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Four of the best beaches in England

Blow away the quarantine cobwebs with a visit to the coast. Nicole Garcia Merida reports

One of the UK’s last true wildernesses 

“Strung with vast and often deserted beaches, the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the county’s primary draws,” says Charlotte Wigram-Evans in National Geographic. “This dramatic, 175-square-mile stretch of rural England also features mudflats and salt marshes that teem with a rich variety of wildlife.” The coastline can be explored on foot on the Norfolk Coast Path, or you can take a sailing boat into the maze of tiny waterways flanked by towering sandbanks, which “feel like one of the UK’s last true wildernesses”. Stay at the Victoria Inn, says Wigram-Evans. A stone’s throw from Holkham Beach, it “brims with country charm” and is a perfect base for exploring the coast. See holkham.co.uk

Whale-spotting in Northumberland

Dunstanburgh Castle © Getty

The Northumberland coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a place of high drama, says The Daily Telegraph, with sweeping sandy beaches and isolated islands. It’s a great place for walking, cycling, wildlife watching and water sports. The coastline is “punctuated by castles, at Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Warkworth, and the town defences of Berwick”. The Northumberland Coast Path follows the coastline for 100 kilometres and there are trails for all abilities. Hire a bike or take your own for miles of quiet lanes and traffic-free cycle routes. For the bird watchers, activity at the seabird colonies peaks in June and July, and whales and dolphins can be seen year round. Stay at the penthouse apartment in Craster Tower, a Grade-II listed country house with sea views, situated above a picturesque fishing village. See crastertower.co.uk

A hidden gem in south Devon

Gara Rock Beach is a hidden seaside adventure playground, says Chris Haslam in The Times, situated near Salcombe in south Devon. It could easily “become your family favourite”, although its “magnificence as a picnic spot is rivalled by competition at the top of the cliff”, where you’ll find an outlet selling pasties and ice cream, and the sea-view terrace of the restaurant at the Gara Rock hotel. The hotel is a good spot to stay, with “a hipster-chic” vibe, a sea-view spa and a cinema. Double rooms from at £257 per night. See gararock.com.

A taste of the Caribbean  

© Getty

The Isles of Scilly have the closest thing you can get to Caribbean beaches in the UK, says Roshina Jowaheer in Country Living. This “magical archipelago” sitsjust 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall and has the same sparkling turquoise water and laid-back island vibe of the Caribbean without the long-haul flight. “The Isles of Scilly have been blessed with some of the most beautiful sands in the world… You can bathe or kayak the crystal-clear waters, take in the beauty of the coast by walking along a trail, or soak it all up from a beach bar or cafe.” Stay at the Star Castle Hotel, a 38-bedroom family-run hotel that has an indoor pool, tennis courts and a golf course. Double rooms start at £179 per night. See visitislesofscilly.com. 

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