Five of Britain’s best-kept secret beaches

Chris Carter seeks out five of the best secret beaches across Britain. Just don't tell anyone.


The Polurrian Bay Hotel: a spectacular location on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Kynance Cove in Cornwall isn't exactly a secret. But the 15-minute scramble down the cliffside means this "glorious stretch of turquoise water and creamy-white sand, flanked by the dramatic stacks of the Lizard peninsula", is less packed with people than other Cornish beaches, says Annabelle Thorpe in The Times.

There is also an excellent caf just above the beach, selling Cornish pasties. Just be sure to leave time for the "lovely" two-mile walk from Kynance to Lizard Point. Polurrian Bay Hotelis "spectacularly located" and has a great pool terrace.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

The beach at Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire is reassuringly remote, says Phoebe Luckhurst in the Evening Standard. After parking half a mile away then clambering down sand dunes, your reward is "wholly unspoiled velvety sand, translucent waters and grizzled cliffs".

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

The Boathouse Tea Room serves a not-to-be-missed ploughman's lunch and the nearby Stackpole Inn, an "archetypal British country inn, with thatched roofs, low rafters and ivy coiling across bleached stone", is a perfect place to stay.

Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight

Use the coastal path from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight or the nearby Botanic Gardens to reach the beach at Steephill Cove. "This little bay of cheerful huts, deck chairs and rock pools is backed by cottage gardens and bathed in Mediterranean-style sunlight," says The Daily Telegraph. And while the beach is mostly shingle, it is no less charming for that.

For a spot of lunch, visit Wheelers Crab Shed caf for fresh crab sandwiches or lobster and salad. Or for something a bit more substantial and sea views, call in at the Boathouse Restaurant, which also offers self-catering accommodation.


Porth Iago, Gwynedds

The best of the beaches on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales is the tiny and off-the-beaten-track, "south-facing sun-trap" known as Porth Iago, says Chris Haslam in The Sunday Times. It's not easy to find. It's said the locals took down the road signs to confuse German paratroopers during the war and forgot to put them back up.

To find your way, stay on the B4413 and aim for the farm in the distance. "Opposite a barn, you'll see a broken sign for Porth Iago." But it's the "fabulous" swimming, reminiscent of Cornish beach holidays in the 1950s, that will tell you you've arrived.

Achnahaird, Ross-shire

Look for the sign post for the Summer Isles and keep going between the craggy peaks of Sgorr Tuath and Stac Pollaidh, says Chris Haslam. Eventually you will come to a dramatically beautiful beach. Scotland's Achnahaird Bay in Ross-shire is a tidal inlet flanked on the one side by dunes and on the other by the "film-set-spectacular" Suilven mountain. You will most probably have the beach all to yourself. Either way, you will "definitely be blown away".


Explore Pembrokeshire's lost world of caves

Abseiling is a great way to explore the cavesof Pembrokeshire's southern coastline,says The Guardian's Kevin Rushby, planting"your foot where no foot has been before".Taking the classic Diedre-Sude route, weabseiled 45 metres from a grassy clifftopto get to this lost world, "our lives hangingon a metal post" that guide Henry Castleassured me was secure.

Inside this "mazeof caves", there "were vast legs of stone allaround" and "vaulted caverns lit by shaftsof sunlight coming through blowholes farabove. It was like walking with dinosaurs,"says Rushby. The cavern roofs sparkledwith crystals, amid "shards of shipwrecks,rockpools twitchy with prawns". And therewas not a foot print in sight.


What millennials will find on The Beach

It's 20 years since Alex Garland wrote The Beach. "Part of the novel's astonishing success", notes John Niven in The Guardian, "was its hotwiring of the zeitgeist". Richard, a young British backpacker in Thailand, obsessed with living in a computer-game world, is given a map that leads him to danger and ultimately the "idyllic" beach. The novel, recently reissued by Penguin, captured the spirit of the "oneupping, (mainly rich) young things" backpacking through Thailand in the 1990s. But what will today's millennials make of it? Or future generations?

They will find what generations before them found in the pages of F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway: protagonists gazing at the landscapes of Italy, Spain and Africa, but damaged by where they have come from, and finding only what they have brought with them.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.