The Top 10 Alternative Beaches To Visit In England

There’s no better way to spend a summer’s day than on one of Britain's many beautiful beaches, but the idyllic image of a relaxing day can quickly be ruined by back-to-back queues for the carpark and crowds of people every way you turn.

Luckily, the UK is home to one of the longest coastlines in Europe meaning there are plenty of alternatives to the busiest beaches. According to a study in 2022 by the Royal National Lifeboat Association, 85% of the UK adult population (aged 16-64) expect to visit the UK coast or use the beach or sea between May and the end of September each year.

Here at Carmoola we've created an extensive list of the busiest beaches in the UK as well as the quieter (but equally as beautiful) alternatives to enjoy this summer.

The Beach Index: The Most Popular, Busiest and The Quieter Alternatives

After analysing reviews on the best beaches, quietest beaches and the cleanest beaches online, we have created an index revealing the best UK beaches to visit as alternatives to the busy ones. By reviewing how many times the word ‘busy’ has been used across reviews, they have also identified the busiest beaches in the UK as well as the most popular overall.

Top 10 alternative beaches to visit in the UK 

Overall Final Rank


Low Newton by the Sea Beach


Trebarwith Sand Beach


Crantock Beach


Porthgwidden Beach


Porth Beach


Bosham Quay


Tolcarne Beach


Hayle Towans Beach


St Aidan's Beach


Warkworth Beach


1# Low Newton 🏖️

Low Newton by the sea beach (Northumberland)  came out as the number one alternative to the UK’s busiest beaches. With golden sand, a car park nearby and local walks, this beach could be the perfect hit for those summer days out. 

2# Trebarwith Strand Beach 🏖️

In second place was Trebarwith Strand Beach in Cornwall. Described as “off the beaten track” this beach is home to rock pools, stunning views and huge waves, a paradise for anyone looking for an adventurous day out at the beach. Why not make a day of it and visit Tintagel Castle for a history lesson?

3# Crantock Beach 🏖️

Cornwall is a firm favourite for alternative beaches as in third place was Crantock Beach. This National Trust beach near Newquay has an expanse of golden sand backed by dramatic dunes.

Top 10 busiest beaches in the UK

Whilst incredibly beautiful and worth a visit, if busy beaches aren’t your thing, these could be the beaches to avoid this summer.

Total Reviews
Reviews mentioning 'busy'

Fistral Beach


Newquay, Cornwall


Weymouth Beach


Weymouth, Dorset


Woolacombe Beach

3,778 Woolacombe, Devon 376
Brighton Beach 4,667 Brighton, East Sussex 333
Scarborough Beach 3,549 Scarborough, North Yorkshire 326
Perranporth Beach 2,285 Perranporth, Cornwall 242
Sandbanks Beach 1,874 Poole, Dorset 227
Wells Next The Sea Beach 1,916 Wells Next The Sea, Norfolk 190
Porthmeor Beach 1,198 St Ives, Cornwall 117

St Ives Harbour Beach

762 St Ives, Cornwall 116

Top 10 most popular beaches in the UK

The top 10 most popular beaches are ranked after analysing reviews, ratings, photos and the popularity. Whilst there is some crossover between the busiest beaches and the most popular beaches, some of the locations appear to be popular but not overcrowded.

1 Bournemouth Beach
2 Weymouth Beach
3 Fistral Beach
4 Woolacombe Beach
5 Gorleston-on-Sea Beach
6 Filey Beach
7 Brighton Beach
8 Scarborough Beach
9 Perranporth Beach
10 Hengistbury Head Beach


Bournemouth Beach is the most popular beach and for good reason. As well as Bournemouth pier and stunning coastal views, Bournemouth beach has cliff-top walks, restaurants, cafes and many visitor attractions on offer. Whilst this beach is incredibly popular, it didn’t make it onto the busiest beaches list so it could be a great option for a summer day out.

Seven of the busiest beaches unsurprisingly also appear on the most popular beaches list including East Riding of Yorkshire favourites Filey and Scarborough as well as Brighton and Weymouth beaches. Whilst these beaches have a good chance of being busy, they’re popular for a reason so why not get there early and enjoy everything they have to offer?