Minnie Bay, UK seaside

Ah the good old British seaside – there really is nothing quite like it, is there? Whether it’s a glorious summer’s day or a freezing winter’s day, the coastal landscape is not only stunning but holds adventure for kids, young and old. But here at Space In Your Case, we realised that knowing which UK beaches are the best ones for families can be tricky – especially when you’re on holiday and not in your local area. So we have quizzed a handpicked bunch of travel loving bloggers to recommend their favourite seaside locations. All you have to do is pack the bucket and spade…

Grandes Rocques, Guernsey

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Helen 

Grandes Rocques Guernsey

“The beaches of Guernsey are award-winning, and Grandes Rocques is one of the best. With crystal clear waters and gently shelving sand, it’s perfect for families of all ages. There’s plenty of free parking on the headland, and the kiosk there sells pretty much everything you need for a day at the beach, from sandwiches and the local Guernsey Gâche fruit cake, to kites and buckets. It’s also a very sheltered bay, making it lovely even on a windy day.”

Minnis Bay, Kent

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Alison

Minnis Bay

“What I love about Minnis Bay is how low key it is. Tucked away near Birchington-on-Sea and often overlooked in favour of nearby Margate, Broadstairs or Whitstable, Minnis Bay has free parking along the sea front. It’s a great stretch of sand to play games with kids, collect shells, build sandcastles and paddle in the water. There’s a great little cafe hut which sells amazingly fresh fish and chips, and buckets of ice cream. If you fancy exploring a bit, you can hire bikes from the bike hire shop – and just behind that, you’ll find public loos. Basically, everything you need for a cracking day at the seaside!”

Sandbanks Beach, Poole

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Helen 

Sandbanks beach

“Amongst the very affluent residential area of Sandbanks, is a one kilometre stretch of some of the finest and cleanest sand you’ll ever find. On a sunny day Sandbanks beach would rival the blues of the Caribbean, if not the temperatures! The large car park is expensive, but you pay for the area, and proximity to the sand, so bring plenty of change and plan to stay the whole day to make the most of it. Get there early on a hot day as it gets busy, but the beach is big enough never to feel over-crowded. There are good public toilets and showers, ice-cream kiosks and snack bars, and if you want something smarter, there are plenty of lovely restaurants just walking distance from the beach. It’s a real riviera style location.”

Mwnt, Cardigan Bay Wales

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Penny

Mwnt Beach Cardigan bay

“You need to look out for sign posts and follow the map closely as it is a tiny turn off to this secret beach. Mwnt and Penbryn are neighbouring National Trust beaches I had seen mentioned as excellent UK beaches in The Guardian.  One of our best family days, made even more special by the tiny kiosk selling home made barabrith and Welsh cakes, by visiting the tiny chapel, and the breathtaking views from the top of the hill that rises above the beach.”

Dungeness Beach, Kent

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Penny


Dungeness might not be the prettiest beach but this magical headland jutting out on the Kent Coast, is sure to fire their imaginations. Some say it’s name translates as ‘dangerous nose’ and it is Britain’s only desert, one of the largest areas of shingle in Europe. It is a remote fishing community, a paradise for beachcombers, artists and more recently architects who have added stunning minimalist properties.  The light here is magical, and the treasures the sea throws up curious. Derek Jarman the film maker made his home here, and you can still see his black and yellow Prospect Cottage, a fisherman’s hut with a beautiful garden constructed of driftwood sculptures and the Donne poem written on the wall in stones Jarman collected on the beach. Or creep inside forgotten boats and fisherman’s huts or watch hares fly across the shingle.”

Porlock Weir, Minehead

Loved by Space In Your Case’s Helen

Porlock Weir beach

“Through the village of Porlock in Somerset, it’s a short drive down to Porlock Weir, one of the most interesting harbours you’ll find in England. The beach is rocky, not sandy, but for slightly older children it offers no end to the fun and games they can get up to in amongst the stones. There’s a fascinating huddle of little shops selling local crafts, local oysters to eat at the Porlock Bay Café, and the Bottom Ship Inn is very welcoming to families, with great food – we recommend the crab sandwich, or nachos and garlic bread for the children. The views of the harbour and boats are stunning. There’s a large pay and display car park, with clean public toilets, and the all-important ice-cream shop.”

