wild swimming
wild swimming trip from london

Six lesser known beaches near London

If you’re itching to sink your toes into some sand, take in the fresh sea air and indulge in authentic fish n chips, there’s plenty of great beaches within easy reach of London. Brighton? Love it, but so does everybody else. Why not try one of these more unusual beaches near London you (and the crowds!) might not have heard of?

 

 

Sunny Sands, Folkestone

sunny sands folkestone harbour

Sunny Sands, Folkestone

Sunny Sands beach isn’t the only reason people are attracted to Folkestone. The seafront has undergone a transformation in recent years, and now boasts a wide variety of independent shops, bars and street food stalls on Folkstone Harbour Arm. The town is also enjoying a creative renaissance, with artists like Sol Calero and Anthony Gormley exhibiting their works on the seafront. 

Driving time from London: 1hr 45min. 
 

Cuckmere Haven

cuckmere haven

Cuckmere Haven

Close to the iconic white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, this quiet pebble beach is a beautiful spot which has earned a feature in several films. The adjacent Seaford Head Nature Reserve is a popular destination for hikers, boasting panoramic views of the sea and cliffs, and it’s possible to walk along the coast from Seaford town to Eastbourne, if you’re up to the challenge. 

Driving time from London: 2hr 10min.
 

Eastbourne Beach

eastbourne beach

Eastbourne Beach

Half a mile of soft sandy beach awaits you in Eastbourne. Flanked by Victorian hotels, this classic seaside town is perfect for a day out when the sun is shining. If you’re in search of something a little different, just two and a half miles along the shore to the east is Langney Point, a popular spot for fishing. It’s also close to Sovereign Harbour, a mooring area for yachts and motorboats, with plenty of waterfront cafes and restaurants offering takeaway food and drinks. 

Driving time from London: 2hr 15min. 
 

Studland Bay

studland bay

Studland Bay

This four-mile stretch of white sand backed by sand dunes is the ideal destination for a day out. There are four beaches at Studland – Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach - all of which are owned by the National Trust. But the thing that really sets Knoll Beach apart is a 900m stretch of coastline dedicated to naturism. It’s probably the best-known official naturist beach in Britain! So, if you’ve ever fancied skinny dipping, now you know where to go!

Driving time from London:

Stone Bay

stone bay beach huts

Stone Bay

Ever wondered where to find those picture-postcard beach huts you’ve seen on Instagram? You’ll find some at Stone Bay! Don’t let the name fool you, this beach is as sandy as they come , and backed by chalk cliffs which provide excellent shelter from the breeze. This is a quieter alternative to Viking Bay just around the headland, but the beach does almost disappear when the tide is in, so be warned!

Driving time from London: 2h 15min

Dungeness Beach

dungeness beach

Dungeness Beach

This shingle beach on the edge of Romney Marsh is technically classified as a desert! A surreal landscape overlooked by Dungeness nuclear power station and two lighthouses, it’s nonetheless home to many rare species of plants and insects. These sights, coupled with the disused railway line and innumerable abandoned shacks and old fishing boats which dot the landscape, make it a dream destination for photography enthusiasts. 

Driving time from London: 2h 15min

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