After the long, cold winter, many of us are dreaming of a beach break for 2023. The lure of salty air, warm, soft sand between your toes and long walks along ocean esplanades are hard to resist. A beach holiday is a great way to relax and unwind.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, an adventurous trip with friends, a family holiday or simple lazy summer days, a beach location is a great choice. Both at home and abroad, there are plenty of spots to choose from. We’ve got the best beach destinations, from budget breaks to luxury getaways. All are beckoning you to slip your shoes off and dip your toes in the soothing sea this summer.
Cheap beach holiday ideas
While there are plenty of beautiful beaches abroad, we also have our fair share of beaches in the UK. Last year's summer airport chaos saw long, winding security queues, extreme flight delays, and around 2,000 daily flight cancellations. Many of them at the last minute.
Although airline experts predict we will avoid similar airport chaos in 2023, by choosing beach locations at home, you’ll skip any summer airport nightmare, save on flights and have more to spend on memorable moments.
Our south and west coasts have many award-winning beaches and exquisite coves to make your holiday memorable. Great deals for beach holidays in the UK don't mean you'll need to forego sand and sunshine either. Book a beach holiday between June and August, and you'll make the most of the year's warmest months. Places like the Isle of Wight have long been a favourite holiday spot for this reason. Here are our best picks for a UK or Ireland beach holiday in 2023.
Top 4 UK and Ireland beach resorts
England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales may not be synonymous with beach holidays, but all have some beautiful beaches. If you’re choosing a beach holiday destination at home, July tends to be the warmest month of the year. Booking ahead will improve your chances of a discount on accommodation through travel companies and all-inclusive beach break packages.
1. Aran Islands, Ireland
Frenchman’s Beach on Inis Mór has dreamy white sand and is found on the largest of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay. Camping, glamping and beach hotel accommodation can be found nearby, and there are plenty of things to see and do.
From scenic walks to bike riding, you can even snorkel or scuba dive to spot colourful coral and spiny dogfish; this Irish beach holiday destination feels almost tropical! You can reach the islands by ferry from Galway city or Doolin in Clare.
2. Cornwall, England
Penwith Peninsula in Cornwall is a remote, stunning coastline in southwest England. The turquoise waters of the Atlantic around Cornwall belie the location. A summer beach break here truly feels like you're abroad.
Quiet sandy coves that you can only reach by boat, remote stretches of sand and seafront accommodation will make a Cornish beach getaway feel luxurious without a massive price tag. Camping sites, B&Bs, plus boutique and luxury hotels in the area cater for all budgets.
3. St Andrews, Scotland
West Sands Beach was featured in the opening scenes of "Chariots of Fire". The long stretch of golden beach beckons you to slip your shoes off and dip your toes in the water. Backed by untouched dunes and just 15 minutes from the town centre, this Scottish beach holiday destination has plenty to entertain you.
The world-renowned golf course is nearby, and you can enjoy various beach activities and watersports here. Accommodation options range from camping and B&B accommodation to luxury hotels. You can make your way there by car, bus or train, and flights to Dundee start at around £150 per person, based on a return from London airports.
4. Gower Peninsula, Wales
Hugely popular with holidaymakers from all over the world, these golden sandy beaches attract thousands of tourists each year. The south-facing beaches are perfect for watersports like surfing, evening strolls and, of course, swimming.
Casswell beach, Oxwich, and Port Eynon all beckon for a summer break and are famous family beaches. Smaller coves and bays on the same stretch of coast offer a reprieve from summer crowds. Accommodation options abound — from camping to glamping, B&B or hotel packages, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes and budget with a Welsh beach holiday.
An all-inclusive beach break
All-inclusive holidays are a great way to ensure everything is sorted before you even pack. Accommodation, meals and site-seeing trips can all be wrapped up and taken care of with great all-inclusive beach holiday deals. These can be booked in advance for a holiday in the UK as easily as they can be for a holiday abroad.
