The Great British coastline – one of the longest compared to European coastlines – is made up of varying geographical features, including islands, bays, headlands, and peninsulas. The British Coastline ranges about from sandy beaches to steep cliffsides, with a range of geographic features. The British Coastline consists of the main island of Great Britain, the North-East coast of Ireland and approximately 1,000 smaller islands bordering the coast.

The UK comprises several island groups, and a significant part of the British Coastline is made up of islands. The UK has over 1,000 islands, 130 of which are permanently inhabited. The main occupied island of the British Isles is Great Britain itself. Also included as part of the 130 permanently inhabited islands in the Isle of Wight, Orkney and Shetland. Notably, around 900 of the islands found off of the Great British Coastline are off of Scotland.

The British Coastline also features a range of peninsulas and bays that make the coastline unique. Some of the most beautiful peninsulas – a landform that is almost entirely surrounded by water, apart from where it is connected to land – are found in the UK. These include the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, or ‘The Lizard’ as it is known; this is the most Southerly point of the British mainland. In addition, the UK features some iconic bays, including Morecambe and Weymouth. Some of the most stunning beaches found along the British Coastline are found in these bays.

Despite its varied geography, the UK is lucky to have a coastline that is largely accessible for the general public, despite being largely uneven and ‘broken’ in its shape. This includes a range of flat, sandy dunes along the coast bordering the North Sea to the steep cliffs along the Southern coastline. Even in the steepest areas, there are small fishing villages, coves and beaches accessible to the public, along with coastal walking routes along the cliffside.

The Great British Coastline also includes a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast on the English Channel is England’s only World Heritage Site, stretching from Exmouth, East Devon to Swanage, Dorset. The area is recognised for its value of rocks, fossils and landforms, as coastal erosion has exposed rock formations dating back to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Some notable features of the Jurassic Coast include the Isle of Portland, which is connected to the mainland via an impressive barrier beach. Additionally, Lulworth Cove offers a variety of notable geological features. These include ‘Stair Hole’, a small tidal pool formed by water erosion, and a Fossil Forest, the remains of an ancient and since-submerged forest from the Jurassic period. Lulworth Coast itself is considered one of the finest coves found along the British Coastline.

The British Coastline also has a range of designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). These landscapes cover a fifth of the English coast. They are considered valuable areas for conservation and protection in the national interest. Some AONBs along the British Coastline include the Isles of Scilly off the coast of West Cornwall, The Northumberland Coast and The Gower Peninsular on the South-West of Wales. These areas offer some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and coastal pathways available.

While the British Coastline does feature a range of natural features, there is also a range of coastal towns and villages throughout the UK. For example, seaside resorts such as Southport and Blackpool along the Northwest coast and Devon and Cornwall on the Southern coast. These areas are popular tourist destinations, particularly during the British summertime. The British seaside resort is an iconic part of the Great British Coastline despite inconsistent weather.


Come on a journey around the Coastline of Great Britain, Going Anti-Clockwise


The Dungeness Peninsula, The White Cliffs of Dover and Victorian Resort Towns – The Kent Coastline

Marshlands, Nature Reserves and Seaside Towns – The Essex Coastline

Suffolk Coast – flat, vast Skies, endless beaches

Sandy Beaches, Seal Colonies and Archaeological Remains – The Norfolk Coastline

Seaside Resorts, Fishing and The Humber Bridge – The Lincolnshire Coastline

The Humber Estuary, Seaside Towns and Towering Chalk Cliffs – The East Riding of Yorkshire Coastline

Towering Cliffs, Quaint Villages and Ancient Fossils – The North Yorkshire Coastline

Rugged Cliffs, Castle Ruins and Resort Towns – The County Durham and Tyne & Wear Coastline

Port Towns, Tranquil Beaches and Historic Castles – The Northumberland Coastline

The North Sea Coast and The Firth of Forth Estuary – The England/Scotland Border to Kincardine and Alloa

The Firth of Forth, Saint Andrews and the Tay

Sandy Bays, Fishing Ports & Rural Tranquillity – The Buddon Ness to Peterhead Coastline

Rocky Cliff Faces, Sandy Bays and Coastal Forests – Peterhead to Inverness

The Beautiful Coastline of North-Eastern Scotland – Inverness to Duncansby Head

The North Scotland Coast – Duncansby Head to Cape Wrath

Rocky Mountains, Large Fjords and Rugged Islands – Cape Wrath to the Kyle of Lochalsh

Large Fjords, Craggy Peaks and Wooded Valleys – Kyle of Lochalsh to Oban

The Kintyre Peninsula, Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute – Oban to The Clyde Estuary

Seaside Towns and Rural Cliffs – Port Glasgow to Stranraer

The Rhins of Galloway, Luce Bay and the Solway Firth – Stranraer to Gretna Green

Hills, Estuaries & Shipbuilding – The Diverse Cumbria Coastline

Scenic Beaches and Holiday Resorts – The Northern Merseyside and Lancashire Coastline

Seaside Villages, Industrial Landscapes and the City of Liverpool – The Wirral and the Mersey Estuary

A Medieval Castle, Scenic Headlands and Victorian Resorts – The North Wales Coastline (Bangor to Chester)

The Snowdonia Coast, the Llŷn Peninsula and the Menai Strait – The Central and Northern Gwynedd Coastline

Hidden Coves, Seaside Towns and Scenic Estuaries – Ceredigion and Southern Gwynedd

Rugged Headlands, Coastal Islands and Beautiful Beaches – The Pembrokeshire Coastline

Tranquil Beaches, Rugged Cliffs and Vast Bays – Swansea, The Gower and Carmarthenshire

Cardiff Bay, Towering Cliffs & Extensive Sand Dunes – The Chepstow to Port Talbot Coastline

Headlands, Bays and a Tidal Bore – Somerset and The Severn Estuary

Wild & Rugged Cliffs – The North Devon & Exmoor Coastline

The Rugged Coastline of Cornwall

The English Riviera – The South Devon Coastline from Plymouth to Exmouth

The Jurassic Coast – Exmouth to Old Harry Rocks

Poole Harbour, Bournemouth & The New Forest – Eastern Dorset & Western Hampshire

Historic Ports and Seaside Towns – Eastern Hampshire & West Sussex

Brighton, The Seven Sisters and 1066 Country – The East Sussex Coastline