The Pembrokeshire coast in South Wales is one of Britain’s best coastal experiences, a lush and craggy length of unspoilt Blue Flag beaches wrapped in rocky promontories, protected by castles (no, not sand castles) and buzzing with activity options – including kayaking, sailing, surfing and cliff jumping/coasteering as well as cycling and superb walks. Pembrokeshire was winner of more British Seaside Awards in 2008 than any other county in the UK.
Some of the best of the 50 or so beaches along here, all award winners, are listed below.
Luskentyre beach, Isle of Harris, the Outer Hebrides, west Scotland. Photo Steve Carter
Luskentyre on Harris Island, is hell to get to but paradise on arrival, especially if the sun cares to show its face. You’ll be one of the chosen few on this massive white beach with its crystal waters, odd scattered rocks and looming mountains, stunned by the monstrous, fantasy panorama.
With summer water temperatures of 12C this is not an ideal swimming beach but walkers, sailors, kayakers and fishermen love the place; bring your own gear or hire in Leverburgh in the south of Harris. Camping is permitted.
Get there via Skye island to Uig, then the car ferry to Tarbert on Harris.
Gairloch beach, just north of Shieldaig, west Highlands. Photo Steve Carter
Mellon Udrigle beach, in the Gairloch and Poolewe area of western Scotland, is a clean and spacious white strand with mountain views that works well for sailing, windsurfing or canoeing, with holiday accommodation nearby. Pets are welcome, although tourists should be aware that they share the countryside – and perhaps the beach – with highland cattle and sheep.