Saturday, May 25, 2024

10 sunniest places in the UK to take a holiday

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Plotting your next UK holiday destination? While scorching temperatures are not always guaranteed, new research has uncovered the areas with the sunniest skies.

An analysis of Met Office data, commissioned by The Independent, found that the Isle of Wight is the only part of the UK to enjoy over five hours of sunshine per day.

Easily accessible with beautiful beaches, excellent walking and cycle paths, and diverse attractions, the Isle of Wight offers an idyllic escape on the doorstep of the British mainland.

Kent and East Sussex came in second and third place, both with over four hours of sunshine each day.

Meanwhile, West Sussex took the fourth spot, with Bognor Regis the location for maximum rays. Essex completed the top five with an average of four hours and 35 minutes.

On the other hand, Lowther Hill in Scotland is the most sun-deprived place in the UK. Derry in Northern Ireland is the second dullest city, with the sun only appearing for an average of three hours and 15 minutes per day.

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A Met Office Spokesperson said: “While these long-term average figures can give an indication on where, on average, sees sunny skies in the UK in the year, it’s important to remember that there’s much variability year-to-year for cloud cover across different places in the UK.

“The UK’s weather patterns are often dictated by the position of the jet stream, a ribbon of air high up in the atmosphere. Subtle differences in its position can influence the dominant weather for the UK, bringing sunshine for some or cloud and rain for others.

“Sunshine doesn’t always mean warm conditions as well, as much depends on the region the air is coming from when it comes to high temperatures. Staying up to date with the forecast is the best advice for those planning a weekend away.”

Take a look at the full findings below:

The 10 sunniest places in the UK to take a holiday

1. Isle of Wight (5 hours, 8 minutes of daily sunshine)

2. Kent (4 hours, 47 minutes)

3. East Sussex (4 hours, 46 minutes)

4. West Sussex (4 hours, 42 minutes)

5. Essex (4 hours, 35 minutes)

6 = Dorset (4 hours, 34 minutes)

6 = Suffolk (4 hours, 34 minutes)

8. Hampshire (4 hours, 32 minutes)

9 = Surrey (4 hours, 29 minutes)

9 = Cornwall (4 hours, 29 minutes)

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Holkham Beach, Norfolk

The salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, sandy beach and grazing marsh that make up Holkham is a National Nature Reserve – best known for its stunning panoramic views and varied wildlife.

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Where to stay: The perfectly polished Victoria Inn has 20 rooms with a posh contemporary-cottage feel. Stroll through the walled rose gardens, feast on the restaurant’s fresh shellfish and walk the few minutes to the golden sands of the beach.

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Porthcurno, Cornwall

With soft white sand and turquoise sea, this west Cornwall beach is practically paradise. What’s more, it’s set beneath the world-famous Minack Theatre – perched high on the cliffs above.

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Where to stay: Situated on the westerly point of Cornwall, Land’s End Hotel sits upon Granite Cliffs overlooking the Longships Lighthouse and Atlantic Ocean. A restaurant serving local specialities is available on site, as well as a bar. The centre of Sennen is just a mile from the hotel.

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Saunton Sands, North Devon

These three miles of stunning golden sand, between the villages of Braunton and Croyde, are host to some of the UK’s best surf. Popular with families too, this is a fantastic swimming spot backed by the Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

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Where to stay: On a cliff top overlooking Braunton Burrows, The Saunton Sands Hotel features a spa, two swimming pools and a well-known restaurant. With views of Saunton Beach, its elegant rooms have a modern feel, the restaurant offers formal dining and a seasonal menu, and the casual Beachside Grill has wonderful views.

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Studland Beach, Dorset

Studland is a four-mile stretch of sandy beach and heathland off the Isle of Purbeck. Here you can take part in some adrenaline-fuelled watersports, walk through woodland or simply gaze across the sea towards the Isle of Wight.