Bude Beach, Cornwall

Loved by Molly from Mother’s Always Right and Roost
  Bude beach huts
“We love Bude Beach in Cornwall and visit a few times a year as it’s just down the road from my parents’ house. It has a beautiful sea pool which fills up with fresh seawater when the tide comes in. In the summer they run swimming lessons from there – such a fun place to learn how to swim! There are also lots of cute beach huts which give it a traditional British seaside vibe.”

Alnmouth Beach, Northumberland

Loved by Samantha from North East Family Fun

Alnmouth beach

“A short walk down Alnmouth’s high street with its quirky independent shops and tearooms will bring you to the most glorious unspoilt beach and miles upon miles of golden sands. Alnmouth is a perfect beach for families with free public loos by the club house, the cutest ice cream van you will ever see and a well-kept park by the harbour.”

Shell Bay, Dorset

Loved By Laura from Have Kids Can Travel


“This whole stretch of coastline is fabulous – we tend to avoid the better-known (and therefore busier) Knoll Beach. The car park straight off the car ferry to Poole is small and fills quickly in the summer – more usual parking in season is along the sides of the road as you approach. The huge expanse of white flat sandy beach runs down to shallow water, perfect for kids to play in. The beach is wide and flat enough for family cricket & volleyball, and there are also designated barbecue rocks to protect the surrounding reserve. Do walk around to the right once you get on to the beach – a 20 minute stroll will bring you to a brilliant tall sand dune bowl which is a family favourite. The low dunes behind the beach are fun for exploring, playing in and also invaluable for sheltering from a chilly breeze! There are even nearby toilets located in the National Trust car-park; eco compost loos which are un-smelly even in the height of the season.”

Filey Beach, Yorkshire

Loved by Jo from Kiddie Holidays


“Filey is a traditional seaside town with one of the best beaches in Yorkshire. At over 7 miles long, it is so big that it never gets crowded! It is perfect for flying a kite, building a sandcastle or even a donkey ride. Take a walk on the beach up the Cobble Landing (past the fishing boats) to the promenade with a small fun fair on it – a real favourite with small children! Continue along the promenade right to the end and have a play in the paddling pool (there are benches around the pool for parents to relax on in the sun!) Then climb the steps up the cliff to Glen Gardens where you can play crazy golf, go on the boating lake or play in the playground or on the trampolines. At the other side of Filey Bay is Filey Brigg. This peninsula stretches out into the North Sea and is great for a walk (if you are you lucky you might see some seals bobbing about in the sea below). On clear days you can see the other seaside towns along the coast such as Scarborough. Don’t miss the rock pools at the bottom of the Brigg.”

Ness Cove, Shaldon, Devon

Loved by Molly from Mother’s Always Right and Roost
Ness Cove
“Ness Cove at Shaldon is one of our favourite beaches. We live 15 minutes away so come here throughout the year and both my girls love it. You have to walk down a long tunnel called “Smuggler’s Tunnel” to get to the beach, which the kids think is really exciting (they pretend to be pirates!). When you come out of the tunnel you’re met with this beautiful hidden beach, set into a cove. It’s idyllic.”

Whitby Beach, Yorkshire

Loved by Erin from Yorkshire Tots


“We love a visit to Whitby! The beach is lovely and there are places to rock pool, donkeys for donkey rides and stands on the beach for milky coffee and ice cream. There are basic but useful public toilets too. The Abbey and views around the harbor are gorgeous and there are plenty of arcades for the kids to spend their pennies in. There are also a very nice public park for kids if you want a break from the seaside and world famous fish and chips.”

