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Britain's best hidden beaches
  • Gorgeous Lantic Bay requires a 20-minute walk from the nearest car park, making it unpopular with the crowds but perfect if you're looking for a hidden gem in Cornwall. Nestled in a sheltered cove along the south-east coast of Cornwall, the beach is known as a 'sun-trap' and boasts fine white sands flanked by shingle. Its approach is via a steep cliff path and as inviting as the turquoise waters may look, you'll want to resist the temptation of a dip after your journey as the spectacular bay has frequent strong rip currents making swimming dangerous.

  • This attractive sand and shingle beach stretches for over five miles on the western edge of the Lake District National Park and is overlooked by the 600-metre high Black Combe. Silecroft Beach sits along the Cumbrian Coastal Way and is bordered by pretty farmland. It has a Quality Coast Award for its clean waters and facilities, and there is a traditional ice cream van offering seaside ice cream treats - perfect for when the sun shines! Silecroft is a top spot for wild sports, such as kite surfing, swimming, sea kayaking and horse riding.

  • The beautiful white sand beaches of Harris in the Outer Hebrides could easily be mistaken for those of Thailand or Mauritius, and these spectacular stretches are perfect for a relaxing stroll with miles of scenic contrasts that you have to see to believe. Luskentyre is the most beautiful beach and has been recognised as one of the most stunning in the world, with its turquoise water and miles of white sand, as well as terrific views of the mountains in the distance. Other picturesque beaches in Harris include Seilebost and Traigh Mhor.

  • This picturesque bay is one of the loveliest in the north of England and is fringed with golden sand, making it an idyllic spot for long walks on the beach. The cliffs at Runswick Bay jut out into the sea and it is shaped like a crocodile head. The locals tell their children that at night the crocodile opens his mouth and eats the sailors! The beauty spot has just one hotel, a shop and a pub overlooking the beach. It is a great place for rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks, as well as for simply admiring the breathtaking sea views.

  • In County Derry, you'll find the beautiful Benone Beach, with its seven miles of golden sand and magnificent backdrop of mountain and cliff scenery, as well as breathtaking views across to Donegal. The clean and firm sand at Benone Beach is free of rocks, shingle and seaweed, and it’s perfect for relaxing with a picnic or getting active with water sports.

  • The very small beach in a rocky cove at Rumbling Kern near Howick is sheltered behind small cliffs that face inland from the sea, which were once used to hide whisky smuggling boats operating up and down the Eastern Seaboard. The hidden beach has a holiday cottage overlooking the rocks, which was the bathing house for nearby Howick Hall.

  • Tiny Llanddwyn Island, off the west coast of Anglesey, is home to Llanddwyn Beach, a picturesque secluded cove with marvellous views over Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula. Walkers can stroll out to the lighthouse at Abermenai Point or down a path that leads to the Llanddwyn Island National Nature Reserve. The three-mile-long beach is known as the 'Beach of Romance' because princess Dwynwen ran away to Llanddwyn after a love affair went awry and became Wales's own St Valentine.

  • Queen Victoria’s private beach at Osborne House is now open to the public, which means you can splash about on a beach fit for royalty in the Isle of Wight. The delightful beach features Queen Victoria's seaside seat, the Alcove, which is richly decorated with colourful blue and pink tiles and offers wonderful views across the Solent towards Portsmouth and the Hampshire coast. The views are said to have reminded Victoria of the Mediterranean. When it came to swimming, she had a Bathing Machine to preserve her modesty!

  • Situated in Durham, Blackhall Rocks is a stunning area of coastline that consists of a two-kilometre stretch of cliffs, a sandy beach and rocky platforms. Here you'll find beautiful views and habitats including neutral grassland, coastal magnesian limestone, scrub and ponds. Look out for the 15 different species of butterfly, from northern brown argus to the cistus forester.

  • Tucked away between the small seaside towns of Chapel St. Leonard's and Sutton-on-Sea, Anderby Creek beach is unspoilt, quiet and beautiful. The gorgeous stretch of soft sand is backed by dunes and is perfect for sandcastle building, bathing or just strolling. The beach is home to the UK’s first purpose-built cloud viewing platform, with Cloud Menus so you can identify the different formations, use mirrors to reflect different parts of the sky and sit in special cloud-viewing seats to recline and enjoy the view. The Cloud Bar may not serve any booze but it does offer pretty epic cloud spotting.