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Day at the beach anyone?

Fancy feeling the sand between your toes and the waves lapping at your feet? You don't have to jump on a plane just yet. Here's out pick of the top UK beaches for a sunny day trip.

Although living in Herts/Beds you basically couldn’t get further away from the coast, a one-day jaunt to the seaside is still doable if you get an early start. All of the suggestions below are just a few hours in the car, depending of course on which part of the county you live in. So grab the wind-breaker and soggy sandwiches and let’s go!

 

Mudeford Quay, Dorset

Mudeford spit, photo: http://photoeverywhere.co.uk

This is a family favourite with its pristine white sands, enclosed by rocks and backed by candy-coloured beach huts. There’s a fantastic cafe called The Beach House across the sandspit (you can get a little ferry there) and a Noddy train to keep little ones amused.

 

Studland, Dorset

Fun fact to whip out if you get stuck in traffic: Coldplay’s famous one-take video for Yellow, where Chris Martin walks/sings along a beach was filmed at Studland. There are four miles of divine sandy beaches here – Middle Beach is an easy stroll from boutique hotel/restaurant The Pig, aka the perfect spot for a chichi G&T at the end of a hard day’s sunbathing. Alternatively there are plenty of watersports on offer at Knoll Beach, plus a 1km stretch for naturists (ooh, err!)

 

West Wittering, West Sussex

With its wide, gently shelving golden sands, Blue Flag rating and ample parking, West Wittering is perfect for a family day out – even Kevin the Teenager couldn’t find fault with this one. Bring a picnic or BBQ, and loll on the grassy area behind the beach to take in views across to Chichester harbour.

 

Brighton, East Sussex

You probably don’t need me to tell you about Brighton but don’t dismiss it as too far for a day trip – it’s doable if you hammer it round the M25. It’s a pebbly beach of course but that doesn’t matter when there’s so much else to do. All the cool kids live in Hove now, so head west for a slightly quieter beach and amazing pizza at Fatto A Mano on Church Street.

 

Barton-on-Sea, New Forest, Hampshire

With the gorgeous greenery and cute ponies in the New Forest, it’s easy to forget it does beaches too. It can be windy in Barton – it’s a prime para-gliding spot – so don’t forget to pack your kite. Above the safe, sandy beach, you can stroll along the clifftops and stop off at The Beachcomber Cafe, with its grassy garden and brilliant, massive fry-ups.

 

Bournemouth, Dorset

An obvious choice but you can’t beat Bournemouth. Miles of golden sands, a massive Harry Ramsden’s with views out across the water, tacky arcades to wow the kids (and must admit I myself have a long-term obsessions with 2p slot machines) and a little train that runs around the tropical gardens and up to Boscombe beach. Boom!

 

ALSO WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION…

Lyme Regis Town Beach for the pretty crescent beach in front of the Cobb, right in the heart of the town; Sandbanks beach in Poole – huge swathes of golden sand, plus the fab Sandbanks Beach Cafe, a BBQ facility on the beach and watersports facilities.

 

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Herts & Beds