Horsey Beach, Norfolk

Loved by Sarah from Family Travel Times

seals on horsey beach

“We loved Horsey Beach in Norfolk which is simply a beach, unspoilt, massive, great for walking and playing, but no cafes/kiosks around. What there is, however, are seals and it was incredible to see them. There’s also a good car park!”

Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Loved by Claire from Tin Box Traveller


“Despite the name, Blackpool Sands is a shingle beach but don’t let that put you off a visit to this picturesque cove. On a sunny day you could be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in the Mediterranean rather than the South Devon coast. This privately owned beach has everything families need for a great day at the seaside: on-site parking, a trendy cafe, toilet and shower facilities, a shop, and water sports equipment for hire. The beach itself is a bit of a gem too boasting a Blue Flag, crystal clear waters, a fresh water river for shallow paddling and plenty of rocks to explore.”

Old Hunstanton, North West Norfolk

Loved by Cerys from Traveled So Far


“Old Hunstanton in North West Norfolk, is a wonderful wide expanse of beach, at one end of the stretch there are high sandstone cliff and rock pools perfect for little explorers to find fossils and sea creatures, the other end leads around the top of the Wash and onto the nature reserves of the North Norfolk Coast. With a wide expanse of beach there is always space to sit, play and have fun as a family. Just behind the beach a small coffee shop sells homemade cakes and ice-creams and a short walk past the lifeboat station is the Ancient Marina Pub perfect for finishing off a day at the beach with fresh cooked seafood served on the patio overlooking the beach or inside surrounded by fishing nets and lobster pots. There is a large pay and display car park on top of the cliff with a small shop, public toilets, and little cafe. A pleasant walk along the front leads you into Hunstanton a Victorian Sea Side Town with Sea Life Centre, Swimming Pool, Fish and Chip Shops and amusement Arcades.”

Broadstairs, Kent

Loved by Cathy from Mummy Travels and Sarah from Family Travel Times


Cathy says: “The sandy beach around Viking Bay in Broadstairs is a fantastic golden horseshoe that’s perfect with kids, epecially if you’re looking for a classic seaside resort – apparently Charles Dickens took some of his holidays here… With beach huts at the back and a bandstand at one end, there are even donkey rides if you turn up in the summer and facilities including toilets, deckchair hire and a lifeguard. If you’re taking a buggy, there’s a boardwalk along the back and all the shops and cafes of the Kent town a few minutes walk away – Morelli’s ice cream parlour here opened in 1932 and does some fantastic flavours, regularly getting named the best in the UK.”

Sarah says: “Broadstairs has the most incredible chalk cliffs and scenery (like something from another world!). The kids loved walking around and collecting shells at Botany Bay and at Viking Bay, you have to visit Morelli’s for ice-cream!”

Formby Beach, Merseyside

Loved by Fiona from Watching You Grow


Formby beach is a beautiful beach maintained by the National Trust. Situated in Merseyside, the beach offers impressive sand dunes as well as a forest of red squirrels (apparently, anyway, I didn’t spot any during my visit). There is parking on site, though you’ll have to pay if you aren’t a card-carrying member of the National Trust. Alternatively, the beach is only a 20 minute walk from Freshfield train station. You won’t find much in the way of bucket and spade shops, but there are toilets and an ice cream van (warning: they are typical National Trust toilets so, erm, you might want to bring hand sanitiser and toilet paper). The beach itself is huge so there’s plenty of room for everybody even on the most glorious of summer days.”

Woolacombe Bay, Devon

Loved by Trish from Mum’s Gone To


“We visited Woolacombe Bay, North Devon, at Easter. Three miles of golden sands, safe for family swimming and surfing. TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Best Beach in UK for 2016. Beautiful views across to Lundy Island and it’s on the route of the South West Coast path. At the north end, Woolacombe, the town has great facilities for families: crazy golf, lots of restaurants, accommodation etc. At the other end, Putsborough, new loos have just been given Platinum commendation by Loo of the Year awards. They were gorgeous – I tested them!”