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Where to stay: Knoll House is a hotel in Studland that boasts a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and tennis court. From the sea views to the hot tub, this small hotel makes a quaint base for a staycation of exploring.

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Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Not to be confused with the other Blackpool, this South Devon beach has a turquoise blue sea and is set in a sheltered bay, surrounded by evergreens. Here you can hire a kayak or paddleboard and swimming in stunning clean water.

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Where to stay: With a magnificent location, looking out over the harbour and the River Dart, right in the heart of Dartmouth, the 17th-century building of The Royal Castle Hotel offers bright, airy rooms, and a stylish restaurant.

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Crantock Beach, Cornwall

Great for sandcastles and surfing alike, this expanse of golden sand, backed by dunes, sits at the Mouth of the Gannel estuary and is presided over by the National Trust. For far reaching views, follow the South West Coast Path.

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Where to stay: Boasting a spa bath, Sunnyside Cottage, set in Crantock, features three bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a garden with a barbecue.

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Summerleaze, Cornwall

One of Bude’s best-loved beaches, Summerleaze offers a thoroughly British seaside scene for a sandy beach holiday. At low tide a paddling pool emerges, as does an expanse of golden sand for walks along the coast.

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Where to stay: The Beach balances style and charm with slick contemporary rooms and a traditional Victorian terrace overlooking Summerleaze beach. The restaurant showcases the best of Cornish produce, while the beach bar comes to life with live music on Sunday afternoons.

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Botany Bay, Kent

Budding geologers will appreciate the chalk stacks and white cliffs of Botany Bay – a beach famed for its fossil hunting and rock pools. Smugglers were once rife here, however now you’re more likely to see people relaxing on this sandy UK beach.

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Where to stay: Boasting picturesque views of the English Channel and the North Sea, the charming Botany Bay Hotel enjoys an elevated position on the cliff tops in Kingsgate, near Broadstairs.

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Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Perched proudly on a grassy hill above the sands of Bamburgh is one of the country’s most iconic castles. To the other side are the world famous Farne Islands – so you won’t be short of things to see on this sandy beach in Northumberland.

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Where to stay: In the charming village of Bamburgh, The Sunningdale is just five minutes walk from a magnificent castle and scenic coastline. It offers a restaurant that uses local produce and bright rooms, many of which enjoy splendid views of Bamburgh Castle, the village or local farmland.

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Watergate Bay, Newquay

One of Cornwall’s best-known beaches, Watergate Bay is a popular surf spot but is also home to many different sporting events including the English National Surfing Competition.

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Where to stay: Set just 200 yards from the beach, Beachcombers Apartments provide modern self-catered accommodation just four miles from lively Newquay. A 10 mile drive through scenic countryside brings guests to Padstow’s pretty harbour.

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West Wittering, West Sussex

The whole of this sandy beach is accessible to dogs from the end of September to the beginning of May. At other times, all zones are open except between groynes 14A and 18, the area in front of the beach huts. It’s a great place to take the dogs to stretch their legs – and yours. A family-friendly spot with gorgeous sand, this is one to sink your toes in.

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Where to stay: Set in West Wittering, Willow House B&B has a terrace and garden views and offers guests a charming welcome and down-to-earth accommodation just a few miles from the sea.

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Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

A spectacular beach in Wales, Barafundle Bay caught everyone’s attention when it was named one of the best beaches in the world. You can reach it by walking a scenic half-mile route from Stackpole Quay and once you land on the sandy beach, you’ll find turquoise water. The crescent of sheltered cove is ideal for swimming, while the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers plenty for walkers.

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Where to stay: At sunset, the Ferry House Inn and its shore-side location are bathed in a golden glow that will set the tone for your stay here. There’s a cosy bar and seasonal restaurant on site.

