Best Beaches Near London: Ultimate Guide for Day Trips & Short Getaways (2024)
Wondering if there’s a beach near London? Planning for a Seaside Coastal getaway near London? Look no further.
Although London isn’t home to any authentic beach, the city never disappoints beach lovers. When in London, look no further than the inviting shores that lie just a stone’s throw away. There are quite a few exciting beaches within a few hour’s drive from London. These oceanic landmarks make for a perfect day trip or short getaway when the London streets get truly busy.
Whether you want to drive all the way long or travel by train, there are several beaches near London to approach. And since there’s nothing more quintessentially than an English seaside trip, you cannot simply miss it. With that said, here are the Best Beaches to visit near London.
Best Beaches Near London: Ultimate Guide for Day Trips & Short Getaways
From those hidden coves to those charming coastal towns and secluded beaches, let’s make our summers the best. Have a look at our choicest picks.
1. Ruislip Lido Beach
Distance: 14 miles (about 22.5 kilometers) from the heart of London
For a convenient and refreshing seaside day trip from London, look no further than the Ruislip Lido Beach. This clean and serene beach is nestled in Ruislip, West London, and offers a quick getaway from the city.
Ruislip Lido Beach is easily accessible by car, and the journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour. Enthusiasts can also take the London Underground’s Metropolitan Line and disembark at Ruislip Station. Once you are in Ruislip, the beach is just 15 minutes walk away.
At Ruislip Lido Beach, you’ll find a charming artificial lake surrounded by sandy shores, creating a beach-like ambiance. Since it is a part of a 700-acre woodland nature reserve, the opportunities for recreation here are endless. Also, the lush woodlands around offer a scenic backdrop for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. Relax on the sand by the calm water, go for leisurely walks, and enjoy a beachside picnic. Or, if you are up for some fun, rent rowboats or pedal boats and venture into the lake. Opportunities, including riding a miniature train, getting into a pirate ship (for kids), and hiking the woodland trails, are also available nearby.
2. Pebble Beach, Brighton Palace Pier, and Beachfront
Distance: 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of London
Brighton is a coastal town that offers the best coastal getaway opportunities near London. Towards the south of London, it offers a diverse array of opportunities for water enthusiasts, especially beach lovers.
The easiest way to reach Brighton from London is via train from London Victoria, London Bridge, and St Pancras International stations. This feasible day-trip option takes only 1 to 1.5 hours (one-way). Hopping a bus or driving along are other options, though they may take two or more hours.
Brighton is home to a unique beach, the Pebble Beach. Rather than with sand, it is covered with smooth pebbles. It may not be a regular beach, but it surely has an appeal. As the waves roll, the pebbles on the beach create a unique sound. Besides that, visitors can also explore Brighton Palace Pier, an iconic attraction or, rather, a mini amusement park on the beach. Also, check out the beachfront area for cafes, shops, and restaurants. Swimming at Pebble Beach is also an option; however, the water can get very chilly. Adventure enthusiasts can also try kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing.
3. Frensham Beach, Surrey
Distance: 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of London.
Frensham Beach in Surrey offers a wonderful ocean escape from London in the form of a day trip or short getaway. This wonderful natural retreat is a landlocked beach, though very beautiful, lively, and worth every effort to reach.
To reach Frensham Beach, one can take the M3 motorway from London towards Southampton and then exit onto the A287 towards Farnham. It is the most common route, and the journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. However, the travel time by road may increase during weekends, especially during peak hours. Frensham Great Pond and Common have enough parking options. Or, for the easiest option, take the train from London Waterloo to Farnham station. To navigate further, either take a short taxi or bus ride to Frensham Beach.
When at Frensham Beach in Surrey, opportunities are endless. The beach sits at a sandy lake shore located within Frensham Great Pond and Common. It is ideal for sunbathing, relaxing, and picnicking. The lake also offers swimming opportunities, and taking a refreshing dip here in the clear waters is truly an experience, too. Frensham Common is surrounded by heathland and forest and thus also offers opportunities for natural walking, hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography. There are ample parking spots, picnic areas, toilet facilities, and a café nearby.
4. Sunny Sands, Folkestone
Distance: 70 miles (about 113 kilometers) southeast of London.
Sunny Sands in Folkestone presents an enchanting coastal retreat for a rejuvenating day trip from London. This picturesque stretch of shoreline, while not landlocked, captivates with its beauty, vibrancy, and an experience that’s well worth the journey.
