Lesser-known Northumberland beach hot spot that should be on your bucket (and spade) list for 2024

With sunnier days on their way, many in the UK will be tempted to hit the beach with friends and families this spring. However, rocking up to a crowded beach – not least when faced with potential queues for everything, including car parks, ice cream, deckchairs and even the public loos – isn’t everyone’s idea of relaxing.
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For those looking to escape the madding crowds and find a quieter, more relaxing beach experience, travel experts from holidaycottages.co.uk have pulled together their top four hidden beach spots in the UK that should be on anyone’s bucket (and spade) list in 2024.

Included in the list of locations is Embleton Bay in Northumberland, followed by Church Door Cove in Pembrokeshire, Kingsgate Bay in Kent, and Porth Iago in North Wales. Each location selected in the list offers jaw-dropping views, beautiful beaches, and places to paddle, walk, and enjoy a tide-side picnic.

1. Embleton Bay, Northumberland

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Branded as the Northumberland jewel of the North East according to one Tripadvisor reviewer, Embleton Bay beach sits by the quaint village of Embleton. With the white, sandy beach stretching for miles, the area is sparsely populated. Families are almost always guaranteed a peaceful visit and can enjoy the vast expanse of sand and coastline to themselves, with the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and a row of romantic wooden beach huts in the distance.

At low tide, the beach reveals a number of rock pools that are perfect for the kids to explore. Embleton Bay is also infamous for its breath-taking birdwatching and wildlife spotting opportunities, with many seabirds, shorebirds, and wildlife to be seen.

Even those local to Northumberland love to visit this incredible bay, with @geordie_ice_woman taking to her TikTok page to talk about her trip: “It’s the most stunning beach in Northumberland. Last-minute adventures are always the best. That’s another beach ticked off my list.”

2. Church Door Cove, Pembrokeshire

Located near the beautiful village of Manorbier in Pembrokeshire, this amphitheatre-shaped cove is hidden beneath steep-sided cliffs and can only be accessed by a coastal path, but it’s worth it for the spectacular sea view. With the cove being so secluded, holidaymakers should take a moment to appreciate the sound of the waves while they carefully navigate the steep steps.

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The cove is home to a colossal door-shaped archway (hence the name), which has taken shape from the force of the ocean, giving the beach a very Jurassic Park-esque feel to it. Be sure to pack a camera to capture the spectacle.

But don’t just take the experts’ word for it, a review left by Amirah on Tripadvisor said: “Oh what a beautiful mesmerising hidden gem in Pembrokeshire!... The sea, the cove, loads of rocks, the nature, an amazing way to relax!”

3. Kingsgate Bay, Kent

Kingsgate Bay, located by Broadstairs in Kent, features stunning white chalk cliffs and is best known by locals for its sea caves. Much quieter than its neighbouring beaches, the secluded, sandy cove draws the attention of artists year-round to capture the stunning seascape which meets the eye-catching cliff faces. It also makes for a perfect spot for romantic walks with the dog – although check out tide times as the beach does get cut off at both ends.

The bay is steeped in history, with Kingsgate Castle found at the southern end of the beach and a 1760s public house at the other end. A section of the beach forms part of the Viking Coastal Trail.

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Those who have visited have likened it to being abroad, like @venus.onthego, who posted on TikTok about her trip to Kingsgate Bay: “It legit feels like a girls' beach holiday in the Algarve – but we’re in England!”

4. Porth Iago, North Wales

Found in North Wales’ remote Llŷn Peninsula, Porth Iago is breathtakingly beautiful with its golden sand and turquoise sea, all sheltered by rocky cliffs. Hidden at the end of narrow country lanes, Porth Iago faces west, meaning it’s the perfect spot to visit in the evening for a romantic picnic at sunset by the shore. Not just for couples, the beach is a fantastic spot for families, with locals known to take down their paddleboards, kayaks, snorkels, and inflatables for some gentle water sports.

Its clear water and stunning location have made it a UK favourite for visitors, as Nigel and Vicky mention in their review on Tripadvisor: “The beach is to die for. Turquoise in colour and beautiful golden sands. We do a lot of beaches in Gwynedd and Anglesey, and this is top 2 in our visits, top in my wife's.”