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7 UK beach holidays that are perfect for families

Choosing a UK beach holiday that's family-friendly can be more stressful than the Monday morning school run. Will there be a lifeguard on duty? What are the tides like? If your children are picky eaters, you'll need to find out whether restaurants nearby sell chicken cutlets and pizza. There's so many factors to consider when choosing a beach that it can overwhelm you.

The solution? Save yourself the trouble of scrolling through travel websites and try out one of these kid-friendly UK beach holiday destinations instead. Plus, with flights that cost less than an Xbox game, you'll have money left over for the ice-cream and inflatable whale.

1. Cardiff Bay Beach Festival

This pop-up, manmade beach appears near Cardiff’s waterfront every July. The Beach Festival features plenty of kid-friendly attractions, such as a carousel, bumper boats, movie nights, face painting, and splash pools. The final selling point? Entry is free.

Want to try out Cardiff Bay Beach Festival this summer? Flights to Cardiff from Edinburgh Airport start at £27.

2. East Sands, St Andrews

Famous for golf but with much more to offer, St Andrews is the ideal place for a UK beach holiday in the summer, when the university students have left and the town is quiet. West Sands is the most famous beach in St Andrews after its cameo in Chariots of Fire, but East Sands is the best for families. Grab an ice cream cone at the award-winning Janetta’s Gelateria and enjoy it on the golden sand.

3. Luskentyre, Isle of Harris

If you’re looking for a UK beach holiday that’s off the grid, then this gem tucked away in the remote reaches of Scotland is your best bet. Luskentyre was voted one of the UK’s best beaches, and it’s the ideal place to enjoy a week of peaceful family picnics while admiring the stunning turquoise water. There are toilet facilities, but make sure to bring your own food – there are no restaurants nearby.

Interested in a holiday to Luskentyre? The easiest way to visit is by taking a flight from Edinburgh Airport to Stornoway.

4. Portobello, Edinburgh

This award-winning beach is just a few miles from Edinburgh’s city centre. The golden sand is the perfect consistency for sandcastle making, and there is an abundance of kid-friendly restaurants along the promenade. The Beach House is particularly good for families with young children, as there’s space to store a pram inside and outside of the restaurant. Please note that there is no lifeguard service at Portobello beach.

5. Brighton Beach

This trendy beach is perfect for families seeking active UK beach holidays. The famous Brighton Palace Pier offers interactive arcade games, while Sea Life Brighton gives children the chance to ogle at giant turtles and sharks. There is plenty to do on the sand as well, including games of frisbee, sandcastle building, or barbecues after 6pm.

Eager to visit? Fly from Edinburgh Airport to London Gatwick, where you can drive to Brighton in less than 40 minutes. Flights start at £20.

6. Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall

This stunning white-sand beach with sparkling turquoise water is hard to beat for its beauty. Porthcurno is specifically popular for family UK beach holidays, as the stream that runs down one side is ideal for kids to wade in. Lifeguards patrol the area between May and September.

Interested in seeing what Porthcurno Beach has to offer? Flights from Edinburgh Airport to Newquay start at £39.

7. St Brelade’s Bay, Jersey

The Channel Islands aren’t technically part of the UK, but this white sand beach is so stunning that you’ll be willing to make an exception. Parents can sprawl out on the warm sand as children splash in the shallow waters. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer, and there are plenty of family-friendly bistros along the beach for when the wee ones get hungry. Oyster Box, a chic-casual seafood restaurant, offers a children’s menu with chicken fillets and pasta.

Keen to check it out? Flights from Edinburgh Airport to Jersey start at £35.

Whether your summer is just beginning or coming to a close, there’s still time to squeeze in one last family UK beach holiday before the kids go back to school. What are you waiting for? Choose a destination and get packing. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

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