As the pandemic restrictions start to ease, now’s the time to hit The Great Outdoors to shake off that lockdown lethargy
So, with the softening of the Government’s health warnings, now’s the time to start planning where to feel the sand between your toes, and relish the breeze soothing sunburnt skin in the UK this year.
Holkham, north Norfolk
Big skies, even bigger beach and you’re unlikely to have any issues with social distancing. Holkham’s shore is fringed by pine forest but, once through that, it’s just you, the North Sea, and a vast expanse of golden sand. And it’s a handy spot to explore neighbouring Wells-next-the-Sea (first-class crabbing over the sea wall), spotting grey seals and birdlife at Blakeney, or hitting family-friendly Hunstanton, the only east coast resort to face west.
Blackpool Sands, south Devon
You will find this sheltered and peaceful crescent of fine shingle three miles south-west of Dartmouth backed by wooded hills. It can be popular with families, but it is a great spot for swimming because the turquoise waters are so clean and usually calm. You can also hire kayaks and paddle boards.
Yes, Bournemouth, voted Britain’s best beach two years on the trot in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards. There are 11 miles of golden, pristine sand stretching from Hengistbury Head to Sandbanks so you should be able to avoid crowds. And even if the weather turns there is plenty to do including the secluded Fisherman’s Walk and the Oceanarium.
West Wittering, Sussex
The road to this Sussex beach isn’t the best – and it does get busy – but the journey is worthwhile: at the end you are greeted with a fine, open stretch of sand which is clean and leaves lots of lovely little pools when the tide goes out. It overlooks the Solent and Chichester harbour, but for peace and quiet head to the western end where you can walk a narrow ridge to East Head which is a remote, sand spit at the mouth of a harbour.
Formby’s sand dunes are the stuff of legend and are even classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. From their peaks you can see the Cumbrian Mountains and, on a really clear day, Blackpool Tower. Again, you get to the beach through a pine wood where there is a reserve for red squirrels, but once you get to the beach, you won’t have to walk far to to get to wide, open, flat sands.
Rhossili Beach, Wales
Never disappoints, whatever the weather. Voted Wales’ best beach, this spot on the south-west tip of the Gower Peninsula bears the brunt of some Atlantic swells so it is perfect for surfers and paragliders. But although access is tricky, there are more than three miles of golden sands at the end of it.
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