Littlehampton, West Sussex

Loved by Ting from My Travel Monkey


“Not only does Littlehampton have two award-winning beaches, but it also had a large seafront green with a play park, a harbour, a Sea Life Centre, a miniature railway, mini golf and a bustling promenade. Oh, and did I mention the amusement arcade, fun fair, and a ferry boat ride over to West Beach during the summer? The main car park is situated next to Mewbrook Park Boating Lake. Nearly Norfolk Gardens has the mini-golf, pitch and putt and a pirate ship. Don’t miss out on the miniature railway that runs from the Gardens to back to Mewsbrook Park!”

Abersoch Beach, Wales

Loved by Karen from Mini Travellers 


“We parked in the golf club car park (you can pay with card/phone if you forget cash) and it was a very short walk to the beach,  past toilets and the shop selling ice cream and a decent coffee.  ‘Good beach’ requirements for me. One side is dog free and the other side is a free for all.  We actually saw someone enforcing the rule in a very friendly way which mean with really little ones like ours you don’t need to keep watching out for big dogs. We had good fun guessing the prices of the beautiful beach huts (selling for £90k currently if you have a few spare pounds) eating ice creams and drinking good coffee.”

Barricane Beach, Devon

Loved by Gemma from Hello It’s Gemma

“Barricane Beach lies between Mortehoe and Woolacombe. The cafe sells salads and fresh baps during the day but on Thursday through Saturday evenings 5-7pm, it serves Sri Lankan Curry (Veggie or meat version). The small beach becomes a dining room –  think a big picnic/festival vibe. Check the Facebook page before you go, to see if they are serving as it is weather dependent.”

Old Harwich, Essex

Loved by Alice from Project Wanderlust

“Nestled close to the bright lights of Walton and Clacton you’ll find Old Harwich, a hidden Essex gem full of antiques shops, great places to eat and quiet sandy beaches free from the day-tripper traffic found at Essex’s bigger seaside resorts. From the moment Harwich Port comes into sight the air changes and the excitement to feel the sand between your toes builds. With parking close to the beach you can pile out the car and take the short walk sand. Overlooking the container port, with the background hum of centuries old industry as your soundtrack, you can spend the day alternating between sand castle building, ice cream eating and playing in the park, all without walking further than two minutes from your rented beach hut. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach a walk around the old town (pop in Quirky Old Stuff on Market St for antiques and souvenirs) and dinner at The Alma or recently renovated The Pier is the perfect way to end the day.”

Hartland Quay, North Devon

Loved by Claire from Tin Box Traveller


“This is one of our all time favourite beaches. Hartland Quay has a wow factor about it, from the amazing geological backdrop of the cliffs to the views out across the Atlantic to Lundy Island. The beach itself is stoney with plenty of rock pools to explore and caves to peer inside. It’s a place with a lot of history having been a harbour since Tudor times right up to the 19th Century when the sea defences were left to crumble. There have been ship wreaks too – all documented in the museum in the car park. Alongside the museum is toilet block and a souvenir shop selling local ice cream. Hot and cold meals and drinks can also be bought from the Quay Hotel.”

The Gower, South Wales

Loved by Laura from Sidestreet Style

The Gower beach

“Bracelet Bay is part of a beautiful and unspoilt coastline that is The Gower, in South Wales. It is a mix of sand, pebbles and rock pools meaning you have the best of both worlds, building sand castles and looking for creatures in the rock pools. It also has great view from the cliff top bar and cafe, there is plenty of paid parking spaces, a kids’ play area and pubic toilets.”

Dunstan Beach, Northumberland

Loved by Joanne from Kids’ Days Out Reviews


“We went to Dunstan Beach last year in Northumberland. Not much there – no loos, no shops, but loads of gorgeous sand in a fairly sheltered bay which is popular with surfers.”

