At a glance:

  • Fistral beach, Holkham beach and Rhossili Bay are some of the best beaches in the UK to drive to for a great day out
  • There are excellent beaches in Somerset, Wales and Lancashire you can both drive and park on
  • Find our top tips below to master driving on the beach safely
  • Check out our list of top cars for offroading on the beach


Our top picks for beaches that you can drive to in the UK

According to OS, the UK coastline makes up around 17,819km – meaning there are plenty of beaches just waiting to be explored. Whether you fancy a full day frolicking in the sand and surf or are keen to know how to drive on the beach (and not get stuck!), our guide covers everything from the best beaches to drive to and on, and how to do it safely.

The best UK beaches

Fistral Beach


Renowned as one of Cornwall’s biggest and best beaches, and one of its most legendary surf spots, Fistral Beach is one of the best beaches to drive to for a fun day out. This vast beach boasts plenty of space for everyone and is home to several major international surfing competitions. Even if you’re not a pro, on-site at the beach are several bodyboarding and surf companies offering free lessons to kids and beginners, so there’s no reason you can’t all get stuck in!

Facilities nearby: There is parking, but you’ll have to pay for it unless arriving after 6:30 pm. Other facilities at this beach include:

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Private changing rooms
  • Lockers
  • Shop
  • Body boarding and surfing lessons and hire
  • Restaurants and cafes

Location & how to get there: Situated just outside of Newquay, Fistral Beach is an easy 15-minute drive from the A30, the main route that runs through Cornwall. 

Can you drive on the beach here? No, unfortunately, you’re unable to drive on the beach here.

Holkham Beach


Located on the Norfolk Coast, the vast and beautiful Holkham Beach is a sight to behold. In fact, it’s been heralded an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and has often been used as a filming location. The beach itself goes on for miles, characterised by endless golden sands, dunes and lush pine trees. It’s part of the Holkham Estate – a 25,000-acre agricultural estate which features Palladian Hall, Pinewoods Holiday Park, the Victoria Inn and the Holkham National Nature Reserve.

Facilities nearby: The beach houses an award-winning visitors centre offering wonderful views across the nature reserve, providing information about the various wildlife that can be found in the area. There’s also the Lookout cafe which offers great food and toilets on-site.

Location & how to get there: Holkham Beach is roughly a 25-minute drive from the A148, accessed via Lady Anne’s Drive just off the main coastal road, A149.

Can you drive on the beach here? No, unfortunately, you’re unable to drive on the beach here.

White Park Bay

County Antrim

If you’re based in Northern Ireland, the stunning White Park Bay in County Antrim is well worth a visit, boasting a vast expanse of glittering white sands, surf, and even framed by pretty wildflowers in the summer months. It’s a great place to take the kids, perfect for bodyboarding and checking out the rockpools, and you can even take your four-legged friend since there are no restrictions on dogs here.

Facilities nearby: Other than limited free car parking, the area is quite sparse, so you won’t find toilets or any other on-site facilities. If you’re in need of refreshments, around a 5-minute drive or 20-minute walk away you’ll find Bothy White Park Bay cafe.

Location & how to get there: The beach can be reached from the B146, and is around 6.5 miles from Bushmills, and 10 minutes drive from Giant’s Causeway.

Can you drive on the beach here? No, unfortunately, you’re unable to drive on the beach here.

The Bay (Margate)

(Margate Sands) – Kent

Situated on Kent’s coast, The Bay makes for a great drive to the beach. It’s just under a mile from the town of Margate itself, offers a vast stretch of sand and water safe for swimming in, and even has its own tidal pool. It’s another good spot for a family day out as surrounding it is a wealth of children’s rides and amusement arcades, as well as various other family-friendly attractions. 

Facilities nearby:  There’s plenty of affordable parking nearby, plus arcades, cafes, restaurants, rides, and other fun attractions including Dreamland Margate. 

Location & how to get there: From London, Margate Sands is accessible via the A2, M2 and A299 to Marine Drive (B2051). From the B2051, continue on to Harbour Arm and you will soon arrive at the beach.

Can you drive on the beach here? No, unfortunately, you’re unable to drive on the beach here.

Rhossili Bay

(Gower) – Wales

Rhossili Bay has a reputation for being one of the UK’s best beaches, thanks to its breathtaking views, sweeping sunsets and vast golden sands. In fact, on several occasions, it has even been voted as one of the world’s best beaches, and it’s easy to see why. Framed by towering cliff tops offering panoramic views, it’s popular with walkers heading on hikes towards the Worm’s Head peninsula. This is also a dog-friendly beach, and is popular with surfers too. However, if you’re travelling with little ones, this spot might not be the best choice due to the steep walk down to the beach itself.

