The hustle and bustle of London can be overwhelming at times. However, what many people may not realize is that London is also home to some of the best beaches in the UK. Whether you're looking for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway, there are plenty of beautiful beaches close to London, just a stone's throw away from the city.
Let's take a look at some of the nicest beaches near London.
The best sandy beach near London
If you’re looking to play in sand dunes and build some castles, then you need the best sand beaches near London. Located in East Sussex, about two hours from London by car or train, Camber Sands is a stunning stretch of golden sand backed by dunes and picturesque views of the English Channel.
Camber Sands is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and sandcastle building, and it's also a great place to try water sports, such as kite surfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding. In addition, the beach is surrounded by a nature reserve, providing ample opportunities for wildlife spotting and scenic walks.
Located just an hour south of London, Brighton Beach is a popular choice for travellers looking for a beach escape. With miles of golden sand, Brighton Beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and long walks along the shoreline. There are also plenty of fish and chip shops, restaurants, and ice cream parlours just steps away from the beach, so you can easily make a day out of it.
The best beaches near London by train
A popular destination in Kent, Margate has a long sandy beach, a historic pier, and a charming old town with vintage shops and art galleries. The train journey from London St Pancras to Margate takes around 1.5 hours.
Located on the south coast of England, West Wittering beach is stunning, with crystal clear waters and picturesque sand dunes. The trains from London Victoria to Chichester take around 1.5 hours, followed by a bus or taxi to West Wittering.
Just over 2 hours on the train, Gorleston-on-Sea is an ideal day out at a perfectly British seaside location. This lovely seaside town has miles of golden sand and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. It’s perfect for families with children, as you’ll find an amusement arcade and a playground right on the beachfront. Plus, if you fancy something a bit more adventurous there’s also jet skiing or parasailing available.
A classic British seaside resort town, Southend-on-Sea is located about an hour east of London by train. The town boasts a long pier, amusement park, and sandy beaches. Old Leigh is a charming fishing village located just a short walk from Southend-on-Sea. You can wander through the narrow streets, browse the shops and galleries, and sample some of the local seafood.
The best dog-friendly beaches near London
With so many beaches to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones are pup-friendly and which aren’t. Here are a few to get you started.
If you’re looking for somewhere closer to home, then Hampton Court Palace Park might be just what you need. Located in Richmond upon Thames, this park offers stunning riverside views as well as plenty of open spaces for your pup to play in. There's even an area called ‘The Wilderness’ – perfect if your pup loves exploring! Dogs must remain on a lead at all times, so make sure you keep an eye on them while they play.
Located just over two hours from London by car, Bournemouth Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the South Coast. With its seven miles of golden sand and crystal clear waters, it's easy to see why this beach is so popular with locals and visitors alike. Dogs are welcome all year round on Bournemouth Beach, making it a great destination for those looking to spend a day out with their furbabies. There are also plenty of doggy-friendly pubs and restaurants nearby if you want to grab a bite after your day at the beach.
Whitstable Beach on the Kent coastline is another popular destination for dog owners to visit with their pets. The charming seaside location lacks sand, but has beach huts and weatherboard cottages that make the destination charming. While your dog enjoys running free on this shingle beach, you can enjoy some freshly shucked oysters for a sunset snack. Botany Bay is another picturesque beach in Kent that is a great spot for a day out with your furry friend. Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round and there are plenty of walking trails and picnic areas nearby.
Dog-friendly West Mersea beach is located on the Essex island of Mersea. The spot has ample space for your pooch to run around without a care in the world. It also makes for an ideal family day out, as you can relax in the waves or explore the many rock pools in the area. Don’t forget to collect shells around the area!
No matter where you decide to go, just remember that safety should always come first - make sure your pup stays close by and remains leashed at all times.
The best hidden beaches near London
If you’re looking to go off the beaten path, then a hidden London beach is just what you need.
Dungeness Beach is a unique pebble beach located on the south-east coast of England in Kent. It's a 2-hour drive from London and is famous for its unusual landscape, with old fishing boats and quirky cabins dotted along the shoreline.
Pett Level Beach is located within the East Sussex Heritage Coastline, about two hours from central London. This secluded beach features stunning chalk-white cliffs and offers excellent opportunities for kite-surfing, fishing, and even fossil hunting. For those who appreciate nature, this beach has an abundance of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and seabirds. There's also a pet cemetery nearby that can be visited as part of your day trip.
Cuckmere Haven Beach is a secluded pebble beach located on the south coast of England in East Sussex. It's about a 90-minute drive from London and is known for its breathtaking views of the Seven Sisters Cliffs and the English Channel.
The best family beaches near London
If you're looking for a beach that’s a bit quieter than the rest, Sandbanks Beach might be perfect. This beach is located in Dorset on the south coast of England and is known for its stunning views across Poole Harbour and Studland Bay. It's perfect for families because there's plenty of space on this long stretch of golden sand — making it easy to find that perfect spot away from everyone else. Plus, there are lots of shops nearby, so you can pick up whatever supplies you need before settling down on this secluded beach for the day.
Joss Bay is a popular family beach located in the town of Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet in Kent. The beach is known for its wide expanse of golden sand and clear blue waters, and it is a great place for families to enjoy a day out in the sun. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and is sheltered from the wind, making it a great spot for swimming and other water activities. There are also lifeguards on duty during the summer months to ensure the safety of visitors. There are also several cafes and restaurants in the area, as well as public restrooms and showers.
London may not be known as a seaside destination but that doesn't mean there aren't some great options when it comes to finding family beaches near it. Book a train journey in advance to take advantage of the best prices before your trip.