Shaldon Beach, Devon

Loved by Molly from Mother’s Always Right and Roost
Shaldon beach

“We regularly visit Shaldon, a little fishing village just 15 minutes away from our own village in Devon. It’s full of cute cafes and pretty scenery, plus you can get a river taxi over the estaury to Teignmouth where you can experience the traditional British seaside fun of mini golf, penny slot machines, fish and chips and plenty of ice cream. The beach at Shaldon is a great place for people washing and building sandcastles.”

Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey

Loved by Kirstie from Family Adventure Project


“The Isle of Anglesey in North Wales is blessed with beaches and bays, and a dune with a view is a regular occurrence. We recently stayed in Beaumaris and explored Red Wharf Bay (Traeth Coch in Welsh.) Early on a Sunday morning we had the huge pebbly shoreline to ourselves, and that included some impressive sandstone cylinder pipes which provided a quick geology lesson for teens and an interesting game of stepping stones for tweens. There are some lovely cafes overlooking the bay for Sunday brunch afterwards.  If you’ve time on Anglesey and fancy a contrasting experience then it’s worth striking out for Newborough Beach. It’s the beach with everything- spacious sands, high dunes, forest walks, clean water and striking views of Snowdonia. And if you fancy seeing it all from a different angle you can blast past Newborough Warren on a ‘Castles and Islands’ Ribe Ride. No chance of getting sand in your sandwiches from on the water!”

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Loved by Claire from Diary of the Evans-Crittens  

barafundle bay

“I love Barafundle Bay- it’s one of the most stunning blue flag beaches in Pembrokeshire. Only reachable by a scenic cliff top walk it’s a remote, secluded cove.  As you pass under the stone arches you’re greeted by a long stretch of clean golden sand and clear blue waters.  The beach is backed with sand dunes and pine trees and also has rocks to climb and caves to explore. There are good facilities- the car park, toilets and quaint tearooms, The Boathouse Cafe, can be found in nearby Stackpole Quay.  Barafundle Bay is a half mile walk from the car park but well worth it for the views and the enjoyment you’ll have on this award winning beach.   The only negative point to note is Barafundle is only accessible by a large number of steps making it unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.”

King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth

Loved by Samantha from North East Family Fun


“Tynemouth village is home to around 20 independent fish restaurants, bistros and wine bars should you fancy a bite to eat (they are all child friendly and many welcome dogs) before heading down to King Edward’s Bay for a paddle. The bay is a sheltered cove protected from the elements and overlooked by the magnificent Tynemouth Priory. You can grab freshly cooked fish from Riley’s Fish Shack on the beach to enjoy whilst watching the fishing boats return to the mouth of the Tyne and if surfing’s your thing, this is also the beach for you (Tynemouth has its own surf school). It is a steep walk down steps to the bay so not ideal for pushchairs but Tynemouth is perfect for older children and teens.”

West Wittering, Sussex

Loved by Ting from My Travel Monkey


“West Wittering is a huge expanse of land – and although many families were huddled near the huts and sand dunes, it was blissfully uncrowded when we went. West Wittering is a Premier Blue Flag beach and you can see why. The beach is unspoilt and spotless, the sand is pristine and the water is clear. Made up of the National Trust owned East Head, there is the sand dune spit situated at the eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour, which is about 1000 metres long and 400 metres wide. While the West side, the seaward side where we were situated, is mainly made up of fine sand.”

Crantock Beach, North Cornwall

Loved by Gemma from Hello It’s Gemma

Crantock Beach
“Crantock is an expanse of sand at the end of the River Gannel Estuary. There’s parking (free if you’re a National Trust member) and toilets right by the beach. It has a life guard attended. Basically, everything you might want; from crabbing to surfing. You can buy ice creams and tea, from a hut on the sands and Crantock Village Stores is a short walk away, selling local bread, cheese and olives, plus newspapers, and the essential buckets and spades.  Crantock is sheltered by headlands and sand dunes, and it is accessible via narrow lanes so it feels like an idyllic hide away!”

