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Beaches near London

Craving an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city lights? Look no further than our guide to the best beaches in London.

Believe it or not, there are a plethora of beaches just a short distance away from the capital of England. These stunning locations are easily commutable via car, train, or bus!

From unspoilt pebbled shores to far-reaching sands with amusements, you’ll be spoiled for choice! With our handy guide, you can escape the stress of city life and escape to the seaside for a much-needed relaxation break.

Continue reading to discover the 12 best beaches near London…

1. Ruislip Lido, North London

Ruislip Lido

The first addition to our best beaches near London guide can actually be found in London, and it’s the popular Ruislip Lido.

This 60-acre lake in Hillingdon, North London, is backed by golden sands and a 726-acre nature reserve. Ruislip Lido offers a perfect slice of the seaside in London right on your doorstep!

If you fancy a break from the sun, why not venture into the nature reserve? You can go on a wildlife-spotting walk or ride the Ruislip Lido Railway. Be sure to explore Ruislip, where you can visit the fascinating ruins of the Battle of Britain House, followed by dinner at The Water’s Edge.

Distance from London: 19.7 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Not on the main beach, but there is a dog-friendly area of the Lido
Postcode: HA4 7TY

2. Brighton Beach, Brighton & Hove

Brighton Beach

Next on the list is the stunning Blue Flag Beach of Brighton, along with being the unofficial LGBTQ+ capital of the UK, it’s known for hosting one of the best beaches in the UK. It is also one of the closest beaches to London and enjoys an array of activities and a cosmopolitan pier.

Bathe on the golden sands, take a dip in the sea, or try your hand at sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Enjoy a stroll along the renowned promenade, where you’ll find welcoming bars and restaurants.

The Grade II* pier is a hub of family-friendly activities with fairground rides off the beach, you will find the attractions of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Volk’s Electric Railway and Brighton Racecourse Brighton is a fantastic choice for those seeking a beach close to London.

Distance from London: 53.4 miles via car
Type: Pebble
Dog-friendly:  Yes, from 1st October to 30th April
Postcode: BN2 1ET

3. Camber Sands Beach, Sussex

Camber Sands Beach

Next up on our guide is the beautiful Camber Sands, with its 2 miles of soft sands and picturesque sand dunes. This popular beach is a great choice for a family day out by the sea.

Take to the waters with your watersport of choice at Rye Watersports or kite surf with The Kitesurf Centre. You can also cool off with a dip in the sea or venture out on a RIB tour where you can spot the local wildlife.

From the beach, you can hike through the dunes up to the village of Camber, home to a good selection of pubs and eateries. Rye is also nearby, where you’ll find the Rye Heritage Centre and the National Trust site of Lamb House.

Distance from London: 77.3 miles via car
Type: Sand and shingle
Dog-friendly:  Yes between May and September and restricted to Zones F&H
Postcode: TN31 7RT

4. Whitstable Beach, Kent

Whitstable Beach

For a taste of the traditional seaside, head to the shingled shores of Whitstable. Popular for its watersports and backed by traditional beach huts, it is a great option for those seeking a coastal getaway with charm.

Nearby, you will find the popular 19th-century Old Neptune pub, where you can dine with exceptional sea views. A trip to Whitstable wouldn’t be complete without sampling the town’s famous Oysters from the Whitstable Oyster Company.

In the charming town, you can explore Whitstable Castle and the Fishlab Gallery, or why not soak up the views from the Tankerton Slopes

Distance from London: 59.8 miles via car
Type: Shingle
Dog-friendly:  Yes
Postcode: CT5 1FB

5. Bournemouth Beach, Dorset

Bournemouth Beach

Even though it’s not the closest, Bournemouth should definitely be on your list of beaches to visit near London. It is well-known for being one of the most family-friendly beaches in Dorset and it’s clear to see why.

The beach is well-known for its fun-filled Victorian Pier which is filled with amusements, including a café, a theatre, an amusement arcade, and boat trips. You can also visit RockReef, a complex offering ropes courses, zip lines, and rock climbing, perfect for adventure seekers!

Be sure to explore the town on a Dorset walk once you have finished at the beach, where you will find the popular attractions of the Oceanarium, Bournemouth Parks, the Observation Wheel, Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, and the Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Distance from London: 107 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly:  Yes between 1st October and 30th April
Postcode: BH2 5AA

6. Birling Gap Beach, East Sussex

Birling Gap Beach

Birling Gap is one of the most unique settings when seeking out the best beaches near London.

This beach is part of the famous National Trust Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and provides the perfect starting point for coastal walks. Here you can also explore rock pools and fossil hunting with the little ones.

