Seven of the best beaches in the UK

A view across the sand dunes on Bamburgh beach in Northumberland, as waves crash in under cloudy skies
Stunning views: the three-mile, horseshoe-shaped Bamburgh beach Credit: Alamy

When the skies are blue and the sun shining, there are few better places to be than the UK seaside. And even when the weather isn’t on our side, we still have some of the most spectacular coastline you’ll see

From wild, rugged stretches of sand and hidden coves to surfers’ paradises and traditional bucket-and-spade resorts - whether you want somewhere for the kids to go rock-pooling or a romantic spot to watch the sun set, here’s our pick of seven of the best.

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Bamburgh, Northumberland

Best for: Dramatic scenery

You’ll want your camera ready at this three-mile horseshoe-shaped stretch of white sand, which has the brooding Bamburgh Castle on one side and Farne Islands (Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place in the UK for wildlife spotting) on the other.  

Its natural beauty has made it a location for several Hollywood films, including last year’s Macbeth – starring Michael Fassbender – and Stephen Spielberg’s new Roald Dahl adaptation, The BFG, so why not try some filming of your own? The Xperia X’s SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode keeps your videos super stable, ensuring you capture video that gives you shivers, rather than the other way around.

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Best for: Surf action

Credit: Getty

The Atlantic swell brings surfers to this two-mile stretch of beautiful golden sand, backed by dramatic cliffs. But you don’t need to be a whizz on the board to have a go. Extreme Academy, situated right on the beach, offers lessons to beginners.

If you prefer photographing the action, the Sony Xperia X’s Predictive Hybrid Autofocus function allows you to track a moving object and keep it in focus – even when you can’t predict where it’s going.

Margate, Kent

Best for: A traditional seaside experience

Retro shops? Check. Puppet show? Check. Fun fair? Check. Margate, set on the Kent coast, is like taking a trip back in time to the heyday of the British seaside holiday. It was a hugely popular holiday resort in Victorian times – and a recent rejuvenation has put it back on the map. The large sandy beach is popular with families and there is a host of attractions and events, from the reopened Dreamland park to the Turner Contemporary art Gallery.

Credit: Alamy

Sands Beach, Applecross, Scottish Highlands

Best for: Total escape

If you need an escape from the stresses of modern life, then you find many places more soothing than Applecross. It’s not easy to get to – reached only by two equally spectacular (and hair-raising) roads – but somewhere that feels like you’re on the edge of the earth shouldn’t be. It’s no coincidence that the Gaelic name for the area, “a Chomraich”, means “the sanctuary”.

Formby, Merseyside

Best for: Picture-perfect sunsets

This gloriously wild and unspoilt stretch of sand, backed by dramatic dunes and pinewood trees (which are home to the rare native red squirrel), enjoys spectacular sunsets over the horizon, thanks to its position on the west coast. If you’re lucky enough to experience sun down there, the Sony Xperia X can help you capture the beauty with its low-light sensors and 23 megapixels, meaning twilight snaps are still sharp.

Credit: Alamy

Rhossili Bay, South Wales

Best for: Blowing away the cobwebs

Golden sand stretches for as far as the eye can see at Rhossili, nestled among the dramatic limestone cliffs of the Gower Peninsula. The beach is three miles – long perfect for a bracing walk with the dog (they’re allowed on the beach all year round). At low tide, you can catch a glimpse of the remains of the Helvetia, shipwrecked in 1887 and still lying in the sand.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Best for: Stunning vistas

If it were not for the fact that the only access is via a half-mile-long cliff path from nearby Stackpole Bay, this beach in Pembrokeshire would surely be swamped – such is its breathtaking beauty. With the Xperia X’s ability to go from lock screen to to a snapped picture in less than a second, you’ll be sure to catch every breathtaking vista. Not that you should be rushing, as you wind your way through lush woodland and sand dunes before sighting the aquamarine waters and soft golden sands – then pinch yourself that you’re still in the UK.

The new Xperia X from Sony can be purchased from the following retailers: O2VodafoneCarphone WarehouseEE and Three

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