Beautiful beaches in the South of England - Our top picks
We've spent a lot of time exploring different beaches and seaside towns in the South of England, so thought we'd share our favourites with you. Some offer miles of soft sand and beautiful white cliffs, whilst others have cute markets and proper British fish and chips. Take a look at our list below to see which of the South's beaches we'd recommend you visit.
Known for: Fisherman's markets and craft stalls.
Whitstable is a quaint seaside town close to Canterbury and Herne Bay, with a stony beach and fishing harbour. Art and craft stalls line part of the beach, as well as food vendors selling freshly caught fish. We love wandering up and down the high street and seafront, looking at the independent shops and beautiful artworks, then having a drink by the harbour so we can watch the boats going out to sea.
Kingsgate Bay/Botany Bay
Known for: Its picturesque chalk cliff formations.
Kingsgate Bay and Botany Bay, two beautiful neighbouring beaches in Broadstairs, are both stunning locations for a walk. When the tide is out you can wander under the archway (seen in the pictures), which connects the two bays with Joss Bay.
The sea is safe for swimming and there are usually lifeguards on duty during the Summer.
With miles of sand and fairly few people outside of Summer holidays, it's a great place to walk your dog and let them run off lead. The local pubs are also dog-friendly, so you can head there for food and drinks afterwards and sit in a nice beer garden on the cliff with fantastic views out to sea.
Known for: Nature and wildflowers under the white cliffs.
Another beach with white cliffs, but this time we're taking you right underneath the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Samphire Hoe is a country park made from the soil that was discarded whilst digging and building the Channel Tunnel. Having been left for years at the base of the cliffs, nature took over and wildflowers started to pop up. The area is great for wildlife spotting and provides epic views of the cliffs. We love taking a picnic in Autumn and watching the waves roll over the sea wall. The drive down to the car park is pretty cool too; there's a long steep tunnel through the cliffs!
Known for: Surfing and sand dunes.
Croyde Bay is an awesome beach in Devon, which is popular with surfers and sunbathers alike. The waves can be pretty intense though, so look out for the flags and don't go into the water unless it's safe. There are lifeguards all through Summer, but the beach can get very busy, so it's easy to lose the people you're with! There are some lovely campsites within a few minutes walk of the beach and the town has a beautiful cafe serving scones with Devonshire cream and jam. If you're into hiking, you can walk for miles around the coast line to visit neighbouring beaches, or there are lots of shorter circular walks.
Known for: Being the most beautiful beach in Cornwall.
Perranporth was one the beaches we stayed at during our first road trip in our Adventure Wagon and prides itself on being the 'most beautiful beach in Cornwall'. We can't disagree. Again, popular with surfers due to the waves and very busy in Summer. We found some washed up jellyfish here too, so be careful you don't stand on any. There are some ancient ruins nearby if you like exploring historical areas, and there are plenty of scenic walking routes. The town has a plethora of shops, cafes and pubs, and Newquay isn't far if you fancy somewhere with more nightlife for the evening.
Known for: Parties and the pier.
Chris doesn't like Brighton, so this is one I'm recommending. I lived in Brighton for a year, so feel quite fondly towards it, but Brighton can feel a bit tacky and run-down. That's half the charm though! If you want to experience the stereotypical British seaside resort, you have to wander up and down the pier, play on the slot machines, eat fish & chips and then grab a drink on the beach. I personally preferred to explore the independent coffee shops and sit in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion, or spend hours browsing the shops (Brighton is a fantastic shopping town, but I still get lost). As for the nightlife, Brighton is heaving with hen and stag dos, but if you want to avoid that side of it, there are loads of options for a great night out minus the fancy dress and rowdy crowds. Around North Laine and the Lanes, you'll find lots of quirky pubs and bars, there are always comedy nights, live bands and theatre productions going on, and under the arches along the seafront, you'll find some epic clubs open until 6-7am. And of course, you have to head to Buddies for a 24-hour breakfast once you've finished dancing.
Known for: Pristine golden sand.
Sandbanks is a small peninsula in Dorset with a pristine sandy beach and a heap of million-pound mansions. It's known as the UK's version of Palm Beach, although nowhere near as warm. I just love the shallow waters and soft sand. On a hot Summer's day you can imagine yourself on holiday without leaving the country. It's also not that far from the New Forest, a lovely National Park full of wild horses. I'd highly recommend camping in the New Forest! Waking up with horses roaming around is always fun.
What do you look for when choosing to a beach? Sand, views, history, culture? Let us know in the comments below!