Kids just love the beach. From the smell of the sea and the taste of fish and chips to hours and hours of sandcastle construction and dipping their toes in the ocean, there’s so much fun to be had at the coast. And whether you stay close to home and hit some of Britain’s best sunbathing spots or jet off to glamorous European destinations, beach breaks are simply the best getaways. But it’s important to pick safe, clean and well-equipped beaches when you’re travelling with little ones. For the ultimate piece of mind and locations with the most convenient family facilities, here are 15 of the best child friendly beaches in the UK and Europe.
1. Brittas Bay, County Wicklow (Ireland)
This beautiful beach in County Wicklow is definitely worth a mention. It can get busy during the summer months and at weekends but there’s plenty of space for little monkeys to run around. This beach is one of our favourites because of the endless sand dunes – kids just love them! For the more adventurous, there’s also a great choice of water sports but don’t worry, there are lifeguards on duty throughout the day so it’s extremely safe. Don’t forget to taste the local ice cream at all the nearby ice cream shops and book a stay at Decoy Country Cottages, located conveniently close to Brittas Bay.
2. Southwold Pier, Suffolk (England)
Southwold Pier is one of the prettiest beaches in England and the best thing about it is the endless choice of family attractions. Crammed full of fun things to do plus entertainment for all ages, children will never get bored. Head to the House of Games for some arcade fun, explore the Under The Pier Show for the craziest and most bonkers inventions, watch the WaterClock water show which is on every 30 minutes, or enjoy a day out at Wacky Walk of Mirrors. There’s also an angling club if you want to try your hand at catching some Bass or Dover Sole and there is an impressive choice of great places to eat as well as some wonderful places to go shopping. Stay at Old Hall Farm, located just over 20 minutes away from the Pier and don’t miss the pretty village of Walpole, which will be right on your doorstep.
3. Golden Beach, Crete (Greece)
Golden Beach is located near Chania in Crete, making it a super convenient beach to visit. A number of private hotels overlook the beachfront so it’s a well-equipped and well-maintained area for tourists. It’s kid friendly because the waters are safe, shallow and warm – and it’s a great place for swimming or water sports. The sand is soft and golden, so bathing or ball games are a dream plus we’ve got a listing for one of the coolest baby friendly boltholes on the island! Ammos Hotel is located close to the bay and you will be able to enjoy amazing ocean views from your room! Nearby you will also have Iguana Beach and Chania centre is less than 10 minutes away by car / taxi. The hotel can help you with cots, high chairs or baby baths and their on-site restaurant features a children’s menu so you won’t have any complaints from fussy eaters. The staff have a genuine affection for their little guests so you can rest assured that the whole family will be looked after.
4. Nice Beach, Côte d’Azur (France)
As one of the most glamorous coastal destinations in Europe, The French Riviera is a must for families in search of a little luxury. Of course, there will be no shortage of fine dining and seafood, fabulous wines and amazing champagne bars – but what about the kids? Well, Nice Beach happens to be extremely child friendly and offers something for everyone. The beach is lovely and clean and you can relax knowing that all public access areas are lifeguarded throughout the day. From the beach, you can also take a short stroll into town for a spot of lunch or even some shopping. Plus, this Wide Open Space villa located not too far from the coast has its own outdoor pool so you can really indulge in a luxury getaway!
5. Mazara del Vallo Beach, Sicily (Italy)
A long sandy beach stretching miles and miles – a huge outdoor space for playing, roaming around, ball games and more. If you’re after an Italian beach destination that has plenty of room for the little ones to explore, don’t miss our favourite Mazara del Vallo Beach in Sicily. Plus Sicily is the largest island in the Med, so parents can enjoy a culturally immersive travel experience with so much to do and so much to see. For a jam-packed week away, you can go hiking at Mount Etna, visit historical sites such as Valle dei Templi, explore the volcanic landscapes of Stromboli, go island hopping to Ortygia, or go rafting down the Alcantara River. Our featured holiday home, Villa Santa Rosalia is located close to the beach and you can easily get to Marsala or Palermo for a day trip.
6. Burntisland Beach, Fife (Scotland)
This is a lovely sand and rock beach with a lifeguard, perfect for bathing and swimming. For the more active, the beach is also bursting with fun things to do and activities include crazy golf, fishing, jet-skiing, sailing, and windsurfing. Amenities include a nearby café / restaurant, beach toilets, disabled facilities, a first aid point, shops, and a promenade. With all these convenient facilities and a fantastic choice of things to do, it really is a great place for families. Dogs are also allowed so you can bring the whole family – furry friends too! There are steps down to the sandy beach area from the promenade at several different points and the water quality is good. For kids who love animals, there are also some great wildlife spotting opportunities and you might even see some jellyfish, basking sharks or turtles. For your next trip to Fife, book a stay at one of our favourite apartments, the seriously luxurious Scribbles Apartments which are designed to be suitable for children and babies.
