Which East Anglian beach should you visit this summer?

Aldeburgh is the perfect spot for a day out on the Suffolk coast

Aldeburgh is the perfect spot for a day out on the Suffolk coast - Credit: citizenside.com

The longest coastline in England and iconic seaside towns make Suffolk and Essex the perfect beach destinations.

Where do you like to go to build sandcastles?

Where do you like to go to build sandcastles? - Credit: Archant

With 350 miles of coastline in Essex, there is plenty of room for paddling, building sandcastles and simply enjoying the views this summer.

And futher north along the Suffolk coast you will find 48 miles of golden sands and rolling shingle.

But which beach is best? Here we share our top 10 recommendations, with something to suit everyone.

Aldeburgh - home of the Scallop and Grandpa in my Pocket’s house

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Maggi Hambling’s Scallop sculpture is synonymous with the coastal town of Aldeburgh, but this beach has more to offer than its controversial artwork, which honours composer Benjamin Britten.

A day around Aldeburgh

A day around Aldeburgh - Credit: citizenside.com

Walking along the beach promenade you can take in many of the town’s distinctive attractions including The Moot Hall, lookout towers and lifeboat station. Fishermen still pull up their boats onto the shingle and sell their catch from nearby huts and there are also sandy areas of the beach which are particularly exposed at low tide.

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Beyond the beach is a row of colourful seaside homes, including that used in the BBC children’s series Grandpa in my Pocket.

There are council-operated car parks at either end of the beach.

Dunwich- Unspoilt stretch of Suffolk coastline

If you are looking for a quiet retreat, away from the usual holidaymakers, family daytrippers and sun worshippers, Dunwich could be the answer.

Dunwich Dynamo - Dunwich beach

Dunwich Dynamo - Dunwich beach - Credit: Archant

This long stretch of shingle beach has nothing more than a small café and a collection of fishermans huts.

The waters are untested so it does not appear in the Good Beach Guide but that doesn’t mean this hidden gem isn’t worth exploring.

Dunwich is home to a bird-nesting site, so take your camera along.

Southwold- Double-award winners

Both The Pier and The Denes beaches have earnt their place in the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide. The water quality at The Denes is classed as Good, and at The Pier it is deemed excellent.

The scene at Southwold beach

The scene at Southwold beach - Credit: citizenside.com

Lifeguards are on duty at both during the summer, making it an ideal spot for some open water swimming.

The Denes is a quiet shingle beach set amongst the marshes, while The Pier is a more traditional beach resort complete with pier.

The pier is an attraction in its own right, offering traditional penny slot machines, a hall of mirrors, the renowned under the Pier Show and a telesope. It is also home to an angling club.

There are free parking spots available in Ferry Road and Harbour Quay West, or try the large car park by The Pier at a cost of £5.65 for the day.

Felixstowe - Don’t forget to pack your bucket and spade

Felixstowe beach is the perfect day out for all the family

Felixstowe beach is the perfect day out for all the family - Credit: Archant

It might be best known for its thriving port, but there is more to Felixstowe than meets the eye. Felixstowe has a vast expanse of beach lined with amusements, beach huts, fast-food outlets and even a sports centre, making it ideal for a day of family fun.

A mix of sand and shingle, the beach at Felixstowe slopes gently towards the sea and is an ideal playground for the bucket and spade brigade.

The two-mile promenade is level with the beach and there is plenty of seating, both here and within the gardens behind. The water quality is classed as excellent by the Marine Conservation Society.

Chargeable parking is available right along the seafront, or if you are prepared for a little walk, park closer to the town and avoid fees.

Dovercourt Bay - Life is a beach for watersports fans

The beach at Dovercourt

The beach at Dovercourt - Credit: citizenside.com

Surf, swim, sail or jetski off the Essex coast at Dovercourt. The gently-shelving sand and shingle beach is ideal for launching small boats.

The waters come recommended by the Marine Conservation Society and the beach is recognised with a Blue Flag.

A lifeguard is on duty during high season and the beach is cleaned daily, plus there is excellent parking facilities – including some free spaces, and toilets.

There is a model yacht pond, skate park and boating lake located just behind the beach and just a short stroll along the seawall is a nature reserve with resident seals.

Clacton - the British seaside at its best

Clacton Sea and Beach Festival 2015

Clacton Sea and Beach Festival 2015 - Credit: Archant

Clacton is the largest and busiest of the Essex Sunshine Coast’s resorts with a fun-packed pier and beach-side attractions and kiosks.

A Blue Flag flies above the beautiful golden beaches at Martello Bay, just one of the gently shelving beaches in the area.

Clacton’s bathing waters make the recommended list in the Good Beach Guide but the area near the Martello Tower is slightly below the top standard, and Groyne 41 is rated poor.

All of the beaches in the area benefit from a free child safety wristband scheme to assist parents.

Frinton- Peaceful day of sand sculpting

A dog walker on the chilly but sunny beach at Frinton-On-Sea, Essex.

A dog walker on the chilly but sunny beach at Frinton-On-Sea, Essex. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Frinton has one of the widest, flattest and firmest beaches in East Anglia thanks to the timber groynes holding it in place.

The quiet resort is family-friendly and with little to distract from the peaceful seascape, you can turn your full attentions to creating a magnificent sand sculpture.

As well as coming recommended by the Good Beach Guide, the beach also holds a Quality Coast Award from Keep Britain Tidy.

Walton- Designated site of scientific interest, ideal for walkers

The central beach at Walton is lively and commercialised, with the UK’s third longest pier. It is popular with families in the summer months and has a lifeguard on duty to look over swimmers. Toilets are located along the beach and there is deckchair hire, first aid and pushchair access to the beach.

The beach at Walton

The beach at Walton

The waters are again Marine Conservation Society recommended and the beach boasts a Quality Coast Award.

Further along the coast are quieter beaches while Walton-on-the-Naze is a designated site of scientific interest, which is popular with walkers and wildlife enthusiasts. There is a pay car park and toilets here.

Brightlingsea- Watery adventures await at Blue Flag beach

Canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and jet skiing are all popular off the coast of this seafaring town. Beach huts and a promenade line the child-friendly beach, from which dogs are banned. And there is a slipway for those wanting to venture further along the River Colne or out into the Blackwater Estuary and into the North Sea.

The beach boasts a Blue Flag, although the water quality is not on the recommended list. There is some free parking available close to the beach and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to sample.

The pontoon at Brightlingsea

The pontoon at Brightlingsea - Credit: citizenside.com

Kessingland- An unspoilt spot for wildlife lovers

While the water at Kessingland is not designated for bathing, the north Suffolk beauty spot still has plenty to offer and is of particular interest for fans of marine wildlife. Seals can often be spotted lying up on the sandbanks, which sit atop of an often quiet beach area, making it a perfect location for a long and peaceful walk in the fresh sea air. Parking is available close by,

In addition to the various holiday villages and places to stay, a short walk into town can take you from the quiet Suffolk coast into the hustle and bustle of the Serengeti, thanks to the Africa Alive safari park and it’s wide range of exotic mammels, birds and reptiles.

A family enjoy the beach at Kessingland

A family enjoy the beach at Kessingland - Credit: Archant

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