The best beaches in the UK for a family day out

by Tiffany Wallis |
Updated on

It may be a while until we can all travel abroad again, but fortunately you don’t have to look too far for a beautiful seaside staycation as there’s loads of beaches here in the UK.

With the school holidays just around the corner, what better place to spend a family day out than by the seaside?

A UK beach holiday is the perfect way for the kids to let off some steam and hopefully give parents a chance to relax.

Whether you're looking to build sandcastles, make a splash, play bat and ball or chill with a book while the kids play, the best beaches in the UK encourage us to enjoy our coastline.

Who says you need to get abroad to get your beach fix? Certainly not us!

So whether you fancy being by the beach in Cornwall, Suffolk or Essex, we have rounded up the best beaches in the UK for families.

The best beaches in the UK for families

For a holiday with endless activities, you need to look no further than Blackpool Sands Beach, set in the heart of South Devon. The Blue Flag award-winning beach is lined by stunning evergreens and scented pines giving it a lush Mediterranean feel while the waters are incredibly clear. The beach is cleaned on a daily basis throughout summer and the designated sandpits are perfect for children to get stuck in with digging and sandcastle building. There’s also bathing rafts for sunbathing and you can rent snorkels, kayaks and boogie boards if you’re feeling more adventurous. There’s shower and toilet facilities too - while you can refuel at the end of the day with a bite to eat in the nearby cafe.

This white sandy beach is a haven for all with stunning views across Chichester Harbour and is seen as one of the best beaches in the UK. Bordered by wildlife-rich saltmarsh, West Wittering has top-notch water quality and there’s even a watersports school offering kids’ lessons on the low-tide lagoon for enthusiast little ones. You can also hire paddle boards and surfboards to take to the waves yourself. Boasting the prestigious Blue Flag Award for cleanliness, the large sandy beach offers family-friendly activities such as windsurfing and kite surfing as well as the traditional ‘bucket and spade’ day out. The nearby Beach Cafe is the perfect refreshment stop after a fun family day out.

Visit the beautiful and historic village of Sandsend near Whitby for one of the best beaches in the UK. The popular summer destination, boasts fine sands, rockpools, beach cafes, all the seaside essentials for the ultimate UK staycation. Kids will love it when the tide goes out as loads of little rock pools are revealed - and are ideal for exploring and looking for spot crabs. In the summer season, there’s a section of the beach sectioned off for swimming. Families can also explore the surrounding woodlands, the industrial remains along the line of the old coastal railway, which once ran from Whitby to Middlesbrough as well as enjoy fine views down the coast. It's one of the best beaches in the UK for quintessential British seaside fun!

Just a short walk over the cliffs from Land's End, Sennen is a charming fishing cove with a family-friendly sandy beach. Sennen Cove Beach’s relaxed atmosphere makes for a fun family day at one of the best beaches in the UK. The breathtaking location is particularly popular for its excellent swimming and consistent surf, with the UK’s top surf school offering world-class tuition. Private classes can be booked for children from as young as four. You can also hire boards and take to the waves yourself, feeling rest assured that the beach is patrolled during summer months. At low tide the beach provides over a mile of golden sand, so there’s always plenty of space for all. Of course, being a mighty fine Blue Flag beach means there are great facilities, such as showers and toilets as well as a pier with cafes, restaurants and a beach shop, alongside the white sands and the crystal clear water.

Don’t forget your bucket and spade when you head to one of the best beaches in the UK at Frinton-on-Sea as the idyllic Essex beach boasts firm, spotless sand, perfect for building sandcastles. The gently shelving sandy beach, between a series of timber groynes and backed by sloping cliffs, is a quiet family resort ideal for paddling. Run around on the sand, enjoy traditional beach games or take a dip in the water. To the rear of the beach is an extensive promenade, which is lined with colourful, old-fashioned beach huts - worthy of an Instagram snap! Bring a picnic to enjoy on the extensive grassy area, the Greensward, or take a short walk into the town centre to pick up supplies. Nearby is the lively seaside resort Walton on the Naze and in the other direction is a local nature reserve.

Only 30 minutes from Edinburgh by train, North Berwick is one of the best beaches in the UK for young explorers. The Scotland beach spot is a family-friendly resort with striking scenery to the island of Craigleith, golden sand and paddling pools filled by high tide on Milsey Bay. But it’s the wildlife here that makes the beach famous - there’s a large colony of gannets and a plethora of puffins. Families can stroll to the Scottish Seabird Centre, see wildlife up close with a boat ride to Bass Rock and it really is the place to be for budding zoologists or marine biologists. The popular family beach hotspot is the ideal place for sunbathing, birdwatching, splashing, picnics and exploring. There’s even a putting green open during summer months. And if you’re really looking for an adventurous staycation at one of the best beaches in the UK, there’s campsites to stay at nearby too.

Southwold is one of Suffolk’s best beaches and its traditional seaside atmosphere promises traditional summer fun with it’s quintessential pastel beach huts and old-fashioned pier. The quality of the beach has been recognised by regular Blue Flag awards and it’s easy to see why it’s hugely popular with families. The charming seaside town, on the Suffolk Heritage Coast, boasts plenty of places to pick up a bucket and space or chill out with a book. Refuel at one of the local chippies and stroll the Victorian award-winning pier filled with cafes and entertainment to immerse yourself in the typical seaside vibe. The classic beach huts, boating lake and model yacht pond make the Southwold famous. There's also a working lighthouse, busy harbour, cliff top cannon and not forgetting, the stunning beach which is packed by a pretty promenade. Get ready for a day of classic fun at one of the best beaches in the UK in Southwold.

Holkham beach on the north Norfolk coast is a British gem and one of the beach beaches in the UK with golden sand stretching further than the eye can see. As part of the Holkham Hall u0026 Estate on the Holkham Nature Reserve in the Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s no surprise that the beach is set amongst a backdrop of sand dunes and pines with an array of wildlife. Holkham beach, which has also won a best beaches in UK award, is ideal for making sandcastles, hunting for shells, running in sand dunes and paddling in the sea. Perfect for outdoorsy families looking for an adventure, pack a picnic, fly a kite or head to the Nature Reserve to enjoy the children’s play area, boating lake and museum. You can’t visit Norfolk without visiting one of the best attractions for kids at the enchanting BeWILDerwood and you should also head to neighbouring Wells-next-the-Sea for colourful beach huts and another stunning beach spot.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.