The UK's best nudist beaches revealed: Why more Brits will be in the buff this summer

·8-min read
(Posed by models, Getty Images)
The UK's top nudist beaches have been revealed. (Posed by models, Getty Images)

Brits looking to strip off for a naked trip to the beach can now consult a list of the best naturist beaches across the UK.

Naturism has been on the rise over the past year, with lockdown encouraging many to switch their stuffy work suits for their birthday suits. 

British Naturism says new membership applications doubled in the early part of lockdown and continued to grow from there.

They report ending the year with more members than since 2014 and have had well over 1000 join up since the pandemic began.

While some may prefer to head to sunnier climes to beach it in the buff, with rules surrounding foreign travel still looking uncertain, this summer, naturists may have to brave the beaches in Britain instead. 

Thankfully, the travel experts from My Baggage have explored 11,000 miles of coastline to reveal five of the most popular spots among people who want to bare all on the beach - in spite of the British weather.

Read more: This Scarborough B&B has been named the best in the world by Tripadvisor

Interestingly, it is actually perfectly legal to be naked on the beach across England, Scotland, and Wales. 

However, it does become an offence if it can be proved the person stripped off intending to upset, shock, cause fear or alarm.

"It may surprise you to know that ALL beaches in the UK are nudist beaches since it is not against the law to be naked in a public place so long as you are not deliberately flaunting yourself in order to alarm or distress other people, or engage in sexual acts," explains Andrew Welch from British Naturism.

"There are plenty of beaches that are well-known for being used by nude bathers and it’s great to be surrounded by happy, like-minded people," he continues. 

"Most naturist beaches are havens of peace and tranquility and there isn’t a more relaxing way to spend a sunny day."

(Getty Images)
It actually isn't illegal to be nude on any beach in the UK. (Getty Images)

While this means that technically people can rid themselves of tan lines by sunbathing in the nude on any beach, those new to naked beaching are likely to be more relaxed and comfortable on designated beaches that are non-judgy about stripped-off sandy bottoms.

Due to our chilly climate, most beaches on the list of places to bare all are down south, (no pun intended), but one official naturist beach in the very north of Scotland has made the list for those brave enough to bare all in nippy temperatures.

Top of the suns-out, buns-out beaches is Sillery Sands, in Devon. While it's a bit of a mission to get to, the secluded space and stunning views more than make up for it. 

Located just east of Lynmouth, naturists tend to stay at the north-eastern end of the beach, which has a sandy stretch at low tide and boulders and shingle below the cliffs throughout the day.

Next up is Black Rock Naturist Beach, Brighton. Set a mere five minutes away from Brighton town centre, this nudist beach is one of the most accessible in the country. 

The 200-yard stretch of sand reserved for naturists is at the eastern end of the town, a stones-throw from the marina.

Those brave enough to bare all in the cold should give Crakaig Beach in Scotland a visit. The beautiful sandy beach is set on the remote north-west coast of Scotland and backed by low sand dunes and fields. 

Watch: The world's best beaches

It is one of only a handful of beaches in Scotland solely dedicated to being a designated, naturist beach. 

Studland Beach, in Dorset comes in next on the list. Whilst this beach has a nudist area, those seeking solitude should probably pass on this pretty beach as it is extremely popular on sunny days. 

Early morning quiet at Knoll beach, Studland Bay, Swanage, Dorset, England, UK. (Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Morning at Studland Bay, Swanage, Dorset. (Getty Images)

The nudist beach is marked by posts in the centre mile of a three-mile-long sandy stretch, which is backed by sand dunes and heather.

Completing the list of Britain's top strip-off spots is Swale Naturist Beach, in Kent. With its mixture of sand and shingles, a large grassy area and the beach also boasts a beautiful view of the coastline. 

Naturists tend to set up camp on the grassy area, as it offers a little more shelter from the brisk winds.

Read more: Missed out? Here's 5 amazing alternatives to 2021's most popular staycation destinations

'I'm swapping Spain for the shores of Britain this year'

One woman who will be heading to a British beach this year is naturist Donna Price, 56 from Lincolnshire, women's co-ordinator at British Naturism.

"Although we haven’t been naturists for very long, we have visited many naturist beaches abroad during the last few years," Price explains.

"But the pandemic has certainly impacted our travel plans. We fortunately managed to enjoy a six week trip to Australia last February and March, arriving back in the UK just 24 hours before the first lockdown was announced.

"This included many visits to nudist beaches and a few trips to a land-based nudist club we know in Perth.

"Subsequently, our plans to return to Vera Playa naturist resort in Spain for the summer was cancelled."

So this year Price plans to get her beach fix in Britain.

"Last summer, we visited the beaches here probably much more than we would have done," she explains. "And, should the good weather continue, we plan on doing the same this year, particularly as I am a keen swimmer."

(Posed by model, Getty Images)
Many Brits will be beaching in the buff this year. (Posed by model, Getty Images)

During lockdown her local leisure centre, where she usually swims up to four times a week, was closed, so Price says she swapped the pool for the sea. 

"I took to going to the beach early for a skinny-dip," she says. "Usually there was only myself and my husband there amongst the fishermen."

A chilly swim in the British briny (Price, supplied)
A chilly swim in the British briny (Price, supplied)

Price says there are some unexpected benefits of British beach going in the buff, most obviously cost. 

"It's much cheaper to travel to a UK beach than to spend thousands on a holiday abroad and that applies whether one is a naturist or not.  

"The UK has some of the nicest beaches too, and some very quiet locations with lovely scenery."

Admittedly, however, in the UK the main obstacle is usually the weather, which is rarely guaranteed.

"The weather inevitably impacts on our activities - much the same as other beachgoers," Price explains. "We are naturists not masochists! So if it is cold then just the same as most people, we probably wouldn’t consider a beach day. 

"In a nutshell, if it gets really cold we put clothes on!"

But Price believes being a naturist has helped her adjust to chillier climes.

"Admittedly, everyone’s cold threshold is different and, certainly in my experience, because we spend a lot more time naked or with less clothes on throughout the year (indoors in winter!), we are generally more acclimatised to cooler conditions," she explains.

"For me, I always used to suffer with being cold, even when some others wouldn’t, but I have found that the more I spend time naked doing normal activities at home (and in the garden), I am much more able to cope with cooler temperatures than I used to."

Read more: Naturist couple say stripping off outside is 'best antidote' to pandemic anxiety

A metal sign attached to a piece of wood hung up on gray wall that says written in brown letters with an arrow, “NUDE BEACH” on a beige background.
Go forth, brave Brits! (Getty)

Price has tips for anyone visiting a beach as a new naturist.

"Although, any crown/public beach is open to naturists, for a first visit it would probably be prudent to suggest that the individual visited a beach known to be frequented by naturists," she suggests.  

"Meeting members of the public for the first time naked - whether that be on a walk or a beach - can be concerning for the new naturist as they will be unsure how the public are likely to react.  

"In general, most people in our experience, don’t react badly, but certainly, for new naturists, being naked around clothed people can be a bit daunting."

And of course it goes without saying that you should follow naturist etiquette which means keeping your distance, refraining from taking pictures, even selfies, and absolutely no staring. 

"Being nude does not mean being lewd, so it is important to respect everyone else on the beach!" says a spokesperson for My Baggage. 

It's also worth remembering that because these beaches are off the beaten track, many often don’t have amenities like toilets or shops. 

"So people thinking of giving a nudist beach a try should pack plenty of water, sun cream and snacks,” they add. 

Watch: Nude yoga, picnics and more for Paris Naturism Day. 

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