5 beaches you won't believe are in the UK
Here's proof that the world's best beaches aren't always a plane ride away. Feast your eyes on a selection of the UK's finest stretches of sand, from the coast of Cornwall to the wilds of West Scotland...
Luskentyre Beach, Harris, Scotland (pictured above & below)
As you can see, Luskentyre Beach, with its green-blue waters lapping at fine white sands, clearly has no place being in the UK, let alone the north of Scotland. Yet, improbably, that's exactly where it is. Pop a wetsuit on or slather on the fake tan and you could almost be in the Bahamas.
Pedn Vounder, Cornwall
Getting to Pedn Vounder requires some effort — not only is it hidden away on Cornwall's extreme southwestern tip, but when you get there you'll find it's still only accessible by either boat or a long walk and a cliffside scramble. It's worth it to spend time on this near-perfect sandy crescent, though. At low tide, sandbars are often exposed, creating shallow pools that warm quickly in the sun.
Tresco, Isles of Scilly
If by some curious twist of fate, you happened to wake up unexpectedly in Tresco on a random summer's day, you might consider the warm temperatures, take in the powdery white sands and turquoise waters all around, and (quite reasonably) conclude that you were somewhere in the Caribbean rather than just off the coast of Cornwall.
Knockvologan, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Secreted away on the far western shore of Scotland's Isle of Mull, Knockvologan is home to whiter-than-white sands and crystalline water. If you're lucky, you'll be sharing it with seals and no one else.
Achmelvich Bay Beach, Sutherland, Scotland
A lovely sheltered bay in the far northwest of Scotland, where the beach is split into sections by jagged granite outcrops, Achmelvich Bay Beach is hard to reach and all the better for it. The sand is of such excellent quality that they hold an annual sandcastle-building competition here in early July.
Man O' War Beach, Dorset
While Man O' War Beach may not have as impressive rock formations as its neighbour — Durdle Door Beach — it's ideal for a lazy day of relaxing in a secluded cove, especially if you want to get away from the crowds and pretend you're in the Mediterranean for the day. The final descent to this beach, which is a mix of sand and shingle, is a little steep, so it's advisable to wear trainers or walking boots to get down to the beach.
Brancaster Beach, Norfolk
Pack a picnic, don your costume, and don't forget the dog when visiting this expansive dog-friendly beach, which you could easily mistake for a beach on the US east coast. You can spend the day taking a romantic walk along the beach, building sandcastles with the kids, or sneaking a peak at the shipwrecked World War II vessel SS Vina, which is visible at low tide.