Hide Away on a Beach

Off-Season and Off-the-Beaten Path

Never mind the temperature of the water: the view, the sounds, and the scents of a stretch of beautiful coast fill our senses and repair our souls. The pleasures of visiting the beach in the off-season are numerous, starting with the lack of crowds. So come October, pack your bag correctly, with a proper beach towel (in case the water beckons you to paddle), plenty of sun cream, a wrap or blanket, and a good book or trashy magazine. Then run away to one of these beautiful hidden spots on the English coast.

Bamburgh

Located in Northumberland, Bamburgh serves up miles of white sand and secluded walking. You can see across to the Farne Islands and take a boat trip out there if you’re inclined. For provisions visit the village, which is tucked away at the foot of a castle – open for tours, but we’re about the beach here – and then get down to the beach. Settle in or take the three-mile walk between the lighthouse and the town of Seahouses.

Runswick Bay

It doesn’t get much more charming than this North Yorkshire beach with rock pools to either side and a village climbing up the hill behind. The town isn’t a tourist magnet, though it has its share of admirers; you might want to bring along plenty of food and beverages, unless you’d like to visit one of the nearby hotels.

Man o’ War Beach

Heading down to Dorset now, we tuck ourselves away in this stunning cove. Clear waters and limestone cliffs overlooking a sweet crescent of sand? Sounds like heaven. Limited services and no proper shops mean the crowds remain thin, even in summer. Again, this is a place you’ll want to bring your own food and water to. The walk to the bay is a steep path with stairs.

Saunton Sands

Back to a wide-open space, this three-mile stretch in Devon offers sand, scenes of dramatic Atlantic waves, which makes it popular with surfers. Sit and contemplate or wander among the Braunton Burrows. For some peace and quiet, be sure to visit when military exercises are not taking place. Bordering the shore are the Braunton Burrows, a dune system that is worth a day’s wandering in itself. The Burrows are privately owned but welcomes visitors; so you can towel yourself off and explore on your own or with a guide to learn more about the area’s flora and fauna. The dunes are also part of the larger Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.