In the UK, it’s safe to say that we aren’t exactly blessed with beach weather. Nevertheless, we still have some beautiful beaches and coastal towns. Here, some of our contributors tell us about their favourite sunny spots.
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire – Ashley Boyle
For those of you who have visited Pembrokeshire before, you may remember Barafundle bay or Broadhaven Beach, but you may be less familiar with Freshwater West. Even before you leave the car park, the views are pretty impressive. The long stretch of sand and pebbles offers a windy but peaceful place to wander uninterrupted with a canine companion. In case you were feeling peckish, the delicious and award winning Café Môr sits above the dunes and offers visitors hand picked local sea food in their solar powered converted fishing boat. Whilst the beach is not known for its calm and sheltered setting, Freshwater West (a favourite among surfers) has had it’s fair few famous guests. The beach, situated in South Pembrokeshire on the Western coastline, has been the setting for several films including Their Finest, Robin Hood and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One and Part Two. The beach was home to characters Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley who lived in the Shell Cottage built within the sand dunes. The location is now widely appreciated by fans of the franchise as this is also where the house elf Dobby was buried beneath the dunes. Many Potter fans visit the area to leave stones and take pictures of items left in his memory.
Dunraven Bay, Southerndown Beach – Katie Waits
Dunraven Bay, commonly known as Southerndown, is one of my absolute favourite beaches to visit! If you’re staying in Cardiff, it is definitely worth visiting. Part of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Dunraven Bay is only a few miles away from Bridgend and is a pleasant walk away from Ogmore-by- Sea. You may recognise it as the infamous Bad Wolf Bay, if you’re a Doctor Who fan. If you’re not, that’s no problem – Dunraven Bay is a great day out in many other ways! There are plenty of paths to follow if you want to explore the area and enjoy a good walk. For example, there is a path that leads to a walled garden. It is the perfect place to sit down and just take in your surroundings. This is especially the case during the summer months, when all of the flowers are in full bloom, often teeming with butterflies and bees. And on the way to the garden, you can see the ruins of an old castle. Although demolished in the 1960s, it still serves as a reminder of the history the area holds. Southerndown has been occupied by people since the Iron Age and in the past was home to a Roman fort, as well as a 1700’s manor house. Dunraven Bay is filled with natural wonders and photo opportunities – if you walk up to the top of the cliffs, you can appreciate the impressive views. However, if you would rather stay away from the cliff, the beach itself is pretty unique! If you spend a fair amount of time there, it is likely that you’ll come across some fossils, such as Ammonites. From starfish and hermit crabs, you can also find plenty of life in the rock pools too! The amount of things to do and see in a fairly small bay is what makes it so special, along with the culture and history that has made it the place that it is today. There is plenty to explore, but you can also just sit with some lunch and appreciate the sights – I’d 100% recommend a visit.
Rock, North Cornwall – Hazel Thayre
Tucked cosily away on the edge of North Cornwall is where you can find the quaint but affluent town of Rock. Despite only being a small town, Rock can be accessed by various different roads. You can follow the long (and rather tedious) roads of the A30 or A39 that will send you twisting and turning down the narrow Cornish country lanes towards the North coast. Or, for the avid sailors among us who want to explore the River Camel estuary, Rock can be reached by ferry from Padstow. Whatever method of transport you decide to take, I can promise you the final destination is worth it. Rock is a beach that perfectly captures the true essence of Cornish beauty. Sinking my toes into the white sand, I almost believed that I had walked through an invisible teleportation device and had been magically transported onto a tropical beach on a secluded Caribbean island. The Atlantic ocean was transformed, appearing like a pool of glimmering glass tinged with the colour of the prettiest blue. Although Rock is dog, BBQ and family friendly, the beach remains un-spoilt by the polluting and littering hands of tourists. I noticed that both the locals and tourists visiting Rock respect the environment, which made the experience of Rock just that little bit better. Having lived in Devon for fourteen years, I have spent a large majority of my free time exploring the sands of Devon’s local beaches. However, I can honestly say that the beach of Rock is more charming than any other. A real Cornish gem (with jam and cream on top).