The UK's best winter beach destinations

Beaches, Coastal, Seasonal

Posted by Kate Atkin on 1st December 2021

The beach huts at Mudeford Beach covered in fresh white snow with a dark grey sky behind them and a red lifeguard pillar in front

Image credit: Carl Draper

Winter is one of our favourite times of the year to be beside the seaside: the sand dunes are steeper, the waves are wilder and it’s infinitely quieter.

Adorned in toasty woolly layers and armed with a hot flask of tea, a blustery winter walk along a British beach is a real adventure. Not to mention, fish and chips taste better when they’re eaten in the biting cold! Indeed, there is much to be said for winter beach holidays in the UK.

As part of our Winter Holiday Watch campaign in partnership with the RSPB, we’ve asked our followers on social media to share with us some of their favourite winter beach destinations in the UK. From Scotland to Somerset, discover some of the most untamed and atmospheric expanses of coastline in the country.

For more seaside inspiration throughout the year, browse our guide to the UK’s most beautiful coastal destinations in autumn.

Holiday cottages for winter

Two girls looking out to sea watching the sunset at Clevedon Beach

Image credit: James H 

Clevedon Beach

Clevedon, Somerset

Although busy with buckets and spades in the summer, Clevedon Beach in Somerset takes on a life of its own in the colder months and becomes wild and isolated. Offering some of the best winter beach walks, the sea whips up frothy surf and crashing waves that are mesmerising to watch.

James has captured this wonderful scene of his daughters bundled up in their woollies, watching the seafoam glitter beneath the wintry sun as it slowly melts into the horizon.

Read our guide to the dazzling beaches in Somerset and be inspired to book a UK winter beach holiday.

Clevedon cottages

Snow-capped mountains pictured across the water from the sand at Ayr Beach

Image credit: Ataxia Scot

Ayr Beach

Ayrshire, Scotland

Guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs after a night on the local single malt, Ayr Beach is one of the top winter beach destinations in Scotland. Void of crowds, the broad expanse of butterscotch sand makes for a truly exhilarating wander with a soaring backdrop of the rugged peaks of the Isle of Arran.

Ataxia’s image above has encapsulated this setting perfectly: the swirling Firth of Clyde is a misty pale blue, and the towering mountains are crowned in a dusting of glistening snow.

Pull on your hiking boots and set out on some more scenic trails with our guide to Scotland’s best coastal walks

Ayr cottages

Essex coast montage: a family walks along the sandy tideline and image looking down a beach from the sand

Image credits: Jolenescrazyfamilyof6 and Laura Antill

Essex coast

Walton-on-the-Naze and Shoebury East Beach, Essex

Several of our followers told us that they thought some of the best winter beaches in the UK could be found along the Essex coast. And judging by the snaps sent in by Jolene and Laura above, we certainly agree.

Whipped by the wind and coastal elements, there's something undeniably alluring about the bleakness of Essex's beaches in winter. As the waves roll in on untouched beaches, it’s the perfect time to print footsteps in the sand, sometimes without another soul in sight.

If you’re looking for more seaside spots to explore during winter in the UK, we’ve found some further picture-postcard locations along the coast for you to peruse.

Essex cottages

A brilliant red and orange sunset sets the sea alight at Broadstairs. Headland and walkway visible on the right-hand side of the image

Image credit: Beany44


Isle of Thanet, Kent

It’s no wonder that Broadstairs in Kent has made our list of the best winter beach destinations in the UK, with not just one, but an impressive seven powder-soft beaches and bays, all linked by winding cliff-top paths.

For a cleansing blast of cold air, nothing beats a brisk seaside stroll along the shoreline, searching for shells among the dunes. The beach above has been caught amid a magical sunset when hues of pinks, oranges and purples are sweeping across the sky, bathing the sea in a soft, sultry haze.

Why not add some more bucket list beaches to your winter holiday itinerary with our guide to 10 of the best beaches in Kent?

Broadstairs cottages

Mudeford Sandbank Beach - colourful beach huts covered in snow and red lifeguard post in foreground

Image credit: Carl Draper

Mudeford Sandbank Beach

Christchurch, Dorset

Situated at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour in Dorset, Mudeford Sandbank forms a barrier between the large natural harbour and the sea, and is designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. 

The intense beauty of this spot is heightened in the winter, when gentle lapping waves transform into crashing, foaming mini mountains, pounding the sand with all their might. Carl achieved this spectacular shot after a fresh dose of snowfall left a pristine blanket atop the rooves of the sandbank’s famed pastel beach huts.

If you’re longing to see some more beautiful beaches in Dorset, we’ve done the hard work and narrowed down a few more for you.

Mudeford cottages

Looking across Brixham Harbour and town as the sun sets in a blaze of pinks, purples, yellows and oranges

Image credit: Callum


English Riviera, Devon

The traditional fishing town of Brixham boasts some of the best beaches in winter for those looking for a seasonal stomp along Devon’s English Riviera. Cosily wrapped up, it's easy to lose a few hours exploring along the coast, looking out for seabirds.

As the sun begins to set and the sky erupts into an explosion of colour, hunker down on the sand and admire the ocean glimmering in the afterglow of golden hour, as Callum has done above.

Why not continue your hike with some more invigorating coastal walks in Devon?

Brixham cottages

Escape to the UK coastline this winter

Throw caution to the wind – quite literally – by embracing the dramatic stretches of coastline that line our shores when the days draw shorter, and the weather turns colder. Our holiday cottages for winter in the UK offer a warm and cosy setting to unwind after your adventures. 

We have plenty of holiday homes that fit the bill for winter beach holidays in the UK. Click the button below to browse our full collection of winter accommodation or for more inspiration, have a read of our guide to the top Great British coastal walks.

Winter holiday 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.