Facilities nearby:  All facilities including parking, toilets, cafes, and refreshments are situated 400m away from the bay in Rhossili village.

Location & how to get there: Situated to the west of the Gower peninsula, Rhossili Bay is a 45-minute drive along country lanes from Junction 47 of the M4. You’ll eventually reach the small village of Rhossili where you’ll be able to park and walk down to the beach.

Can you drive on the beach here? No, unfortunately, you’re unable to drive on the beach here.

Black Rock Sands


On arriving at Black Rock Sands you’ll be greeted with mile upon mile of beautiful beach, backed with stunning views of the Snowdonia mountains. It’s a lovely place to spend a summer’s day with the family and your dog (they’re allowed on the beach here), and even better, it’s a great place to drive on the beach! It’s not uncommon to see motor boats, water bikes and cars parked up here, which have a special zone designated for their use.

Facilities nearby:  The amenities available at Black Rock sands include:

  • Free parking
  • Disabled access
  • Toilets
  • Public transport nearby

Location & how to get there: Black Rock Sands is situated in northwest Wales and is roughly a 4 hr 30 min drive from London via the M40. From south Wales, you’ll need to take the A470 and the drive will take just under 4 hours. The postcode is LL49 9YH.

Can you drive on the beach here? Yes, for a small fee you can drive and park on the beach here.

Brean Beach


Brean Beach in Somerset boasts an impressive 7-mile stretch of sand – one of the longest stretches of sand in Europe – so there’s more than enough space for you and the clan to spread out and enjoy yourselves. The beach is popular with walkers and watersports enthusiasts, and both dogs and horses are welcome here too, so you may see riders on the beach. From the beach, you can see the headlands of Brean Down, and for those adventurous enough, a hike up here will afford you incredible views over the Bristol Channel and Somerset Levels.

Facilities nearby: The beach offers plenty of free parking both next to and on the beach in specific areas. You’ll also have access to toilets and drinking water, while there’s often a snack van parked nearby serving burgers, ice cream and hot drinks.

Location & how to get there: Brean Beach is around a 10-mile drive from Weston-super-Mare. From there, take the A370 via Bridgwater Road and follow it for around 10 miles until you reach the beach.

Can you drive on the beach here? Yes, you can drive on and park on the beach at Brean in designated areas. Just be careful of the mudflats in certain areas.

Ainsdale Beach


Ainsdale beach, situated in Southport, is one of the UK’s best beaches for wind and water activities – particularly kitesurfing. The beach is long and flat, with gleaming golden sand dunes and a thriving nature reserve where you can find sand lizards, newts and a pine wood that’s home to charming red squirrels. It’s also been nominated for an International Blue Flag on a number of occasions, making it a safe yet fun place to spend the day as a family. Even better, this is a beach with free parking right on the sands.

Facilities nearby: The Ainsdale Discovery Centre provides local information as well as a classroom facility, a venue for events and free bicycle hire. There are also toilets at the beach entrance and dogs are accepted on the beach.

Location & how to get there: From the south, the fastest route is via the M6, or the M40 and M6 (although that route has tolls). As you come off the M6, follow signs to Southport. The beach postcode is: PR8 2QB.

Can you drive on the beach here? Yes, you’re able to drive onto the beach and park here during the summer months (be warned though, it’s a little expensive at £45 for a car or £80 for a minibus).

Can you drive on the beach in the UK?

As you’ll have seen above, despite locations being few and far between, there are some places in the UK where you can drive on the beach. 


The most popular or best-known beaches to drive on include Black Rock Sands in North Wales, Brean Beach in Somerset, England, and Benone Strand in Northern Ireland. Pendine Sands in Wales is another good spot, with a past as a motor racing site, although the areas you can drive on are a little more limited these days. Even when you can drive on one of the above beaches, often there will be restrictions or designated areas for this, so do check on arrival.


Our top tip? Be sure to check there are no updated restrictions before you go, or you may end up disappointed.

Best beaches in France to drive to from the UK

Looking to go a little further afield for your drive to the beach? France could be a great option, home to a number of beautiful beaches, the nearest of which – Wissant – can be reached in just 20-minutes from Calais. Reaching France is easy enough too; you can either take the ferry across or go the Eurotunnel route.


