Exploring the UK’s Hidden Coastal Gems

Moon shaped beach with rocky headland in the background, grass in the foreground and sea to the left - Portheras Cove in Cornwall

Boasting everything from beautiful expanses of golden sand to small, majestic and rocky coves, each part of the UK coastline has something unique to offer those who love an adventure. Britain is inundated with unique and hidden locations, and narrowing them down is a challenging task.

Travelling the breadth of the country from Cornwall to Scotland, and jumping across to Northern Ireland, the chosen spots on this list all have a few things in common: incredible geographical formations and stunning coastal views.  Discover the top activities at each location, their main sites and when to visit. Make sure to pack a wetsuit, walking shoes and a picnic, as well as a camera of course!

Porthmeor Cove, Cornwall

Situated between Land’s End and St Ives, Porthmeor Cove offers ultimate seclusion! It is often overlooked in favour of its more populated neighbour, Porthmeor Beach.

Porthcurno Beach in Cornwall

Cornwall is full of hidden coves if you know where to look

Making the Most of This Hidden Gem

Rock scrambling is the best way to enjoy this pretty cove as it has many boulders and rock pools to explore when the sea is out. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it offers some captivating geographical features including its granite cupola, which makes it one of the most unusual places to visit in Cornwall. To see Porthmeor Cove at its finest, try to visit at low tide, although it can be accessed at any tide. Swimming and surfing aren’t recommended here due to the rocks.

Grunta Beach, North Devon

Grunta is a beautiful rocky beach nestled beside Morte Point in North Devon. It can be found in the famous surf location of Woolacombe village. Known for its gorgeous three-mile long golden sand, Woolacombe is also home to many other spectacular and smaller beaches, one of the most secret being Grunta.

Grunta’s jagged landscape has a prehistoric feel and is surrounded by pretty rock pools as well as a glorious view of the Atlantic Sea and Lundy Island.

Grunta beach near Morte Point in Devon

Wild and wonderful Grunta Beach beside Morte Point

Making the Most of This Hidden Gem

There is the choice of two routes to this secret treasure. Take a stunning walk along Morte Point and climb down the charming steps from the Point down to the beach.

Alternatively, for those who want a more memorable experience, take to the water and grab a paddleboard and reach it by paddling around the coast. Conditions must be calm, especially for those who have never used a stand-up paddleboard before. Starting from Woolacombe, you can follow the rocky coast past Barricaine beach and Combesgate, finally reaching Grunta.

Church Doors Cove, Wales

Along the Pembrokeshire coast lies a real treasure named Church Doors Cove. Visitors marvel at its distinctive geological structure which has named this beautiful little cove. Steep sandstone cliffs shelter the beach and create a sense of importance within the cove. The main attraction can be found at the headland where the shape of a large arched ‘door’ exists in the cliffs.

Church Doors Cove in Pembrokeshire, Wales

The dramatic Church Doors Cove by Daniel Morris on Unsplash

Making the Most of This Hidden Gem

Make sure to bring your walking shoes (and an energy bar) as the steps to the cove are incredibly steep. Low tide also reveals a slither of golden sand and, when very low, visitors can walk around the headland to Skrinkle Haven (its neighbouring beach) for a mini-exploration. Stay aware of tide times when on any beach for a safe return to shore.

Achmelvich Beach, Scotland

Achmelvich has it all and offers plenty of opportunity for those who enjoy hiking or water sports. It is situated in the north-west of Scotland and requires a little trek down a single-track road.

Achmelvich Beach in Scotland

The secluded sands of Achmelvich by Steve Bittinger on Unsplash

Making the Most of This Hidden Gem

The beach has a beautiful white sand beach and clear waters which make it ideal for swimming. Those more confident swimmers often venture along the coast to explore the beautiful rocks and scenery.

It is also perfect for other watersports during the warmer months including kayaking, water-skiing and, providing the right conditions, windsurfing.

However, being so far north, the water is cold even in the summer months, so the correct gear is necessary!

White Park Bay, Northern Ireland

The expansive beach is perfect for anyone who wants some time for themselves. The beautiful white sand beach illuminates the shoreline between two beautiful headlands.

White Park Bay, Northern Ireland

Secret shores of White Park Bay

Making the Most of This Hidden Gem

The spot is not far from Northern Ireland’s first World Heritage site Giant’s Causeway and is affluent with breath-taking and natural scenery.

White Park Bay provides explorers with hours of adventure. Not only is there the stunning beach, but the broad stretch of sand dunes behind the bay is bursting with wildlife and fun sites to explore such as the elephant-shaped rock, which is suitably named Elephant Rock. The bay is also well known for visits by dolphin and porpoises!

With so much to see and do along the UK coast, we have only touched on what there is to offer. Which hidden gems would you like to visit on your next trip?

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