Undiscovered beaches and hidden gems of the British coastline
As a (two) island nation, the United Kingdom is a region with a rich and varied coastline. No place in the country is more than 113km (or just 70 miles) from the coast. And with a range of national parks and wildlife reserves, as well as geological oddities, there are plenty of undiscovered spots worth celebrating in the UK's 11,000 miles of coastline.
A traditional favourite for exploring the UK has been camping or caravanning. Both come from a long tradition of itinerant travelling, and their popularity is rising once again as heady fuel prices, rising inflation and a concern for the environment lead us to holiday closer to home, and stay more in touch with our local environment.
Holidaymakers looking for luxury on the cheap can take advantage of increased used caravan sales in the UK with Park Resorts, where you'll find many a decent base for exploring some of the unseen coves and bays of the island.
Indeed, one spot that truly is an overlooked gem is an island - two actually. The Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, whilst a little closer to France than the south of England, are two excellent spots for a short break. Jersey is very small - but it can lay claim to having the most hours of sunshine in Britain.
As Kate Simon notes in her feature for The Independent, it's also most attractive for its lovely landscape: yawning bays and wide beaches to the west at St Ouen's (great for first-time surfers); or the old pier and cliffs around golden Greve de Lecq in the north.
Another popular island in the UK is the Isle of Wight - a Victorian holiday favourite that can still stake a claim as being one of the nation's best places to take a break. You might enjoy staying at Nodes Point holiday park near Bembridge, which has a series of pebbly, quiet beaches - many of which are protected by the National Trust.
On the mainland, a surprise location for great beaches is Essex and Kent and the parts of the east coast easily accessible by train or car from London. As long as you're not after a place to swim and sunbathe, we can highly recommend Dungeness in Kent, whose extraordinary shingle and wide expanse of space and light is otherworldly.
For prettier views head to nearby Rye, where you can also get some delicious cakes and teas. Or, for a completely different beach altogether, head to the neighbouring a href=\"http://www.dymchurchonline.com/\"target=\"_blank\">Dymchurch on Romney Marsh for wider, very family friendly beach.
The beauty of the UK coastline is its variety and endless ability to surprise. Even in busy areas, there are often undiscovered or secluded spots just a few kilometres' walk along the coast. Spots like Mwnt in Cardiganshire, or Manorbier Beach in Pembrokeshire are excellent examples; if you happen to go and these usually secluded spots are busy, you can simply wander a few minutes either way and you'll come across another spectacular vista or cove to drop in to.
Photo: Think again; the Isle of Wight, courtesy of Andy Roberts