Zoe Bishop

On the beach

Zoe Bishop
On the beach

Whether you’re after an isolated stretch of sand or a family-friendly spot, we’ve found the best of the bunch 


Mersea Island, Essex


This little-known gem is just off the Essex coast and is renowned for its oysters, thriving fishing port, winding creeks, nature reserve, sailing and a beautiful yellow sandy beach. But its biggest draw is the lines of traditional pastel-coloured beach huts, where you can sit back and enjoy the sea views. You can hire a hut for the day, and with names like Betty, Bertie, Peggy and Kitty, they’re a lot of fun. Looking like grown-up Wendy houses, the huts are decorated with cushions and bunting, and are stocked with everything you need for a day at the sea in Britain. Prices start from £120 a day. Book online at Thelittlebeachhutcompany.co.uk


Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz Wharf Sunset - Photo Credit VSCC and Paul Schraub.JPG

From dramatic windswept cliffs to the wide expanses of sand and sea, Santa Cruz is a picture-perfect destination. It’s the birthplace of mainland surfing and home to the largest number of state parks and beaches than any other county in California. Offering a classic seaside holiday with its coastal redwood forests and legendary 100-year-old amusement park overlooking the sparkling blue Monterey Bay, the city of Santa Cruz has something for everyone. Check out near-by Capitola – it’s a pretty coastal community with pastel-coloured houses right on the beach. Book the Dream Inn Santa Cruz from £170 a night for a double room at Dreaminnsantacruz.com. For more info on Santa Cruz, go to Visitsantacruz.org


Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia


The sweeping white sand and bright blue waves make Bondi Beach one of the world’s most iconic shores. You can learn to hang ten at one of the area’s many surf schools, take a dip in the famous Icebergs ocean pool, or watch the world go by at one of the many laid-back cafés and restaurants. And it’s just a short bus ride away from Sydney. Nestled in a leafy residential street, you’ll find Bondi Beach House, a local guest house that offers guests a tranquil and comfortable retreat that is only a two-minute walk to the beach. Single rooms cost from £54 a night, and doubles from £70. Book online at Bondibeachhouse.com.au


Honokalani Beach, Maui, Hawaii


With jet-black shores, electric-blue waters and thick, jungle-like foliage, Honokalani Beach near Hana is a photographer’s dream. Besides laying on the “sand” made up of tiny lava pebbles, there’s plenty to do. You can explore lava tube caves carved into the cliffs from volcanic eruptions, or dive around the rock formations. It’s wild, unspoilt and the perfect place to both explore and relax. Stay at the Travaasa Hana from £376 a night for a double room. Book online at Travaasa.com


Bintan, Indonesia

Banyan Tree Bintan (1).JPG

Head to the island of Bintan for some of the most stunning secluded shores. Lagoi Beach is one of the finest, but the whole island offers breathtaking views of the South China Sea. If you’re after a private beach, stay at the Banyan Tree Bintan resort, where each villa is decorated in traditional Balinese style and either raised on stilts or set amid the lush rainforest. Guests can unwind on the pristine sands, perfect for a romantic meal underneath the stars or an intimate destination wedding. A Rainforest Seaview Villa at Banyan Tree Bintan starts from around £305 a night, on a bed and breakfast basis and inclusive of tax. Book online at Banyantree.com