12 of Somerset’s beautiful beaches to explore
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Whether you’re a sun worshipper hoping to catch up on your tan, an avid walker wondering where to take a detour on The South West Coast Path, or maybe you just fancy dipping your toes in the calming waves that lap the sand, we have found 12 of the most gorgeous seaside spots for you to visit.
1. Kilve Beach, between Minehead and Bridgwater
Described by William Wordsworth as 'Kilve's delightful shore', as you stand on the slate and shingle of Kilve Beach you feel a million miles away as the grand limestone cliffs hide you from the rest of the world. Try to explore during the low tide when the shoreline is full of fossils to discover and rock pools to go crabbing. The top of the cliffs is the perfect place to truly appreciate the beauty of the beach and enjoy breathtaking views of the landscape.
Although sat at the top of the cliffs is an ideal spot for a picnic, don't worry if you've forgotten to pack a lunch, Chantry Tea Gardens is nearby with an extensive menu of delicious dishes.
2. Berrow Beach
Holding the title of the second largest stretch of sand in Europe, Berrow Beach is six miles of golden sand, dunes, marshland which attracts various seabirds and interesting spots to explore.
When the tide goes out, make sure to visit The Berrow Ship Wreck where you can see the long dead ship stick out of the sand and imagine the savage gale that washed the ship ashore and also the famous lighthouse on stilts which remains an active navigation aid up until this day. Brave the cold water as it's perfect for a swim or paddle.
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3. Brean Down
Brean Down is a superb stretch of beach with firm sand, ideal to while away the day making sandcastles and playing traditional beach games.
Make the one and a half mile trip up to the top of the Down, standing 97 metres high looking over the beach, where you'll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the beautiful scenery. Cast your eyes upon the sea to one side, across the Somerset Levels to the other and take in some of the county's iconic landmarks such as Glastonbury Tor and the Mendip Hills. You may even spot a group of goats making their way round the Down.
This unspoilt sand and shingle beach is run by Dunster Beach Holidays which is ideal for those booking a family holiday in the summer or a quiet getaway out of the busier warmer months.
The 450 acres of privately owned beach is part of a nature reserve with woods, a large lake, lots of wildlife and rare flowers to explore.
5. Clevedon Beach
This pretty pebble beach running south-west from Clevedon has all the amenities of a busy seaside strip while maintaining a tranquillity you would hope for when planning a relaxing trip to the beach. We recommend trying to find Layde Bay, a gorgeous sheltered cove to escape to.
Around a mile from Layde Bay, you can find Clevedon Pier, one of the earliest surviving examples of a Victorian pier in the UK. Open daily, as you take a stroll along the pier, you'll spot fisherman, boats setting sail and visitors soaking in the beautiful views of the Bristol Channel.
6. Uphill Beach, Weston-Super-Mare
Just a short stroll from Weston-Super-Mare's busy seaside strip sits Uphill Beach, where you will find a tranquil atmosphere prevailing. This sandy beach is popular with dog walkers, wind surfers, kite surfers and land yachts so there's plenty to see as you take a peaceful stroll along the shoreline.
Behind the beach and following the course of the River Axe is Uphill Local Nature Reserve. As well as an abundance of wildlife to see there is also a tower atop the hill which gives great views of the beach and the coast below.
7. Minehead Beach
At the start of The South West Coast Path sits Minehead Beach, a sand and shingle beach that's extremely popular with visitors so expect a busy beach full of families on their holidays.
If you're after a more peaceful part of Minehead, try Blue Anchor. A quieter stretch of sand and shingle, it's a geological wonder with alabaster cliffs, pink quartz rocks. It's also a treasure trove of fossils.
8. Porlock Weir
Arguably one of the most beautiful spots on the West Somerset Coast, the pebbled Porlock Weir sits just over a mile west of Porlock, a picture-perfect fishing village on the edge of Exmoor with thatched cottages and gardens bursting with colourful flora.
Porlock Weir is the dramatic landscape that inspired R D Blackmore's Lorna Doone, and as you stroll along the four miles of shingle sheltered by the surrounding high moorlands you can see why it's the ideal place for contemplative walks. If you have time to take a seat, look out for views spanning the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast.
9. Bossington Beach
Bossington Beach is a huge stretch of coastline covered in large round pebbles coloured beautifully in pastel shades of pink, grey and blue which contrast to the rolling greenery of the farmland and hills of the Exmoor coast that surround it.
Owned by the National Trust, Bossington is a beautiful beach to explore; follow the wooden groynes running towards the sea where you can dip your toes into the tide that laps the shore. Take a trip to the marshland that sits behind the beach, a unique spot that attracts numerous rare species of bird and insect.
10. St Audries Bay, West Quantoxhead
Set at the foot of the Quantock Hills is the wide bay of St Audries, a shoreline with a mix of flat pebbles, shingle and rock. Make sure to find the two waterfalls which cascade down the red sandstone cliffs along the back of the beach which is truly a spectacle to see.
Access is via a path leading down from the local holiday park which also provides parking and a shop for any last minute seaside treats.
11. Selworthy Sands, Bossington
One of The South West Coast Path's hidden gems is Selworthy Sands, one of the prettier beaches along the stretch of the West Somerset coast but also the most inaccessible.
At low tide, the route involves a scrabble towards Hurlstone Point, where you will find a cave known as Gull Hole leading through to the lovely secret world of Selworthy Sands which is backed by boulders and sloping cliffs. Enjoy the sanctuary here as this tricky trip isn't attempted often!
12. Sand Point and Middle Hope Beach
A world away from Weston-Super-Mare's Grand Pier and donkey rides is the peninsula of Sand Point and the little sand and shingle cover of Middle Hope. It is a little piece of paradise on the doorstep of the town.
Although not ideal for swimming, it's a wonderful stretch of beach to enjoy a peaceful stroll or settle down with a picnic while you soak in spectacular views across the sea to Wales.