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The Beautiful Beaches of England and Wales

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Barafundle Bay - The Most Beautiful Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales
Barafundle Bay

The golden sands of Barafundle Bay are backed by dunes and ringed by limestone cliffs. It is part of the Pembrokeshire Heritage coastline.

britainonview/ Simon Kreitem
The United Kingdom has some of the world's most beautiful beaches. That shouldn't seem so surprising. After all Britain is an island kingdom. It has nearly 7,800 miles of coast. Nowhere in the entire country is more than two hours from a beach - and in practice, most places are a lot closer than that.

Okay, so the UK's beaches are not the sort where you can bask in the sun (not very often, anyway) or spend hours swimming warm seas. The water, even on UK beaches washed by the Gulf Stream is pretty chilly. But what the UK's beaches lack in tropical charm, they more than make up for in sheer drama. For walking, surfing, exploring, wildlife watching, these are some of the most beautiful and isolated beaches in the world. Many of the best are in England's Southwest and along the coast of Wales.

One word of advice Do check tide tables before visiting UK Beaches - especially those that are west facing or backed by cliffs. Some beaches disappear at high tide.

Marine Conservation Society's annual Good Beach Guide 2009 Rating: Recommended (highest water quality standard)

The Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast

Barafundle Bay on the Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast of South Wales, is a remote stretch of soft, golden sand and clear water, that can only be reached via a cliff path and then a steep descent through woodlands and dunes. Now owned by the National Trust, it adjoins the trust's Stackpole Estate, once home to the Earls of Cawdor. There is a National Trust cottage that can be rented nearby at Stackpole Quay.

The beach, which is east facing and thus sheltered from the prevailing winds off the Atlantic, is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

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