1. Woolacombe, Devon, England

Woolacombe, Devon

Devon knows

Why go? With a gradual slope into clean water, it’s safe for swimming, and lifeguards keep a watchful eye. Woolacombe’s Atlantic waves attract surfers from far and wide, but there’s plenty of space for those looking for a less radical experience.

Activities: Little ones can happily spend an afternoon with a bucket and spade, building sandcastles and collecting shells, and perhaps letting off a little steam by jumping on the bouncy castle. Served by shops and cafés, the beach has excellent facilities, including a clean stream, where you can rinse the sand off your feet before you go home.