8 Hidden British Beaches to Discover

Escape the crowds this summer and explore, swim or just relax in perfect solitude at these stunning coastal spots.

26th June 2024 | Words by Matt Jones @ WildBounds HQ

Britain has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, with plenty of secluded seaside gems to discover. So don’t follow the crowds when the next heatwave hits – beat a path to these hidden beaches and coves instead.

‘The white sand and turquoise water of Pentle Beach makes it look and feel positively Mediterranean. Soak up the sun here with only strutting oystercatchers for company.’

Porth Lago

1. Porth Iago, Llŷn Peninsula, Wales

The Llŷn Peninsula boasts miles of spectacular coastline, without the crowds that often flock to the coast elsewhere in Britain. Such tranquillity and solitude also make it easy to find a secluded spot. From deserted beaches to hidden coves, it’s a little piece of paradise in summer. Porth Iago is a picturesque sandy bay with clear blue waters; the perfect place to take a dip.

Getting there:

Head out of Aberdaron on the B4413 and take the sharp left signposted ‘Whistling Sands’ (a far more popular and crowded beach). After 1.5km, turn right at the crossroads. Follow this road for 2km to a junction. Turn left, then right and, after 500m, left again down Tŷ Mawr farm lane, which leads to Porth Iago car park. It’s a short scramble from the car park down to the beach.

Broad Sands

2. Broad Sands, Combe Martin, Devon

This hidden beach on the wild North Devon coast is surely one of the most beautiful in Britain. There seems to be some confusion about its actual name, as it’s sometimes also referred to as ‘Broad Strand’. Either moniker is appropriate, since the double-fronted cove is filled with turquoise water and golden sand. A scarcity of signage and some 200 steps to reach the beach means that you won’t be fighting for a space to lay out your towel. But it’s worth the effort, as Broad Sands is a wild swimmer’s dream, with tunnels, caves and even an island to explore.

Getting there:

From Watermouth, take the A399 towards Combe Martin and take the left turn after the Sawmill Inn pub. Follow a single-track lane to Napps Caravan Park, where you can park. Alternatively, leave your car at the pub and walk down the track.

Botany Bay

3. Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent

Although the Kent coastal town of Broadstairs does get busy, pretty Botany Bay is less favoured by the crowds. Backed by white cliffs, with striking chalk stacks and rock pools, it is a great place to explore. Visit at low tide and you can hop over the rocks to a secluded beach on the right, complete with caves and tunnels. And even if others have also found this hidden gem, you are still well away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Getting there:

From Broadstairs follow the B2052 past Kingsgate Bay, turning right after a mile. You can park at the bottom of Botany Road before heading down to the beach.

4. Porthgwarra Cove, Cornwall

Admittedly, parts of Cornwall in summer are packed with tourists. But it is possible to get off the beaten track and find a quieter beach at which to spend a day by the sea. Porthgwarra is one such spot – a secluded cove that evokes pirates and smugglers. It is small but perfectly formed, and access to the beach is via an impressive tunnel carved through the rock.

Getting there:

Head towards Land’s End on the A30 and after passing Sennen turn left onto the B3315. On reaching Polgigga, head right down a windy road to the cove.


5. Covehithe Beach, Suffolk

This stretch of the Suffolk coast seems to be somewhat forgotten, perhaps due to the alarming rate at which it is eroding into the sea. Half-buried in the sands you’ll find sun-bleached tree stumps and Second World War concrete pill boxes, set against a backdrop of layered sandstone cliffs. The forces of nature at work here have also created Covehithe Beach’s brackish lagoon, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Close your eyes while you sit on the sand and all you’ll hear are crashing waves and the calls of birds, from sand martins to oystercatchers to marsh harriers.

Getting there:

From the A12 at Wrentham take the turning for Covehithe. Park near the church and take the footpath opposite through fields and over dunes, before scrambling down to the beach.

Kilmory Bay

6. Kilmory Bay, Isle of Rum, Scotland

The lure of the archetypal ‘perfect beach’ is that it lies on a remote and deserted island. The Isle of Rum doesn’t quite qualify, but with only a handful of permanent residents and a single ferry service from the mainland, it comes pretty close. Kilmory Bay lies on Rum’s northern coastline, and with its white sands, clear waters and incredible views out over the sea, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Britain. You’d be hard pushed to get there and back in a day, but it makes an epic spot to wild camp.

Getting there:

Take the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Rum from Mallaig. From the slipway, walk into Kinloch and take the path that broadly follows the Kinloch River before heading north along Kilmory Glen to reach Kilmory Bay.

Traeth Bach Llangrannog

7. Traeth Bach, Ceredigion, Wales

Known as Traeth Bach (‘the little beach’), this secluded cove is hidden along the stretch of coast between the Welsh seaside villages of Llangrannog and Penbryn, in Ceredigion. To the right of the beach is a rocky outcrop, connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus at low tide – at high tide, you’ll just have to swim to reach it.

Getting there:

Follow the coast path 1 mile south from Llangrannog or 1½ miles north from Penbryn – to get down to the beach, take the steep path that leaves the coast path at the corner of a field, near a gate.

Pentle Bay

8. Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Located some 30 miles off the Cornish coast, the Isles of Scilly are known for their picture-perfect beaches and sub-tropical climate, yet luckily even in the height of summer you can enjoy relative isolation. The white sand and turquoise water of Pentle Beach makes it look and feel positively Mediterranean. Soak up the sun here with only strutting oystercatchers for company.

Getting there:

Take the ferry from Penzance to St Mary and hop on a boat to Tresco. Pentle Bay is a short walk from either of the quays that you might land at via the path that runs around the edge of the island.

[credit] Images: Porth Iago by Chris Morriss, Broad Sands by Anthony Brown, Botany Bay by Michalis Palis, Pothgwarra Cove by Helen Hotson, Covehithe Beach by Margaret Clavell, Kilmory Bay by Callum, Traeth Bach by Daniel Doherty, Pentle Bay by Natural England/Beth Lloyd-Davies.

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