The UK's best family beach holidays

30th August 2022

There’s no need to head abroad for a fantastic family beach holiday – the UK is jam-packed with world-beating beaches and bays. From surfing in Cornwall to wild walks on the Scottish coast, there’s a beach to suit every family on British shores (all within easy reach by train – and less with a Railcard, too). Here are 7 of the best to help you plan your next trip. 


A seaside classic in Norfolk 

Norfolk’s Great Yarmouth might just be the ultimate beach for families. Every inch a seaside classic, this long stretch of golden sand has the lot. From donkey rides and ice cream stalls to sandcastles and safe waters for swimming, you’ll never be stuck for something to do on the east coast. 


Sandwiched between Wellington and Britannia Piers, the beach is bookended with old-school amusements. Plus, over at the nearby Pleasure Beach, you’ll find rollercoasters, a log flume, a haunted house and more. 


Need a break from the beach? Check out the SEA LIFE aquarium, home to all manner of weird and wonderful creatures, including sharks and crocodiles. And when you travel by train, you can enjoy 2FOR1 entry, too. 


Closest train station: Great Yarmouth (approximately a 20-minute walk to Great Yarmouth Beach) 


Hit the Pier in Brighton  

While you’ll not be able to build sandcastles in Brighton (the beach is all pebbles), there’s more than enough family-friendly fun to make up for it. Whether you’re after swimming, sunbathing or picnics by the sea, Brighton’s vast beach doesn’t disappoint. It’s so big, in fact, that finding a spot is never a problem – even during the summer. 


Don’t miss Brighton’s iconic pier, with its classic rides, amusements, and the world-famous Palm Court fish and chip restaurant. 


After a day on the beach, head to the British Airways i360. The kids will love spotting Brighton’s landmarks from its 450-foot-high viewing platform. 


Closest train station: Brighton (approximately a 20-minute walk to Brighton Beach) 


Plymouth: city by the seaside 

Plymouth is surrounded by wonderful family-friendly beaches. One of the closest is Bovisand Beach. Just along the coast in the South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this wide, sandy beach is popular with both locals and tourists. 


Meanwhile, over at Whitsand Bay, you’ll find Tregantle Beach. A long, unspoiled sandy beach, Tregantle is made up of quiet little coves, perfect for swimming. 


Back in Plymouth, there’s plenty more to keep the kids occupied. Take a dip at Tinside Lido, an art deco swimming pool overlooking the sea, explore the Royal Citadel fortress and visit the National Marine Aquarium. 


Closest train station: Plymouth  


Learn to Surf in Cornwall 

Jutting out in the wild waters of the Atlantic, Cornwall is one of the UK’s premier surf spots. 


Fistral Beach, a long sweep of sand in Newquay, is the perfect place for beginners. Not only is it a great place to surf, but the town is packed with family attractions that will keep the kids busy. You’ll also find amusements, restaurants, a zoo, an aquarium and a theme park. 


Seeking something a little quieter? Head to Mawgan Porth, Perranporth or Trevaunance Cove. All have brilliant surf schools and lifeguards. 


Closest train station: Newquay (approximately a 30-minute walk to Fistral Beach) 

Rhossili Bay: a Welsh Wonder 

Regularly touted as Wales’s best beach, Rhossili Bay is well worth the bus ride from Swansea. Make the trip for three miles of stunning sandy beauty backed by steep cliffs and pristine countryside. 


Much more remote than most of the other beaches on this list, Rhossili is underdeveloped and unspoiled. Be sure to pack a picnic and plenty of water. You’ll find a handful of cafes and pubs in Rhossili town, which is around a 20-minute walk from the beach. 


Walk along the clifftop trail to Worm’s Head for a chance to see dolphins and seals swimming in the bay. 


Closest train station: Swansea (local buses take one hour to reach Rhossili) 


A Wild Time in Moray 

Escape the crowds with a family beach holiday in Moray Speyside. Wild and unspoiled, Moray’s dramatic coastline is dotted with spectacular beaches. 

Head to Findhorn for wildlife, Cullen for surfing, Lossiemouth East Beach for dolphins and dunes, and Hopeman East for sand and shallow waters. 


Active families with older kids can take on a section of the spectacular Moray Coast Trail. One of Scotland’s best long-distance walking routes, it stretches on for 50 stunning miles. The walk between Cullen and Findochty (7.5 miles) is one of the easier routes. 


Closest train station: Elgin 


Look for Crabs in Yorkshire 

Get the kids a fishing net and head to Filey for some rock pooling fun. A mile north of the town, you’ll find Filey Brigg, a long spit of rocky land filled with crabs and other curious creatures.  


In town, Filey has a long sandy beach, perfect for sandcastles and swimming. When the tide’s out, the beach is wide and flat, which is great for beach ball games. There are also tons of rock pools to discover. 


Further south along the coast, the sand stretches on for miles, getting quieter and calmer as you go. For a day trip, nearby Scarborough is reachable by train.  


Closest train station: Filey (approximately a 12-minute walk to Filey Beach) 


Adults can save 1/3 off train tickets and up to 60% off for kids with a Family & Friends Railcard. Average annual savings can be as much as £150, too.