The UK's best five beaches have been revealed

While we certainly wouldn’t advise going out in the midday sun, there’s nothing like relaxing on the beach on a warm day.

With the hot weather we’re having, Brits will be flocking to their nearest coastline to cool off and sunbathe – but it may be worth being a little bit choosier about where you pick.

The Sunday Times has released its Best Beaches Guide for 2022, and there are a number of stunning seaside spots you may not have visited yet.

Winners are chosen based on criteria including cleanliness, water quality, and access to toilets, so you can be sure your experience won’t be ruined by poor facilities or litter.

Unique features are also taken into account, from local activities to sustainable initiatives that protect nature and wildlife.

The top five includes beaches across the UK – and you may even discover a hidden gems that’s right on your doorstep.

These are the top five British beaches this year.

1. Sandhaven, South Shields

According to travel writer Chris Haslman, this mile-long stretch of beach ‘ticked all the boxes.’

Low-cost parking, preserved Victorian architecture, and a charming promenade helped swing it for Sandhaven, but efforts from the local council to protect the beauty spot were also what set it apart.

Nick Jones, who runs the not-for-profit South Shields Surf School on the beach, said: ‘Few people beyond South Shields know about Sandhaven, but those who use the beach are passionate about protecting it and proud to share it.’

2. Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire

The Blue Flag Award-winning beach in Mablethorpe took the silver medal this time; the first time it’s been featured in the 14 years the guide has been running.

There’s plenty to do on a trip there, from the Seal Sanctuary and Wildlife Centre to the traditional seaside fairground.

Lifeguards on duty and scheduled events like sandcastle competitions make this the perfect place for family days out.

3. Lunan Bay, Angus

Heading north to Scotland is Lunan Bay, which is particularly popular with surfers and horse riders.

For those who prefer a less action-packed time, sit back and take in the views, as the bay is backed by rolling sand dunes and the ruins of a historic 12th century castle.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, after a period of wind the sand sometimes reveals agates and gemstones so it appears to be sparkling.

4. Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Watergate Bay in Newquay is well-known around the South East as one of the most breathtaking coastlines.

Enormous waves coming in from the Atlantic make for great surfing, and you don’t need to leave your furry friends at home as dogs are allowed too.

Sand chairs can be provided for disabled visitors, while lifeguards and ample parking helped the beach score points.

5. Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea

Around three miles outside of Swansea on the Gower Peninsula sits Three Cliffs Bay.

It made the top five due to its impressive setting, with sand dunes, salt marsh, rock pools, and chalky cliffs that are perfect for photographing and enjoying.

It’s fairly remote (including a 400m walk from the nearest car park) but worth the journey for the scenery.

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