Here are our recommendations for the best beaches in France to drive to from the UK:


  • Wissant 

Just a five-minute drive from the Dover-Calais channel tunnel, sitting between the Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez (areas earmarked for their natural beauty) Wissant beach is a long, white sandy beach that’s renowned for its kitesurfing and surfing. 


  • Plage de Theolen

This gorgeous little beach is situated at the end of a small valley near Cap Sizun in northwest France. It used to be a cove used for fishermen, but is now a popular spot for both locals and holidaymakers. It features a number of rockpools ripe for exploration as well as a couple of old wrecks, including that of an 1800s steamer and an aircraft.


  • Plage de l’Ecluse

Located in the seaside resort of Dinard, the plage de l’Ecluse is one of the best beaches in the area, known for its sloping golden sands and large seawater pool – perfect for kids to splash around in. It’s also got a wealth of facilities and attractions nearby including shops, cafes, restaurants, toilets, and even a casino!


  • L’ile Vierge


Lying 1.5km off the northwest coast of Brittany, this secluded beach is well worth a visit – known for its sparkling turquoise waters and picturesque craggy coast. Spend the day exploring rockpools and caves, or hiking the nearby cliffs before soaking up the views. Be warned though, it’s only accessible on foot and is a steep descent to get there.


  • Le Touquet


Another lovely beach up on France’s Opal Coast, Le Touquet Plage is a fantastic long sandy beach ideal for enjoying throughout the seasons, easily accessible from the town centre. You might even like to try your hand at sand yachting – an activity that’s particularly popular here. The fun-filled wind sport sees you sweeping across the beach at great speeds, adding a dose of adrenaline to your day out. 

How to drive safely on sand

If you’re wondering how to drive on the beach and not get stuck, possibly the most important thing to remember is to check the local conditions before you attempt it. This includes things like tides, channels, and any quicksand – if you don’t check these things, you could end up getting trapped and putting yourself and any other passengers in danger.

When you are driving on the beach, it’s best to drive slowly on the sand and avoid any sharp turns. Always be aware of anybody else on the beach, and your general driving terrain – any large rocks that could puncture your tyres, for example. 

Top tips for beach driving in the UK

  • Don’t overload your car – this could cause you to get bogged down and increases your chances of getting stuck
  • Do not make sudden turns or slam on the breaks – you could end up rolling over
  • Drive slowly – go more slowly than usual and be sure to use low gears when driving on dry, soft sand
  • Lower your tyre pressure – this can be helpful when driving on sand, especially when loose and dry. However, make sure you keep within your manufacturer’s guided limits. If reverting to driving on hard sand or surfaces, re-inflate your tyres
  • Check the tides – try to plan your drive at low tide so you don’t get stuck in the oncoming tides
  • Keep your momentum and maintain a steady speed – particularly if driving uphill. This will decrease your chances of getting stuck!
  • Be aware of your surroundings – look out, particularly for other people, animals and vehicles on the beach – remember, they may not see or hear you coming


Finally, make sure you are equipped before looking for places to drive on the beach. 


Top tip: Consider keeping a shovel, spare tyre, tyre pressure gauge and first aid kit in your car – you’ll be thankful for it if anything goes awry during your trip!


The best cars for beach driving 

Jeep Wrangler


The iconic Jeep Wrangler feels as though it was designed for the beach. You can remove the roof and doors for a truly open-air experience, while its four-wheel-drive system will mean that you don’t get stuck on the sand. 


Volkswagen California


If you’re after a slice of beachfront living, then look no further than the Volkswagen California. It’s got everything you could need to set up camp on the sand, including a working oven, sink and even a temperature system which can keep the interior nice and cool on a hot day. 


Skoda Superb Estate 


Sometimes all you need when heading to the beach is space and that’s something that the Skoda Superb Estate delivers. Plus, as well as all of that space – which is great for hampers, beach balls and body boards – you can get it with rubber mats that make getting the sand out of the car easy.


Suzuki Jimny


The Suzuki Jimny might be very small, but it’s a reliable four-wheel-drive which punches well above its weight when it comes to off-road driving. Being lighter means that it’s less likely to get bogged down, too. 


Ford Ranger


A pick-up makes for a great beach driving option and the Ford Ranger is one of the best. Its large bed area means it’s got loads of space for items like surfboards and wetsuits, but its great off-road system – coupled with chunky tyres – means it’s unlikely to get stuck easily.


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