Five of our favourite beaches near London
We do like to be beside the seaside, but it’s not always possible in the capital and Surrey. Take our handy guide as inspo for a day-trip getaway and enjoy the feeling of sand between your toes in no time at one of these beaches near London
A breezy drive down the A3, East and West Wittering makes up a long stretch of sand where on a sunny day, the sunlight will reflect brightly and bounce of flat waves. Enjoy a brisk beach walk with views out to Chichester harbour and the South Downs and let little ones roam free, scrambling up the grassy dunes. Check out regulations for dogs, which are limited during the summer months, but not from September through to April. The wind hurtles in off the water, making the spot great for kite surfing and windsurfing.
Scramble beyond the mountain of sand dunes and you’ll uncover Camber Sands beach – a seven mile stretch with spellbinding views out to sea. Aside from endless paddling fun, there are plenty of restaurants offering local produce and friendly pubs to discover in the village of Camber. Further west and you’ll find the charming town of Rye. From here, be sure to detour to Hastings for an amble around its boutiques, quirky back streets, and plentiful pubs.
As far as beaches near London go, Brighton is the ultimate. Clapham Junction is the start of your journey out of the smog of the capital. Catch a 45 minute train and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Brighton at the hilltop train station. Head down the main thoroughfare and the sea will come into view, but before you dash for the pebbles, make your way around the lanes, stop off for some oysters and Champagne at the historic Riddle & Finns, and an obligatory stick of rock for pudding. Last trains run until around 11pm, making it a viable day-trip option.
A mere two hours away from the capital, Botany Bay is the quintessential Kent seaside town with iconic white cliffs and golden sands beaches. Ideal for a family day by the seaside, at low tide, Botany Bay comes into its own, prime for fossil hunting and paddling in rock pools. The coast is home to a smattering of cosy seafood restaurants with views stretching over the sea.
If the thought of travelling the whole way out to Sussex or Kent fills you with dread, look no further than landlocked Surrey, where you’ll be able to find the golden sands of Frensham Great Pond. Just south of Farnham, the pond has its own sandy beach and is a Green Flag award-winning site, meaning it is well-managed, a site for wildlife spotting, and a great place for cooling off with a dip.