The UK's best accessible beaches

Accessible, Beaches, Days out

Posted by Courtney on 27th September 2021

Sunset walk by the sea in a wheelchair

Spending a day at the beach can be a real stress reliever, but if, when you get there, you cannot approach or even see the shoreline due to its poor accessibility, it can put a real dampener on the day. Therefore, a little planning is required if you want to find the right beaches with wheelchair access for you.

By scouring the UK, we’ve come up with a top list of the UK’s best accessible beaches. Considerations included whether they are wheelchair accessible beaches with the presence of ramps, slopes, or slipways; whether they provide disabled toilet facilities and if so, how many; if there is step-free access to the beach and the water’s edge; if all-terrain wheelchairs are available for hire; and if there is disabled parking available.

If you already have a specific piece of coastline in mind, start planning your holiday now by browsing our accessible cottages near the beach.

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Accessible beaches in Cornwall

Porthminster Beach, St Ives

Porthminster Beach, St Ives

A truly gorgeous beach in an area that has no shortage of stunning shorelines and accessible beaches, Porthminster Beach has level concrete paths running the length of the beach and there is a short slope suitable for disabled access if you wish to touch upon the golden sands. If you're keen to get closer to the water, beach wheelchairs are available for hire from the cafes adjacent to the beach, and due to the sheltered nature of the beach, swimming is generally safe here.

Amenities: disabled WCs, disabled parking, sand chairs available for hire from local cafes

Lifeguards: yes, a summer lifeguard service is provided

Dog friendly: yes, except for 15 May to 30 September


Summerleaze Beach, Bude

Summerleaze Beach, Bude

This North Cornwall beach is a favourite amongst all visitors and it’s easy to see why it attracts repeat tourists year after year. In terms of accessibility, it really is top notch. Stroll along the canal to the lock to get an elevated view of the beach and sea pool before heading down towards the sand, where you’ll find accessible beach huts available for hire for the day. Beach sand chairs are offered for a small hire price and there is a Changing Places toilet facility with an electric hoist too.

Amenities: Changing Places WCs, sand chairs available for hire, accessible cafes and restaurants, accessible beach huts, Blue Badge holders park for free (prior registration required)

Lifeguards: patrols vary, see here for more information

Dog friendly: yes, all year. However, during the summer dogs must be kept on a lead during lifeguard patrol times


Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Another sheltered beach making it ideal for light swimming, Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth is generally considered the best beach in the area, and that’s before you take into account the accessibility. Granted, the ramp onto the beach may seem a little steep to some but it is certainly manageable and sand chairs are available for hire should you wish to dip your toes in the water. Disabled toilets of a good size are right next to the ramp.

Amenities: disabled spaces in the car park not far from the beach, disabled WCs with Braille and an accessible WC door, sand chairs available for hire from the beach cafe

Lifeguards: yes, a summer lifeguard service is provided

Dog friendly: yes, except for 15 May to 30 September

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Accessible beaches in Dorset

Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth

Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth

With 7 miles of beach to choose from, you could while away an entire day moseying along the promenade or heading out to sea along the pier. When you want to venture onto the sand, you can either grab the beach wheelchair (refundable deposit required) or use the Mobi-Mats at the Boscombe end of the beach. RADAR keys for the WC are available to buy at the Tourist Information Centre at Pier Approach and you can even treat yourself to some sizzling supper at one of two wheelchair-accessible electric beach BBQs.

Amenities: accessible parking on the promenade, RADAR key accessible WCs, beach wheelchair hire, three wheelchair accessible beach huts and Mobi-Mats are available at nearby Boscombe Beach, accessible electric beach BBQs (860mm high)

Lifeguards: yes, 2 April – 26 September

Dog friendly: must be kept on a lead on the promenade and between 1 May and 30 September, dogs are only allowed on certain parts of the beach


Sandbanks, Poole

Sandbanks, Poole

Deserving of its own entry, despite being just down the road from Bournemouth, Sandbanks is another beach where great effort has been made to help those with less mobility enjoy a fantastic day out at the beach. Access the beach via a ramp and use either the Mobi-Mats to get closer to the sea or one of the beach wheelchairs (after laying down a refundable deposit). Finish the day at Branksome Chine where two BBQ hot plates have been installed with wheelchair users in mind.