Birling Gap rests on the edges of the South Downs National Park, where you’ll find hiking trails and wildlife-rich grasslands. Be sure to pay a visit to the nearby attractions of Belle Tout, Beachy Head Lighthouse, and The Beachy Head Story.

Distance from London: 73.4 miles via car
Type: Sand and shingle
Dog-friendly:  Yes
Postcode: BN20 0AB

7. Botany Bay Beach, Kent 

Botany Bay Beach

If you are looking for a relaxing coastal day out, Botany Bay is the perfect beach for you and one of the best hidden beaches in the UK!

This popular Blue Flag beach near London draws its name from Australia’s Botany Bay, where smugglers were once deported. As well as its history, Botany Bay is popular for its watersports and coastal hikes, including the Viking Coastal Trail and Kent Coastal Path.

The Laughing Barrel Micro Pub serves great meals and local ales, perfect after a day at the beach.

Distance from London: 78 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly:  Yes between 1st October and 30th April
Postcode: CT10 3LG

8. Viking Bay Beach, Kent

Viking Bay

From its horseshoe shape and sweeping sands, it’s no surprise Viking Bay is one of the nicest sandy beaches near London. Once the holiday destination of Charles Dickens, the beach enjoys watersports at The Surf School and clifftop views.

If you’re looking to explore further, you’ll find the Dickens House Museum, and Jetty Broadstairs with picturesque views. For a unique setting, check out the enchanting Chapel Bar and Bookshop for sampling local ales.

Distance from London: 79.4 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Yes between 1st October and 30th April
Postcode: CT10 1NB

9. Clacton Beach, Essex

Clacton Beach

A piece of the traditional English seaside can be all yours at Clacton Beach. With its golden sands, theme parks and pier with entertainment and aquarium, it is clear why it’s a popular destination.

There is an array of watersports on offer at Curve Watersports, as well as a beautiful promenade with seafront gardens, perfect for enjoying leisurely strolls with a view!

Events in the town include; fireworks on the pier on Bank Holidays, Clacton Carnival in August, and the Clacton Pier Halloween Festival, all of which are not to be missed!

Distance from London: 83.2 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly: From May through to September inclusive, dogs are not allowed on the beach between the Pier to West Road out-fall pipe on Martello Bay
Postcode: CO15 6JS

10. St Margaret’s Beach, Dover 

St Margarets Beach

Next to the best beaches near London guide is the idyllic St Margaret’s Beach. Ideal for escaping the crowds, the shingled shores are ideal for crabbing with the kids or admiring the views of the stunning White Cliffs of Dover.

From the beach, you can head up to the cliffs, where you can embark on the 4.7-mile England Coastal Path Circular Walk. You may catch a glimpse of the wild ponies that roam the clifftops! Be sure to stop by at the National Trust site of South Foreland Lighthouse.

After day memorable day on the beach, treat yourselves to a well-deserved meal at The Coastguard Pub, well-known as Britain’s nearest pub to France.

Distance from London: 78.3 miles via car
Type: Shingle
Dog-friendly:  Yes between 1st October and 30th April
Postcode: CT15 6DX

11. Margate Beach, Kent 

Margate Beach

Our guide to the best beaches near London would not be complete without Margate. A tidal swimming pool, traditional rides and arcades ensure a timeless day out at the seaside.

Whilst you’re in town, check out the popular attractions of Dreamland, Turner Contemporary and Shell Grotto. Foodies are well-catered for with fresh seafood at Buoy and Oyster, and hearty meals at the quirky award-winning Bus Cafe.

If you’re looking for a sandy beach near London with something for everyone, Margate has it all!

Distance from London: 75 miles via car
Type: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Yes between 1st October and 30th April
Postcode: CT9 1XP

12. Hastings Beach, East Sussex

Hastings Beach

The final destination on our beaches near London guide is the highly-regarded Hastings Beach. The historic pier, funfair, and arcades in Pelham Place make for a memorable day by the sea.

This delightful stretch of the coast is ideal for relaxing on your deckchair with a stunning view of the clifftops. You’ll find excellent watersports here, along with the eateries of Starsky & Hatch and Rockpool Bar & Grill.

White Rock Theatre which plays host to the Hastings International Musical Festival and Beatles Day.

Distance from London: 70.9 miles via car
Type: Sand and Shingle
Dog-friendly: Yes with dog-free zones
Postcode: TN34 1PF

Ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Secure you’re staying at one of these coastal cottages to ensure you’re in a prime position! For further inspiration, check out more of the best beaches in the UK.

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