St. Ives, Cornwall
Best for: pleasing the crowd
This soft-sand haven is affectionately known as Mother Meor among many Cornwall natives, so central is this beach to their childhood. Thankfully, it's just as welcoming to visitors too. Situated below the Tate St Ives, a four-minute walk from the town centre, it's prime territory for those who want to make the most of the area's many attractions. With Porthmeor Beach Café and West Beach bar and café directly on the sand, you won't have to stray far from your patch of sand for lunch. Porthmeor has a fairly exposed beach break, so check out St Ives Surf School for lessons and equipment before hitting the waves. Don't worry if the surf is flat, you can hire a paddleboard to navigate The Island.