Castle Beach, Tenby

Loved by Bryony from The Breton Mama

Tenby beach

“The beautiful water, clean stretch of sand, and friendly locals make Castle Beach, Tenby my favourite bit of the UK’s coastline. As you enter the beach from the harbour you can refuel in ‘Dennis Cafe’, buy a bucket and spade from the shop or hire a deckchair. Avoid driving down to seafront in peak season and park cheaply a 5 minute walk away in the town centre.”

Boscombe Beach, Bournemouth

Loved by Alice from More Than Toast


“We love Boscombe beach in Bournemouth: it’s quieter than it’s next door neighbour Bournemouth beach but just as lovely – we love watching the surfers! After a busy morning playing and building sandcastles we like to wander down to Westbeach restaurant, their set lunch menu is excellent value and position unparalleled.”

Dammer Bay, Cornwall

Loved by Rachel from The Little Pip
“Daymer Bay is a wide expanse of sand between Rock and Polzeath, opposite Padstow. It is one of those beaches just slightly more off the beaten track than some other North Cornish coast beaches meaning that it feels all that more rewarding. It is an estuary beach and obviously has the most sand at low tide, but there is still sand at high water. As it is an estuary beach, fields and the beach at the other side of the water are always visible meaning the view is slightly more unusual and therefore all the more beguiling and distinctive. Daymer is many things – you can drive down a lane from Trebetherick and park right next to the beach where there is a cafe and a toilet and walk straight out onto the sand. It is however, in my opinion, nicest approached on foot. You can meander over the paths from the St Enedoc’s golf course which is just behind the dunes, or from either direction on the coast path (setting off from Rock or Polzeath) which gives the best views of the estuary. At lower tides you can walk directly along the sandy beach from Rock (car park, toilets and cafe by the ferry) or, if you park at Padstow, you can get the ferry over and walk along the beach. Daymer is perfect for children but just as good without – there is lots of excellent sand castle sand but also plenty of rock pools. Being an estuary beach, the waves are gentler for paddling and swimming in the clear waters. This is not a beach for surfing – Polzeath is better for that. On windier days it is pleasant to simply walk along the beach and watch the windsurfers or tuck into a sheltered spot and enjoy the sunshine. Out of season, the paths and lanes behind the beach are filled with the most delicious blackberries and I am sure that growing in the salty air makes them taste that much nicer. When we visit in September I spend hours picking them with Pip, filling beach buckets and tupperware, and then return to our cottage to make puddings and cakes.”

Bantham beach, Devon

Loved by Lottie from Oyster and Pearl


Bantham is one of the loveliest beaches in South Devon. Wend your way down narrow lanes, honking and veering into hedgerows constantly, until you see the sea. Park up near the pub or in the car park behind the dunes (watch out for adders!) and head for the large path that brings you out into the centre of the beach. It’s a huge, open expanse of sand, with little coves and big waves. In the distance, past the surfers, you can see Burgh Island, the 1920s hotel and favourite of Agatha Christie who set one of her Poirot mysteries there. ”

Branscombe Beach, East Devon

Loved by Eleanor from The Bristol Parent 


“Branscombe in East Devon is the place of my childhood holidays. An imperfect arc of sometimes steeply banked pebbly beach, you’re as likely to be joined by a few fishing boats on the shore as you are other day-trippers. Branscombe itself is a very long strip of perfection, with the only road leading straight to the beach itself. You pass the delectable Mason’s Arms to get there (go back, have a beef sandwich and a pint later). Be prepared for some interesting jiggery pokery with the slim passing places and a busy car park. But oh, is it worth it. The wonderful Sea Shanty cafe which has barely changed in 35 years. The little shop prepared to sell you endless pairs of jelly shoes (the sea loves to take one or two). The rock pools. The little stream you can paddle in. The view if you walk up onto the red cliffs. Just go. You won’t regret it.”

Which British beach is your favourite? Comment and tell us! Let’s share the seaside love!

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! 36 UK beaches PERFECT for families!