The best secluded beaches in the UK

Beaches, Coastal

Posted by Ruth on 9th November 2020

Many people visit the coast for a traditional holiday with seaside shows, fairground rides and plenty of attractions to keep everyone occupied. But many people want to soothe their soul and clear their mind with a trip to a remote beach, where the sheer scale of the sands and the sound of the crashing waves clear away everyday stresses and strains.

With 11,000 miles of coastline, there are plenty of quiet, sandy beaches to be found in the UK, but where to begin looking? We’ve searched the coast for the best quiet beaches in the UK and uncovered our favourites to help you plan your next peaceful holiday by the coast.

Whether you’re looking for white-sand beaches on the edge of an island, or a tiny cove hidden from view by towering cliffs, take a look at our guide to the best secluded beaches in the UK. And if you’re looking for a cosy cottage nearby, just click the button below.

Coastal cottages

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Secluded beaches in the South West


Heddon's Mouth, Devon

One of the most secluded beaches in the UK, Heddon’s Mouth is hidden from view by huge cliffs and woodland and is accessed at the end of a 1-hour walk through Exmoor's scenery. Starting at the National Trust car park at Heddon Valley, from here you can take a scenic walk down through the valley to reap the rewards of the views Heddon's Mouth has to offer.

Facilities: Parking, toilets and a pub at the National Trust’s Heddon Valley.

Stay nearby: Beacon Down, Lynton and Lynmouth | sleeps 6


Pedn Vounder beach

Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall

With crystal-clear water and a beautiful sandy beach, it’s difficult not to fall in love with Pedn Vounder. On a spring low tide, you can walk here from Porthcurno beach, a 20-minute walk, but as the tide comes in you will find yourself cut off. At this point, the only way out is a steep cliff path. The beach’s limited access makes it a secluded spot and it is popular as an unofficial naturist beach.

Facilities: No facilities at this secret beach – there is parking and public toilets nearby at Porthcurno.

Stay nearby: The Owls House, Mousehole | sleeps 7 + 1 dog


Bossington Beach

Bossington Beach, Somerset

Wander through the village, past the charming thatched cottages, before arriving at this peaceful pebble beach. While you’re here, you can spot rare birds and insects, and also look at for historic landmarks such as World War II pillboxes and lime kilns. On a clear day, you can see across to Wales.

Facilities: Parking, toilets, picnic tables and BBQ stands at the National Trust car park in the village.

Stay nearby: Porlock Sunnyside, Porlock | sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Church Ope Cove

Church Ope Cove, Dorset

This sheltered cove near the tip of the Isle of Portland is a great place to spend a day on the beach. Surrounded by cliffs on three sides and facing south, it enjoys a warm climate which creates the perfect atmosphere for swimming in the calm sea – although currents outside of the cove are strong so be careful. If you’re lucky, you might spot a dolphin out at sea.

Facilities: Toilets by the beach and free parking at the top of the cliff.

Stay nearby: Chesil Lookout, Portland | sleeps 6


Secluded beaches on the South Coast


Kingsgate Bay

Kingsgate Bay, Kent

Between the popular beaches of Margate and Broadstairs, Kingsgate Bay is a quiet haven on the Kent coastline. Wander along the coast at low tide from Botany Bay or climb down the steep stairs from the clifftop to discover this sheltered bay hidden against the backdrop of the area’s iconic white cliffs. Kids will love exploring the rock pools and paddling in the sea.

Facilities: Public toilets at Botany Bay; parking and a family pub at the top of the cliffs.

Stay nearby: Seapoint, Margate | sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Steephill Cove

Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight

One of the prettiest beaches on the Isle of Wight, this sheltered cove is close to the popular resort of Ventnor and offers a welcome break from the crowds. Soak up the sun, paddle in the sea and dig in the sand before heading to the nearby restaurant to sample some freshly caught seafood.

Facilities: Public toilets and deck chair hire on the beach; parking at the Botanical Gardens or a private car park on the main road, restaurant nearby.

Stay nearby: Western Lines Cottage, Ventnor | sleeps 8


Cuckmere Haven

Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

At the mouth of the River Cuckmere and at the foot of the giant white cliffs of the Seven Sisters, you’ll find this secluded pebble beach. A beautifully scenic spot, the beach is rich with wildlife. Extend your visit by exploring the nearby Seven Sisters Country Park and the Seaford Head Natural Reserve.

Facilities: Parking, toilets and tearoom at Seven Sisters Country Park.

