Archive for September, 2009

Top 10 beaches in Dorset

Most of the Dorset coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The ‘Jurassic Coast’ in Dorset runs from/to Lyme Regis to/from the headland around Swanage Bay and Studland Bay and is awesome.

The beaches are different to those of Cornwall and Devon.  For one, there’s a lot less sand and a lot more shingle.  A similarity is their popularity.  We travel around the UK a lot, especially when the weather’s good, and most Dorset beaches are heaving with visitors when the sun’s out.

To help you discover this coastline, we’ve put together a list of top 10 beaches in Dorset.  If you have others, pls add them in the comments or @picturetheuk on Twitter.   We provide further info, geolocate beaches on Google Maps and publish as many photos as we can of the beaches on PictureTheUK …

1. West Bay Beach – a shingle beach beneath dramatic cliffs which turn intense orange when the sun sets.  Easy access to the cliff tops and the South West Coast Path.

2. Lyme Regis Beach – one of the few sandy beaches on the Dorset Jurassic Coast (others include: Weymouth Beach, Swanage Beach and Studland Bay Beaches).   Backs onto Lyme Regis promenade and is close to The Cobb.  To the east are the splendid Spittles and Black Ven Beaches which are popular with fossil hunters!

3. Chesil Beach – possibly the most famous beach in Dorset and one of the most famous in the UK. 

4. Swanage Beach – an exceptionally popular beach in east Dorset close to Corfe Castle.  Lots of people, lots of shops and places to eat, lots of views.

5. Studland Bay Beaches – a collection of beaches within Studland Bay.  It’s possible to catch a ferry from the north of the bay to …

6. Sandbanks Beach (Poole) – probably best known as the beach in front of some of the most expensive real estate in the UK!

7. Durdle Door Beach – located beneath some pretty impressive cliffs with a fine view of Durdle Door.  Lulworth Cove is a brisk walk to the east.  

8. Bournemouth Beach – a big beach stretching out in front of this popular tourist destination.

9. Charmouth Beach – Lyme Regis to the west, Golden Cap to the east.  A wonderful shingle beach beneath yet more dramtic cliffs.

10. The Spittles and Black Ven Beaches (Lyme Regis) – not your typical beach, granted, but it’s one of the best we’ve come across for fossil hunting, exploring rock pools, acting like a 5yr old.

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Top 10 beaches in North Devon

We’ve researched and photographed many of the beaches along the Atlantic Coast of Cornwall and Devon and here are our suggestions as to the top ten beaches in North Devon.   Some of them are magnificent and we’d place them among the best on offer in the UK.   We’ve excluded those in Exmoor National Park and on the Hartland Peninsula as these will be covered is separate posts.

Most of our recommendations have additional information on the PictureTheUK website,  are geolocated on Google maps and there are plenty of photos.  You can also discover ‘Things To Do Nearby’ and ‘Places To Stay Nearby’.

1. Putsborough Sand – the southern end of the vast strip of sand at Morte Bay.  The view from the headland looking north is as good as it gets.

2. Woolacome Sand – the northern end of the vast strip of sand at Morte Bay.  Despite its size, this very big beach gets crowded in the summer months.  Just north of Woolacombe Sand are a number of smaller beaches which are exceptional. 

3. Saunton Sands – another vast stretch of sand along the North Devon Atlantic Coast.  Backs into Braunton Burrows

4. Croyde Beach – said to be one of the best surfing beaches in South West England. 

5. Westward Ho!/Northam Burrows Beach – along with Saunton Sands, Putsborough Sand and Woolacombe Sand, this is another massive North Devon Beach. 

6. Barricane Beach – just up from Woolacombe Sand, an intimate beach surrounded by rocks.  Probably our favourite out of all the beaches we visited in North Devon.

7. Combe Martin Beach – on the border of Exmoor National Park, an intimate beach at the end of a very long high street!

8. Ilfracombe Tunnels Beaches – a beach accessible by tunnel from central Ilfracombe.

9. Braunton Burrows – strictly speaking, not a beach.  One of the largest areas of dunes in the UK leading to Saunton Sands.

10. Lee Bay Beach – small beach in a predominantly rocky coastline.

There’s more information on the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on PictureTheUK, too.

We’d love to hear any recommendations for the area, eg where the best views are or if there are other cracking beaches that we’ve missed.   Either post here or @picturetheuk on Twitter.

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This surprised us: The English Riviera is exceptional. 

If you’ve never visited, The English Riviera is a stretch of coastline just over twenty miles long in Devon.  To its south is the South Devon AONB.   Major destinations include Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.  It’s also the world’s first urban Geopark which means it has a unique geological history spanning 400 million years.

We walked the The South West Coast Path starting at Berry Head Forts and followed the shape of the coastline through Brixham, Broadsands, Goodrington, Paignton, Torquay and then to Babbacombe.   The views are first class but the walk is also a great introduction to all the things one can do here.

As ever, we’ve created listings of all the things you can do and see in The English Riviera here.  Things to do and see are also geo-located on maps and we’ve taken tens of thousands of photos of the area.  However, to introduce the delights of this area, we’ve created a top 10 list of things to do:

1. Berry Head Forts

2. Brixham Harbour and Marina – home to a replica of The Golden Hinde

3. Goodrington Sands

4. Paignton Harbour

5. Paignton Pier

6. Living Coasts

7. Torquay Marina

8. Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves

9. Babbacombe Beach

10. Oddicombe Beach

We’d love to hear of other attractions or things to do within The English Riviera so pls post here or @picturetheuk on Twitter.

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