Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea. But that doesn't mean that we have to hop on a plane and fly halfway across the world just to dip our toes in the water or build a sand castle. We've rounded up the top seven beaches within two hours of London so that you don't have to.
The British summer can be glorious and what better way to spend it than renting out a deck chair on Brighton beach, scoffing some ice-cream at Broadstairs beach or hunting for fossils at Walton-On-The-Naze? We can't think of a better way to seas the day this summer!
1. Brighton Beach
How long will it take me: just under an hour and a half by train from St Pancras International then a 10-minute walk to the beach; approximately two hours by car.
London by Sea. Over 11,000 metres of pebble paradise, peppered with colourful, eccentric beach huts and encompassing the all-important, hustling Brighton Pier - Brighton beach is the diverse, artsy, hub that’ll soothe your creative soul. Make a splash in the sea, chow down on some infamous rock, soar a staggering 450ft in the air on Brighton’s i360, rent a deck chair and watch the sun set and grab some traditional fish and chips (oh, and avoid seagulls at all costs).
2. Southend Promenade
How long will it take me: an hour by train from London Fenchurch Street then a 15-minute walk to the beach; approximately two hours by car.
Pack your buckets and spades and head to this firm family-favourite beach. Oozing with deck chairs, seagulls and slot machines - sit back, relax and try your chances at winning a few. After you’ve dipped your toes in the water and skimmed a couple of rocks on the shore, cash in your winnings at Kidadler favourite Adventure Island; it’ll turn your world upside down - literally. It’s free to enter and if coasters are your thing, buy a wristband and ride them all day long - woohoo!
3. The Beach Brent Cross
How long will it take me: just 25 minutes from Kings Cross St Pancras to Brent Cross underground station (Northern line) then a 10-minute walk to the beach, approximately half an hour by car.
Perhaps not the first place that springs to mind when dreaming of a sandy, breezy, waves-crashing-against-the-shore beachy paradise. But don’t be deterred by the name or the place, The Beach Brent Cross is the cool, family-friendly, pop-up urban beach that has been conveniently plonked right on your doorstep. Expect 250 tonnes of the golden stuff, over 25 water rides for all ages and a whole lotta ice cream. Mmmm.
How long will it take me: an hour and a half by train from London Liverpool Street, with one change at Thorpe-le-Soken to Frinton-on-Sea and then a 10-minute walk to the beach; approximately 2 hours by car.
Filled to the brim with seaside charm and adventure, Frinton-on-Sea is the ideal spot for family fun. You won’t find any slot machines or modern amusements here, just good old sand and sea. Take a stroll along the unspoilt stretch of golden sand, stumble across Frinton’s quaint tea rooms and seaside shops that will transport you back to the Victorian era, bring your trunks (lifeguards are on patrol from July till September) and make a splash in the waves.
5. Broadstairs Beach
How long will it take me: an hour and 25 minutes by train from London St Pancras International then a 10-minute walk to the beach; just over 2 hours by car.
Calling all literature enthusiasts! Head to Broadstairs Beach and explore Charles Dickens’ most treasured holiday spot. Snoop around his old holiday home, Bleak House, and brush up on your literature at the Dickens House Museum. Broadstairs boasts quaint fisherman’s cottages, golden sands, retro ice-cream parlours that’ll tickle your tastebuds, tidal pools and more, making it a must-visit for families on the lookout for some lively, literary fun.
6. Ramsgate Beach
How long will it take me: just over an hour from London St Pancras International then a 20-minute walk or 9-minute taxi journey to the beach; approximately 2 hours by car.
Enclosed in high chalk cliffs, Ramsgate Beach is tucked away on the eastern Kent coast and is bursting with seaside fun. This sand sanctuary has so much to offer; from trampolines and swing boats to ice cream parlours and arcades, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Marvel at Ramsgate’s high chalk cliffs, hire a deckchair and soak up the sun while your little ones paddle in the shallow waters and scoff some traditional fish and chips from one of the many nearby chippies - extra vinegar please!
How long will it take me: an hour and 50 minutes by train from London Liverpool Street; approximately 2 hours 10 minutes by car.
Frolic along Britain’s second longest pier on Walton-On-The-Naze’s glorious beach. Perfect for any budding architects in your family, Walton-On-The-Naze is home to a mile-long, unspoiled headland, oozing with fossils just waiting to be found! Look out for shark teeth and pyritised twigs as you make your way through a seaside timeline of Earth's history. Strap into one of the many rides or if you’ve got a head for heights, climb the iconic Naze Tower - an 18th century Georgian lighthouse - and marvel at the incredible, panoramic views. Don’t forget your camera!
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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