Top 5 Shingle Beaches in the UK

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Our five favourite UK shingle beaches we think you should explore.

Chesil Beach, Dorset

The setting of Ian McEwan's 2007 novella and the 2017 film adaptation, Chesil Beach in Dorset is one of the main three shingle structures in the UK, stretching 18 miles from the Isle of Portland to West Bay! Set in the heart of the Jurassic Coast, the UK's first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, much of the beach is actually separated from the mainland by an expanse of water and international nature reserve called The Fleet Lagoon, which you can explore on a glass bottom boat tour called the Fleet Observer.

Image Credit: jonb1960 via Flickr

Chesil Beach is located in Dorset, England. The Fleet Observer jetty is located behind the Ferrybridge Inn, Ferrymans’s Way, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9YU. The Fleet Observer sails daily, weather and demand permitting, Easter to September. Trips last 1 hour and are run throughout the day.

Birling Gap, East Sussex

This pebbly paradise is blessed with the beautiful backdrop of the iconic white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Managed by the National Trust, there are various events that take place on the beach. Or, if you prefer to discover things by yourself, you can always hunt for fossils alone in the chalk falls on the beach, or scour the rock pools for fish, anemones and even the fierce velvet swimming crab. Or, if you’d rather catch waves than crabs, whack out your board and head to the sea, as being a south facing beach, Birling Gap is regarded as one of the best surfing spots in the South East.

Image Credit: Leanne Phillips via Flickr

Birling Gap is located at East Dean, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 0AB

Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk

One of Suffolk’s best known beaches, Aldeburgh is made up of both sand and shingle, but is also home to one very large shell! Local artist Maggi Hambling’s The Scallop sculpture was introduced to the beach in 2003 as a commemoration of the composer Benjamin Britten, and it is inscribed with the words “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” which were taken from Britten’s opera Grimes. Britten had strong links with Aldeburgh, a pretty seaside town with colourful buildings, which is well worth exploring after you’ve made the most of its beautiful beach. Why not check out the historic buildings along the beach front, including a Norman Church, the 400-year-old Moot Hall and a converted windmill!

Image Credit: Ian Tilden via Flickr

Aldeburgh Beach is located at Crag Path, Aldeburgh IP15 5BP

Elgol Beach, Isle of Skye

Situated in a small fishing village on the stunning Isle of Skye, Elgol Beach is the perfect place for those who like to observe some rocks on a larger scale, as it is a great spot for observing breathtaking views of the Cuillin Mountains in the distance. As well as being geographically interesting, Elgol Beach also has strong cultural significance, as if you walk along the beach you can discover the cave where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid during his last days in Scotland after the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Image Credit: Phil Hunter via Flickr

Elgol Beach is located in Elgol, Skye, Scotland, IV49 9BJ

Brighton Beach, Brighton

And finally, how could we not mention Brighton Beach? Whilst maybe not as wild as its other shingle sisters, we love that it’s located in one of the cultural, cosmopolitan hotspots of the UK! As well as relaxing on the stony beach, Brighton visitors can enjoy the Artist’s Quarter’s beachfront galleries, an array of bars and restaurants and of course the famous Brighton Pier, which not only is the perfect spot for some funky fun fair games, but also for an extensive view along the Brighton seafront.

Image Credit: Dave Letorey via Flickr

Brighton Beach is located at 4 Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1ET