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The 8 Best Beaches to Visit From London by Train

See our pick of great coastal destinations near to London, all easily accessible by train

If you’re in search of sun, sea and sand (or possibly shingle), some of Great Britain’s best beaches are within easy reach of the capital when you travel by train. From family friendly fun to peaceful relaxation and thrilling activities, it’s all on offer – and closer to London than you might think. All 8 of these beaches are less than a 2-hour rail journey from a London station.

So you can have the time of your life at the seaside, do your bit to help lower carbon emissions, and even save up to 1/3 on your tickets when you travel with a Railcard(external link, opens in a new tab).

The best beaches in East Sussex by train

1. Brighton

Miles of pebble beach front this fun-loving south coast city, with tons of great nightlife options, shopping, culture and dining experiences to enjoy, too.

After a day of lounging on the beach, stroll on the pier and grab fish and chips at a seafront cafe before taking in a performance at one of Brighton’s many independent venues.

You can also get 2FOR1 entry at lots of attractions when you travel by train with National Rail’s Days Out Guide(external link, opens in a new tab), including Brighton i360(external link, opens in a new tab) and the Royal Pavilion Brighton(external link, opens in a new tab).

2. Camber Sands

A 7-mile stretch of golden sand on the south coast, Camber Sands is a scenic beach for all moods. Hidden behind a wall of the only sand dunes in East Sussex, you’ll uncover everything you need to create a perfect seaside experience, whether you’re looking to relax or splash around in the water.

For something more adventurous, there’s kitesurfing, kite buggying and landboarding. You can also pick up snacks and drinks at Frankie’s at the Beach or fish and chips at Fish me a Dish.

The best beaches in West Sussex by train

3. Littlehampton

Littlehampton has 2 great sand and shingle beaches. The family friendly East Beach is centrally located, adjacent to the prom and seafront greens, and close to lots of handy restaurants and shops.

The sandy dunes of West Beach are found across the River Arun from East Beach, and the area is very peaceful, as well as being dog-friendly all year round.

The best beaches in Kent by train

4. Margate

For the ultimate in seaside fun that feels a world away from the norm, you can’t go wrong with Margate.

One of the best things about its sandy beach, Margate Main Sands, is that it gets an astonishing amount of sunshine. When you’ve had your fill of sun, sea and sand, head to Dreamland(external link, opens in a new tab) for an amusement park experience like no other, where you can ride on the world’s oldest roller coaster and enjoy the views from the Big Wheel. Culture lovers can also find something to enjoy at the Turner Contemporary(external link, opens in a new tab) art gallery.

5. Broadstairs

Known as the “Jewel in Thanet’s Crown”, Broadstairs is a picturesque and charming seaside town to escape to for a quintessential British summer getaway. It’s well known for its 7 bay beaches, with long stretches of sand and chalk cliffs.

The main draw is Viking Bay, a horseshoe-shaped beach that has plenty on offer to keep you entertained. Sunbathe on a deck chair, surf the waves and treat everyone to ice cream at Morelli's Gelato. You can also visit the Dickens House Museum, which celebrates the author’s links to the area.

6. Whitstable

Offering up incredible views, wonderful seafood and a fantastic stretch of shingle, Whitstable beach is a calm and pleasant coastal attraction.

There’s lots to do here – go for a stroll, take a boat trip and explore the town and pick up some souvenirs. For food and drink, head to the Lobster Shack(external link, opens in a new tab), set on the East Quay of the harbour, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local beers with the lovely backdrop of Whitstable Bay for company.

The best beaches in Essex by train

7. Southend-on-Sea

With 7 miles of coastline, Southend has plenty of beaches to enjoy. The sand and shingle City Beach is centrally located, close to shops, cafes and attractions including Adventure Island(external link, opens in a new tab) theme park.

Three Shells Beach and Lagoon is ideal for families, and is just by the famous Southend pier(external link, opens in a new tab), which, at 1.33 miles, is the longest pleasure pier in the world.

The best beaches in Dorset by train

8. Bournemouth

Some 7 miles long, Bournemouth beach is a sprawling golden sandy paradise. With some of the warmest waters in Great Britain, it’s a top destination for water-based fun, from swimming and surfing to jetskiing and paddleboarding.

If you have time, check out the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum(external link, opens in a new tab), which is super close to the beach. Its eclectic collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics and objects from all over the world.

Travel Tips



  • Forget your sunscreen and bottles of water

  • Swim too far from the shore – always check whether the beach has a lifeguard on duty

  • Be afraid to explore, sometimes it pays to get away from the most popular area

Plan Your Journey

Get 1/3 off train fares with a Railcard

  • Save up to 1/3 off your trips when you travel by train with a Railcard

  • From children to seniors, over 20 million people in Great Britain can save with a Railcard. See which one is right for you

  • Buy yours today for just £30 and you’ll make the cost back in 1 or 2 trips! 

Availability and price of Days Out Guide attractions are correct at time of publication but subject to change.