Stay nearby: Chyngton Cottage, Seaford | sleeps 4


Birling Gap

Birling Gap, East Sussex

Around the coast from Cuckmere Haven is another fantastic secluded beach with a backdrop of the beautiful white cliffs. The pebbly beach is fringed by clear water which drops at low tide to reveal a series of rock pools. You can peer into these pools to spot sea life or hunt for fossils near the cliff. There is also a section of nudist beach here.

Facilities: National Trust car park, toilets and café at the top of the cliff.

Stay nearby: Glebe Cottage, Eastbourne | sleeps 6 + 5 dogs


Secluded beaches in the East of England


Scolt Head Island

Scolt Head Island, Norfolk

Scolt Head Island is an offshore barrier island that can only be accessed by boat. With a secluded and often deserted expanse of sandy beaches, you’re guaranteed some peace and quiet on this spectacular UK beach. The island is less than 4 miles long and provides a haven for wildlife.

Facilities: No facilities on the island; nearest facilities at Burnham Overy Staithe include a café, a shop and parking.

Stay nearby: Sandpiper – Norfolk, Brancaster Staithe | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs


Dunwich Beach

Dunwich Beach, Suffolk

Down the Suffolk coast from popular Southwold, Dunwich Beach offers peace and seclusion surrounded by nature. Park at the heath and walk through flowering gorse and heather to the quiet shingle beach, at the foot of some low, crumbling cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for birds from the nearby RSPB Minsmere reserve.

Facilities: National Trust parking, toilets and café at Dunwich Heath.

Stay nearby: Friston’s Forge Cottage, Saxmundham | sleeps 3 + 2 dogs


Brightlingsea

Brightlingsea, Essex

Away from the popular Essex beaches of Clacton and Southend, Brightlingsea beach is at the mouth of the River Stour and boasts some spectacular scenery. Colourful beach huts line the promenade and you can also see the Grade II-listed Bateman’s Tower in the distance. The beach is popular with water sports enthusiasts and families who both love the calm water, perfect for sailing and paddling.

Facilities: Parking, public toilets and a café.

Stay nearby: Salty Dog, Brightlingsea | sleeps 2 + 1 dog


Covehithe

Covehithe, Suffolk

A unique and inspiring beach on the Suffolk coast, Covehithe is reached at the end of a lane which appears to run off the cliff edge – a sign of coastal erosion in the area. The smooth, sand-washed trees emerging from the beach and the ruined church nearby give an eerie feel but it’s a wonderful spot for a secluded walk.

Facilities: Limited roadside parking but no other facilities; head down the coast to Southwold instead.

Stay nearby: Little Hawthorn, Pakefield | sleeps 2 + 1 dog


Great British Coast


Secluded beaches in the North of England


Haverigg Beach

Haverigg Beach, Cumbria

Being so close to the Lake District, Cumbria’s beaches are often passed over meaning they’re rarely busy. Haverigg Beach has views towards the Lake District fells reminding you of your location, but also boasts a huge stretch of sandy beach at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, with plenty of room to find some peace and quiet.

Facilities: Parking, a children’s play area and a café. RSPB Hodbarrow is close by.

Stay nearby: The Peat House, Nibthwaite | sleeps 4


Spurn Point

Spurn Point, East Yorkshire

At the mouth of the River Humber near Hull, Spurn Point is a 3-mile stretch of beach reaching into the estuary, away from the land, making it one of the best secluded beaches in the UK. It’s not a place for swimming, as the currents in the estuary are very strong, but it’s a great place to sit and soak up the solitude while watching migrating birds fly overhead.

Facilities: Parking, toilets, café and a shop at the Spurn Discovery Centre.

Stay nearby: Highgate Townhouse, Beverley | sleeps 6


Ross Back Sands

Ross Back Sands, Northumberland

If you’re looking for quiet beaches along the Northumberland coast, head to Ross Back Sands. This beautiful, sandy beach has wonderful views of Bamburgh and Lindisfarne, but the 15-minute walk from the car park means that you’ll often have the place to yourself. The beach is truly vast, so head off on a long walk – you may even spot some seals!

Facilities: Parking near Ross Farm, but no other facilities. More facilities in Belford.

Stay nearby: Holy Island View, Bamburgh | sleeps 5 + 2 dogs


Gaddings Dam

Gaddings Dam, West Yorkshire

Are you looking for quiet beaches in the UK but live nowhere near the coast? Gaddings Dam is a secret beach nestled in Yorkshire countryside, 50 miles from the sea. It’s a former reservoir with a sandy beach, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The fact it can only be reached via a hike over the moors makes it even more secluded.

Facilities: Park sensibly on Lumbutts Road in Todmorden and begin the hike; there’s a pub close by for refreshments when you return.

