London might be a pretty big city, but there’s actually a heap of gorgeous and the best beaches near London to visit that are total gems. Yes, London has some incredible areas to explore, epic things to do and loads of beautiful palaces; but let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a trip to the seaside.
Trust me, there are loads of gorgeous day trips from London that will take you right out of the city.
So, to help you get straight to the surf, I wanted to share some of the best beaches near London to visit for a day trip, an overnight stay or a long weekend.
Stay safe in the water, take lots of suncreams and have the best time at the beach!
1.) Camber Sands
Okay, for a gorgeous stretch of golden sandy shores, you have to head to Camber Sands. It’s one of the best beaches near London that’s around 70 miles away (about two hours in the car).
Totally unspoilt, Camber Sands is mostly frequented by kitesurfers and windsurfers but is also a great place to just chill on the dunes.
One of the best things about this place, too, is that dogs and other pets are allowed to come with you during the months of May to September. It’s one spot worth seeing because it is one of the best places to totally chill as it never gets too crowded.
As it’s such a vast shoreline, even with larger crowds you’ll always have lots of space for yourself.
After a day on the beach, be sure to stop off at the town of Rye that’s just shy of Camber Sands. It’s totally gorgeous and has that quaint seaside town feel.
Read more: Best London Landmarks to visit
2.) Whitstable Beach
Around 60 miles away from London, Whitstable is easily reached by train in 70 minutes.
Often described as the perfect place to watch the sunset, Whitstable Beach has a traditional vibe but also a pretty cool feel about the town, too.
Enjoy a day peacefully at the old weatherboard cottages, wonderful beach huts, and sturdy fishing boats, whichever you prefer. Just be sure to grab some oysters (from Wheelers Oyster Bar) with lashings of lemon juice, too.
Finally, if you have some time to spare and spend, you can walk some more steps to see West Beach. It’s lovely.
Read more: Best London Landmarks to visit
Brighton needs no introduction! Probably one of the most famous beaches near London to visit, it’s easily accessible by train in around 60 minutes.
Yes, it’s a pebbled beach, but what it lacks in sand, it gains in charm. there are loads to do in Brighton.
Depending on when you visit, you might want to try your hands at paddle boarding in Brighton. Aside from this, you can enjoy your ice cream while braving the seagulls that want a little taste.
Also, don’t forget to visit the Lanes for all the cute cafes, vintage stores and restaurants. Plus, make sure to hop on over to the pier, too.
Read more: Best things to do in Brighton
From gulls and gadwalls to philosophers and artists, the pebbled Dungeness Beach is a totally lovely and special place to visit. Though, it’s worth noting that the drive will take around 140 minutes to get there.
Not only that, the head of land at Dungeness is a great spot for the sunset, too. Perfect as you sip your favourite tipples or bring a picnic, too. Alternatively, settle in and grab some tasty fish and chips from the Britannia Inn that’s just shy of the beach itself.
If you’re not feeling Dungeness Beach, head on over to Dymchurch Beach that’s around 20 minutes down the coast in the car.
Read more: Best London Landmarks to visit
5.) Botany Bay
Around 140 minutes on the train (or car), Botany Bay is a gorgeous spot to visit that’s just shy of Margate in Kent.
A stunning undeveloped sandy bay, with white cliffs, Botany Bay is one of the best beaches near London to visit when going to Kent.
Located between Broadstairs and Margate, a lot of visitors check out Botany Bay when they visit the other two locations.
This makes for a perfect overnight stay.
You can easily partner with Margate, Broadstairs (Viking Bay), Joss Bay and Stone Bay in one big trip. We love them.
Read more: Best tours in London to book
Quicker by train (than a car), you can reach Margate in around 90 minutes from Central London. This makes it all too easy for a day trip to the beach.
Best of all, Margate has had something of a comeback in terms of popularity and fun things to do. A historic fishing town, Margate thrived in Victorian times as the go-to spot for people looking for the best beaches near London to visit.
In fact, not much has changed and the sand and shoreline are just as impressive as it was back then. I’d go as far as saying that Margate’s sandy beaches are one of the most popular beaches in London. Margate was initially known for the Dreamland (the kitsch fairground) which still exists today.
Aside from the stunning beach of Margate, Turner Contemporary which is a world-class modern art gallery can also be found here. Guests can also check out the cafés and restaurants around the old centre of Margate. Oh, and don’t forget all the little bookshops and vintage stores that line the streets there.
If you’ve got time, make sure to pop by Broadstairs Beach, along with Botany Bay, which I mentioned earlier. They’re all around this wider area.
7.) Hastings Beach
Kept in place by a series of groynes, Hastings Beach is one of the best beaches near London to visit that’s just over 90 minutes from Central London by train.
Although not as pebbly as Brighton, Hastings Beach is a mixture of shingle and sand along the shore that’s well worth preparing for. I mean, it can be sharp on your feet if you don’t pack flip-flops.
Don’t forget to stroll St. Leonards On Sea and Bulverhythe Beach, too.
Not only that, the world’s biggest underground park which is the BMX skate park is also one of the main attractions in Hastings. In addition to this, there are also nature trails that groups can enjoy and Hastings Castle to visit.
8.) Bournemouth Beach
Around 100 minutes from Central London by train, you can easily visit Bournemouth’s Beaches for a long day trip.
The 11-mile-long Bournemouth Beach will keep you busy being chilled (if catch my drift). It’s totally relaxing.
Here, you’ll have easy access to hotels, gardens, little shops, and yummy restaurants that are dotted all around the shore. Though, one thing to note is that there can be larger crowds on warm days.
Don’t forget, you can easily visit the upmarket area of Sandbanks for its beaches, too. It’s just beyond Canford Cliffs Beach and really easy to visit.
If you’ve taken a road trip to get to Bournemouth, head over to the totally quaint Corfe Castle which we love. It’s a small village that’s steeped in history; dating back well over a thousand years.
Read more: How to visit Corfe Castle
9.) Mersea Island
Mersea Island is where some of the finest oysters in the whole. Even the Romans thought so! They used to harvest fresh shellfish from the shores here.
Nowadays, the Romans might have vanished but the harvesting of oysters has remained. This makes it one of the best beaches near London to visit if you also want some tasty seafood.
If that’s your thing, grab a meal at Company Shed where you can buy the best shellfish. Bring your own wine for a day at the beach and it’s just perfect.
For some, Ramsgate gets a bad rap when it comes to finding the best beaches near London to visit. Although Ramsgate is not the most glamorous beach in the area, it still has a lot to offer when it comes to activities and views.
After chilling on the beach, some other places to pop into are the Ramsgate brewery and Music Hall which has heaps to do.
Best of all, this beach is also easily accessible as you can reach it from central London after an hour and a half.
11.) Leigh-on-Sea (Bell Wharf Beach)
Around 50 minutes in the car from London, Bell Wharf Beach is a relatively small area that’s well worth a visit if you’re already visiting Southend or Leigh-on-Sea.
The tiny sandy beach is pretty popular in the summer months and can feel a bit crowded on a sunny day. This all means that it’s probably best to find a larger stretch of beach (like Camber Sands) if you don’t like lots of people around you.
Also, don’t forget to stop off at Osborne Bros Cafe for their delicious (and fresh) seafood. Grab yourself a pint of winkles, cockles or a lobster. It’s all so good.
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