1. Llangrannog, Wales
Tucked away some seven miles south of New Quay in mid-Wales, this quaint coastal village has a population of less than a thousand – but its two unspoilt sandy beaches, looking out over Cardigan Bay, have been attracting cove explorers for hundreds of years.
The likes of famous classical music composer Edward Elgar and poet Dylan Thomas have all spent time gazing out to sea and reflecting from the spectacular Ceredigion coastline – and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try the Pentre Arms.
2. Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull
Situated on the north western tip of this secluded island, the picturesque Calgary Bay is set amongst rolling green hills and wild wooded meadows.
Overlooked by haunting ruined settlements and iron-age forts, the site, which is around 12 miles from the traditional fishing port Tobermory, has quickly become one of the most photographed destinations in the highlands.
In fact, one visitor found this beach so beautiful that he paid tribute to it, from all the way across the Atlantic it gazes out upon. After visiting the bay one summer in the late 1800s, Canadian Colonel James McLeod returned home and suggested the name Fort Calgary, which later gave rise to the city of Calgary, Alberta.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try the Brockville Bed and Breakfast.
3. Prussia Cove, Cornwall
Flanked by sharp, rocky mounts, this Penzance paradise is today a hive for scuba divers and cliff jumpers, but was once home to one of Britain’s most successful and notorious smugglers, John Carter.
Indeed, this piece of chocolate box coastline owes its romantic name to the criminal, who christened it such because as a child, he used to pretend to be Frederick the Great, King of Prussia when frolicking around its earthy landscape with his friends.
But, don’t worry, there are now many more legitimate reasons to be found wandering around the bay, and since 1972, it has been hosting the International Musicians’ Seminar, attracting some of the best soloists and orchestras in the world to its Cornwall shores.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try Lower Colenso Farm.
4. Filey, North Yorkshire
With over five miles of unspoilt golden, sandy beach on offer, Filey is the ideal venue for a summer seaside stroll.
Just a wet pebble’s throw from popular east coast towns such as Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington, the quaint resort is certainly in good company, but not as well-known as its famous neighbours, meaning that its Victorian charm is still largely intact.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try All Seasons Filey.
5. Leigh On Sea, Essex
A charming little village lined with narrow, cobbled streets and traditional seaside clapboard cottages, Leigh On Sea offers the closest beach to London – some 30 miles east of the capital.
A quintessentially English fishing resort, the seafront is littered with cockle sheds and working vessels, and a small, sandy beach is the perfect place to relax.
Every September, the Old Leigh Regatta provides entertainment in the form of boating events and cockle-eating contests.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try this tranquil Victorian cottage.
6. Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex
Despite only being separated from the enormously popular Camber Sands by the mouth of the River Rother, Winchelsea Beach is a truly secret beach. Snuck away from the nearest road behind a high grassy sea wall this stunning piece of East Sussex Coastline is a regular for photographers, kitesurfers, birdwatchers and dog walkers. With Pett Level and it’s art deco houses at one end and the tiny hamlet of Rye Harbour where Alan Clark MP wrote and Sir Paul McCartney moored his boat at the other, this is an amazing stretch of pebbled banks and wide sand flats only interrupted by the seawashed smooth stumps of Victorian wooden groynes. The Rye Harbour end of the beach backs onto a sizeable wetland nature reserve and the Rother keeps the holidaying hordes at bay.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Try The Pilot’s House.