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Achmelvich Beach, Scottish Highlands

We understand that holidays have been a bit of a question mark for a lot of people during 2020. Many are still unsure whether they should go on holiday, and if so, where?

With staycations becoming a more and more popular option, we’ve had a look for the most stunning, exotic-looking beaches in the UK, so you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything if you opt to stay close to home.

Whether you were hoping for a long-haul getaway, some winter sun, or an always sunny European beach break, we have you covered with some outstanding examples of UK beaches that you won’t quite believe are on home soil.

Discover 9 of the UK’s most exotic beaches…

1. Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Reminds us of… Spiaggia di Li Cossi, Sardinia

Spiaggia di Li Cossi, Sardinia

The National Trust’s Kynance Cove is the jewel in the crown of the Lizard Peninsula on Cornwall’s south coast. Famed for its crystal-clear water, fine white sand and backed by dramatic rocky outcrops, this picturesque beach is certainly one of England’s best beaches!

Not only that, it also has a very exotic, Mediterranean feel, bearing a striking resemblance to Spiaggia di Li Cossi on Sardinia’s north coast, often referred to as heaven on earth. Access your own slice of heaven much closer to home and swap Sardinia for South Cornwall.

Already packing your case? Search for holiday cottages on the Lizard Peninsula now.

2. Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Dorset


Reminds us of… Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The iconic Durdle Door limestone arch, close to Lulworth Cove and Man O’War Beach, along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, is an incredible, natural formation that draws in crowds all-year-round. Walkers can access this stunning stretch of coastline along the South West Coast Path and take in the spectacular view as you make your way down onto the soft sand.

Durdle Door also looks very similar to the arch of Cabo San Lucas, a rock formation that stands at the point where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean, on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Mexico certainly sounds a more exotic location, but we’d take a day exploring the Jurassic Coast and swimming in the picturesque water of Dorset any day.

Find your perfect holiday cottage and book your next holiday to Lulworth Cove today.

3. Achmelvich Beach, Scottish Highlands

Achmelvich beach, Scottish highlands

Reminds us of… Sumilon Blue Water Island, Cebu, Philippines

Sumilon Blue water Island, Cebu, Philippines

This absolute gem may be our favourite; who needs to fly 14+ hours to the Phillippines when there are rival beaches practically on the doorstep? You’d be forgiven for not immediately realising that Achmelvich Beach is actually tucked away in the Scottish Highlands. This slice of paradise is comparable to Sumilon Blue Water Island in Cebu and boasts pure white sand and the brightest turquoise water.

This stunning beach, which could be mistaken for an Asian haven, can also be found along the iconic North Coast 500 driving route, so can be incorporated into your next road trip of a lifetime! It is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Scotland, in our humble opinion!

What are you waiting for? Find your Scottish Highlands accommodation and you could be sunning yourself on this exotic beach in no time!

4. Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

Reminds us of… Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Did you have your heart set on discovering the city of Dubrovnik this summer? Fear not, we have found a fantastic alternative much closer to home.

Dubrovnik is often referred to as the pearl of the Adriatic; located at the far southern tip of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, its pretty sandy beach is set beside its stunning UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town and well-preserved city walls, providing a contrasting backdrop to its tranuquil turquoise-green water.

For a similar experience, head to the exotic-looking UK beach of Porthminster in St Ives, Cornwall. This Blue Flag award-winning, crescent-shaped, sandy beach offers safe swimming in its azure blue waters, as well as incredible views across St Ives Bay to Godrevy Lighthouse.

Dreaming of a relaxing day on one of St Ives’ magnificent beaches? Discover our collection of St Ives holiday cottages.

5. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Reminds us of… Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda

horseshoe bay beach, Bermuda

Our pick of Wales’ most exotic-looking beaches is Barafundle Bay, an east-facing beach within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, close to the coastal path. This magnificent, Caribbean-esque bay is backed by sand dunes and pine trees, and is relatively secluded, accessible only by walking half a mile over the cliffs from the nearest car park at Stackpole Quay.

