Best Beaches Near London
Are you looking for a great day trips or weekend away to somewhere not too far from London and with a great beach? There are lots of places you can go either by car or by bus or train some of which are less than an hour away.
Check out our top recommendations for the best beach destinations close to London, perfect for a sunny relaxing getaway to escape the city...
1. Bournemouth, Dorset
Our top recommendation for a sandy beach and all round top destination is Bournemouth (as seen in the image above). This is a very vibrant and recommended place to visit if you have a day or weekend free.
Bournemouth is the perfect beach destination for solo travellers, groups and families. The main attractions include the sandy beach, two piers and entertainment. Bournemouth often gets voted the best place and also the happiest place to live in the UK and its easy to see why. The beaches are really beautiful and some of the best in the whole country whilst the city centre is small and you can walk around quite easily.
You could even learn to surf, rent a kayak in nearby Boscombe which is a 20 minute walk along the seafront or you could even catch a bus or drive to Sandbanks which is the English equivalent to the French Riviera. This is an island to visit if you would like to check out the lifestyles of the local rich and famous residents, homes here cost on average higher than London. There are also lots of ferry day excursions which can be booked from nearby Poole harbor.
There is also a good public bus and train service connecting other places one the South Coast of England so if you have extra time to spare this is something to consider. There are sightseeing trips to places like the Isle of Wight and Stonehenge which are both within an hours drive which can be booked on arrival or even planned independently if you have a car.
From London you can take the train which takes around 1 hour 45 minutes or a bus which takes around 2 hours 20 minutes. Trains on the day can be expensive, usually around £40 for a return but it is cheaper if booked in advance or if you make a group booking for 4 people on the day. You can also book cheap trains to Bournemouth through the Megabus website or even catch the National Express bus service which operates daily and is usually half the cost of the train and takes only 30 minutes more.
Brighton is one of the most popular and also closest and cheapest places to get to from London. The train from London Bridge takes around 50 minutes and usually at weekends there are great offers on cheap day/weekend return tickets. Brighton has lots of cafes, shops, bars, a pebbly beach and also a buzzing nightlife. If you would like to stay for a weekend then there are lots of cheap hotels, hostels and b&bs available. Brighton is easily one of the best day trips from London, you will love this city!
Go East and you will reach Leigh-on-Sea, one of the most popular day breaks from London during summer. Leigh is a district of Southend-on-Sea, and is a popular beach destination due to the proximity from east London. Trains run regularly from London Liverpool Street amking getting here without a car easy.
Hastings is a town on England’s southeast coast. It is most famously known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings, fought on a nearby field where Battle Abbey now stands.
In Hastings you can head to the beach, visit the Norman ruins of Hastings Castle, once home to William the Conqueror, or check out amazing view across the English Channel.
East along the shingle seafront of Stade beach, Hastings Fishermen’s Museum and Shipwreck Museum document maritime history. The Jerwood Gallery shows contemporary art.
Looking to discover a quintessential Engish seaside destination? Consider Eastbourne. This is a resort town on England’s southeast coast with Victorian hotels, a pier and a 1930s bandstand. If you are interested in culture you can visit the Towner Art Gallery which includes modern British works. There are lots of day trips and things to do in Eastbourne too, you could visit the South Downs National Park or the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head and its striped 1902 lighthouse.
6. Weymouth, Dorset
If you are willing to wake up a little earlier, or go a little further on the train you can catch a South-West train to Weymouth which is approximately 3 hours from London. This popular seaside town is a great place to visit during summer.
7. Broadstairs, Kent
Broadstairs is a coastal town on the Isle of Thanet in the Thanet district of east Kent, England, about 80 miles east of London. It is part of the civil parish of Broadstairs and St Peter's, which includes St Peter's, and had a population in 2011 of about 25,000.
8. Camber Sands, Rye, Sussex
Camber Sands is a beach at the village of Camber, East Sussex near Rye, East Sussex, England. It is the only sand dune system in East Sussex, and is east of the estuary of the River Rother at Rye Bay stretching 3 miles to just beyond the Kent border, where shingle and pebbles take over again.
9. Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring peninsula and district in Essex, eastern England, and was founded as an urban district in 1871. It is a seaside resort that saw a peak of tourists in the summer months between the 1950s and 1970s.
10. Littlehampton Beach, West Sussex
Littlehampton Beach (East Beach) is a mile long sandy and shingle beach at Littlehampton. Expect the full English seaside experience with a promenade, amusements, theme park and gardens.
11. Shoeburyness, Essex
Shoeburyness is a town in southeast Essex, England, at the mouth of the Thames Estuary. It is within the borough of Southend-on-Sea, situated at its far east, around 3 miles east of Southend town centre. It was an urban district of Essex from 1894 to 1933, when it became part of the county borough of Southend-on-Sea.
12. Sunny Sands Beach, Folkestone, Kent
Sunny Sands or (Folkestone) is a Sandy beach located near Folkestone in Kent. Here you can go swimming, rent kayaks, sunbathe & enjoy local seafood shacks.
13. Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent
Walpole Bay is ideal for people keen to see fascinating rock and tidal pools.
If you are looking to visit any of the destinations above you can find great fares with Megabus or National Express - be sure to book in advance for the best deals.