While London may be a concrete jungle, the Essex coastline is not far away, and there are plenty of great beaches easily reached from London

Southend-on-Sea is well connected to London and has numerous beaches to explore.

For those wanting to explore a little further afield, Colchester also has some good beaches nearby, and a trip to Mersea Island will reward you with a dose of British seaside charm.

Whether you're a day tripper or planning a weekend breask, here are the 10 best beaches in Essex, as ranked by Tripadvisor, which are all near London.

The Resident: Dovercourt LighthouseDovercourt Lighthouse (Image: Getty Images)


1 Clacton-on-Sea

With its huge pleasure pier, the Princes and West Cliff theatres, and sandy shoreline, Clacton-on-Sea is a quintessential British seaside experience. One reviewer wrote that Clacton beach was the “jewel of Essex”, thanks to its “sandy beach, friendly atmosphere” and for the numerous restaurants and cafes and grab something to eat and drink.


2 Frinton-on-Sea

A quiet beach good for families, Frinton on Sea is a long stretch of sandy beach that comes with Victorian-style beach huts. Once a seaside destination for Victorian-era aristocrats, royalty and Winston Churchill, the town still retains an early 20th century feel. One Tripadvisor review described the beach as “beautiful” and “sandy”, and that it was dog friendly and came with plenty of parking.


3 Walton-on-the-Naze

Just further north from Frinton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze is a Blue Flag-awarded sandy beach with Excellent water quality. It also has the second longest pier in all of Britain. There’s lifeguards in peak seasons, and its sheltered position makes it a good spot for families. One reviewer wrote: “Loved spending several hours walking on this lovely clean beach. Found lots of fossilised shark’s teeth so a great location for other like minded folk. Absolutely stunning sunset was an added bonus”.


4 Shoebury East

This Southend beach runs long and sandy and has grassy hinterland, which is good for picnicking. Also a Blue Flag beach, it is popular with water sports enthusiasts including the Essex Kitesurfing Club. One review stated: “We were looking for a bit of a quieter beach away from the amusement park and this was the perfect place. Clean toilets and good parking. It was just what we wanted.”


5 St. Osyth

Near Clacton-on-Sea, St Osyth’s beach is sand and shingle, with plenty of caravan parks nearby. The west side of the beach is a nudist beach. One review stated: “Gorgeous, clean beach... The beach is also dog friendly.” Another said: “Spent a Sunday here, walked along the beach and played some crazy golf. Had a nice fish and chip meal, sat outside and joined in the outdoor karaoke which was fun. Very relaxing.”

6 West Mersea

This sand and shingle beach located on Mersea Island looks out over the Blackwater Estuary. It has sweet beach huts, jetties and a laid back vibe. It is possible to drive onto the island at low tide, however the causeway disappears at very high tide. One Tripadvisor review said: “Fabulous clean family beach. Beautiful sand perfect for picking up shells! Gorgeous little beach huts too. We were lucky as the weather was warm and there were plenty of people actually in the water!”


7 Dovercourt Bay

A quiet resort beach in Harwich, Dovercourt Bay beach is sand and shingle. There is a skate park and boating lake nearby too. One Tripadivsor review said: “Dovercourt has lots to offer, there is a nice beach, with a large green area just above the sea wall and a large promenade. There is also a pond which you can sail toy boats on and it has swans (beware - they will chase you for food!) Also part of the pond has a water sports section, there's a playground, swimming pool, green area for ball games. …It's a great place to go for a picnic and a paddle and take small children for the day. It's very clean and not normally as busy as other local seaside towns.


8 Brightlingsea Beach

A sandy, colourful beach hut lined beach, Brightlingsea Beach once was busy with fishing and shipbuilding, but now is a popular spot for yachting and water sports including canoeing, jet-skiing, and windsurfing. One review said: “Really lovely walk along the beach, nice and quiet with stunning views. Great for all the family whilst still being very relaxing. Would return!”


9 Thorpe Bay

This Southend Blue Flag beach offers views of the estuary and plenty of opportunities for long strolls past charming beach huts. One review said: “Thorpe Bay Beach has so much to offer. A little quieter than the main strip by Adventure island. Shingle, sand & small stones. Perfect place to relax & watch the world go by.”

10 Westcliff Beach

Another Southend beach, Westcliff is a Blue Flag awarded sand and shingle beach. There’s plenty of food options nearby including the Southend institution, the Rossie ice-cream emporium. One Tripadvisor user said: “A great day out on a lovely sunny day. The beach was lovely and the promenade was an absolute delight. Can’t wait to come back.”