Bedruthan Steps Beach, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall – photo © VisitCornwall

The wow factor: Located on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, this drop-dead-gorgeous beach is one of the south-west’s most photographed and is named for the giant granite rocks which, according to folklore, were the stepping stones for a Cornish giant. It is only accessible at low tide via steep steps, so is only suitable for the fit and agile. But that makes it very quiet even in summer.

Activities: Limited at the beach because access is restricted but then with such views, who cares? The South West Coast Path skirts the beach. The nearby National Trust car park offers welcome snacks and the obligatory Cornish cream tea. For finer fare, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant is just 10 minutes away at Watergate Bay.

Stay: The Bedruthan Steps Hotel ( is set on the cliff side and was named Cornwall’s hotel of the year in 2010.

and 10 of the rest

Here are 10 more UK beaches which didn’t quite make our final selection, but which we feel still merit a mention. Just click here

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