Amenities: RADAR key disabled WCs, beach wheelchairs available, Mobi-Mats provided during summer months, accessible electric beach BBQs (860mm high)

Lifeguards: yes, 1 May to 30 September

Dog friendly: must be kept on a lead on the promenade but there is a designated dog beach area at the western end of Sandbanks


Weymouth Beach, Weymouth

Weymouth Beach, Weymouth

Survey the spectacular sights of the Jurassic Coast as you wander down the level promenade and, if you’re here in the summer months, enjoy watching a volleyball competition or listening to some live music. Access the beach via a slipway and follow the matting which runs parallel to the promenade, or grab one of the free all-terrain wheelchairs and head down to the water.

Amenities: RADAR key disabled WCs and a Changing Places Facility, all-terrain beach wheelchairs, Mobi-Mats provided, disabled parking spaces along the esplanade

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: yes, from 1 November to mid-April dogs are permitted anywhere, and dogs are permitted all year round on the beach near the pavilion

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Accessible beaches in Sussex

Brighton Beach, Brighton and Hove

Brighton Beach, Brighton and Hove

After a petition signed by thousands of residents was submitted, Brighton and Hove's beaches saw improvements in terms of new viewing platforms, new beach wheelchairs and improved signage and maps. Rubber matting has been laid over the pebbles to help those with mobility issues and a new Changing Places WC is now available. If you feel like taking in an extraordinary and unique view, try the British Airways i360, a vertical cable car and the UK’s tallest observation tower.

Amenities: all-terrain wheelchairs available (two hours max and with a £25 refundable deposit), Changing Places WC, access matting, disabled parking for Blue Badge holders

Lifeguards: yes, end of May to the end of the school holidays

Dog friendly: yes, from 1 October to 30 April. Permitted on promenades all year on leads


West Wittering Beach, Chichester

West Wittering Beach, Chichester

Located within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, West Wittering is perhaps one of the lesser frequented beaches on our list. Whilst this may mean there are slightly fewer facilities on offer, if you’re happy to pack your own lunch and you prefer the quiet serene nature of a more remote spot, then you’re going to be in heaven. This beach is completely step free, however, the concrete ramp giving access to the beach is considered quite steep by some. Adult and child beach wheelchairs are available for a refundable £20 deposit and all of the three toilet blocks have RADAR accessible WCs.

Amenities: beach wheelchairs (adult and child), RADAR WCs, parking for disabled badge holders

Lifeguards: yes, Mid-May to Mid-September

Dog friendly: yes, from September to May


Camber Sands, nr Rye

Camber Sands, nr Rye

Once voted the ‘Best UK beach for sunbathing’ by Time Out magazine, Camber Sands is a very popular beach in that it is one of the only beaches on the Sussex coast to be populated with fine golden sands, rather than shingle and pebbles. It also has the only sand dunes in East Sussex, providing a little extra shelter from the elements. There is a slipway to access the beach and between the dunes, there is a cafe with a decked area, perfect for sitting and watching the shoreline.

Amenities: disabled parking spaces, disabled WCs

Lifeguards: patrols vary, see here for more information

Dog friendly: yes, between May and September but must be kept on a lead and restricted between zones F and H

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Accessible beaches in Yorkshire

Whitby West Cliff Beach, Whitby

Whitby West Cliff Beach, Whitby

Whitby has several beaches but West Cliff, also known as Whitby Sands Beach, is the most popular amongst those with mobility issues. The beach is accessible via a slope and the sands are generally firm. If you’re not sure your wheelchair can take it, you can hire a beach wheelchair or an all-terrain wheelchair from Whitby Tourist Information. If you want to move beyond the sands, the pier is mostly accessible, apart from some steps to reach the very end.