Speaking of the Caribbean, Barafundle Bay does look very similar to Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay Beach on the south of the island; both are curved in shape with similar hues of turquoise green-blue waters, but one is much easier to access and is just as beautiful as its American counterpart.

Ready to head to the bay? Secure your Pembrokeshire holiday cottage now.

6. Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset

Reminds us of… Herring Cove Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

Herring Cove Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The small, sandy beach of Sandbanks in Poole has been a regular recipient of a Blue Flag award over the years for its cleanliness. This beach offers golden sand and shallow, safe swimming waters, sure to tempt you in for a dip.

Sandbanks Beach is remarkably similar to Herring Cove Beach, a peaceful sandy beach at the tip of the hook-shaped peninsula of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA. It’s beautiful, we won’t deny, but there’s no need to leave the mainland to discover an equally appealing stretch of golden sand.

Ready to feel the soft sand between your toes? Browse through our holiday cottages in Poole.

7. Porthcurno, Cornwall

Porthcurno, Cornwall

Reminds us of… Agia Eleni Beach, Kefalonia

Agia Eleni beach, Kefalonia

The award-winning beach of Porthcurno in west Cornwall offers soft sand, met by picturesque sea and backed by striking high cliffs, which act as a natural shelter from the wind. This exotic-looking beach is popular with families, with a small stream running close by that’s great for paddling, as well as having a lifeguard service and being dog-friendly for the majority of the year.

We think Porthcurno bares a strong resemblance to the quaint Agia Eleni Beach, on the Paliki Peninsula on the western tip of the Greek island of Kefalonia, resting peacefully in the Ionian Sea, to the west of the mainland. But you don’t need to fly for more than four hours for your tranquil beach escape, Cornwall’s alternative is just as impressive.

Dreaming of swimming in the tranquil, turquoise water? Find your ideal Porthcurno holiday cottage today.

8. St. Ninians Isle Beach, Shetland Islands

St. Ninians Isle beach, Shetland

Reminds us of… Ramberg Beach, Lofoten, Norway

Ramberg Beach, Lofoten, Norway

Another exotic beach in Scotland to make the list, this time on the Shetland Islands, is St. Ninians Isle Beach. This beach is actually a tombolo, which is a term used to describe a natural causeway of sand that has sea on either side, on the west coast of the island, within easy reach of the settlement of Bigton. The sandy beach is made up mostly of shell and offers deep blue waters, backed by grassland, while many seabirds such as puffins inhabit the area.

Its Scandinavian counterpart is Ramberg Beach on Lofoten, a Norwegian archipelago known for its dramatic scenery, with its imposing mountain peaks and pretty grassland framing the curved sandy beach. Our verdict: You won’t miss the mountains, head to the Shetlands for the eye-catching beauty of this exotic Shetlands beach.

Ready for an island escape? Discover our collection of cottages in Scotland.

9. Pentle Beach, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Pentle Beach, Tresco Island, Isles of Scilly

Reminds us of… Port Beach, Fremantle, Western Australia

Port Beach, Fremantle, Western Australia

Pentle Beach, on Tresco, the second-largest island of Cornwall’s Isles of Scilly, 25 miles south-west of the mainland, was once named one of the top under-the-radar beaches by the Wall Street Journal. This peaceful, sub-tropical paradise stays fairly quiet all-year-round and is a haven of turquoise water and bright-white sandy charm.

These striking colours are similar to that of Freemantle’s Port Beach on Australia’s stunning west coast. Western Australia is a heck of a long way to travel, even if its beaches are as picturesque as Port Beach. Save yourself a day of travelling (it can take anywhere from 17 hours to fly from the UK to Perth) and enjoy the pristine white sand of Cornwall’s Isle of Scilly instead, you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy visiting the Isles of Scilly with a stay at one of our cottages in West Cornwall.

If you have spotted your dream exotic UK beach, book with us today and prepare for your holiday on home soil. For more holiday gems, take a look at our top 10 UK staycation destinations. Do you agree with our selection? Do you have a favourite exotic-looking beach that isn’t on our list? Share your exotic UK beach snaps with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image Credits: Saffron Blaze(CC BY-SA 3.0)

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