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Whitby Sands, North Yorkshire

Just a few minutes’ walk from the town of Whitby itself, Whitby Sands is perfect for sandy beach fans, with bright beach huts and sandcastle-building opportunities in sprawling supply. Fish and chips on the beach is a must here too – the battered cod at Magpie Cafe is so good that you’ll often fins queues all along the street.

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Where to stay: Just 10-minutes walk from Whitby Sands itself, Bagdale Hall & Annexe is an atmospheric Georgian townhouse with easy access to the North York Moors National Park.

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Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris

One of the most impressive beaches in the Hebrides, even on a cloudy day Scarista Beach will take your breath away. This sandy beach is simply spectacular when the sun appears, with its flour-soft sand and turquoise water. While it’s a remote one, you’ll find some top foodie trips nearby.

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Where to stay: With its own sun terrace and garden, Harris White Cottage in the Isle of Harris region occupies a beachfront location second-to-none.

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Durdle Door, Dorset

Around 10,000 years ago, water broke through a stack of rocks on the Jurassic Coast and started to create one of the most incredible formations in the UK. Today, Durdle Door is an iconic archway with a sandy beach that you’ll find on many postcards of Britain.

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Where to stay: Lulworth Lodge, just a five-minute walk from Lulworth Cove, is a coastal lodge around an eight-minute drive from Durdle Door. There are 12 stylish rooms, including two that welcome dogs. The restaurant serves up fresh local fish and the outside deck is perfect for soaking up the summer sun with some fizz.

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Formby Beach, Merseyside

One of the National Trust’s fastest-changing shorelines, family-friendly Formby beach has a network of dunes which move at an alarming four metres a year. Look out to the sea for amazing views across the Irish Sea and spot some wildlife in the woodlands that back the beach, too. You might be lucky enough to see some red squirrels.

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Where to stay: A 20-minute drive away from the golden sands of Formby Beach, this grade 2 listed apartment on Southport Promenade is also just 750 yards from Southport Beach. The chic three-bedroom apartment provides the perfect sanctuary to rest your salty feet.

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Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

In between the mouth of the River Bann and Portstewart are rolling dunes and pristine sands. And designated drivers rejoice: the two-mile stretch is one of the last places in Ireland where cars are still allowed to drive straight onto the beach. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s incredibly popular with families who want to picnic on the shores.

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Where to stay: Situated on the stunning coast of North Antrim in the seaside town of Portstewart, Me & Mrs Jones Hotel offers a boutique restaurant & bar serving highly renowned dishes and drinks for all tastes.

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Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

Remote Rhossili Bay has a long list of accolades and has been named the ‘best beach in Europe’ and ‘top ten beaches in the world’. One visit here and it’s easy to see why it’s an award-winning sandy beach. The steep, winding walk down to the coast from Rhossili village is stunning, with panoramic views over three miles of golden sand, and on clear days, to the coastline of North Devon.

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Where to stay: Featuring sea views, Creek Cottage sleeps four and provides the perfect base for your next sandy beach break. Enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room and cosy living room, where you can spread out and relax after a day building sandcastles.

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Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

Visit Luskentyre out of season and you might be lucky enough to have this bright-white sandy beach all to yourself. A short drive north of Scarista, it’s one of Harris’s biggest beaches, attracting seaside lovers to relax on the sand and soak up the Caribbean-like views.

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Where to stay: Kirklea Island Suites is situated in Tarbert and offers self-contained units each featuring a patio, seating area, kitchen and coffee machine. Don’t fancy cooking? There’s an on-site restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, too.

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Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Compton Bay on the southwest of the island is popular with families, surfers and dog walkers, as everyone is welcome on the beach between Hanover Point and Brook Chine. Rising behind the coast, there are walking opportunities across acres of open downland, with stunning views out to sea from this sandy UK beach.

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Where to stay: Villa Rothsay Hotel in Cowes is a boutique hotel housed in a Victorian villa. It offers views of the Solent, a comfortable drawing room and an honesty bar with Isle of Wight gin and tonic.

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