Your local kids guide by local mums

Best Family Friendly Beaches in the UK

Best Family Friendly Beaches in the UK

Oh, we do love to be beside the seaside… If you’re thinking of escaping to the coast soon, Little Ankle Biters has pulled together a list of our favourite family-friendly beaches. So, have a look at the list below of best beaches in the UK for families, and as always check details before you travel to make sure it’s right for you. We hope this gives you a good starting point for planning your family trip to the seaside. Don’t forget the bucket and spade…


West Wittering, West Sussex

West Wittering Beach best family beaches UK

This beautiful sandy beach is a firm favourite with Little Ankle Biters and is a great option if you’re looking for family-friendly beaches. Near to Chichester, there’s ample parking and a long stretch of untainted sand. You won’t find much here in the way of shops, restaurants and activities, but hey, that’s part of its beauty. So, pack a picnic, bring a kite, buckets and spades and settle in for a day of beach perfection. P.s There’s a small café and toilets so you’ve got the essentials if needed.

For more information, click here.


Murlough National Nature Reserve, Northern Ireland

Murlough National Nature Reserve northern ireland best family beaches UK

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust great for walking and bird spotting due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. With it’s shingle beach and 4 mile Blue Flag strand, there are great nature trails to explore and other activities for children and plenty of wildlife to discover.

Click here to find out more.


Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Sennen Cove Beach Cornwall Best Family Beaches UK 2

Sennen Cove is one of Cornwall’s most stunning beaches just 1.5km from Lands End. This is a very family-friendly spot, and you’ll find RNLI Lifeguards at the beach daily throughout the season. The area also offers some of the best surf conditions. You’ll find two car parks just off the beach, making it easily accessible for families too. The golden sands are perfect for sandcastles and there’s a café right on the beach side for a bite to eat.

For full info on the beach, parking charges and eating, click here.


Swanage Beach, Dorset

Swanage Beach Dorset best family beaches UK

An oldie, but ohhh such a goodie. We have family ties with Swanage and have spent many a summer’s day basking on the gorgeous beach and enjoying fantastic walks in the surrounding area. You can come across to Swanage on the little chain ferry from Sandbanks (and check out how the other half live at the same time), which the kiddies will love. The beach itself is a calm and sheltered sand and shingle beach making it perfect for families. There’s a Victorian pier where you can go crabbing and loads to keep little ones entertained as well as a great selection of places to eat and traditional fish and chip restaurants. Just across the road from the main beach you’ll find a little amusement park which makes for a good hour or so. You can also get the quaint Swanage Railway Steam Train from Swanage 6 miles up through the Purbeck Valley and past the stunning ruins of Corfe Castle. Corfe Castle is National Trust and well worth a visit, the kiddies will love exploring the castle ruins and the views from the top are stunning.

For more information, click here.


New Quay, Cardigan Bay, Wales

New Quay Beach Wales Best Family beaches UK 2

With it’s picturesque houses, pubs and restaurants clinging to the sides of the hills, New Quay is a fantastic beach nestled alongside the blue waters of Cardigan Bay on the West coast of Wales. The sheltered harbour and safe beaches are a hub of family activities and fun come the summer months with sailing, fishing, water sports and of course some relaxation thrown in! New Quay is also well-known for getting to see dolphins.

Find out more here.


Highcliffe & Avon Beaches and Mudeford, Dorset

Mudeford Dorset best family beaches UK

A must-do for families is this lovely stretch of beach, partnered with crabbing at Mudeford. You can park up at Highcliffe Castle and walk down to the huge sand and shingle beach where there’s plenty of space and a relaxed atmosphere. There’s also a nice tea room at the castle if you fancy a little stop on the way back. Closer to Mudeford you’ll find a small car park at Avon Beach with space for 100 cars, here the beach tends to be busier and stonier but plenty of fun for the kiddies and a short stroll along the promenade takes you right into Mudeford. Famous for its fantastic crabbing, Mudeford is a great place to spend an afternoon. There’s a shop selling buckets, spades and all the crabbing gear, plus a café and toilets. You’ll also find a great fish shop, just about as fresh as it gets.

For more information, see or


St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives Beach best family beaches UK porthminster

A Little Ankle Biters favourite, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d landed in the Med on a sunny day in St Ives. As well as a vibrant and bustling town which has still managed to maintain it’s charm and personality, St Ives has a selection of fantastic beaches for families. If you fancy checking out the local wildlife then why not head to Porthmeor Beach famous for it’s well-stocked rock pools. Or if sandcastles are more your bag then you’ll not go far wrong with Porthgwidden Beach the smallest beach of soft golden sand in St Ives and very popular with families. Or head to Porthminster Beach for a large sheltered sandy beach with all facilities you expect on a Blue Flag beach. See, totally spoilt for choice.

To find out more, click here.


Brighton, East Sussex

Brighton Beach Pier Sussex best family beaches UK

Brighton has been a favourite beach escape for Londoners for years, and it’s easy to see why. There’s so much to do here you’ll need more than just a day. For starters, there’s a long stretch of stony beach great for walks and no better in my view for sitting eating fish and chips straight out of the paper. For children, there’s plenty at the beach to keep them entertained. There’s the Brighton Aquarium (click here to see our review), the world-famous Brighton Pier with its numerous rides and attractions, the Lanes for even the fussiest of shoppers and loads of restaurants to boot. The sea can be rough and the pebbles don’t make for the most comfortable of sunbathing, but for many this is the quintessential British beach, and one that holds many special memories.

