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The great thing about living on an island is you’re never far from a beach! Find out which ones you can get to by train, and let us know if you’ve got any suggestions we haven’t included. The community would love to hear your choices on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Looe, Cornwall

Not all of Cornwall is a surfer’s paradise! The calm waters of the south Cornish coast lap gently at the edges of East Looe Beach, a superb and safe example of an old-style holiday spot. Buckets, spades and sandcastles are the order of the day at Looe, and if you’re interested in wildlife you should take a glass-bottomed boat trip to nearby Looe Island Nature Reserve.

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Railway station: Looe

2. Broadstairs, Kent

Broadstairs, on the easternmost tip of Kent, is surrounded by Blue Flag beaches. It’s also near enough to other favourite Kentish seaside destinations to make the perfect holiday base. Try a clifftop walk to Ramsgate or Margate for a proper British family day out.

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Railway station: Broadstairs

3. Wales - Tenby South Beach, Wales

Backed by grassy dunes and fronted by a curving bay of blue water, Tenby South Beach is about as far away from the traditional image of wild, windy Wales as it’s possible to get. This award-winning Blue Flag beach is a beautiful 1.5 miles stretch of golden sand, which opens out to a veritable playground of relaxation at low tide. Even at high tide, there’s tons of room for holidaying families.

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Railway station: Tenby

4. Whitstable, Kent

Whitstable’s pebble beaches are divided into five sections, split down the middle by Whitstable Harbour. Beach huts, many privately owned, turn the summer months into an ongoing festival, and are the ideal spot from which to watch the Regatta and fireworks display. You have to try the oysters while you’re here.

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Railway station: Whitstable

5. Skegness, Lincolnshire

‘Skeggy’ is the most popular holiday destination for families heading coastwards from Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. Its wide, sandy beach is packed with traditional British seaside attractions, including donkey rides and a pier. Skegness is the location of the first ever Butlins, and one of the most famous coastal towns in Britain.

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Railway station: Skegness

6. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

The Greater Yarmouth coastline really does have everything a holidaying family could want: 15 miles of sand, beautiful sand dunes, bustling piers and traditional amusements. From fish and chips to nature rambles, there’s something here for everyone. Check out the Pleasure Beach for high octane fun, or head to the Broads for unmissable wilderness.

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Railway station: Great Yarmouth

7. Ness Beach, Shaldon, Devon

Skirted by the spectacular Ness Headland, a huge red-rock cliff running along the South Devon coast, Ness Beach is a hidden gem and local’s favourite. The cliffs offer perfect shelter from frequent Devonian winds, and the access - via an ancient smuggler’s tunnel - is loaded with romance. Nearby Teignmouth also runs the world’s oldest water ferry to Shaldon, across the estuary.

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Railway station: Teignmouth

8. St Ives Beach, Cornwall

Cornwall’s unique combination of rugged romance and free-and-easy holidaymaking finds its perfect expression in St Ives Bay. The sprawling harbour town, which is home to the South West’s version of the Tate Gallery, enjoys access to 10 perfect beaches - some of which you’ll see drifting past the window as your train slows down for the station. Look out for seals, basking sharks and dolphins in the blue waters.

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Railway station: St Ives

9. Brighton Beach, Sussex

Probably Britain’s biggest party beach, Brighton’s famous stretch of sand is bounded by the equally legendary pier, and is regularly voted in the top 10 world city beach breaks. By day, the delightfully hippy-dippy town is a Mecca for families looking for classic seaside fun. At night, it becomes the fire-juggling, big beat-loving capital of clubland. Epic.

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Railway station: Brighton

10. Littlehampton, West Sussex

Littlehampton’s West and East Beaches have both won awards. East Beach is the archetypal Victorian holiday destination, complete with sculpted sea gardens and ranks of deckchairs. It’s also home to the world’s longest bench. West Beach is East Beach’s laid-back cousin: in place of manicured gardens, you’ll find a SSSI sand-dune system and plenty of chilled parents. Watch out for fossils, and don’t miss the ruins of the Napoleonic fort.

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Railway station: Littlehampton

11. Bournemouth, Dorset

Technically, Bournemouth’s beach is a single entity - but with seven golden miles to play with, you’re guaranteed to find everything you could want here! There are piers heaving with family attractions, a surf break, nature rambles and beach huts. The West Undercliff Promenade offers great walking and running. Oh, and did we mention the climate? with its own microclimate, Bournemouth Beach enjoys some of the warmest waters in the UK.

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Railway station: Bournemouth

12. Barmouth, Wales

Barmouth’s sloping streets of slate cottages tumble down to the beach, which offers a huge stretch of sand to sunbathers, families and adventurers seeking a long walk. Situated on the Mawddach river estuary, and commanding views of the Snowdonia’s mountains as well as the open sea, this is a real Welsh gem. You won’t find a more spectacular beach in the UK.

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Railway station: Barmouth

13. Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

Spittal Beach is the gem in Berwick-upon-Tweed’s crown, and a great jumping-off point for Northumberland’s many outdoor activities. Take a leisurely walk along the Victorian promenade, visit the Elizabethan Walls, or get in the saddle of a mountain bike and start out on the Sandstone Way.

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Railway station: Berwick-upon-Tweed

14. Whitby Beach, Yorkshire

Whitby’s many beaches offer a variety of perfect holiday experiences - though the routes to some are exhausting! Whitby’s main beach, for example, is accessed via extremely long ramps from a clifftop car park. Tate Hill Beach, which is incorporated into Whitby Harbour, is extremely sheltered and safe for swimmers. It’s also the perfect place to start a romantic walk to the East Pier, and the best spot in Whitby for Regatta fireworks.

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Railway station: Whitby

15. Morecambe Bay, Lancashire

Morecambe Bay is vast, stretching from Cumbria to Lancashire. When the tide’s out, the vistas are spectacular. Wildlife walks and birdwatching opportunities abound, particularly at Walney, where you might run into a seal or two. Take time to familiarise yourself with high and low water times to avoid getting cut off.

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Railway station: Morecambe

16. Ayr Beach, Scotland

Ayr beach is a real Scottish beauty: a long run of sand perfect for building sandcastles and playing beach games. The surrounding attractions, though, really make the destination. Visit the Victorian Low Green, an immaculate grassy area that borders the beach (and is surrounded by beautifully kept buildings). It’s the ideal spot for a picnic.

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Railway station: Ayr

17. Troon Beach, Scotland

This hugely popular sandy beach is a perfect spot for families, windsurfers, kite surfers and sailors. The nearby Yacht Haven boasts a whole village of amenities, including excellent shopping and restaurants and an Italian garden. Troon Beach itself is bounded by a vibrant esplanade, with a chippy that serves up a wicked fish ’n’ chips.

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Railway station: Troon

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Looking for more recommendations for amazing days out around the UK? Take a look at our destination guides.

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