England's Best Beaches Accessible by Public Transport From London

Spending time on a sandy expanse of beach, such as Camber Sands, near Rye, is just a train ride away from London
Spending time on a sandy expanse of beach, such as Camber Sands, near Rye, is just a train ride away from London | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Nicholas Atkins

You don’t have to hop on a plane to get some sun, sea and sand this summer. If you’re in London, you can get to all of these glorious beaches simply by hopping on a train. From Broadstairs, in Kent, to Clacton-on-Sea, in Essex, here are the best and most accessible beaches to choose from.

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Viking Bay

This sandy beach has a clifftop promenade, harbour pier, sea-water tidal swimming pool and boardwalk. With several pubs, cafes, kiosks and restaurants nearby, you’re all set for a day beside the seaside. Charles Dickens used to holiday here, so expectations are great. Getting to Viking Bay from London: Direct trains from St Pancras International to Broadstairs: 1hr 22min

Joss Bay

This golden sandy beach is a surfer’s paradise. The surf school at the beach hires boards and wetsuits so you can just show up and get stuck in. If watersports aren’t your thing, the beach is surrounded by fields and golf courses, or you can simply hire a deckchair and watch the waves roll in. Getting to Joss Bay from London: Direct trains from St Pancras International to Broadstairs: 1hr 22min

Botany Bay

This hidden gem has stunning views of white cliffs and chalk stacks. Sea kayaking and canoeing are favoured sports here. This is one of the most photographed beaches in the UK – with good reason – so don’t forget to take your phone and fire up your Instagram. Getting to Botany Bay from London: Direct trains from St Pancras International to Broadstairs: 1hr 22min

Camber Sands

The beautiful golden sands here stretch for 7mi (11km) behind a wall of dramatic sand dunes. Enjoy the tranquillity, or if you’re feeling a little more active, try your hand at kitesurfing. Getting to Camber Sands from London: Trains from St Pancras International to Rye: 1hr 12min, plus a five-minute taxi ride to Camber Sands

Littlehampton beach

This Blue Flag-awarded sandy beach offers plenty to see and do. It would be rude not to treat yourself to fish and chips, or if you want to find out where it comes from, head out on a fishing trip. Alternatively, cycle along the promenade, check out the nature reserve or try your hand at the old-school seaside amusements at the harbour park. Getting to Littlehampton beach from London: Trains from Victoria to Littlehampton: 1hr 40min

Priory Bay

The Isle of Wight has lots of beaches to choose from, but this little stunner located near the opulent Priory Bay Hotel is one to visit. It boasts crystal clear water and golden sands surrounded by rocks – a tranquil spot, made all the more peaceful by a barrier of helpful trees that shelter it from the wind. Getting to Priory Bay beach from London: Trains from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour: 1hr 30min + ferry from Fishbourne, 40min.

Shoeburyness, Essex

Take your pick from two Blue Flag-awarded beaches: the relaxing East Beach, with its mixture of sand and pebbles, or Shoebury Common Beach, which is more for adrenaline junkies. It’s a hotspot for jet skiers and windsurfers. Getting to Shoeburyness from London: Direct trains from Fenchurch Street: 1hr 3min.

Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

This good old-fashioned seaside resort is perfect for a bit of retro summer chilling. If you get fed up of building sandcastles on the beach, there’s plenty of other stuff to keep you occupied. Drop a fishing line off the pier, take a pleasure cruise up the Thames aboard a “steamer” or visit the SeaQuarium. Getting to Clacton-on-Sea from London: Direct trains from Liverpool Street: 1hr 26min.

Sunny Sands Beach, Folkestone, Kent

This beach has such amazing sand, they hold the annual Folkestone Sandcastle Competition here. This beach is an absolute British classic. Alongside the flat stretch of sand, there are rock pools, seafood shacks, fish and chips and plenty of photo opportunities. Getting to Sunny Sands from London: Direct trains from St Pancras International to Folkestone: 55min

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