Some of the best beach break destinations around our network are right on your doorstep.
Whether you're looking for a summer beach break, or to escape the cold for some winter sun, we've got you covered.
ALL YEAR ROUNDERS
Located close to the town of Tavira, Praia do Barril beach is around 30 minutes from Faro by car, and offers visitors white-sand sunbathing and one of the quietest beaches on the southern Algarve coast. It’s a bit of a walk from the village of Santa Luzia, but a miniature train runs from the resort of Pedras d’El Rei in the summer. The beach has Blue Flag status and good facilities, including lifeguards, and an area of the dunes is known as the Anchor Graveyard – there are hundreds of rusting anchors arranged in rows, paying tribute to the tuna-fishing industry that used to thrive here, before numbers declined.
Visiting Faro in winter
Faro is just as enjoyable in winter as it is in the summer, with many visitors still arriving over the winter season, creating a good social atmosphere. With weather significantly better than that of the UK during the winter months, with temperatures throughout Dec, Jan and Feb average at around 16-17 degrees Celsius.
One of the great things about Malaga, is that not only do you have fantastic beaches in neighbouring towns, the city itself is within reach of a cluster of superb beaches, with the Playa Malagueta being just 10 minutes’ walk along the promenade. Within half an hours car journey, Torremolinos boasts 6 main beaches lined with palm trees and exceptional views of rugged coastal landscapes.
Visiting Malaga in winter
Malaga offers the best of both worlds during the winter months. Protected by mountains to the north and the sea to the sound and winter temperatures hovering around 17/18 degrees Celsius during the winter months, you’ll soon be shedding your jackets in the sun on your winter visit to Malaga. And just 100km from the city centre of Malaga, you can find the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which is a world-renowned ski destination.
Within an hour and a half away from the busy city of Alicante you will find some of the most beautiful beaches. Voted twice at Spain’s best beach, La Granadella is not one to miss on a trip to Alicante. Shaped like a horse-shoe, this cove has clear calm turquoise waters – making it the perfect place to snorkel, and is flanked by dense forest of Aleppo pine trees which visitors can wonder through to various look out points on the cliff tops.
Visiting Alicante in winter
With average temperatures of 18 degrees throughout the winter months, Alicante is a wonderful place to escape to during the winter months for a bit of sun.
On Jersey’s rugged Atlantic coast, St Ouen’s beach is a windswept natural playground for surfers and adrenaline seekers that stretches for miles. It’s home to one of the oldest surfing clubs in Europe and provides a stunning backdrop for beach walks all year round. There are strong currents, so swimmers need to take care, but it’s patrolled by RNLI lifeguards during the season, with flagged zones. Look out for leftover defences from the island’s WWII occupation, as well.
Make time to visit Cala Llombards on your trip to Palma Mallorca. It is a beautiful cove that’s flanked by two rocky outcrops covered in pine woods and is popular with locals and nearby holidaymakers. Water is shallow and turquoise blue, and though the beach is narrow, it extends a way inland. Water babies can enjoy swimming or snorkelling, and a headland path leads round to nearby resort Cala Santanyi and its famous Es Pontas – an arch-shaped rock in the sea that’s one of the island’s most photographed sights.
Fall bay in Rhossili is a beautiful quiet and sandy beach, with the interesting attraction of Giant’s Cave and good bouldering for climbers. Access is via the footpath next to the bunkhouse in Middleton, half a mile before Rhossili, or via a pretty valley walk from Mewslade Bay. This part of the Gower Peninsula is well worth a visit.
Known for its stunning coastline, Cornwall has plenty to offer when it comes to beaches. Porthcurno beach is about as close as you can get to a paradise beach in Britain. The sand is near-white and the sea shimmers turquoise under the sun. When the tide is out, a series of coves opens up along the bay, and seals and basking sharks are often spotted here. The sea is safe to swim in (with lifeguards during the summer months), though it may feel slightly cooler than beaches on Cornwall’s north coast. The beach is a five-minute walk from the car park, close to which is a pub with tennis courts for hire, a cafe to pick up food, drink and ice creams and the newly-refurbished Telegraph Museum, educating visitors about the roots of modern communication. Additionally, perched on the cliffs above the beach is the beautiful open-air Minack Theatre.
When visiting Southampton, a trip to Lulworth Cove is a must! Surely one of the most photographed parts of the UK coastline – certainly of the Jurassic Coast – it's main attraction (and photo op!) is Durdle Door, a 10,000-year-old natural limestone arch. The beach itself is pebbly, with blue waters and easy access. There are also plenty of rock pools to explore at low tide, teeming with sealife. Next to the car park is the Heritage Centre, which shares the history of the area and of Lulworth Estate, which owns the land. Other natural landmarks in the UNESCO World Heritage site include the Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole.
Inchydoney Island’s Blue Flag beach, south-west of Cork, is renowned as one of Ireland’s most family-friendly and beautiful beaches, with vast expanses of sand, dunes and good surfing conditions. Activities on offer include whale-watching and kayaking, and the nearest town is Clonakilty. There’s also a four-star hotel overlooking the beach, the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, making for a great weekend getaway – as long as the sun shines!
One of the UK’s most unspoilt mainland beaches, we recommend a trip to Holkham. It's a four-mile expanse on the north coast of Norfolk, and is part of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country, managed by Natural England in partnership with the Holkham Estate. The sandy beach is vast when the tide’s out, but at exceptionally-high tides water may fill a shallow basin behind the shoreline, creating a temporary lagoon. A walk on this beach is a walk in Gwyneth Paltrow’s footsteps, too: the Hollywood actress wandered the shore in Shakespeare in Love.
For those into an action packed beach, the plage de l'almanarre in Hyères is for you. This beach stretches nearly 5km along a sandy spit that runs from Hyères to the town of Giens. When the Mistral blows, many windsurfers and kitesurfers descend on the beach for a dose of watersports action. The eastern side of the spit, though, is sheltered by the Porquerolles and Port-Cros islands, with shallow, safe waters. Nearby, former salt marshes now harbour a variety of bird species, including flamingos.