The 10 Best Beaches in the UK for Swimming

While the UK may not be known for its tropical beach destinations, it boasts some of the most stunning and swimmable stretches of coastline in the world. From hidden coves to vast expanses of golden sand, you'll find the best beaches in the UK for swimming, perfect for all experiences


Whether you're seeking some calm waters for a leisurely dip or thrilling waves for a surfing adventure with your family, the best swimming beaches in the UK are sure to meet all of your holiday needs.

For instance, you could experience the tranquil waves of Treyarnon Bay or enjoy the bustling surroundings of Scarborough Bay – whatever your preferences are, there's a beach swimming spot to accommodate you.

These top 10 beaches in the UK for swimming are sure to delight, so let's dive right in.

Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall image

Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall

Nestled on the picturesque North Cornwall coast, Treyarnon Bay is a true gem for beach enthusiasts seeking a peaceful swimming experience. This crescent-shaped bay invites you to a vast expanse of soft golden sand, gently sloping into crystal-clear waters that are ideal for swimming. The beach's sheltered location and calm waves make it a popular destination for families.

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Sutton-On-Sea Beach, Lincolnshire image

Sutton-On-Sea Beach, Lincolnshire

Situated along the Lincolnshire coast, Sutton-On-Sea Beach is a hidden treasure. This wide, sandy beach is a haven for swimmers, with its gentle waves and shallow waters perfect for those seeking a relaxing dip. The beach's relatively secluded location adds to its charm, providing a sense of seclusion and tranquillity as you float your troubles away.

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Trearddur Bay, North Wales image

Trearddur Bay, North Wales

Nestled on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, Trearddur Bay is another one of the best UK beaches for swimming. This horseshoe-shaped bay boasts a vast expanse of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. The beach's gently sloping shoreline, and calmer waves make it a popular destination for families. A lifeguard service and a nearby lifeboat station ensure safety during your visit.

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Durdle Door Beach, Dorset image

Durdle Door Beach, Dorset

Durdle Door Beach is a true natural wonder renowned for its iconic limestone arch that juts out into the English Channel. This breathtaking beach attracts visitors to Dorset all year round, with its crystal-clear waters and dramatic cliffs providing a stunning backdrop. The swimming conditions are exceptional, with relatively calm waters and a sheltered cove.

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Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall image

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

Porthcurno Beach is a hidden paradise tucked away in the rugged Cornish coastline. This secluded cove is renowned for its soft, white sand and turquoise waters, which rival those of tropical destinations. If you want a relaxing swim in peaceful surroundings, the beach's sheltered location and gentle waves create ideal conditions.

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Lunan Bay, Scotland image

Lunan Bay, Scotland

Another one of the top beaches in the UK for swimming is Lunan Bay, located in the picturesque county of Angus in Scotland. This ideal spot for beach lovers has a stretch of golden sand that extends for miles, meeting the peaceful waters with ample space for swimmers. The remote location and rugged surroundings of the bay further add to its charm, providing a sense of seclusion.

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Scarborough Bay, Yorkshire image

Scarborough Bay, Yorkshire

The popular Scarborough Bay is a classic seaside destination in Yorkshire that's been a favourite among beachgoers for generations. This expansive stretch of golden sand is divided into two main sections: the North Bay and the South Bay. Both areas offer excellent swimming conditions, with the North Bay being slightly more sheltered and peaceful, the South Bay attracts a lively crowd.

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Calshot Beach, Hampshire image

Calshot Beach, Hampshire

Situated along the Solent in Hampshire, Calshot Beach is a popular destination for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. This sandy beach has a wide expanse of shallow waters, making it ideal for families with young children. Calshot Beach is also a hub for various water activities, including sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking so that you can put your swimming and water skills.

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Kynance Cove, Cornwall image

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove is a true natural wonder representing the Cornish coastline's rugged beauty. This secluded cove is accessible only by a winding coastal path, adding to its sense of seclusion and adventure. Once you arrive, you'll be greeted by crystal-clear turquoise waters that will be begging you to dive in. The dramatic rock formations also create a stunning backdrop.

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Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight image

Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

The last stop on our list of the best swimming beaches in the UK is Colwell Bay, located on the picturesque Isle of Wight. This hidden gem for beach lovers offers a serene swimming experience for all ages. The crescent-shaped bay has a wide expanse of golden sand and gentle waves, perfect for a family day out. The beach's shallow waters provide a safe environment for swimming.

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The best swimming beaches in the UK FAQs

Do you have any burning questions about the best beaches in the UK for swimming? If so, have a look and see if we answer them in our top FAQs:

Can you swim at UK beaches?

Absolutely! You can swim at plenty of UK beaches, as the UK's coastline is home to numerous stunning beaches.

From the rugged cliffs of Cornwall to the golden sands of Lincolnshire, the UK offers a diverse range of beaches suitable for swimmers of all ages and skill levels.

What beach has the cleanest water in the UK?

Several beaches in the UK are renowned for their clean waters, including:

  • Treyarnon Bay in Cornwall
  • Durdle Door Beach in Dorset
  • Lunan Bay in Scotland

These beaches consistently receive excellent water quality ratings and are popular destinations for swimmers who want crystal-clear waters and a refreshing dip.

Where is safe to swim in the UK?

Many beaches in the UK are considered safe for swimming, provided that basic safety precautions are followed.

It's always recommended to check local weather and tide conditions before you visit, as well as any beach advisories or warnings before entering the water.

Many beaches also have lifeguard patrols to further add to the safety of the area.

Dive into your dream beach holiday in the UK

With such a diverse coastline and stunning natural beauty, the UK offers breathtaking beaches perfect for swimming and beach adventures. From the secluded coves of Cornwall to the vast expanses of golden sand in Scotland, these top 10 beaches in the UK for swimming cater to every type of beach lover.

Are you looking for a serene escape or an action-packed adventure? Whatever your choices are, you can book from a range of these destinations that promise unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!

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Take a look at beaches by region:

Hampshire | Scotland | Isle of Wight | Dorset | North Wales | Yorkshire | Lincolnshire | Cornwall

Discovering different...

Whilst you wait... just think about being in your swimmers, the sun's out and the smiles are big