Top 10 Beaches Within An Hour From London

Top 10 Beaches Within An Hour From London

Escape the city’s hustle and embrace the allure of these fantastic beaches within an hour’s journey from London.

Whether you’re seeking vibrant entertainment, tranquil seclusion, or a combination of both, these coastal getaways offer the perfect opportunity to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the refreshing coastal breeze.

Main image: Margate Main Sands (c) Tourism @ Thanet District Council

1 Brighton Beach – East Sussex 

Located just an hour south of London by train, Brighton Beach is a popular seaside destination with something for everyone. This vibrant beach offers a mix of traditional seaside charm, entertainment options, and a lively atmosphere.

Stroll along the iconic Brighton Pier, explore the quaint lanes filled with unique shops and cafes, and soak up the sun on the pebble beach. With various water sports available, including paddleboarding and kayaking, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy. Don’t miss indulging in traditional fish and chips or savoring an ice cream cone as you embrace the lively beach vibes.

2 Southend-on-Sea – Essex

Situated on the Thames Estuary, Southend-on-Sea is an easily accessible beach destination from London. Take a short train ride from the city, and you’ll find yourself on the picturesque sandy shores of this beloved coastal town.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the expansive promenade, lined with amusement arcades, cafes, and seafood restaurants. Marvel at the world’s longest pleasure pier, stretching over a mile into the estuary, and be sure to take a ride on the pier’s train. From building sandcastles to relaxing on the beach, Southend-on-Sea offers a quintessential beach experience close to the city.

Credit: Tourism @ Southend on Sea City Council

3 Camber Sands – East Sussex

Just over an hour’s journey from London, Camber Sands is a picturesque beach with stunning sand dunes and expansive shoreline. Nestled near Rye, this beach is renowned for its golden sands and natural beauty.

Embrace the tranquility as you take long walks along the beach, fly kites in the open skies, or simply bask in the sun. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, try your hand at kiteboarding or windsurfing, as Camber Sands is known for its excellent wind conditions. After a day of beachside fun, visit the nearby town of Rye and explore its charming streets and historic landmarks.

4 Margate Beach – Kent

Situated on the eastern coast of Kent, Margate Beach offers a delightful seaside escape within an hour and a half from London. This lively beach combines nostalgic charm with contemporary attractions, making it a popular choice among beachgoers.

Relax on the sandy shores, take a dip in the refreshing waters, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade. Margate is also home to the Turner Contemporary, an internationally acclaimed art gallery that adds a cultural touch to your beach visit. Explore the Old Town area, filled with independent shops, vintage boutiques, and trendy cafes, before heading back to London.

Credit: Tourism @ Thanet District Council

The very best spots for an outdoor swim

5 Whitstable Beach – Kent

Escape the city and head to Whitstable Beach, a little over an hour’s journey from London. Known for its picturesque coastline and famous oysters, this charming beach town offers a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle.

Walk along the pebble beach, browse the colorful beach huts, and admire the traditional fishing boats. Enjoy a seafood feast at one of the many acclaimed seafood restaurants, where you can savor the local delicacy, Whitstable oysters. Don’t forget to explore the quirky independent shops and galleries that dot the town’s charming streets.

Credit: Visit Canterbury

6 Frinton-on-Sea – Essex

For a tranquil and family-friendly beach experience, Frinton-on-Sea is an ideal choice. Located just under an hour and a half from London, this beautiful sandy beach boasts a laid-back atmosphere and a sense of old-fashioned charm.

Unwind on the pristine shores, build sandcastles with the kids, and take refreshing dips in the sea. Frinton-on-Sea is known for its peaceful surroundings and traditional beach huts, creating a nostalgic ambiance. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade, and if you’re in the mood for a snack or a cup of tea, there are charming cafes and tea rooms nearby.

7 West Wittering Beach – West Sussex

While slightly over an hour’s drive from London, West Wittering Beach is well worth the journey for its pristine sandy beaches and stunning natural surroundings. This Blue Flag beach offers a picturesque coastal escape on the southern coast of England.

Relax on the soft sands, take a dip in the clear waters, or enjoy a leisurely beach walk amidst the beautiful dunes and grassy areas. West Wittering is also popular among watersports enthusiasts, with opportunities for windsurfing, paddleboarding, and kiteboarding. Facilities such as cafes, picnic areas, and ample parking make it a convenient and enjoyable day trip destination.

8 Dungeness Beach – Kent

If you’re seeking a unique and otherworldly beach experience, Dungeness Beach is a captivating destination within a two-hour journey from London. Situated on the Kent coast, this shingle beach is surrounded by a dramatic and rugged landscape.

As you explore the vast expanse of shingle, you’ll encounter a striking juxtaposition of industrial structures, eclectic homes, and an abundant array of wildlife. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Dungeness Nuclear Power Stations (only from outside, though, as they are now closed for visitors), the iconic Dungeness Lighthouse, or enjoy fresh seafood at the renowned Pilot Inn pub.

Credit: Visit Kent

9 Ruislip Lido Beach

The only London beach you can get to stress-free by tube, Ruislip Lido Beach offers a 60-acre lake and a stretch of beautiful sandy beaches. Pack up the car for a family day of fun in the sun building sand castles and having a splash about. From climbing frames and an outside gym to a waterpark with a pirate ship and Britain’s longest 12-inch gauge miniature railway through the woods, the kids are sure to stay entertained. Surrounding the Lido, you can take a sunny stroll along one of the woodland nature trails before grabbing a tipple in one of the cafes.

10 Hastings Beach – East Sussex

Backed by gorgeous Edwardian hotels and a grand promenade, Hastings is the ultimate must-visit Great British seaside town. Take a stroll down the Victorian pier to the perfect stretch of sandy shores, perfect for beach games, barbeques and a picnic. The expanse of shops and cafes along the promenade makes for the perfect day trip away from busy city life.