With summer in full swing, many Londoners are looking to escape the city and enjoy a day at the beach. Fortunately, there are plenty of beautiful seaside destinations just a short train ride away. In this guide, readers will find all the information they need to plan the perfect beach day, from the best beaches near London to practical tips for making the most of their trip.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a lively beach with plenty of activities, this guide has got you covered. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to explore the best beaches near London.
- 1 Best Beaches Near London By Train
- 2 Other Brilliant Beaches Near London
- 3 Practical Information + Tips
- Londoners have plenty of beautiful seaside destinations to choose from for a day at the beach.
- This guide provides information on the best beaches near London and practical tips for planning a beach day.
- Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a lively beach with plenty of activities, there’s a beach near London for everyone.
Best Beaches Near London By Train
Brighton is a popular seaside destination for day trips from London. The town boasts a long pebble beach lined with colourful beach huts, cafes, and ice-cream stalls. Visitors can also explore the pier and enjoy film screenings and gigs held on the beach during summer evenings. Brighton station is easily accessible from London Bridge and Victoria, with numerous direct trains taking about an hour.
Located in Kent, Margate is a charming town with a lovely sandy beach, Margate Sands. Visitors can enjoy a day of sunbathing and swimming, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many nearby restaurants and cafes. Direct trains to Margate are available from St Pancras and Victoria, taking about 1.5 hours.
Ruislip Lido Beach (An Actual Beach in London!)
For those who prefer to stay within London, Ruislip Lido Beach is a sandy beach flanking a 60-acre lake. Visitors can take the Piccadilly or Metropolitan line to Ruislip station and then a short bus ride to the beach. The beach is a great spot for a scenic walk or a ride on the miniature train.
Herne Bay is a pretty pebbly beach that was popular during the Victorian era and remains a favourite day trip destination for Londoners. Visitors can enjoy the seaside atmosphere and family-friendly attractions, as well as indulge in fish and chips. Trains to Herne Bay Station are available from Victoria, Cannon Street, and St Pancras, taking about 1.5 hours.
Southend-on-Sea is the closest beach to London, boasting eight beaches. Three Shells is the most central, while Chalkwell Beach and Westcliff are also nice options. Leigh Bell Wharf Beach is a great spot for visitors looking for a quieter experience. Trains from Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street to Southend Central and Southend Victoria station take about an hour each way.
Whitstable is a charming town known for its delicious seafood and picturesque shoreline at Tankerton, a pebbly beach. Visitors can enjoy a day of sunbathing and indulging in oysters at one of the many nearby restaurants and cafes. Trains from Victoria, Cannon Street, or St Pancras to Whitsable take about 1.5 hours.
Hastings is a beautiful pebbly beach with a few sandy sections that has been recently revamped and is making waves. Visitors can enjoy the sea and surf or check out the world’s largest underground BMX skatepark. Trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or St Pancras to Hastings take just under two hours.
Hove is Brighton’s more refined sibling, with a pebbly beach and seaside mansions that have attracted celebrities like Adele and Paul McCartney. Visitors can enjoy a day of sunbathing and trendy cafes. To get to Hove from London, visitors can take the train to Brighton and then another short hop across to Hove, taking about 1.5 hours.
Eastbourne is another Victorian-era seaside town that is a charming day trip destination for Londoners. Although the beach is pebbly, visitors can enjoy the historic homes and antique pier. Direct trains from London Bridge or Victoria take about 1.5 hours.
Climping Beach is a great spot for visitors looking for a beach they can enjoy pretty much to themselves. Although it may not be the prettiest beach, visitors can take a dip in the water and stretch out their towel. Located in West Sussex, Climping Beach is about two hours from London, with the most direct route being a train from Victoria to Littlehampton and a three-mile walk to the beach.
Camber Sands is a beautiful sandy beach with a long, five-mile stretch of shoreline for walking or sunbathing along. Visitors can enjoy the calm and clear waters and popular kitesurfing during the summer. To get to Camber Sands, visitors can take the train from St Pancras to Rye and then a bus to the beach.
Bournemouth is a great choice for visitors looking for a postcard-esque sandy beach near London. With over 11 miles of sand, visitors can enjoy a game of football or simply relax in the sun. Some parts of the beach are pebbly, but others like Sandbank are glorious sand. Visitors can take the train from London to Bournemouth, taking about two hours.
