10 OF THE BEST BEACHES
Here are ten of our favourite sandy spots to enjoy, whether you’re looking to stay horizontal and dry or get wet and wild! The best bit? They’re all on the Flybe network!
ST OUEN’S BAY (JERSEY)
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.
FALL BAY, RHOSSILI (CARDIFF)
This beautiful beach is quiet and sandy, 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.
LULWORTH COVE, DORSET (SOUTHAMPTON)
Surely one of the most photographed parts of the UK coastline – certainly of the Jurassic Coast – Lulworth Cove’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.
PRAIA DO BARRIL (FARO)
Located close to the town of Tavira, this 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.
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!
HOLKHAM BEACH (NORWICH)
One of the UK’s most unspoilt mainland beaches, Holkham is 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.
CALA LLOMBARDS, MALLORCA (PALMA)
Cala Llombards 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.
PORTHCURNO, CORNWALL (NEWQUAY)
Porthcurno 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.
LUSKENTYRE SANDS, ISLE OF HARRIS (STORNOWAY)
Luskentyre Bay is one of Harris’ largest and most picturesque beaches, with near-white sand and crystal-clear blue waters. It looks out over the Sound of Taransay to Taransay island, where Castaway 2000 was filmed, and there are vast dunes on the north side. Nearby, there are smaller coves that are just as pretty but lack the spectacle and expanse. This year, it was ranked fourth best UK beach in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
PLAGE DE L’ALMANARRE, HYÈRES (TOULON)
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.
Whichever beautiful beach you choose, we’d love to see your summer snaps. Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.