UK's 'best beach' is a hidden gem with golden sands and hardly any crowds

People walking along the shore at Brancaster Beach on a sunny day
People walking along the shore at Brancaster Beach on a sunny day -Credit:Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

UK beachgoers might have overlooked one of the country's most beautiful spots. Brancaster Beach in Norfolk has untamed sands and smaller crowds than many other beaches, described as an underrated gem with a tranquil shoreline experience.

Recently recognised by Parkdean Resorts as one of the best beaches in the UK, the decision was based on factors like average temperature, rainfall days count, and daylight hours. Given that Brancaster claims to be one of the driest regions in Britain, it's hardly surprising that its sandy shores rank high.

The stretch of coast is a favourite for locals and tourists alike, with plentiful room for walking, a pet-friendly policy, and shimmering waters suitable for activities such as sailing and kite surfing on breezier days. Parkdean Resorts noted: "Made for serene spring strolls, Brancaster is the perfect place if you're looking to explore over the next few months, rain or shine."

Brancaster Beach forms part of the Brancaster Estate, a National Trust site boasting facilities including parking and restroom services though the latter can be subject to tides. Additional toilet facilities are available at Brancaster Staithe harbour nearby.

One unique feature for history enthusiasts to keep an eye out for is the shipwreck of the SS Vina, which can be seen at low tide. As per the UK Beach Guide, "the ship was used as target practice by the RAF during World War II but became stuck on a sandbank", reports the Mirror.

While it's an intriguing sight to behold, it's best admired from a distance - attempting to walk out to the wreck is deemed hazardous.

On Tripadvisor, visitors have left some highly positive reviews about the beach and its lack of crowds. One individual who visited last summer commented: "An amazing beach with the added bonus of very few people. Wide open space as far as the eye can see. Particularly amazing at low tide."

Another visitor remarked: "Beautiful sandy beach on the North Norfolk coast. Clear blue and cool water and sandy shore make for an ideal day out with family or friends especially in warm weather. Short drive from Hunstanton and King's Lynn. Parking is nearby with plenty of spaces. Just check for the tides before visiting as the beach becomes unreachable when there is high tide."

Once you've had your fill of the beach, there's much to discover in the surrounding area. Brancaster Staithe Harbour is a particular standout.

The former Roman town is filled with sailing boats and fishing vessels, and features a small Crab Hut as well as an ice cream van, although there are numerous picnic spots if you fancy stopping for lunch.

The National Trust has advised: "Parking is free but the harbour does get very busy around high tide, with boats launching and recovering, so we ask that visitors time their visit accordingly. The harbour starts to get busy from 2 hours before high tide and then for the following 2 hours after high tide".