Who doesn't love a bucket and spade holiday? Summer's coming and we've rounded up a few of our favourite places around the UK to dig for treasure, hold back the tide, eat toffee apples or just sit back and do nothing with the kids. If we've whetted your appetite, just click here for more beach alternatives. Or for a fabulous holiday in Scotland, try Ayr Holiday Park, close not only to great beaches but ancient Scottish castles too.
What could be more friendly than a mysterious island, which you can walk out to at low tide – or ride out on a gloriously hand-made sea-going tractior when the tide is in. Not only that but you have to cross a glorious beach of golden sand to get there, and there are any number of nearby rockpools to dip into on the way. Truly the stuff the best childhood memories are made of.
The quintessential English seaside resort – in miniature, with a handful of beach huts and a lovely sandy crescent of sand that stretches for over half a mile and is renowned for its clean water. Situated on the undeveloped south side of the Isle of Wight, it's relatively uncrowded too, even in high summer.
Rock pools full of crabs, a waterfall, big caves to take refuge from the elements, and room for limitless games of football, cricket and volleyball. What more could you want from a beach? Dogs are allowed too, and there's a great hotel/restaurant at the top of the cliff path that's as comfy and welcoming as you could wish for.
Back by sub-tropical gardens, tennis courts and a fab café, there's always something to do at Gyllngvase, arguably Falmouth's best beach – which is saying something. Blue Flag rating too – only drawback is no dogs during summer.
The Isles of Scilly – and in particular St Martin's – are renowned for their beaches, but this has got to be the best, a beautiful curve of sand that runs the length of the island and slopes gently into the turquoise waters that surround the islands. Lovely and spacious, with rocks pools to explore at low tide, lots of facilities in St Martin's – and bored teenagers can try their hand in a kayak.
One of the top three beaches in the country for rockpooling, according to BBC Wildlife magazine, and a unique spot, right in the middle of the Victorian resort of Ilfracombe and reached by a series of tunnels blown through the rock in the nineteenth century. You have to pay, but there are lots of facilties, including a decent café.
One of north Norfolk's nicest resorts, Wells is an odd mixture of kiss-me-quick arcades and well-heeled chaps with sports cars, and is bang next door to the region's most renowned beach at Holkham Bay, where mile up on mile of sand fronts a pine forest of serene and mysterious beauty. A natural playground for children and parents alike.
The coast of Fife is blessed with some great beaches, but St Andrews’ West Sands is surely the most famous, and is very much the place to go if you have energetic teenagers or aspirant athletes in tow, as this is the place where Chariots of Fire was filmed. Buddling athletes still batter along the firm, wide sands today, and you can join them or just watch.
As traditional as it gets, with a beautiful long sandy beach, donkey rides and the country's oldest Punch & Judy show. And when you're done with the beach, Weymouth's old town holds a few surprises too – lots of places to eat and drink, and still odd fisherman hauling in his day's catch.
Few beaches are more epic than north Devon's Woolacombe, a vast expanse of soft sand that can keep the kids entertained for literally days while you doze in front of the beach huts and visit the summer sandcastle competition. Lots of facilities nearby, and other beaches too, including the wonderful, slightly rockier Puttsborough, which has a great café, and narrow, atmospheric Barricane, made by the shells of a million tropical molluscs, and with a café serving serving fabulous South Indian food.