Stay nearby: Daisy Lea Barn, Holmfirth | sleeps 11 + 3 dogs


Secluded beaches in Wales


Porthdinllaen

Porthdinllaen, North Wales

This picture-postcard fishing village is one of the best hidden beaches in the UK, where the sea gently laps the shore, fringed by pretty stone houses. Found at the tip of a small peninsula in North Wales, you can visit to lie on the sands and enjoy a pint from the inn which was once named one of the ten best beach bars in the world.

Facilities: National Trust parking, public toilets and a pub.

Stay nearby: Coastal Retreat, Nefyn | sleeps 5 + 1 dog


Porth Iago

Porth Iago, North Wales

On the lovely Llyn Peninsula, Porth Iago could rival many warmer destinations with its golden sands and turquoise sea. The beach is sheltered by the cliffs making it easy to spend a day here soaking up the scenery. You may also spot fishermen on the rocks as this is a popular place for anglers.

Facilities: Parking available near Ty Mawr farm, but no other facilities available.

Stay nearby: Bryn Tirion, Abersoch | sleeps 4 + 1 dog



Presipe Bay, Pembrokeshire

One of the best-kept secret beaches in the UK, Presipe Bay is nestled close to Manorbier on the Pembrokeshire coast. Huge cliffs conceal a sandy cove, gently lapped by the sea, perfect for lazy days by the coast – although the beach virtually disappears at low tide so check the tide tables before you go.

Facilities: Parking on the road by the campsite in Manorbier; more facilities in Manorbier itself.

Stay nearby: The Contented Cottage Tenby | sleeps 8


Traeth Llyfn

Traeth Llyfn, Pembrokeshire

Another beautifully remote beach in the UK, Traeth Llyfn is accessed by some very steep metal stairs which could put potential visitors off. Once you’re there, however, you’ll discover a huge sandy beach flanked by towering cliffs, where there’s plenty of room to play ball games. This is another tidal beach, so be aware of the tide times.

Facilities: Parking in Abereiddi or Porthgain; further facilities in Porthgain.

Stay nearby: The Street at Porthgain | sleeps 2 + 1 dog


Secluded beaches in Scotland


Sandwood Bay, Highlands

Sandwood Bay is a beautiful, remote beach situated at the end of a 4-mile walk, making it possibly one of the quietest beaches in the UK. With a 1-mile stretch of pink sand, and dunes and rocky cliffs to add drama to the scene, Sandwood never feels busy and offers a tranquil haven.

Facilities: Parking at the end of the road in Blairmore; further facilities in Kinlochbervie.

Stay nearby: Inchard Barn Cottage, Kinlochbervie | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs


Aberlady Bay

Aberlady Bay, East Lothian

Despite being only 20 miles from Edinburgh, Aberlady Bay is a real hidden gem. It’s popular with birdwatchers and is the site of the first local nature reserve in Britain. At low tide, a vast stretch of sand is revealed and, along with the dune system of the nature reserve, makes an awe-inspiring location to visit.

Facilities: Parking in a small car park to the east of Aberlady village, toilets near the car park.

Stay nearby: Filters Cottage, Edinburgh and Lothians | sleeps 2


Seilebost Beach

Seilebost Beach, Isle of Harris

Situated on the Outer Hebridean island of Harris, Seilebost Beach has to be one of the most isolated beaches in the UK. It’s worth the trip, however; you will be greeted by clear, aqua waters and a white powder-sand beach with the impressive backdrop of mountains in the distance, plus some of the best sunsets in the country. It’s truly an inspiring place.

Facilities: None whatsoever – restaurants and other facilities can be found in Tarbert, 10 miles away.

Stay nearby: Taigh Ailein, Manish | sleeps 6 + 1 dogs


Lunan Bay

Lunan Bay, Angus

Known as one of the best beaches in Agnes, this secluded beach boasts a 1-mile-long stretch of sand fringed by dunes and bisected by Lunan Water. The cave and arch at the north of the beach adds a sense of scale and drama, while the ruins of Red Castle hint at the beach’s historic past.

Facilities: Parking at the north of the beach, behind the sand dunes, plus a café. More facilities in Montrose.

Stay nearby: Yew Cottage – Dunninald Castle | sleeps 2 + 1 dog


Best secluded beaches in the UK on a map

 


More inspiration

For more ways you can explore the wonderful Great British coastline on holiday, take a look at our guides.


Enjoy a holiday to the coast

There’s nothing quite like a holiday by the coast. Spend your days roaming the sands and breathing in the salty air, and your nights in a cosy cottage listening to the sounds of the waves on the shore. Find the perfect setting for your next beach holiday with our collection of coastal cottages.

Coastal cottages



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.