Places for the best beach holidays in the UK and Europe

Feeling the need for a seaside getaway but don't want to make a long journey to exotic destinations halfway across the world? You can stay close to home, because many of the best beach holidays can easily be had in the UK and Europe. There are countless holiday rentals in quaint towns and villages by the sea, where you can enjoy your beach getaway with the whole family or indulge in a romantic escape with your significant other.

Experience the best beach holidays in the United Kingdom

With thousands of miles of stunning coastlines, it's hardly any surprise that the UK is home to a good number of prime beach holiday destinations. And there's equally an abundance of holiday homes providing all you could ever need for a spectacular seaside getaway. From award-winning family beaches in England to deserted, windswept beaches in Wales and colourful, sandy shores in Scotland, there's no shortage of choices for fun-filled and memorable days and nights by the sea.

Discover the best beach holiday for you in England

Cool down in summer at Blackpool Beach in Lancashire, a 7-mile stretch that's been awarded Blue Flag status. If water sports are your thing, try the golden Woolacombe Beach in Devon, where you can surf and kayak to your heart's content. For a beach getaway in autumn or winter, book a holiday rental in the Isles of Scilly – the UK's warmest region – and relax on deserted beaches like Pelistry Bay.

Find the best beach holidays for families in Wales

Bring the whole family for seaside fun in Wales, where many beaches boast shallow waters that are safe for paddling and bathing. Spacious holiday lettings in Pembrokeshire will put you within easy reach of beaches like Dale – where kids can learn sail or kayak – and Broad Haven, where you can investigate interesting rock pools with the little ones. At the 8-mile Cefn Sidan beach in Carmarthenshire, sand dunes sheltering a variety of insects are just waiting to be explored.

Revel in solitude during beach holidays in Scotland

Many beaches in Scotland, like West Sands in Saint Andrews, are popular with locals and tourists alike. But if you want something off the beaten path, with just the sand and sea for company, head to hidden gems like Hushinish Beach on the Isle of Harris and mythical Sandwood Bay in Sutherland. A holiday cottage in the Shetland Islands is a great base for exploring Saint Ninian's Isle, a breathtaking natural sand causeway hemmed in by the sea on either side.

Enjoy the best beach holidays in Europe

Europe's coastlines are brimming with dreamy destinations where you can experience the perfect beach holiday. Portugal, Croatia and Greece are just 3 countries on the continent with breathtaking beaches, and they're just a short flight from the UK. Book a villa rental and pack your sunscreen and swimming costume before embarking on a journey to a beach or two with fine sand, crystal-clear waters and gorgeous scenery straight out of a travel magazine.

Spend golden hours on perfect beach holidays in Portugal

Portugal is called the land of 1,000 landscapes, and its seascapes are just as varied. In the Algarve region you'll find virtually every shade of blue and green in the sea in spots like Armacao de Pera Beach and Praia Marinha. If a Portuguese island holiday sounds appealing, choose from holiday lettings in Porto Santo and while away long hours on its award-winning sand dune beach – the source of Porto Santo's nickname 'Golden Island.'

Gear up for an idyllic beach holiday in Greece

Famous the world over for its intellectual history, magnificent antiquities and captivating mythology, Greece is also home to beaches of unusual beauty. Xi Beach on the Kefalonia peninsula, for instance, stands out with its reddish-orange sand while Elafonissi beach in West Crete, boasting soft, pink sand and aquamarine waters, is a colourful palette of visual delights. Sarakiniko beach on Milos Island seems almost otherworldly, with azure waves splashing against bleached volcanic rocks.

Rekindle romance on the best beach holidays in Croatia

Croatia is a sublime beach holiday destination for both young couples and those who have been together for decades. You can choose from holiday rentals in Dubrovnik and drive an hour to the Peljesac Peninsula, where you'll find tiny, secluded beaches near the fishing village of Podobuce. For a romantic island getaway, book a holiday cottage on tiny Vis and take intimate strolls on secluded beaches like Srebrna and Porat.