Beaches and Coastlines of South East England

Sandcastle Kent and East Sussex are home to beautiful stretches of beaches and coastlines from golden sands to rugged rocky coves, smugglers caves and relaxing quiet bays. A great day trip for all of the family with plenty for the kids to do from building sandcastles, exploring rock pools, flying kites, playing games and swimming.

Blue Flag status beaches are those which achieve the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. The following beaches in South East have been awarded blue flag status for 2013 – Littlehampton Coastguards, Hayling Island Beachlands, Sandown, Ventnor, Yaverland, Colwell, Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildreds, Westbrook Bay, Margate, Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Stone Bay, West Wittering.

Best beaches of Kent & East Sussex

The coastline of South East England is rich in diversity from the golden sandy beaches, rocky coves, secret smuggler bays and chic historical harbours. Much of Kent and East Sussex coast offers lots of opportunity to explore, take a look at some of the best sun-bathing and sandcastle building jaunts of the UK’s South East as an ideal day out.

Birling Gap, East Sussex.


A long stretch of underdeveloped coastline eroded by the elements of the sea creating a pebble beach towered by significant white chalky platforms shaping the horizon. The undulating landscape creates an ideal coastal path for walking enthusiasts and stunning views from the cliff top cafe. Whilst the abundance of rock pools offers a chance to explore sea life species, the cliff tops are popular for bird watching, cycling and dog walking.

Facilities include: toilets, café, steps to beach, car park (free to National Trust Members)

Dog Walking: allowed for most areas

Margate Beach, Kent.


Famous for attracting visitors from around the 1730′s, Margate lulled Londoners with golden sands and sea air. Margate’s reputation has declined over the last few decades and today often congers up thoughts of jellied eels, donkey rides and deck chairs. However with the investment and opening of Turner Centre, Margate is developing an art culture and attracting new visitors. The main sands at Margate are ideal for families with facilities close by including children’s rides. The Turner Centre often offers workshops and events suitable for children interested in art and craft.

Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013

Facilities include: lifeguards, first aid station, cafes, toilets, deckchairs and sun loungers for hire, bay inspectors and amusements. Disabled access to beach with disabled toilets nearby at Buenos Ayres. 

Dog Walking: From 1st May to 30th September no dogs allowed during any part of the day

Westbrook Beach, Kent.

Ideal family friendly beach with long, wide stretches of golden sand both at high and low tide.  Ideal for rock pooling and searching for sea life at low tide as well as ample space for beach games and sand castle building. For more family fun, Strokes Adventure Golf and tea rooms are located on the promenade with views of Margate Main sands in the near distance.

Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013

Facilities include: lifeguard, café, toilets, access, promenade, first aid.

Dog Walking: Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10am to 6pm

Whitstable Beach, Kent.

The Whitstable coastline is traditionally English with pebbled beaches and divided by ‘groynes’ (large wooden breaks in the sand) and a picturesque harbour. To the east of Whitstable is Tankerton and west is Whitstable’s West Beach. Whitstable is famous for its art culture, rich maritime history and Oyster Festivals along with the much filmed colourful beach huts dotted along the Whitstable coastline. Whitstable is a popular resort for all especially on a hot summers day.

Facilities include: Sailing, windsurfing, food, toilets, shops are located at Whitstable’s west beach with sailing, refreshments and toilets at Tankerton Beach.

Dog Walking: no current restrictions

Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs, Kent.


An un-spoilt small sandy bay close to Broadstairs, accessed by a steep slope. With a promenade linking to the popular sandy resort of Broadstairs in one direction and one of the best low tide walking routes to Ramsgate in the other direction. At low tide, the towering sea cliffs at Dumpton meet rock pools and wide sandy stretches across this picturesque bay.

Facilities include: cafe, toilet (seasonal opening), chalets for hire and disabled access via quite steep slope.

Dog Walking: no restrictions

Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent 


One of Broadstairs best kept secrets is Botany Bay, basked with sandy beaches, towering white cliffs and chalky archways carved by the tides. A spectacular secluded bay with caves dotted along the cliff stacks leading to secret tunnels once used by the smugglers, and later as World War II shelters. Botany Bay was so named because the smugglers who frequented these caves were captured and deported to Botany Bay in Australia. When the tide is out it at Botany Bay, walking to Kingsgate along the un-spoilt shore is a lovely way to see Kingsgate Castle perched on the cliff edge.

Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013

Facilities include: lifeguards, café, near by pub, toilets in peak season, disabled access to beach.

Dog Walking: Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10am to 6pm

Joss Bay, Broadstairs, Kent.

Beautiful beach off the beaten track with sandy dunes resting against natural chalk cliffs. Rich in smuggling history with caves carved in the cliffs which are claimed to have been used by the notorious smuggler: Joss Snelling (giving Joss Bay it’s name). Ideal for families due to it’s safe bathing, sandy beach and rock pools as well as the availability of surf lessons and surf board /wet suit hire from the Joss Bay Surf School.

Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013

Facilities included: lifeguards, cafe, toilets (seasonal opening), deckchairs, windbreaks, parasols and sun beds for hire, surf ski/belly boards, disabled access and Kiddies Corner with bouncy castle and trampolines

Dog Walking: Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not allowed between 10am and 6pm

West Bay, Westgate, Kent.


West Bay is a safe beach with a large expanse of golden sand at low tide and smaller beach at high tide. Ideal for beach games, rock pooling, sand castles, swiming and paddling. Safe bathing is aided by the gently shelving sand and lifeguard facility.

Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013

Facilities include: lifeguards, cafes, toilets, bay inspectors/information, chalets for hire and public house nearby. Disabled access to the beach with disabled toilets open all year.

Dog Walking: Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not allowed between 10am and 6pm

Dymchurch, Kent.

Dymchurch beach is ideal for children with a large expanse of golden sand when the tide is out. At high tide shelter can be found on the sea wall which is often used for walking cycling and rollerskating. As the tide covers the beach leaving wet, clean sand ideal conditions for building sandcastles, crafting sand sculptures or digging trenches and dams in the sand.

Facilities include: Restaurants, cafes and shops are in abundance  nearby with other facilities including small funfair, jet skiing, first aid, toilets and not forgetting the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway which runs through the town less than half a mile from the beach.

Dog Walking: From 1st May to 30th September no dogs allowed during any part of the day

St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate, Kent

St Mildred’s Bay is the main beach occupying the Westgate coastline with a large sandy beach at low tide and a smaller but adequate beach at high tide. Ideal for rock pooling or searching for sea life in the crabbing pool as well as sandcastle building and safe bathing.
Awarded Blue Flag Status 2013
Facilities include: lifeguards, First Aid station, cafes, toilets, parking,  disabled access to the beach and disabled toilets open all year.

Dog Walking: From 1st May to 30th September dogs not allowed on the beach between 10am and 6pm.