Why risk delays and cancellations with little kids in tow when you can opt for cheap family breaks in the UK instead? With the cost of staycations pricing lots of us out of the usual haunts in Cornwall (St. Ives was found to be the most expensive beach holiday you can have in the UK), we’ve put together the best beach spots for cheap family holidays right on your doorstep.
With the trend for last-minute UK beach holidays meaning there’s still plenty of capacity for a sneaky summer trip and miles of coastline to choose from, you might just find that your dream family beach is closer than you thought…
Where are the best cheap beach holidays in the UK?
From the best seaside resorts in the UK to the cleanest Blue Flag sands, here are the cheapest and best UK beach holidays for families.
The cheapest sandy beach near London
West Wittering, Chichester, West Sussex
This mile-long stretch of Blue Flag beach has been named one of the most desirable beaches in Britain and is a firm favourite among dog walkers and families, all year round. With high-quality water, plenty of space to build sand castles, picturesque beach huts to admire, and a cafe that serves coffee and ice cream, it’s not hard to see why West Wittering is considered one of the best beaches in the UK for families. Plus, you can use the JustPark App to pre-book your parking space and minimise stress on the day.
The nicest beach near London with no sand
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Can’t bear the thought of your toddler coating themselves and everything else in sand? Head to Eastbourne’s shingle beach for a sand-free seaside experience. Research has revealed Eastbourne to be one of the cheapest beach holidays in the UK. And with family-friendly attractions like the miniature steam railway nearby, you’ll have plenty to keep the little ones distracted when you need a break from the beach. Top tip: don’t forget water shoes to protect little feet as they paddle the crystal clear waters.
The best family days out in Sussex
- Fisher’s Adventure Farm Park.
- Drusillas Park.
- And for rainy days? You can't go wrong with the Sea Life Centre.
The cheapest and best beaches in North England
Berwick-upon-Tweed and Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
When the crowds flock to the south, buck the trend and head north to find some of the best UK beach holiday bargains. Berwick-upon-Tweed is about as far north as you can get, a buffer town between England and Scotland steeped in history and Elizabethan architecture.
Visit the town beach or Spittal Beach to the south for sandy stretches or take a stroll to Fisherman’s Haven, a picturesque cove in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins offshore!
Bamburgh Castle is another of the best beaches in Northumberland — and one of the cheapest UK beach holidays too. Voted Best Seaside Resort in the UK last year, thanks to its golden sand dunes and clear waters, the magnificent castle adds a touch of drama to the postcard-perfect landscape.
Things to do in Northumberland with family
- Alnwick Castle — look out for the regular child-friendly activities like dressing up as a knight.
- The Grand Cascade at Alnwick — don’t forget to pack a change of clothes.
- And for rainy days? Grab your wellies and head to Whitehouse Farm Centre. There’s a soft play area and even an indoor picnic barn., so the rain won’t ruin your lunch.
Our pick of the cheapest family beach holidays in Scotland
Dunbar, East Lothian
Dunbar, East Lothian was a finalist for the Best Seaside Location in the itravel Staycation Awards last year, in part due to its affordable price point for families. Accommodation and parking were found to be some of the cheapest in the UK! Visit the sandy East Beach, a five-minute stroll from the town’s High Street, to explore rock pools and walk the promenade. Or head to the spacious, clean sands of Belhaven Bay to soak up the stunning sea view.
The best things to do in Dunbar with kids
- East Links Family Park for all the fun of the farm.
- The Harbours. Explore the newer Victoria Harbour and the old Cromwell Harbour to spot dolphins, seals and all the fishing boats.
- And for rainy days? Dunbar Leisure Pool, one of the best rainy day activities in East Lothian. The pool has a beach area with water characters for little kids to play with as well as a wave machine and a flume for bigger kids.
Our pick of the best cheap holidays in Wales
Home to the best value seaside fish and chips in the UK, Which? recently named Llandudno as one of the cheapest seaside towns for a family holiday. Unfussy yet charming with stunning scenery and a two-mile promenade, Llandudno boasts not one but two beaches to keep the kids happy. The North Beach is more sheltered with a long Victorian pier, while the West Shore Beach is quieter, more picturesque and won a Blue Flag Award in 2021.
Fun family things to do in Llandudno
- Llandudno Pier.
- Bodafon Farm Park.
- And for a rainy day? Britain’s longest passenger cable car system The Great Orme cable cars. Failing that, head to Bonkerz Fun Centre to let the little ones loose at soft play.
The best beach in Devon for a cheap family holiday
A holiday in the fishing town of Beer offers the best value for money in Devon by one of the best beaches in the UK. With fewer tourists in the summer months compared to other parts of Devon, Beer is one of the cheapest UK beach holidays for those in search of some peace. Once a smuggler’s haven, Beer beach is now a family-friendly shingle affair encircled by limestone cliffs. Just the kind of story and scenery to ignite little imaginations, and big ones too!
Things to do near Beer, Devon
- South Devon Railway to meet Thomas and friends.
- Pennywell Farm.
- And for rainy days? Take refuge at Ilfracombe Aquarium.
Has one of these last-minute UK beach holidays caught your eye? Explore some of our late UK holiday deals to treat yourself to a break.
Keep costs low with the self-catering accommodation at Sykes Cottages and enjoy up to 20% off last-minute bookings. Or browse the listings at Booking.com where you’re guaranteed a sweet 10% off app deals.