As an island nation the United Kingdom has some of the most stunning coastlines. From long sandy beaches, to dramatic cliff walks, to quaint fishing villages – the choice of destination for a UK coastal holidays is almost too varied, making it difficult to make a decision.
This short guide has shortlisted five stunning stretches of coastline for you to choose from. Each area offers a completely different landscape and experience to each other. But one thing you can be sure of – you will never tire of the stunning views, enervating air, and unique energy of each location.
Pembrokeshire dives down into the far south west corner of Wales, and is surrounded by the sea on three sides (click here to learn more). It’s most famous for its coastal path, which has 186 miles of trails, crisscrossing coves and harbours, spanning over 50 beaches, and showcasing the smallest city in Britain – St Davids. These footpaths meander through fields and bridleways, though ancient woodlands, up rugged, rocky hills, and down into quiet valleys.
If wide open beaches are your thing. Check out Freshwater East or Broadhaven to experience acres and acres of golden sands. If you enjoy rock pooling with the kids, secluded rocky coves such as Cwm yr Eglwys provide the perfect location.
Its coastal location also provides the perfect opportunity to try out a wide range of different activities. Paddleboarding, paragliding, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, foraging, surfing, sailing… if there is an activity you want to do, you’ll be able to do it in Pembrokeshire.
Cornwall occupies the farthest south west corner of England, occupying a peninsular with the Celtic Sea to the north, the English Channel to the south, and separated from the rest of England by the natural border of the River Tamar. Cornish tourism has particularly benefitted just recently by the popularity of the BBC production of Poldark, which showcased the county’s stunning cliff tops, intimate coves and dramatic and tumultuous history.
Cornwall offers a real smorgasbord of experiences. The north coast tends to have rougher seas with better surf. Fishing towns such as Padstowe have grown in fame and reputation due to the growth of the Rick Stein restaurant empire. The south has generally more beaches with less waves.
Less popular than its southern counterparts, the Northumberland Coast is a designated area of outstanding beauty. It is best known for its sweeping sandy beaches, rolling dunes, rocky promontories and isolated islands. A visit to the Northumberland coastline will plunge you into a striking landscape that evidences 7000 years of human activity.
Northumberland would be a perfect choice for you if your ideal holiday is exploring wildlife habitats. It offers a plethora of seabird colonies, sand dunes, saltmarshes, estuaries and grasslands where you can visit and observe the changing landscape through the migration of bird and marine life.
Norfolk’s 90 miles of coastline leads through stunning beaches with pristine golden sands, to soaring cliffs, then down into shingle spits, saltmarshes and estuaries. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides a haven for many London dwellers seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and as a result has a range of excellent pubs and restaurants to choose from, as well as some stunning hotels and B&Bs.