The UK has many scenic coastal spots and many are not far from London. 

Most of England's beaches are shingle or pebbles, so if you long to feel the sand between your toes, you need to know where you go. 

With that in mind, here are eight of the best sandy beaches close to the capital, in Essex, Kent and Sussex. 

1 Frinton-on-Sea, Essex

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.

2 Margate Main Sands, Kent

A stone’s throw from the train station, Margate’s Main Sands is a wide stretch of sandy beach that comes with a tidal pool for paddling about in, the town’s famous Bus Café and a string of amusement arcades running behind it. Fronting up against the Old Town, Margate’s buzzy scene, restaurants, bars and the Turner Gallery are nearby to.

3 Camber Sands Beach, Sussex

One of the few sandy beaches in Sussex, Camber Sands’ shoreline lies behind undulating windswept sand dunes. Close to Rye and to where the River Rother runs into the sea, Camber Sands is a long stretch of beach, so it’s a good call in the peak of summer when the crowds are flocking to the sea. It’s also a good spot for windsurfing and kite-surfing.

4 Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

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 are lifeguards in peak seasons, and its sheltered position makes it a good spot for families.

5 Viking Bay, Kent

Broadstairs’ horseshoe-shaped bay is right in the heart of the coastal town, near to the house (now a museum) where Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House. A sandy beach, its sheltered waters make it a great choice for young children to splash about, and there’s plenty of amenities, entertainment and food options nearby including ice-cream and fish and chips.

6 Shoebury East, Essex

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.

7 Dymchurch Beach, Kent

Just south of Folkstone, Dymchurch beach is a long stretch of mainly sandy beach, connecting Dungeness and Hythe. This Blue Flag beach is good for paddlers and swimmers and is also a popular spot for kite surfers.

8 Brightlingsea Beach, Essex

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.