Holiday bookings have never been so stressful.
The cost of flights is skyrocketing and many airlines have introduced hidden costs that discourage jet-setters.
We revealed yesterday that more than half of Brits are planning to stay this summer to save themselves the hassle of catching expensive flights to far flung destinations.
But staying in the UK shouldn’t just mean going to Cornwall or Devon.
With spectacular coastlines and beautiful beaches across the UK, there are hundreds of places to choose from and many may be just a short drive from where you live.
Here we reveal our selection of the best, lesser-known holiday destinations.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
THE “Jewel Among Pembrokeshire Beaches” Barafundle Bay is so dramatic it’s been said it’s like walking onto the set of Game Of Thrones.
Sitting on the edge of the Stackpole Estate between towering limestone cliffs, the bay is often cited as one of the best beaches in the world.
It’s off the beaten path and doesn’t have direct access by road.
The nearest car park is at Stackpole Quay, approximately half a mile away.
But just two hours from the Welsh capital, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Mersea Island, Essex
Dubbed ‘Essex’s best kept secret’, MERSEA Island is a hit with local celebrities including Denise van Outen and Stacey Solomon.
Only 7,000 people live on the island and there is only one way to get there – via the Strood Dam – although you cannot cross it at high tide.
You can stay at one of the island’s many holiday parks, or just head to the sand and shingle beaches for a day and maybe rent one of The Little Beach Houses Mersea’s 125 cute little beach cottages.
There are numerous country pubs on the island as well as the Mersea Island Vineyard And Brewery.
Gaddings Dam, Todmorden, Yorks
YORKSHIRE boasts some of the most incredible views in the country, but isn’t often thought of as the place to go for a dip on a sunny day.
However, Todmorden is home to Gaddings Dam, a secret beach where visitors can swim and sunbathe alongside the resident cows.
Also known as Cow Beach, the reservoir sits high on the moors above the city of West York and attracts summer visitors looking to cool off.
According to the Walking Northerners blog, it offers “amazing views, great walking, a sandy beach and one of the best wild swimming spots in the county”.
Gorleston on Sea, Norfolk
Voted the UK’s best beach in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023, Gorleston-on-Sea has been refurbished to make it the perfect destination for families wanting some summer sun.
The beach recently added a free splash pool for kids, 70 candy-colored beach huts, and several venues with ocean-view terraces overlooking the golden sands.
The Ocean Rooms, an 80-year-old venue with a unique circular shape, has also been revitalized and hosts the legendary Bongo’s Bingo night once a month.
Street artist Banksy even came to visit in 2021 and left his mark.
Dunwich Beach, Suffolk
Dunwich Beach is on the Suffolk coast and was named one of Britain’s best kept secrets for 2021. It is a beautiful, quiet and unspoilt pebbly beach loved by nature lovers and sun seekers alike.
Renowned for its thriving and often rare wildlife, Dunwich Heath is home to nightjars, Dartford warblers, woodlarks, adders and ant lions.
The beach and surrounding countryside are owned by the National Trust who run a beachside tearoom called Coastguard Cottages.
There is also a children’s playground on the beach and cafes and pubs in the nearby village of Dunwich.
Isle of Man, Irish Sea
THE Isle of Man, just 30 minutes from mainland Britain, is home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife and is the only place on earth to be fully designated a Unesco Biosphere.
Thanks to its location in the Gulf Stream, the island’s rich waters attract a variety of marine life, including seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins.
From mid-May to late August, the island is one of the best places to see basking sharks up close.
On land, more than 500 wild wallabies live on the island.
Her ancestors escaped from captivity in the 1960s.
If you are looking for somewhere a bit quirky like Brighton then Margate is the cheaper option.
The seaside town is compared to Ibiza for its lively bars and miles of sandy beaches.
And the Cliftonville area was voted one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Time Out Magazine.
Dreamland Theme Park – home to Britain’s oldest rollercoaster, the wooden Scenic Railway – is also great fun for the whole family.
Margate also has the UK’s largest tidal pool at Walpole Bay and a complimentary wooden sauna by local beauty brand Haeckels on Palm Bay beach.
Traeth Llanddwyn, Anglesey
ANGLESEY in Wales is known for its stunning beaches and Brits say that Traeth Llanddwyn in particular is “on a different level” thanks to its golden beaches and clear waters.
As it is a Blue Flag beach, it is also clean and well-maintained.
And with over 3.5 miles of sand, it’s probably a lot less crowded than the Cornish and Devon coast.
In the summer there are free restrooms, BBQ areas, picnic benches and food trucks.
There’s even a tidal island at the end, Ynys Llanddwyn, praised for its ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and remarkable views of Snowdonia National Park, Caernarfon and the Llyn Peninsula.