Popularly depicted as a wet and cold island, Britain is not the first place that springs to mind for a coastal getaway. Its geography and terrain has, however, created a diverse and rugged coastline that offers a range of beaches, coves and cliffs. Measuring more than 31,000 km, according to the British Cartographic Society, the coast still has plenty of undiscovered gems for the curious tourist to find.
Churston Cove, Devon
Head over to Churston Cove in the south-western county of Devon for an authentic taste of the area known as the English Riviera. Surrounded by lush, open countryside, Churston is a secluded cove with a sand and shingle beach that leads on to crystal clear waters. As Churston is accessed via a long and steep footpath and has neither toilets nor amenities, it is often deserted by tourists that prefer the more convenient beaches, like nearby Breakwater, making it a true undiscovered gem.
Frog Prince Cove, Cornwall
One of Cornwall's best kept secrets, you won't find Frog Prince Cove on any maps. According to "The Guardian's" travel writer, Rob Smith, the name is derived from its close proximity to the village of Frogmore and the cove's distinctly amphibian-shaped rock. Clear waters and sandy beaches make it ideal for swimming while the more adventurous will enjoy clambering over the cove's giant rocks.
Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire
Situated on Pembrokeshire's southern peninsula lies Marloes Sands. Accessed via footpath, this sandy beach is both vast and isolated, making it an ideal place for peace and tranquility. At times of low water, visitors can reach the nearby Gateholm Island to view the remains of an Iron Age fort. Proceed with caution, however, as the tide can cut you off. The area around Marloes Sands is teeming with wildlife and you may be lucky enough to see Atlantic grey seal pups, around 50 of which are born each year.
Cove Harbour, Scotland
The hamlet of Cove in the south-eastern county of Berwickshire in Scotland is home to another of Britain's undiscovered gems. Its natural harbour – used by locals since the 1600s – is a protected heritage site, owned by Cove Harbour Conservation Limited, and is filled with rock pools that are perfect for paddling. Take a walk through the historic, man-made tunnel down to the shoreline and enjoy Cove's sandy beach for swimming and clean waters.
Head off the beaten track to Longhoughton in Northumberland. This isolated fishing village is home to a natural harbour, rocky beach and sandy shore that overlooks the North Sea. Spend your day exploring this historic shoreline, swimming in the deep blue waters, watching the birds wade on the mudflats or enjoying a quiet drink at the local inn. You can also visit the nearby Howick Hall and Gardens, the home of Earl Grey tea.