For more information, click here. Photo by @finnhop


Sanna Bay and Ardtoe Beach, Scotland

Sanna Bay and Ardtoe Beach Scotland best family beaches UK

A hidden gem, and not the easiest to get to, but Sanna Bay and Ardtoe Beaches on Scotland’s west coast are an absolute dream once there. Located at the most westerly point of mainland Britain these beaches are dominated by white shell sand set against turquoise water making for a picture perfect beach location. Good for families with older children looking for an adventure, Sanna Bay and Ardtoe won’t disappoint.

Find out more here.


Gorleston Beach, Norfolk

Gorleston beach norfolk best family beaches in the UK

Gorleston Beach is a great choice for families looking to get away from the more popular neighbour Great Yarmouth, which is just up the road. Voted one of the best UK beaches by Trip Adviser in 2019, there’s plenty of space at Gorleston on the beautiful golden sand. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months making it a safe spot for paddling. You’ll also find a boating pond and paddling pool at the top of the beach and a beach café and a few little shops.

To find out more about Gorleston, click here.


Southwold Pier Beach, Suffolk

Southwold Pier Suffolk Beach Best family beaches UK 2

Southwold Pier Beach represents good old British beach perfection and is one of Suffolk’s best know resorts. There’s a great sand and shingle beach which is a Blue Flag award beach. Southwold Pier has excellent water quality and some of the best seaside facilities in the South East. You’ll find a great selection of places to eat, shopping, and eccentric British seaside fun courtesy of the 623 feet pier stretching into the sea. There are also fantastic seasonal events and activities to keep the kiddies entertained.

To find out more, click here.


Sandbanks Beach, Dorset

Sandbanks Beach Dorset Best family beaches UK

With gorgeous golden sands, miles of the best unspoilt beach in the UK and year round events, Sandbanks Beach in Dorset is a favourite with families, including ours, and it’s easy to see why. Sandbanks is a small sandy peninsula which has won an award for it’s Blue Flag Sandbanks beach 29 years in a row. It’s also been designated as having the highest standard of cleanliness, winner for families! With miles of golden sand, clean waters and a promenade great for cycling and scooting, there really is something for everyone. You’ll also find lifeguards on duty from May to September.

To find out more, click here.


Ainsdale Beach, Merseyside

Ainsdale Beach Merseyside Best Family Beaches UK 2

Located between Southport and Formby, Ainsdale Beach is widely regarded as the best beach in the area, and it’s also the only beach in the North West of England to have ever been awarded a Blue Flag. These days the beach holds a Quality Coast Award which ensures clean water and plenty of facilities. You’ll find a Discovery Centre full of shell collections and information on local wildlife. They also offer free cycle hire during the summer months. Nearby Ainsdale Village offers good shopping and restaurant facilities.

To find out more, click here.


Woolacombe Bay, Devon

Woolacombe Bay Devon best family beaches UK

Voted as the 4th best beach in the UK on Trip Adviser in 2019. If you’re looking for a great beach destination in Devon for families, Woolacombe Bay is one of the best. With 3 miles of golden sand, rock pooling, body boarding and great walks via the dramatic coastal paths, Woolacombe has long been a favourite spot with families near and far. A short stroll into the town and you’ll find plenty of pubs, restaurants and shops to complete your day.

Find out more here.


Bournemouth Beach, Dorset

Bournemouth Beach Dorset best family beaches UK

With 7 miles of golden sand this is renowned as one of the best city beaches in the UK and has long been one of the south coasts most popular family beach destinations, and with so much to offer it’s easy to see why. The soft sand beach and tonnes of space make it the perfect destination for families, even if it can get pretty busy in the peak of summer. Away from the sand, Bournemouth has plenty to shout about. Last time we went we had a go on the adrenaline fuelled PierZip, the world’s first pier to shore zip wire! Not for the faint hearted but we loved it, you can book online here. Also at Rock Reef there’s loads for kids to do including indoor climbing walls, indoor caving and high ropes – perfect for adventurous little ones! You’ll find loads of choice for eating out in Bournemouth, and if you’re looking for convenience in the centre try BH2 which is home to loads of favourite High Street chains and a luxurious Odeon cinema. Phew!

For more information, click here.


Filey Beach, Yorkshire

Filey Beach Yorkshire Best Family Beaches UK 2

If you’re looking for the perfect beach for little (and big) explorers, Filey Beach could be the one. It’s well-known as a great spot for some rock pooling so remember to pack your nets and buckets. Families will also love checking out the sculpture trail surrounding the bay and the ancient remains of a Roman signal station can be found on the cliffs above. The town has a selection of restaurants and supermarkets and you’ll also find a café at the beach.

To find out more about this Yorkshire gem, click here.


Mawgan Porth Beach, Cornwall

Mawgan Porth Beach cornwall best family beaches UK

Our third entry on the list in Cornwall (and believe me, we had to be picky) is Mawgan Porth Beach, 5 miles north of Newquay. This is a quiet sandy bay with a large sheltered beach. Often overlooked by it’s more well-known neighbours, Mawgan Porth has acres of soft white sand, rock pools, caves and magical sunsets. Alongside the beach you’ll find good facilities including a pub, a café, a newsagents, and beach goods & surf shop, and more.

To find out more, click here.


Littlehampton, West Sussex

Littlehampton Beach best family beaches UK

Littlehampton consists of two award-winning, sand and shingle beaches which are a great spot for families to set up camp on a summers day, specifically East Beach is great for kiddies. As the tide goes out the perfect sandcastle making sand will be revealed! Littlehampton is probably best known for its entertainment off the beach though and has a great child-friendly funfair, the world’s longest bench, Stage by the Sea and a miniature railway.

For more information, click here.




We hope you enjoyed this post on family-friendly beaches in the UK. For ideas on other family days out, click here.



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