We advise checking with your travel agent or holiday provider to make sure you’re covered for everything you expect to be. That includes insurance should you need to cancel at the last minute, drinks to go with meals if you’re choosing a fully-catered option, and hotel transfers and pick-ups for any site-seeing trips you may wish to take. Finding out these are add-ons at the last minute can put a dampener on your time away.
Consider the price, amenities, and location when choosing your ideal hotel. For example, some beach hotels aren't right on the sea and sand. You may find you're a 5 - 10 minute walk from your favourite beach you thought you'd be overlooking!
Even if you do book a beachfront hotel, amenities such as a heated pool, where you can sit with a cocktail in hand, will let you have the best of both worlds. Considering what you want will help you find your perfect hotel or resort experience.
Luxury beach holidays abroad
If plenty of sunshine is a must for your beach holiday, heading abroad is a good idea. Although June to August is the warmest time of year in the UK, there is no denying that these same months will be much warmer in other parts of the world.
If you’re considering heading to Europe and beyond for some sun, these beach holiday locations are worth considering.
Fantastic beach destinations abroad
The Greek islands, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, have been favoured spots for a beach holiday for years — and for a good reason. These destinations almost guarantee time to soak up the sun, and there are plenty of blue flag beaches to choose from. These coastal spots are recognised for their sustainable tourism practices and clean waters. They're worth looking out for if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sea.
3 Greek island getaways
Greece has hundreds of beaches. Many of the best are on the islands scattered around the Mediterranean. Here are our favourite beach holiday destinations across the Greek islands.
1. Crete, Greece
Elafonissi beach is the most stunning of all across the Greek islands. Breathtaking pink sands, sparkling turquoise waters and convenient amenities await tourists. However, this famous beach can become crowded in peak seasons as it's a favourite with couples, families and those who want to party.
2. Messinia, Greece
Voidokilia beach is a near-perfect semi-circle of golden sand protected by a spit of land. Calm waters for swimming, hiking trails and archaeological ruins make this a perfect beach holiday spot for sunseekers.
3. Kefalonia, Greece
Boarded by cliffs, Myrtos beach feels remote and secluded. The west-facing beach is excellent for swimming and, despite the remote feeling, can become a little crowded when the weather is just so.
3 Moroccan and European luxury holidays by the beach
If you’d like to head away from the crowds or try something a little different from your usual summer getaway, a trip to one of these top beach destinations with luxury surroundings may just be the thing.
1. Tamuda Bay Beach & Spa
An hour and a half outside Tangier, Morocco, you'll find this luxury beach resort that's part of the Sofitel group. The luxury hotel is right on the beach, overlooking the surf of M'Diq Beach, one of the best in the country.
2. Reid’s Palace
Found in Funchal, the island capital of Madeira, Portugal, this luxury hotel offers Michelin-starred dining, a spa, a swimming pool and a nearby gold course. Located on the cliffs overlooking the sea, yet close to the city centre, this beautiful hotel has everything you'll need to enjoy a luxury summer getaway.
3. Hotel Bellevue
Avoid the crowds heading south and visit Dubrovnik in Croatia for a luxury escape by the sea. Built into the side of a cliff, this 5-star hotel couldn’t get any closer to the beach without being in it! You’ll be a 15-minute walk from Dubrovnik’s medieval Old Town with an indoor swimming pool, Adriatic sea views and a fully-equipped spa just outside your hotel room.
And if you want to go even further afield...
We spoke to Christy from That Mama Club, who told Age Times: "We recently travelled out to New Zealand from the UK for a family holiday. You honestly can't beat New Zealand for an 'all activity inclusive holiday', and by that I mean sun, surf and beach, mountains and skiing all in the same day."
Your summer 2023 beach holiday
No matter which location you choose for your holidays in 2023, the best beach holidays fit your preferences and budget. If booking an all-inclusive getaway, consider what your must-haves are. Beach holiday deals typically appear around the end of winter and early spring, so keep your eyes open for a destination that excites you. And remember to pack your sun cream — even if your visiting one of the UK's great beaches — so you can enjoy your time in the sun without any cares!