When you think of holidays by the coast you probably picture white-hot tropical islands and exotic music playing from a cocktail cabana bar. Whilst this balmy scene isn’t quite within the reach of British beach resorts, you’re likely to experience a whole new aspect to seaside exploration in Britain’s grand, sweeping coastlines. From the South’s majestic Jurassic Coast to the ancient, wild Scottish Isles, the UK boasts some of the most beautiful coastal spots in the world.

Quaint fishing villages, epic natural formations, and gorgeous sandy beaches are all within your reach, often just a few hours outside of London. Visit during the summer months and you’ll even find weather warm enough to swim and sunbathe. Get ready to put your trunks on and take a look at Britain’s most beautiful coastal locations.

Durdle Door, Dorset

We’re sure you’ve seen photos of this stunning natural rock formation already, but here’s a quick reminder for you. Durdle Door is one of the most recognizable coastal locations in the UK, and yet the pictures hardly do it justice. Behind the titular archway, you’ll find rolling green hills and a beautiful stone beach curving into the distance. A few minutes’ walk away, the adorable little village of Lulworth Cove will capture your heart. If you visit any coastal location on your visit to the UK, make it this one.

Island of Jura

If you’re looking for a total retreat from civilization, Jura is the perfect place to escape to. This large island of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides has a population of 196. It’s an untamed wilderness; serene yet bursting with color and wildlife. You’ll have miles of unspoiled coastline to explore at your leisure, with a backdrop of mighty, heather-covered hills.

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

This tiny fishing village nestled in the North Yorkshire coastline will have you falling in love instantaneously. The narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional seaside cottages slope sharply down to a sandy shoreline, creating one of the most picturesque scenes on our list. The village also has a fascinating history associated with smuggling and naval warfare. It’s definitely worth a stop.

Aberdyfi, Wales

The spotlessly clean beaches of Aberdyfi go for miles, sporting soft sand and calm, rolling waves. Best of all, this little-known beach location is quiet throughout the year. You’ll never once struggle for a parking space. As well as the beautiful beaches, this tiny retirement community offers stunning views of the Dyfi estuary and a charming fishing-village aesthetic, complete with its own pier. It’s the ideal place for a family getaway.

Perranporth, Cornwall

This seaside resort town is famous for its surf culture but offers much more besides. Its three-mile-long beach has ample space and some fascinating rock features that make it one of the UK’s most interesting coastlines to explore. Add to this a charming community, some rare flora and fauna, and more seaside activities than you could shake an ice cream cone at, and you have the perfect seaside experience ready and waiting for you.

If you’re desperate to get a dose of fresh sea air then we can firmly recommend these five destinations. We’re sure you’ll discover an unexpected side to the UK. For more exciting destinations outside of London, check out our day tours.