Other Brilliant Beaches Near London
Kingsgate Bay – Broadstairs
Broadstairs is a charming seaside town that has been a popular destination for Londoners since the Victorian era. One of the most recognizable beaches in England is Kingsgate Bay, which is flanked by stark white cliffs. The beach has a long stretch of soft sand and a collection of sea caves to explore. The best way to get to Kingsgate Bay is to travel from St Pancras or Victoria to Margate and then take the “breeze” bus to nearby Kingsgate.
Cuckmere Haven is a unique beach thanks to the meeting of the River Cuckmere with the English Channel. The beach is pebbly, but the stunning views of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs make up for it. Harry Potter fans may even recognize the backdrop from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. To experience it for yourself, you’ll need to get to the nearby town of Seaford and then walk (or taxi) down. There are buses from either Eastbourne or Brighton, which are both directly linked by train to London. The total journey should take about 1.5 hours.
Felixstowe is a family-friendly beach with a sand/shingle beach. It is particularly renowned for “shelling,” and you can pick up some gorgeous souvenirs to take home. The sea is also very clear, making it a great beach for swimming. Located in Suffolk, it’s a little further afield but still a very manageable day trip. You can take the train from Liverpool Street Station to Ipswich and then catch local buses to Felixstowe.
Greatstone Beach Romney Marsh
Greatstone Beach Romney Marsh is a great option for those who prefer a sandy beach. The sand here is particularly soft and beautiful, as a result of being washed by the tide of the English Channel for thousands of years. The beach is wide, and there’s a beautiful coastal walk that takes you around the sand dunes nearby. It’s a good choice for active beachgoers, as everyone from dog walkers to horse-riders and kite-surfers are welcome. To get to the beach from London, you’re best bet is to catch the train from St Pancras to Folkestone Central, where there are buses on to the beach.
Pevensey Bay is a relatively small beach that doesn’t experience the crowds of some others on this list. It’s a pebbly beach with calm water, making it generally better for swimming, sunbathing, and walking than building sandcastles. There’s also an old castle (Pevensey Castle) nearby, if you’re looking to combine activities. The most direct way to get to Pevensey Bay from London is to take the train from London Victoria to Hampden Park Station, where there are numerous local buses the rest of the way – the 55 being the most direct. In total, the journey takes around 2.5 hours.
Isle of Grain
The Isle of Grain beach offers areas of shingle and sand on the Hoo peninsula. Not only is this one of the closest beaches to London, but you’ve also got pretty woodland nearby so you can go for a walk, settle on the beach, or even have a go at rock pooling in one of the many spots dotted across the sand. To get to the beach, it’s a pretty straightforward drive to the end of the B2001 towards the Isle of Grain. Head past St James Church and you’ll reach the Grain Coastal Park car park.
Botany Bay is another gem on the Kent coast and arguably the best beach near London. This beautiful white sand beach was once a haven for pirates, and you can still see the caves carved into the cliffs where they once hid. It’s recommended to drive the 80 minutes to the Kent Coast to get to Botany Bay.
St Margaret’s at Cliffe
St Margaret’s at Cliffe is worth the drive. Situated under the iconic white cliffs of Dover, this is a charming shingle beach with a historical twist. This beach offers the best of both worlds: a perfect place to relax, or you can spot WWII defences at the south of the beach and head to the cliffs to navigate a network of secret tunnels that were key during the war. For a car journey under two hours long, head to Dover via the M2 and A2, before travelling on the A258 at Guston until you arrive.
The Naze is a quieter beach near London. It’s hard to miss, just find the colorful beach huts and turn the corner to a hidden sandy spot. This beach is pretty impressive – where else can you still stumble across million-years-old shark teeth nestled in amongst the cliffs? To get to The Naze, you
Practical Information + Tips
What’s the Best Way to Get to the Beaches Near London?
The easiest way to get to the beaches near London is by train. Although driving is also an option, parking can be difficult and traffic can be hectic on warmer days. Day trips from London are also available through various tour companies such as Get Your Guide.
What is the Closest Beach to London?
Southend-on-Sea is the closest beach to London, which boasts eight beaches to choose from.
Which is the Best Beach Close to London?
Camber Sands is considered the best beach close to London due to its sandy beach, stunning views, and numerous amenities.
To avoid the crowds, it’s best to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Visitors should also be aware of the tide schedule for safety purposes. Additionally, it’s recommended to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.