Amenities: disabled parking spaces, RADAR key WCs, beach and all-terrain wheelchairs available

Lifeguards: yes, between May and September

Dog friendly: yes, between September and May. The south end of the beach has a full restriction in place


Scarborough North Bay

Scarborough North Bay, Scarborough

Enjoy the flat and wide pavements that run for 3.5 miles alongside the sand and sea of Scarborough. There are ramps that lead down to the compacted sand, but these are probably better suited to manual wheelchairs, rather than the motorised kind. The Scarborough Spa is a grand Victorian building meant for staging open-air entertainment, but it’s just a lovely setting for sitting back and watching the blue waters through the floor-to-ceiling windows if the onshore wind is kicking up. If you fancy getting out on the water, the Regal Lady, a 'pleasure steamer', can accommodate wheelchairs on the top deck.

Amenities: free disabled parking spaces, accessible WCs at the Spa Complex, the Sea Life Centre and the lifeboat station

Lifeguards: yes, May to September

Dog friendly: yes, but not on the north half of the beach


Filey Beach, Filey

Filey Beach, Filey

A gloriously golden-sanded beach that stretches over 5 miles and with five-star water quality, Filey Beach is not to be missed. Although you won’t be able to hire beach wheelchairs, the beach is hemmed by a historic promenade with colourful beach huts and even a sculpture trail. If you are after a slightly longer walk, the easy access Filey Brigg walk could be for you. Suitable for those with impaired mobility, wheelchairs or mobility scooters, this beautiful walk is just 1.25 miles long. See here for more accessible coastal walks in the UK.

Amenities: disabled parking spaces, disabled access to the beach

Lifeguards: yes, May to September

Dog friendly: restrictions in certain areas from 1 May to 30 September only

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Accessible beaches in Scotland

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Portobello Beach is close enough to Edinburgh centre that public transport is easy to come by. There’s also disabled parking along the promenade if you’re arriving by car. The promenade itself is wide and flat and has multiple places to stop and watch the world go by. There are also numerous points by which to access the beach but due to soft sand, it is recommended you use a beach wheelchair. Luckily, Portobello has many on offer depending on your needs. You can choose from a Hippocampe, deBug or a Sandcruiser.

Amenities: RADAR key WCs, disabled parking, multiple styles of beach wheelchair

Lifeguards: no

Dog friendly: yes, the beach and promenade are dog friendly all year


Ardrossan Beach, North Ayrshire

Ardrossan Beach, North Ayrshire

Wander down the long and wide promenade, taking in the views of Arran across the water all the while. There are ramps of varying gradients giving you access to the beach and if you manage to get to the water’s edge, the water quality is good. Stick around in the evening if you can, as the sunsets are out of this world.

Amenities: RADAR key WCs, disabled parking near the beach

Lifeguards: no

Dog friendly: yes, dogs are welcome off lead all year


Broughty Ferry Beach, Dundee

Broughty Ferry Beach, Dundee

The pick of the litter in terms of Scottish accessible beaches, Broughty Ferry Beach has disabled parking 10 metres from its golden sands and a Changing Places WC. The beachside walkways offer zero drop to the beach so those of you not on wheels (or perhaps even those in manual wheelchairs if the sand is hard enough) can access the beach straight away from many points. The views along the walkways out to sea are phenomenal and if you want to keep the good vistas going, head to the nearby castle and harbour.

Amenities: Changing Places WC, beachfront disabled parking

Lifeguards: yes, June to September

Dog friendly: eastern beach dog friendly all year; no dogs in western area May to September

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Accessible beaches in Wales 

Barmouth Beach, Snowdonia

Barmouth Beach, Snowdonia

The picturesque Barmouth Beach (or Traeth Abermaw Beach) is one of the most popular in the southern Snowdonia region. It’s easy to see why, when you consider the craggy mountainous backdrop and the eye-catching Mawddach Estuary that helps to create this jaw-dropping scene. There are multiple ramps to the beach meaning access is great, and cafes and shops are all within easy reach of the beach.

