or just relax in perfect solitude at these stunning coastal spots

Britain has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, with plenty of secluded seaside gems to discover. So don’t follow the crowds when the next heatwave hits – beat a path to these hidden beaches and coves instead.

The white sand and turquoise water of Pentle Beach makes it feel positively Mediterranean

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1. Porth Iago, Llyn Peninsula, Wales
The Llyn Peninsula boasts miles of spectacular coastline, without the crowds that often flock to the coast elsewhere in Britain. Such tranquillity and solitude also makes it easy to find a secluded spot.

From deserted beaches to hidden coves, it’s a little piece of paradise in summer. Porth Iago is a picturesque sandy bay with clear blue waters, the perfect place to take a dip.

Getting there: Head out of Aberdaron on the B4413 and take the sharp left signposted ‘Whistling Sands’. After 1.5km, turn right at the crossroads. Follow this road for 2km to a junction.

Turn left, then right and, after 500m, left again down Ty Mawr farm lane, which leads to Porth Iago car park. It’s a short scramble from the car park down to the beach.

2. Broad Sands, Combe Martin, Devon
This hidden beach on the wild North Devon coast is one of the most beautiful in Britain. The double-fronted cove is filled with turquoise water and golden sand. A scarcity of signage and some 200 steps to reach the beach means that you won’t be fighting for a space to lay out your towel.

It’s worth the effort, as Broad Sands is a wild swimmer’s dream, with tunnels, caves and even an island to explore.

Getting there: From Watermouth, take the A399 towards Combe Martin and take the left turn after the Sawmill Inn pub. Follow a single track lane to Napps Caravan Park, where you can park. Alternatively, leave your car at the pub and walk down the track.

3. Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent
Although Broadstairs itself gets busy, pretty Botany Bay is less favoured by the crowds. Backed by white cliffs, with striking chalk stacks and rock pools, it is a great place to explore. Visit at low tide and you can hop over the rocks to a secluded beach on the right, complete with caves and tunnels.

Even if others have also found this hidden gem, you’re still well away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Getting there: From Broadstairs follow the B2052 past Kingsgate Bay, turning right after a mile. You can park at the bottom of Bottany Road before heading down to the beach.

4. Porthgwarra, Cornwall
Admittedly, parts of Cornwall in summer are packed with tourists. But it is possible to get off the beaten track and find a quieter beach at which to spend a day by the sea. Porthgwarra is one such spot – a secluded cove that evokes pirates and smugglers. It is small but perfectly formed, and access to the beach is via an impressive tunnel carved through the rock.

Getting there: Head towards Lands End on the A30 and after passing Sennen turn left onto the B3315. On reaching Polgigga, head right down a windy road to the cove.

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5. Covehithe Beach, Suffolk
This stretch of the Suffolk coast seems to be somewhat forgotten, perhaps due to the alarming rate at which it’s eroding into the sea. But the forces of nature at work here have created Covehithe Beach and its brackish lagoon, a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Close your eyes while you sit on the sand and all you’ll hear are crashing waves and the calls of birds, from sand martins to marsh harriers.

Getting there: From the A12 at Wrentham take the turning for Covehithe. Park near the church and take the footpath opposite through fields and over dunes, before scrambling down to the beach.

6. Kilmory Bay, Isle of Rum, Scotland
The lure of the perfect beach is that it lies on a remote and deserted island. The Isle of Rum doesn’t quite qualify, but with only a handful of permanent residents and a single ferry service from the mainland, it comes pretty close.

Kilmory Bay lies on Rum’s northern coastline, and with its white sands, clear waters and incredible views out over the sea, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain. You’d be hard pushed to get there and back in a day, but it makes an epic spot to wild camp.

Getting there: Take the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Rum from Mallaig. From the slipway, walk into Kinloch and take the path that broadly follows the Kinloch River before heading north along Kilmory Glen to reach Kilmory Bay.

7. Carreg-y-Tŷ
Also known as Traeth Bach (‘the little beach’), this secluded cove is hidden along the stretch of coast between the Welsh seaside villages of Llangrannog and Penbryn.

To the right of the beach is a rocky outcrop, connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus at low tide – at high tide, you’ll just have to swim to reach it.

Getting there: Follow the coast path one mile south from Llangrannog or one and a half miles north from Penbryn – to get down to the beach, take the steep path that leaves the coast path at the corner of a field, near a gate.

8. Pentle Beach, Tresco, Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are known for their picture-perfect beaches and sub-tropical climate, yet luckily even in the height of summer you can enjoy relative isolation.

The white sand and turquoise water of Pentle Beach makes it look and feel positively Mediterranean. Soak up the sun here with only strutting oystercatchers for company.

Getting there: Take the ferry from Penzance to St Mary and hop on a boat to Tresco. Pentle Bay is a short walk from either of the quays that you might land at via the path that runs around the edge of the island.

Words: Matt Jones
Photos: Botany Bay, Broadstairs © Petras Gagilas, Covehithe Beach © Andrew Stawarz, Porth Iago © Chris Morriss

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