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This way to the beach

Scorchio! The sun has got his hat on (at long last) so we’re thinking impromptu daytrip to the coast. Who’s in?

We have rivers and lakes a plenty in Berkshire, but a beach? We have many giant sandpits (largely used by horses) but they don’t count. Good job a one-day jaunt to the seaside is totally doable. All of the suggestions below are no more than two hours in the car, depending of course which part of the county you live in. So set your alarm for an early start, grab the wind-breaker and soggy sandwiches – let’s go!


Mudeford Quay, Dorset

Mudeford spit, photo:

This is definitely one of our family favourite. Mudeford is a stunner with its pristine white sands, enclosed by rocks and backed by candy-coloured beach huts. There’s a fantastic cafe called The Beach House across the sandspit (you can get a little ferry there) and a Noddy train to keep little ones amused. It’s roughly 1hr 30 mins away.


Studland, Dorset

Fun fact to whip out if you get stuck in traffic: Coldplay’s famous one-take video for Yellow, where Chris Martin walks/sings along a beach was filmed at Studland. There are four miles of divine sandy beaches here Middle Beach is an easy stroll from boutique hotel/restaurant The Pig, aka the perfect spot for a chichi G&T. Alternatively there’s plenty of watersports on offer at Knoll Beach, plus a 1km stretch for naturists, should you fancy letting it all hang out. It’ll take about 2 hrs away.


Sandbanks beach, Poole, Dorset

Ma Muddy used to spend her entire summer  here when she was a little girl, lucky thing, but it wasn’t quite the millionaires playground it is today. Some things never change and that’s Sandbanks‘ huge swathes of golden sand, but make sure you visit the fab Sandbanks Beach Cafe, plus there’s a BBQ facility on the beach and watersports nearby. After 1hr 30mins in the car you could be ogling Jamie Redknapp in his budgie smugglers.


West Wittering, West Sussex

sandy beat blue skies and tidal river West Wittering beach West Sussex

A firm favourite with the family. I spent Mother’s Day here while the kids jumped the sand dunes and the dog paddled in the sea. West Wittering beach boasts wide, gently shelving golden sands, Blue Flag rating and ample parking, It is perfect for a family day out – even Kevin the Teenager couldn’t find fault with this one. Bring a picnic or BBQ, and loll on the grassy area behind the beach to take in views across to Chichester harbour. It’s a decent 1hr 4omin drive.


Brighton, East Sussex

You probably don’t need me to tell you about Brighton but don’t dismiss it as too far for a day trip – I can make it in two hours if I hammer it round the M25. It’s a pebbly beach of course but I don’t mind that when there’s so much else to do. All the cool kids live in Hove now, so head west for a slightly quieter beach and amazing pizza at Fatto A Mano on Church Street.


Barton-on-Sea, New Forest, Hampshire

I get so distracted by the gorgeous greenery and cute ponies in the New Forest, I forget it does beaches too. It can be windy in Barton – it’s a prime para-gliding spot – so don’t forget to pack your kite. Above the safe, sandy beach, you can stroll along the clifftops and stop off at The Beachcomber Cafe, with its grassy garden and brilliant, massive fry-ups.


Bournemouth, Dorset

An obvious choice but you can’t beat Bournemouth. Miles of golden sands, a massive Harry Ramsden’s with views out across the water, tacky arcades to wow the kids (and must admit I myself have a long-term obsessions with 2p slot machines) and a little train that runs around the tropical gardens and up to Boscombe beach. Boom!

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Berkshire