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Durdle Door, England
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Five British beaches have been named the best in the world

Coastlines in Sussex, Dorset, Wales and Scotland have been ranked alongside sands in Thailand and Australia

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Sure, endless shores of glistening white sands being lapped by crystal clear waves are likely what spring to mind when you think of the world’s best beaches, but the planet’s finest stretches of coast are much more diverse than that. 

We at Time Out certainly have our own top beach picks, and Lonely Planet announced its roundup of the world’s 100 best beaches back in January, but now it’s Beach Atlas’s turn to spotlight their choices for the world’s best beaches. 

The platform’s criteria saw each beach assessed on natural beauty, party and nightlife offerings, sense of community, cultural significance and natural diversity. The report then created a shortlist of 100 which were voted for by experts and influencers, and five destinations from across the UK were eventually included in the Golden Beach Award 2024

The first of these was Brighton Beach, which came in at number 25. The five-kilometre stretch of seafront is one of the city’s biggest draws, characterised not just by seagulls and fairground rides but also by charming boutiques full of local artwork, and some truly brilliant pubs and seafood restaurants. Justice for pebble beaches!

Next up it’s West Sands Beach in Scotland, which, thanks to three kilometres of uninterrupted sand, is just as popular with walkers as it is with swimmers. That took place number 47, while Durdle Door took number 56. The limestone arch which stretches out of Dorset’s UNESCO-protected Jurassic coast has gotta be one of the most postcard-worthy spots in the UK, as well as a magnet for paddlers and hikers – it was also included in Lonely Planet’s list

In place number 72, it’s one for the Harry Potter fans. Freshwater West in Wales is home to Dobby’s grave, which is marked by a mountain of pebbles and a sock-covered wooden cross, but the beach is also something of a surfer’s paradise. 

And lastly, it’s another mention for Sussex with Birling Gap claiming spot number 80. Nestled beneath the Seven Sisters cliffs between the seaside towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, this spot has received a Blue Flag for its cleanliness. 

Want to have a look at the global list in full? You can do so here

Be beside the seaside

Though the UK is hardly a typical go-to destination for a bit of sun and sand, we do boast some truly dazzling beaches. Take a look at our picks for the best ones in the UK, from sandy bays to little sun traps, or these ones which are a little more hidden away. We’ve got a roundup for our favourite ones from around the world, too. 

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