1. West Beach, Whitstable
Away from the hubbub of town. People don’t tend to wander up, preferring to stay around the harbour for fish & chips and beers.
At low tide the estuary almost empties giving you flat sands and huge skies.
2. Mothecombe Beach, Devon
A little bit of a walk down from the car park, lovely sandy beach. The School House Cafe near the car park has re-opened. Fab cooked breakfasts.
3. Newport Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Huge, sandy sheltered beach round the estuary. Great for kids, canoeing, bbqs and beach cricket.
4. Coldingham Bay, Scottish Borders
It’s your classic beach with rock pools, sand and surf. Suzie's kids are here come rain or shine! Beach hut / surf school dispensing sausage rolls, ice creams and surf kit/lessons.
5. New Polzeath, Cornwall
It doesn't have the surf of next door Polzeath but nor does it have the crowds. Best for shallow swimming and beach cricket. No lifeguards and the tide can be strong.
6. RoanHead, Cumbria
On the Cumbria Coastal Way and backing onto the Sandscale Haws National Trust Nature Reserve.
Rich warm-coloured sand and barely any people. Loads of beach at low tide but beware the incoming tide - it's fast and the rip tide is strong.
7. Samson, Isles of Scilly
Wonderful empty beaches, freezing sea. Spot a puffin.
Getting there: The ferry from Penzance is running. The Skybus is flying from Land's End only during July. Click here for details.
8. Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight
A mile south of Ventnor on the coastal path (or via a vertiginous path from the Botanical Gardens NOT for buggies!) is this timewarp joy of a beach.
The Crab Shed has the best crab pasties in the world.
Open this summer daily except Tuesdays and rubbish weather 12–3pm. Click here for details.
9. Strathy Beach, Thurso, top of Scotland
Crystal clear water, sand forever and a delicious smooth peaty river tumbling into the sea to wash all the salt off.
10. Covehithe Beach, Suffolk
North of Southwold on a largely forgotten bit of Suffolk Coast, Covehithe Beach is a 10-15 minute walk from the road and the Medieval St Andrew’s Church with its ruins. It’s worth it for a long sandy beach with its crumbling, yellow cliff face and sea bleached tree stumps – a reminder of the ongoing dramatic erosion from the North Sea. There are no amenities but even in the height of summer the beach never feels busy.