Location Guide: Somerset's stunning beaches
In Somerset, long, sandy beaches and coastal resorts contrast with the dramatic rocky Exmoor coastline. Whether you want a beach for building sandcastles or a more secluded location for taking in the sound of the waves, you’ll find it here.
Inland you can uncover mystery and Arthurian legend with a trip to Glastonbury, or explore the cathedral city of Wells. Exmoor National Park’s footpaths and bridleways allow you to experience this rugged and unspoilt landscape at your leisure.
Somerset is, of course, cider, cheese and strawberry country. There are several vineyards and cider farms for you to get a real taste of the west country.
Stretching for well over two miles, the beach at Weston-super-Mare offers plenty of space for all. The main beach area lies south of the Grand Pier. There’s a long promenade for a stroll or gentle bike ride, or you can take the Weston land train. Two interesting features of Weston Beach are its annual Sand Sculpture Festival, showcasing the sand sculpting artwork of award-winning international sand artists, and the novelty of on-sand parking at Royal Sands to the south end of the beach.
To the south of Weston-super-Mare is a natural pier, stretching 1.5 miles. Known as Brean Down, this promontory stands 97 metres high, with cliffs and the remains of a Victorian fort at its end.
Images: Above left: Blue Anchor (Adobestock). Above right: Porlock Weir (Adobestock).
Sand Bay is two miles north of Weston-super-Mare. It is composed of sand and shingle and is ideal for a leisurely stroll, because it is long and flat. The beach has several car parks along its length and is dog-friendly all year round.
Popular with families, Minehead beach is a wide expanse of sand with a promenade. The bay curves around from the golf course to the old harbour. The bay is ideal for water sports. Dogs are allowed on the beach from October to April.
To the east of the main beach at Minehead lies an area of sand and shingle known as Dunster Beach. Located on the edge of Exmoor National Park, the area is popular with walkers and the 25-mile-long West Somerset Coast Path can be accessed from the beach. Spectacularly situated at the top of a tor is Dunster Castle, a medieval stronghold that later became a family home. A water mill and acres of gardens are to be explored; a place to visit many times.
The third of the trio of beaches leading east from Minehead is Blue Anchor. This beach is a long mix of sand and shingle, and peppered with fossils, notably fish remains. We recommend this beach for a Sunday stroll; it stretches for miles and you can enjoy views across to Wales and North Hill at Minehead.
The long pebble and rock beach at Porlock Weir is backed by marshland. The South West Coast Path passes the beach. The picturesque village, with thatched-roofed buildings, has a selection of cafés.