To reach Sunny Sands, travelers can drive southeast from London on the M20 motorway. The drive typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. Sunny Sands offers parking options nearby. Or, opt for a leisurely train ride from London to Folkestone Central station. Further, enjoy a pleasant stroll of about 15 minutes that takes you to the inviting shores of Sunny Sands.
When at Sunny Sands, the captivating coastal scene will greet you like nowhere else. Sunny Sands Beach is covered with golden sands that welcome big English Channels’ gentle waves. The sparkling water here makes it an ideal spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. The beach is also popular as a sun-soaked spot for lounging, beachfront picnics, and the thrill of exploring tidal pools. It is also perfect for building sandcastles, so make sure you bring your tools. The beach exudes a lively atmosphere with families, locals, and visitors enjoying the day.
5. Botany Bay
Distance: 80 miles (about 129 kilometers) southeast of London.
Botany Bay, nestled on the southeast coast of England, is ideal for a short getaway from London. This coastal location is ideal for a captivating weekend or overnight trip.
Reaching Botany Bay from London isn’t a hassle (although it may appear like it). This pristine Bay is well worth the journey. Road trip lovers can drive via the M2 and A299 for a direct link from London to Botany Bay. This journey through well-connected roads takes around 2 to 2.5 hours. Or opt for a train ride from London to Margate or Broadstairs. Further, a short and scenic coastal stroll of about 20 to 30 minutes will lead you to the Bay.
When at Botany Bay, the coastal charm will please you like never before. The picturesque and unspoiled coastal panorama here is truly mindblowing. Botany Bay is named after exotic plants that add allure to nature. The Bay’s sandy shoreline and dramatic white cliffs create a stunning backdrop for your coastal escapade. Visitors can check out the unique chalk stacks and rock formations and get surprised at every step. The ethereal atmosphere here is also ideal for relaxation and exploration. Visitors often enjoy strolling to uncover the hidden nooks and crannies of the Bay. The most common visitors here are either nature enthusiasts or photography lovers. Botany Bay invites you to revel in its natural splendor no matter what your interests are.
6. Viking Bay
Distance: 80 miles (about 129 kilometers) southeast of London
Viking Bay, nestled along the charming coast of Broadstairs, invites an idyllic day trip from London. However, it also makes for a short overnight getaway, keeping the distance in mind. This picturesque Bay promises a coastal escape that’s sure to captivate your senses.
For reaching Viking Bay from London, car travelers can head on the M2 and A299, offering a direct path from London to Broadstairs. This trip allows tracing a scenic route to the southeastern shores. Or take a train ride from London to Margate or Broadstairs. Follow it with a coastal stroll of approximately 10 to 15 minutes, leading you to Viking Bay.
Upon arriving at Viking Bay, you’re greeted by a pristine shoreline that exudes a quintessential coastal charm. Due to an intertwined tale of invading Vikings, the Bay got its name. Its sandy expanse and picturesque backdrop invite beach lovers to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the promenade, allowing the sea breeze to invigorate their senses. Or get into beachside activities like beachcombing, castle building, and more. The Bay offers a haven for sunseekers, families, and those in search of a tranquil coastal respite. Viking Bay ensures a comfortable visit with nearby amenities, including cafes and facilities.
7. Camber Sands, East Sussex
Distance: 75 miles (about 121 kilometers) southeast of London
Last but not the least on our list of Beach getaways from London is the Camber Sands in East Sussex. This captivating coastal retreat makes for an enchanting day trip from London.
To reach Camber Sands, embark on your car journey from London, taking the M20 motorway from London towards Folkestone. Further, continue on A259 towards Camber Sands, and the journey will take around 2 to 2.5 hours. Or opt for a train ride from London to Rye station. Following it is a short bus or taxi ride to the shores of Camber Sands.
The journey towards Camber Sand offers glimpses of the picturesque countryside. And once you are on the coastal end, the vast expanse of golden sands and the soothing rhythm of the sea will greet you. Camber sand got its name after its naturally cambered shape. This wide sandy beach and panoramic views create an inviting backdrop for your coastal adventure. The area is also popular for relaxing in natures’ tranquility, castle building, and beachcombing. It offers opportunities for water sports and beach games as well. Beyond the beach, one can explore the scenic dunes and diverse habitats around.