2. Luskentyre, Isle of Harris
Far, far away from anywhere you’re likely to be - just behind the back of beyond and somewhere near BFE - lies Luskentyre beach on the Isle of Harris, where white sand fringes empty landscapes and nothing much has changed in millions of years.
4. Camber Sands, East Sussex
They saw a lot of action in the war, and once a year play host to hundreds of emaciated indie fans for the ATP festival, but the protected dunes around the village of Camber are usually deserted and are actually accreting (getting bigger) all the time.
5. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
It doesn’t take much to keep the hordes away. Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is only a half kilometre stroll from the nearest car park, but the rough pathway wards off pushchairs, buggies and their bratty, noisy occupants nonetheless.
12. Priory Bay, Isle of Wight
Priory Bay is privately owned, which means the masses head elsewhere, but you’re allowed to meander in from nearby Seagrove Bay. It’s worth it for the sheer seclusion and Crusoe-esque fantasies, plus there’s an oyster bar at the Priory Bay Hotel for post-walk eats.
13. Crosby Beach, Liverpool
You’ll see a few people here, but they’re all made of cast iron. Anthony Gormley’s sculptures are among the few silhouettes blighting this stretch of the beach (aside from the hulking great wind turbines). It’s a good spot to clear the head.
14. Oxwich Bay, Gower Peninsula
Once named the most beautiful in Britain, the 2.5-mile sandy stretch is bordered by a large wetland reserve and the cliffs of High Tor. It’s also where submarine telephone cables leave Britain for the US and Ireland, but don’t let that bother you.
15. Porthcurno, Cornwall
At the end of an “unclassified” road on the tip of mainland England near Land’s End, Porthcurno takes a while to reach. It’s worth it though; as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in a county bursting at the seams with natural beauty, it’s pretty spectacular.
Tim Chester is Editor of Rough Guides.