Amenities: accessible WCs near Marine Parade

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: sections of the beach are dog friendly all year, others have restrictions April to September


Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

The beach made famous by the popular comedy Gavin & Stacey is undoubtedly a widely held favourite amongst locals and holidaymakers to southern Wales. The newly renovated seafront is a hive of activity with stalls and cafes galore and the promenade sweeps along the entirety of the beach. There’s a conveniently wide slipway down to the beach and there are three all-terrain wheelchairs available for use – you just need to show ID. If you fancy getting out on the water, head to Cardiff Bay (10 miles) where the Cardiff Sailing Centre has RYA Sailability training facilities for disabled sailors.

Amenities: disabled WCs, all-terrain wheelchairs

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: yes, October to April


Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

This long, sandy beach near Tenby is an idyllic spot for catching some rays while the water gently laps away. You can access the beach via a concrete slipway at the north end next to Harbour Car Park and there are four all-terrain wheelchairs available for a small hire fee. If you prefer your days sand-free, a walk along the harbour is great and there are plenty of shops and cafes to fill your time.

Amenities: disabled parking at Harbour Car Park and at other car parks further from the beach, disabled WCs, adult and child-size all-terrain wheelchairs

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: must be kept on a lead during summer around the harbour; there is a ban in place on the southern half of the beach from May to September, the rest of the beach is dog friendly all year

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Accessible beaches in Devon 

Woolacombe, North Devon

Woolacombe, North Devon

Once voted the finest beach in the UK, Woolacombe is still up there with the best. Its vast sands, safe waters and ridiculously extensive amount of parking means that even in the summer months, you’re sure to find a spot to sit and relax. You can hire either beach wheelchairs or all-terrain wheelchairs from the Tourist Information Centre (the second TIC entrance has a slope, rather than steps) and access to the beach is via a slipway.

Amenities: 20-minute, 3-hour or all-day disabled parking options, accessible WCs, beach wheelchairs or all-terrain wheelchairs

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: welcomed all year round, albeit with restrictions in zoned areas May to October


Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, North Devon

Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, North Devon

The popular seaside town of Ilfracombe is home to the privately owned and maintained Tunnels Beaches. This private ownership does mean that there’s a small fee to enter the beach, which might be controversial, but this does mean that the area is incredibly looked after, and you may well avoid the crowds. Enter through the paved and concreted tunnels to access a slope down to the beach. Choose either the Gentlemen’s Beach or the Ladies’ Beach with its tidal pool and remember to hire your beach wheelchairs.

Amenities: accessible WCs, beach wheelchairs

Lifeguards: yes, during the summer months

Dog friendly: in the tunnels yes, but not on the beach unfortunately


Bigbury on Sea, South Devon

Bigbury on Sea, South Devon

Lying in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the sands at Bigbury merge with a causeway that touches the iconic Burgh Island, allowing the panoramas to look exhilarating at either low or high tide. You can gain access to the beach via a sloping road from the main car park or a slipway from the road by Sedgewell Cove. If you require a beach wheelchair, you can hire one from the Venus Cafe right by the beach. Burgh Island looks most enticing and for those of you who are not on wheels and can manage a few steps, there is the ever-popular and unique ‘sea tractor' which can ferry you over to the island even with the tide in.

Amenities: disabled WCs, disabled car parking, beach wheelchairs available from the nearby cafe

Lifeguards: yes, May to September

Dog friendly: yes, but some restricted areas during the summer months

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Find all these beaches on this handy map


Now that you’ve got the scoop on the best accessible beaches in the UK, it’s time to start booking that well-deserved coastal break. Whether it’s an old-fashioned lodge or modern cottage, we’ve got increased-accessibility properties just for you right by the beach.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.