London is a lively and bustling city – a place that is never short of entertainment. As wonderful as it is, however, sometimes city living can get a bit on the hectic side.

Whether you are looking for a bit of solace from the busy city, or just a place to soak up the sun, the calming sounds of waves, the salty sea air, and the taste of traditional fish and chips make the beach a perfect place to take a break.

With our pick of the best sandy beaches near London, you won’t be short for ideas for when the waves become too tempting to resist. Let’s dive in!

1.      Canvey Island – Best for Convenience

Eastern Esplanade

Situated at the bottom of the Thames River, Canvey Island is the closest beach to London. It’s a soft sandy beach perfect for a picnic or a sunbathe. Due to its location, it’s also a lovely place to watch ships making their way peacefully up The Thames.

2.      Chalkwell Beach – Best for Calm and Solitude

Boat on Chalkwell beach

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the other Southend beaches, then Chalkwell Beach is the place to go. Known for its quiet and calm atmosphere, this one is ideal for a relaxing stroll. It might not be as pretty as the other beaches on this list, but at least you don’t have to share!

3.      Thorpe Bay Beach – Best for Cleanliness

Thorpe Bay & Shoebury HDR

Another beach located in Southend-on-Sea, Thorpe Bay is an ideal spot for swimming due to its quirky beach huts and Blue Flag award for cleanliness and safety. Not only is the standard of the beach incredibly high, but you are guaranteed a fun day out with a range of watersports like windsurfing and kayaking. With café’s that lead right onto the beach, you won’t be stuck for something to eat either. Thorpe Bay is an all-rounder for a family day out.

4.      Mersea Island – Best for Seafood


An Island in Essex, Mersea Island is famous for its seafood restaurant The Company Shed. If you love the idea of dining on oysters and drinking white wine on the beach, then Mersea Island is the best choice. With seafood bars that please the critics and its wine vineyard, Mersea Island is a fun option for foodies and wine connoisseurs alike.

5.      Kingsgate Bay, Dover – Best for Beauty and Peacefulness

Falaises de Kingsgate Bay

If estuaries and the Southend isn’t really your thing, why not venture a little further to the White Cliffs of Dover? This beach really is special; a thing of secluded beauty with its sea caves, white cliffs and white sand. Also, Kingsgate is one of the few beaches that welcomes dogs all year round.

6.      Sunny Sands, Kent – Best Alternative Beach

Sunny Broadstairs afternoon

With its hills of wildflowers, mermaid statues, and concrete arches – Sunny Sands is a unique place. It is also one of the few beaches near London that has white sand. In fact, the sand is so good that the Folkstone Sandcastle Building Competition takes place here every year!

7. Brighton Beach – Best for Liveliness

425 - Brighton Beach

At Brighton Beach, you’ll never get bored. Renowned for its vibrancy, it is packed with beach games, restaurants, bars, watersports, and arcades. The Palace Pier is a world of its own with art galleries, restaurants and bars. If arts and sports isn’t your thing, the beach has its very own Sea Life Aquarium and a Fishing Museum for the seafaring historians amongst you. The beach comes alive at night with its own beachside club culture, too. Brighton Beach may just about have everything (apart from peace and quiet!).

For more fantastic ways to explore everything the UK has to offer, take a look at our great range of UK tours. They’re the easiest, comfiest way to explore our nations’ most famous attractions.