7. Blackpool Sands, Devon (England)
Not to be confused with Blackpool Beach, Blackpool Sands in Devon is a multi-award winning beach that is voted as one of Britain’s top beaches year after year. Located close by are both Gitcombe Country Cottages and Flear Farm Cottages and children will love swimming in the clean, warm waters at this Blue Flag beach. For a healthy, wholesome lunch, pop over to Venus Beach Cafe where organic produce is at the heart of its menu and for beach balls, games and accessories to keep the little ones entertained, head over the Venus Beach Shop. Flear Farm also features a large indoor swimming pool suitable for the whole family, along with a steam room and outdoor hot tub for tired parents.
8. Welcome Beach, Isle of Wight (England)
Welcome Beach at Shanklin is great for families looking to take an easy stroll. The long stretch of coastline runs parallel to a large promenade and there are steps down to beach area at numerous points. There is no lifeguard so it’s not the safest for swimming, but if you’re planning a beach picnic or you want to take a healthy coastal walk, Welcome Beach is ideal. Located close to shops and amenities, and also easily accessed from our featured holiday home at Manor Farm Cottage.
9. Plage de Kervillen La Trinité-sur-Mer, Brittany (France)
Beaches in the Morbihan area of Brittany boast the warmest waters, making them ideal for families travelling with young children. So if you’re looking for a great beach that is good for swimming and paddling, book into the nearby Hirondelle le Cosquer (quaint cottages with an acre of private garden overlooking beautiful fields), and hit the beach for some family time. The beach is also known for children’s attractions during peak travel months and because it’s mostly flat, it’s the perfect sandy beach for ball games.
10. Towan Beach, Newquay (England)
There are fewer places more beautiful than Newquay in Cornwall when it comes to beach destinations in the UK. And to be honest, the child-friendly beach options are truly endless in this corner of the world so you won’t struggle to find a good spot. But one of our favourite beach areas has to be Towan Beach, a quiet south facing beachfront near St Mawes on the beautiful Roseland Peninsula. With a mix of sand and shingle and plenty of rock pools, this is a superb place to spend the day with your little terrors but stick around for sunset if you’ve got time – because the views are spellbinding. You’ll be located close to the centre of town so grabbing a meal or popping to a coffee shop is extremely convenient. Settle into 10 Ocean Views for the weekend and you can enjoy some of the most spectacular sea views from your own private balcony too. The rooms even feature a selection of board games, toys and puzzle mats so you can keep toddlers entertained until bedtime.
11. Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight (England)
For a family adventure in the Isle of Wight, we recommend visiting Steephill Cove for a day of sandcastles and rock pools. If you’re after a built up beach front with arcades and attractions, this isn’t the place to go but if you want a little peace and quiet, quality family time, beautiful picnic spots and the freshest sea food around, this is a wonderful beach to take the kids. The crab and lobster are to die for here and your little ones will love watching all the local fishermen return with their boats full of fish! Stay at Camellia Cottage and make the most of the garden and fun play area with slides, swings and climbing frames.
12. Blue Lagoon Beach, Gozo (Malta)
The Blue Lagoon beach area is a favourite for all visitors to Malta. Located on the gorgeous Gozo Island, you can enjoy the amazingly picturesque landscape plus a mix of soft sands and dramatic rocks carved out by the sea. Because the waters are shallow here, it’s safe for all ages and the ocean is wonderfully inviting even for beginner swimmers. Fantastic for scuba diving fans but just as great for snorkelling – which is ideal for young children. And with countless hidden coves and sea-sculpted rock formations, it’s such a fun place to explore. Located just a short boat ride across from Mġarr Harbour and not too far from our featured property, the Razzett Pepprina. The Razzett is a 400 year old farm house with plenty of shops nearby, making it perfect for easy family self-catering.
13. Praia do Anção, Faro (Portugal)
For a family friendly destination with sun, sea, sand and mind-blowing views, we highly recommend The Algarve. This is a superb destination for kids and adults alike, and one of our favourite beaches is Praia do Anção. Located in Faro and situated very close to the spectacular Pine Cliffs Apartments (a 5 star resort with pool and baby friendly rooms for rent), it’s the perfect summer holiday escape. A seriously luxurious getaway for parents travelling with little ones and Praia do Anção Beach is well-maintained and serviced with sunbeds and umbrellas to keep you shaded.
14. Cromer Beach, Norfolk (England)
This is a traditional bucket and spade kind of destination and always a favourite with the kids! Whilst the water may be chilly in the colder months and perhaps not suitable for swimming, Cromer Beach is the perfect spot to build sand castles and collect pretty shells all year round. With shops, cafes and restaurants located conveniently along the promenade behind and easy pay and display parking nearby, it really is a convenient beach for families. Stay at the lovely Chaucer Barn for hassle free access to the gorgeous Norfolk Coast.
15. Agios Panteleimonas, Crete (Greece)
The fabulous beach of Agios Panteleimonas is located in Istron, Kalo Horio, set along the stunning Bay of Mirabella. A great place for sunsets and situated just a short drive from the popular town of Agios Nikolaos. So there’s something for everyone here, children and adults alike! Agios Panteleimonas Beach, often nicknamed ‘Silver Beach’ can be accessed easily by foot and offers a superb mix of soft sand and pebbles. The waters are warm and shallow, making it ideal for little ones to take a dip and there’s even a pretty little church that graces the beach front area. It’s one of our favourite places to swim, paddle and sunbathe and the Daios Cove make the perfect base for exploring this cultural area.