Beach season has arrived – but it doesn’t have to be all about far-flung destinations and private islands. We live on our own island, after all, and that means no shortage of rugged coastlines to explore. With the tourist-favourite beaches looking to be overrun this summer, here are our favourite spots for sand and sea, without the crowds.

Porth Ceiriad Beach, Abersoch

At the end of a fair walk from the nearest parking and a steep set of steps awaits the clear blue sea at Porth Ceiriad, often touted as one of the loveliest beaches in the area. This one is a watersports paradise, often packed with watercraft in the summer – but winter is the time to come here and experience the best surf on the Llŷn Peninsula. 


Musselwick Sands, Pembrokeshire

Getting to Musselwick Sands calls for a 10-minute walk across fields and a steep descent of some steps in the cliffside – which, happily for us, seems enough to deter most people. Combine that with the fact that this beach only really exists between mid- and low-tide and you’ve got a pretty good chance of having the place to yourself – just keep an eye on those tides.

Covehithe Beach, Beccles, Suffolk

Sitting on a practically-forgotten stretch of the Suffolk coast, Covehithe Beach serves as a reminder of nature’s power and beauty all at once. The peaceful stretch of sand waits at the end of a lane which continues into the sea if you look at a map, and in front of crumbling golden cliffs, interrupted only by the stumps of trees which used to stand in the North Sea’s way. Well worth the trek.


Ross Back Sands, Northumberland

Three miles of unspoiled beach and dunes sound like your thing? Head to the (perhaps unexpected) Northumberland coast and take on the mile walk from the nearest parking to get to Ross Back Sands. No people, plenty of local wildlife and a distant view of Bamburgh Castle, away from all the tourists at Lindisfarne – to us, this is the real Northumberland.

Sunny Cove, Salcombe, Devon

Salcombe might be a staycation favourite – but not all of its beaches are on the tourist trail. Take a ferry from the town across Salcombe Harbour and find your way across the rugged cliff paths to reach this secluded gem. Pro tip: take everything you’ll need for the day with you, including some shelter if that’s your thing.


Broad Sands, North Devon

We wouldn’t recommend choosing this beach off its name alone – it’s neither broad, nor sandy. What it is, is a little-known cove between Watermouth and Combe Martin, offering all the caves, nooks and crannies you could want to explore and some of the best swimming in the area. Just be careful because when we say there’s nothing here, we mean nothing – and that includes lifeguards.

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