Ten of the best lesser known beaches in Britain

With the pound continuing to fall against both the dollar and the euro, and with us having some of the world’s best beaches on our coastline, there is no need to travel abroad for a great holiday this summer. Essential Travel, the provider of travel insurance and airport parking have compiles a list of the top 10 lesser known, and thus less crowded, UK beaches that are well worth a visit this summer.

Porthminster Beach, Cornwall

St Ives is known as one of the loveliest Bays in Britain and it often gets the warmest weather thanks to the Gulf Stream.  This beach is famed for lovely soft sand and incredibly clean water.  Close to town and railway station, with lifeguard cover, means this beach is safe and accessible for all. For those who want to grab a bite after a dip in the water the Porthminster Cafe is popular for returning visitors. And there are also stunning scenic cliff walks along the South West Coast Path.

Blackpool Sands, Devon

Not to be mistaken with Blackpool Beach, the picturesque Blackpool Sands is tucked away in a bay situated in South Devon.  With its beautiful turquoise blue water, you will feel as if you are in the Mediterranean without having to leave home. Blackpool Sands is a shingle beach where the tide does not vary much, making it safer for little ones. The beach is cleaned daily, with shower and toilet facilities, disabled access as well as lifeguards on patrol during the summer months; however no dogs are allowed during this time.

Surf-Skiing,windsurfing, kayaking and boogie boarding are all available, and you can also hire snorkel’s and wetsuits and discover the amazing marine life at Blackpool Sands. For the little ones, there is a sand pit for hours of sandcastle fun. Blackpool gardens offers a slower pace, so take a relaxed stroll and enjoy the lovely planted garden and beautiful flowers with stunning glimpses of the ocean all along the path.

Hastings- East Sussex

This beach is a child and wheelchair friendly sandy and pebble beach that lies a short distance from the town facilities which include boutique hotels and restaurants with great views of the beach. Hastings is also a great place for a fishing day out, with dinky fishing boats lining up ready to head out: you might even get lucky and catch your own fish for supper!

Hastings offers a number of activities in and around town. Why not go for a spot of shopping in one of their lovely little antique shops, after which you can try out one of the restaurants in the area?  You can also go on the cliff top tram for lovely views of the ocean or explore the Castle .

Harbour Beach,Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Tenby stretches over North, South, Castle and Harbour beaches.  All having been acknowledged in the list of Britain’s cleanest beaches, they all offer something different for the beach-goer.Harbour Beach is a short walk from the centre of town, it is found among the fishing boats at the rear of the Harbour.  With the various cafes available why not break tradition and get an indian rather than fish and chips whilst relaxing by the beach? Other activities on the beach include kite-surfing and fishing. On a different note, how about visiting the glassblowing shop where you can buy nifty ornaments and glass,  blown and shaped in front of your own eyes!

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Although Scotland is not ideally known for its great beach weather, it does have some delightful seaside charm, especially when the weather warms up.  Affectionately known as ‘Porty’, Portobello beach in Edinburgh offers a more traditional and humble British seaside experience. Dog friendly all year round with lovely flat long stretch of beach, it’s perfect for taking a sunset stroll.  After which a fish and chips for supper will definitely be needed: this you can get at any of the cafes along the pleasant promenade, which is also great for cycling. There is also a classic arcade nearby (so make sure you have your spare-change ready).  With clear views across to Fife and lovely breeze to fly a kite, this beach is great for a lovely picnic day out.

Mundesley, Norfolk

Mundesley is centrally located on the North Norfolk coast. Not only is this beach one of the cleanest it is also safe;  with Mundesley having its own inshore lifeboat and Coastwatch manned by local volunteers.

Mundesley hosts a number of gift shops, pubs and cafes dotted around the seafront, so whether you want to grab a little souvenir or a meal (there’s even chinese takeaway), theres something for everyone. The play area in the Gold park ensures even the little ones will be kept occupied for hours. The Manor Hotel, on a cliff top location, is an ideal place to stay while visiting Mundesley.

Bournemouth, Dorset

Bournemouth  boasts wide, sandy, clean friendly and beautiful beaches, not forgetting the amazing views of the Isle of Wight and Purbecks. Bournemouth has everything you would need for a great day at the beach, with great facilities and activities on offer for everyone.  The beach is easily accessible with lifts along pathways on the East cliff, West cliff and Fishermans Walk.  It is a safe beach with lifeguards based along the stretch of the beach. Whether you want to laze about on a deckchair by the beach, or take a stroll on the seaside pier, Bournemouth is the beach to do it.  For something a bit more upbeat, why not hire some bikes and go cycling, play a round of golf or hit the waves and go surfing, bodyboarding or swimming.

Gwithian Towans Beach, Cornwall

Cornwall makes the list again with Gwithian Towans, a great beach with rock pools to enjoy. The beach is accessed along a path through the open sand dunes. Gwithian Towans overlooks Godrevy Lighthouse and with consistent quality waves, it’s a fantastic beach for surfers of all abilities.  The beach is lifeguard covered during the summer months.  At low tide, the caves are uncovered, so the kids will really enjoy exploring!  A regular sighting at Gwithian is a colony of seals over the headland, so you certainly won’t lack company on your visit here.

Why not take a cliff walk for the best of the breathtaking views that Cornwall has to offer in this remote and unspoilt area. After which you can visit the Sunset Surf beach cafe and bar, fully licensed and open all year round.  This is a relaxing setting for you to sit back and enjoy the locally sourced and high quality food and drink on offer (not forgetting the views across the water).

Sandbanks, Dorset

With more Blue Flags awarded than any other UK beach resort, golden sands, and clear clean water.  You can tick safety off the list, as Sandbanks has zones across the beach for swimmers and windsurfers with lifeguards and wardens patrolling regularly.  Sandbanks offers designated barbeque areas, as well as a beach office to hire equipment (snorkels and wetsuits) to make your stay at the beach that much more enjoyable.

You can try something new every day at Sandbanks (host of the British Beach polo championships), with a variety of activities ranging from sailing, windsurfing and beach volleyball.

Port Eynon Beach, Gower

The Best Beach in Britain for 2011 had to make this list because it still ranks highly as an all-round great beach to visit.  Port Eynon, on the Southern Point of Gower in Wales is the most tourist oriented of our  beaches.  This beach is a great place if you want a weekend away at the seaside with a large collection of seaside shops, tents, caravans and bungalows available for renting, as well as a Youth Hostel offering cheap accommodation (for young and old) by the beachfront.  Port Eynon is surrounded by a stunning landscape, rugged but family friendly with its idyllic village offering a charming pub and chippie.

Essential Travel is one of the UK’s leading online travel extra providers, providing priority access to the most sought after car parks, hotels and lounges at all major airports across the UK. Essential Travel is now part of Thomas Cook UK  Ireland. For further information visit http://www.essentialtravel.co.uk; or call 0845 803 5434 free.