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Beach vacation in August?

Hi all,

My girls need to be in London in late August and are thinking they would like to spend 10 days or so on a bit of a beach vacation first. Are there any nice beaches in England that would make for a warm sunny trip or are they better to head to the mainland? They’ve been to the French Riviera and Barcelona so are looking for a new place.

Posted by
11677 posts

England (along with Wales and Scotland) has lots of beautiful coastline, and there are some nice sandy beaches to find, but they are nothing like the broad sandy beaches of Southern California. The southernmost part of England is still north of the whole USA outside of Alaska, That makes for cold water and cool, possibly windy weather on shore. We have found great walking and scenery on the coast of England in several places, mainly with cliffs and rocky beaches, and nothing like the surf and sand of Southern California (where I grew up). If they are looking for lots of sand and sun, they need to go somewhere further south.

Posted by
234 posts

Yes we saw some beautiful beaches in St Andrews in July but it was quite chilly. I suppose you are right Lola; they need to look south. I’m sure they can find a nice beach with an airport close by to get to London easily. Perhaps Mallorca.

Posted by
3925 posts

If they're happy in the Pacific waters off California then they'd be happy in the water off the coast of Southern England in August.

Bear in mind however that August in the UK is school holiday time and pretty much everyone who isn't holidaying abroad is holidaying on the coast so it will be busy and accommodation books up early.

There are some fantastic beaches in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset and lots to explore in those locations.

Wales also has some fantastic beaches, this link highlights some of the best: https://www.roughguides.com/gallery/21-beautiful-beaches-in-wales/ and can give California a run for its money.

Posted by
3978 posts

UK - I would forget Devon and Cornwall in August - far too many people. I would look at north Norfolk between Cromer and Brancaster. Stunning beaches plus take a boat trip out to see the seals. My favourite coastline is Northumberland - stunning beaches with a few castles thrown in to visit.

Mallorca in August wouldn’t be my choice of warmer beach destination. I would head to one of the smaller Greek islands such as Lefkada or one of the other Ionian Islands, where the breeze keeps the hot temperatures at bay. Much of Greece will be baking, as will many parts of the Med.

Alternatively, I would head to the western end of the Algarve in Portugal - Lagos and further west. Stunning beaches from small caves to long sandy beaches miles long and good food.

Posted by
1834 posts

A cold current runs down the western coast of the USA whilst the warm Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Drift crosses the Atlantic to the British Isles. So, for its latitude, the sea / air is warmer in Britain compared to how it is at the same latitude in north America. OK, so it may not be really warm but in good weather you will certainly find people sunbathing on the beaches and going in the sea. For the best chance of good weather, best to stick to southern England / Wales. Of the places mentioned above regarding best beaches in Wales, I would not recommend Cefn Sidan or Pendine as far better places exist. TENBY in SW Wales would be a good place as it has rail access with even a direct train from London on summer Saturdays - although it is a long trip. (Could be broken with a couple of nights in Cardiff). https://www.visitcardiff.com
Pre-book long distance trains around 11 weeks in advance to get the cheapest prices as pay on the day can be expensive.
www.nationalrail.co.uk

The coast of southern England east of Southampton is mainly pebbles. Bournemouth has a nice sandy beach but is rather too large for my liking.

Tenby >https://www.visitwales.com/destinations/west-wales/pembrokeshire/things-enjoy-holiday-tenby

Posted by
5817 posts

They might need to check their budget first, anywhere with a beach in August is going to be busy and expensive.
If they want a guarantee of sun they will need to head to mainland Europe and the Med, but then it might be too hot. We do have glorious sunny and hot days in the UK but there is no guarantee when they will happen.
The fact that we are at the same latitude as Alaska is irrelevant. Our weather is shaped in part by ocean currents from the south which means we are much milder than you might expect from looking at the globe, but the sea is never going to be warm.
Most british seaside holidays are a combination of time spent on the beach when the weather is good and time spent off doing other things in the local area when it's not so great. All holiday areas will have lots of things to do.

Posted by
234 posts

Thanks so much for all of the great information! They are in their early 20s and have grown up on Malibu beaches so the more crowded, the better! ;) They thought about Greece for a couple weeks (Santorini or Mykonos) but flights from the U. S. and AirBnBs are already expensive.

They are not interested in swimming so are not concerned about water temperature. The Pacific is very cold even in Southern California in the summer :) Nice was perfect for my elder daughter last summer but she wants to explore someplace different.

Posted by
1834 posts

Santorini is a volcanic island with hardly any beaches. What I would suggest you do is go on Google Maps / Earth and look at any place that you are considering. Some places in the Med are dreadful and consideration should also be given to the type of clientele that they attract. Easyjet & Ryan Air are two lower cost airlines that operate from a variety of British Airports to places all over Europe & the Med. (Beware of charges for baggage etc.) You are unlikely to find cheap flights from Heathrow due to landing charges. Gatwick - south of London & Stansted - to the north are likely to have better deals if going to/from London.

Posted by
234 posts

Thanks James. Yes, we want to be sure it’s a safe place — as much as it can be. The girls are pretty sharp but they are young....

Posted by
1834 posts

In the UK, they might like to consider Bournemouth - which has sandy beaches that have loads of people. (Compton Acres gardens is worth a visit). Click the link for a map of the area & zoom down & then drag in the yellow man for a street view to see what the place looks like. If you click & drag the map towards the west, you will see Lulworth Cove and about 1 mile west, Durdle Dor = a spectacular arch into the sea. https://jurassiccoast.org

www.traveline.info will tell you how to reach places by bus but for longer trips, people usually use the trains.
Map of Bournemouth:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.6952316,-1.8612173,13956m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Of course, they are more or less guaranteed sunshine in the Med whilst in Britain, it can be hit or miss. They may also be able to take day trips or weekends away to see other places in Britain that are away from their London base. So, a holiday to say Santorini beforehand, would give them a more unique experience.

Posted by
23396 posts

Be sure to make sure they take and apply sufficient sunscreen. The air is cooler (look at how many on the beach are in town clothes not bathing suits/costumes) so it is easy to miss that the sun is actually pretty strong this far north.

You can always tell if the British have been down to water because on Monday they will all be bright pink with white stripes (those of a light complexion).

Posted by
3925 posts

They are in their early 20s and have grown up on Malibu beaches so the more crowded, the better! ;)

They may want to consider Ibiza, combine some beachtime with world class nightlife and an almost exclusively young crowd. My advice would be to look at staying near to Ibiza Town rather than the northern town of San Antonio, more cosmopolitan and mixed as well as a more attractive place.

Posted by
234 posts

Thank you! We will find a place with easy access to a low cost airline that can bring them to London.

Posted by
3978 posts

You will find that low cost airlines are so low cost in August, particularly if you travel at the weekend to popular seaside locations. Fares to Faro in Portugal in August on a Saturday cost more than 10 times the rate in March. Seats on these airlines have been available for months and the cheapest seats will already have gone, so book as soon as possible.