When things return to normal lots of us are hankering for a blustery or bright walk along a beach and perhaps even a dip: alone or socially distanced with one of our best friends. The great thing about this island is that we’re never that far from a stretch of sand or shingle – so whether you crave sand between your toes, rolling up your jeans for a paddle or lacing up walking boots for a coastal hike, leading online travel agent Opodo shares its own favourites – all with the promise of lip-smackingly-good takeaway fish & chips at the end of your walk.

Elie Beach, Fife – best for sports on the sand: only an hour from Edinburgh, Elie links with the adjacent Earlsferry Beach, giving almost a mile of uninterrupted sand – and the local cricket team historically plays on the sand at low tide. The Ship Inn’s pub garden overlooks the beach, making it the ideal spot for fish & chips and an Iron Bru!

Camber Sands, East Sussex – best for long walks along the shoreline: a beautiful, miles-long wide sandy beach one of the longest dune systems on the south coast and with masses of space for walking or relaxing. The dunes and marshes behind the beach are full of wildlife – there’s a basic beach café and, often, a fish & chips van in the carpark – or head to the nearby Dungeness Fish Hut.

Beauport Beach, Jersey (pictured above) – best for bay-swims: a secluded bay mostly unknown to tourists. Often accessed by boat to avoid the long stairway down from the cliffs, locals often set up a BBQ on the white sand beach and there are regular sightings of dolphins in the summer. Fabulous fishy-takeaways from the Crab Shack in the next-door St Brelade’s Bay.

Tynemouth Longsands – best for surfing: a Blue Flag award-winning mile-long stretch of golden sand open year round to both the public and dogs – featuring in the Hollywood movie ‘Goal’ and home to a renowned surf school. Hop over to the neighbouring King Edward’s Bay for fresh fish served from a cool portable fish bar and grill, or walk into Tynemouth village for takeaway fish & chips at Longsands Fish Kitchen.

North Sands, Salcombe, Devon – best for families: a large, sandy, level beach great for families, with safe swimming in its secluded bay and plenty of rockpools for exploring at low tide. There are plenty of fish & chip shops in Salcombe, walking distance from the beach including the brilliant ‘The Plaice’.

Achmelvich Beach, Lairg in the Highlands – best for crystal-clear water: is a stunning small beach with unexpectedly white sand and stunning clear blue water, often home to dolphins and whales. You will need a car for this remote part of Britain but after a dip, a walk and a run, Peet’s seafood restaurant is just 12 minutes’ drive away in the quiet fishing village of Lochinver.

Pentle Bay, Tresco, Scilly Isles – best for the tropical vibe: a beautiful beach with bleached sand and turquoise water on a good day – with its very tropical vibe, on Tresco you definitely feel like you’re abroad. Just a 7-minute drive inland finds The Flying Boat where you can enjoy fish & chips and lovely views of the coast.

Bamburgh Castle Beach, Northumberland – best for hiking: with its great hikes and a huge castle perching on a basalt crag at one end of the beach, Bamburg bay is superb for walks, swims and – especially – boogie boarding, as well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Check out the nearby Pinnacles fish & chip shop, nominated by celebrity chefs ‘The Hairy Bikers’ as their favourite in the UK.

Newborough Beach, Anglesey, Wales – best for wildlife: a 3.5mile long sandy beach – with miles of grass-covered dunes and the backdrop of the majestic mountains of Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula. Cut off at high-tide is the ‘enchanted’ island of Saint Dwynwen, Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers and backing the beach is a nature reserve teeming with red squirrels. Just a 10-minute drive inland finds The Codmother – best fish & Chips in Anglesey.

Cranfield Beach, Kilkeel, Northern Ireland – best for rugged nature: with stunning views over the Mountains of Morne and Carlingford Loch, south-facing Cranfield is one of the quieter Northern Irish beaches in an area designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Check out The Pitstop or Sharky’s for great fish & chips on the go.

  • Note: please do check local information before travelling as restrictions may be imposed without warning for access to beaches. Opodo strongly advocates responsible visiting, being careful to avoid overcrowding and to respect social distancing. Pub gardens and takeaways are all currently making plans to re-open but – once again – please check before travelling to avoid disappointment. 


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