Home Activities 15 best beaches in Kent and East Sussex for families

15 best beaches in Kent and East Sussex for families

Camber Sands beach - best beaches in Kent and East Sussex

Some of our favourite beaches in Kent and East Sussex for families! 

I asked over 50 My Tunbridge Wells readers to tell me about the best beaches in Kent and East Sussex for families.

From sandy beaches in East Sussex to pebbly beaches on the Kent coast there are lots of options to choose from within an hour or two of Tunbridge Wells. If you want to go to one of the best beaches in South East England then try going either really early in the morning (breakfast on the beach?) or much later in the day (from 3.30pm onwards) especially when social distancing measures are in place. 

Hopefully this blog post will provide us all with some inspiration for the best of Kent and East Sussex beaches. 

Note – The carpark at Camber and some of the more popular beaches seem to be really overcrowded at the moment (25 June). Camber has been closed to visitors today so definitely avoid this one. If you do choose to go to the beach, it would be advisable to choose a much quieter or remote one if possible…

best beaches in Kent and East Sussex

♥ Bexhill, East Sussex 

We have been to Bexhill a few times recently. The boys took their bikes and cycled along the promenade, they enjoyed splashing around in the water fountains out side the De la Warr Pavilion and  running around the beach and is a nice option across the year. One of the My Tunbridge Wells readers said ‘it has a great seafront for riding bikes, cheap parking, water fountains to play in, great ice creams along with the De La Warr Pavilion for lunch or a fab little cafe!!’ Well I’m sold 🙂

Another parent said ‘I’m in love with the place! Child and dog friendly, long beach with no parking charges and hundreds of things to do.’ If you haven’t been to Bexhill yet, it sounds like it could be a lovely day out this summer.

Description: Bexhill Beach is generally stoney but there are some sandy bits towards one end (towards Galley Hill)

♥ Broadstairs (Viking Bay), Kent 

The town of Broadstairs really takes me back in time – it feel like a really traditional seaside resort. There are several areas of beautiful beach around Broadstairs, with the central one being ‘Viking Bay.’ There are quite a few shops and cafes at Viking Bay, along with Punch and Judy shows and donkey rides in the summer. Visitors can pop into the Dickens House Museum which is on the seafront too.

Description: Viking Bay is a sandy beach

♥ Camber Sands, East Sussex

Please see note in introduction. Camber is so so busy at the moment to the point where the carparks have been completely closed on some days. I personally wouldn’t head at the moment (25th June). I’m going to keep the description in below as hopefully one day soon, I’ll be able to remove this paragraph!

One of the most beautiful and best beaches in Kent and East Sussex for families is Camber Sands, a super stretch of beach that seems to go on for miles and miles.

It’s all about the beach at Camber with steep sand dunes. The first time we went there, I was 6 months pregnant and felt fairly unfit clambering over the sand dunes. It was completely worth it though! There are several shops and a cafe, along with pretty decent public loos. And of course you are near to the fabulous town of Rye which is a great place to visit too.

Another Tunbridge Wells parent said it is also great in winter when you can have a picnic in the dunes. It has been described as a natural beauty too. Bring cash for the car park! Note – parking at Camber is pay-by-phone only at the moment.

Description: Cambers Sands is a sandy beach

♥ Dymchurch, Kent

Dymchurch is a lovely seaside resort with a long sandy beach and lots to do for the little ones. There are several cafes and a little funfair in addition to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

On our recent visit, we used the carpark on the right just as you enter Dymchurch from the Camber end. This was a good location for little legs! The funfair is a must-visit with a pirate boat carousel, helter skelter, dodgems and quite a few other attractions. One Mum recommended parking up at St Mary’s Bay on the way into Dymchurch which is less busy than the stretch of beach close to the town.

Description: The beach at Dymchurch is mainly sandy

More of the our favourite beaches in South East England – Kent and East Sussex…

best beaches in Kent and East Sussex

♥ Eastbourne & Holywell Beach, East Sussex 

I have also added this in myself as I feel like there are soooooo many things to do in Eastbourne. Whether you fancy wandering down the pier, splashing around in Fort Fun, playing mini-golf in Treasure Island, going on the tourist train or enjoying the beach at nearby Holywell, there is loads to do there!

Description: Eastbourne and Holywell Beach are generally shingle beaches with a few sandy parts interspersed here and there.

♥ Greatstone Beach, Kent

Kent’s Greatsone Beach in New Romney is one of my new favourites. It’s like a quieter version of Camber with miles of soft white sand. There’s smallish carpark with toilets and the walk over the sand dunes to the beach is simple. There’s a fish and chip shop opposite the carpark and a Londis shop too. When the tide is out, it does require quite a long walk out to reach the water, but sure that’s all part of the fun?

Description: The beach at Dymchurch is mainly sandy

♥ Hastings, East Sussex

I didn’t originally include Hastings as part of the ‘Top Five’ in this post, but after visiting it several times recently, I thought it had to be added in! There is SO much to do there. Yes the beach is stoney and not exactly pure white sand, but for a family day out, it’s super.

I will write a longer post about it but things we like about Hastings include the obligatory stone throwing into the sea, walking down the beautiful  pier (which was re-opened last year), going on the miniature railway, visiting the Fisherman’s Museums, Shipwreck Museum and RNLI LifeBoat Centre (all FREE), getting ice-cream and/or fish and chips and eating them on the beach and much much more!

Description: Hastings beach is mainly shingle

♥ Joss Bay, Kent

Joss Bay, which is close to Viking Bay, has been recommended several times to me as a super family beach to visit. The popular Joss Bay Surf School is the perfect place to learn how to ride the waves, if that’s your kind of thing. Or you could just sit back and relax while watching the children do it 🙂

Description: Joss Bay is a sandy beach

♥ Pevensey Bay Beach, East Sussex

Although we love going to Bexhill, especially for its promenade, Pevensey Bay Beach is a great alternative too. It’s a lovely little town with a pebble beach. There’s isn’t a promenade for this one so best to go to Bexhill if you have a buggy or bikes. I’m told there is a great fish and chip shop opposite Pevensey Beach. Norman’s Bay is also worth a look at too…

Description: Pevensey Bay is a shingle beach

More of the best beaches in Kent and East Sussex…

♥ Saltdean Beach, East Sussex

Saltdean Beach in East Sussex is a new on on my radar, though it sounds like lots of people have been enjoying it for years. It’s apparently lovely and quiet with plenty of space. Parking is apprently free along Saltdean Park Road. Enjoy the large promenade with the beautiful white cliffs as a backdrop. Saltdean Lido is worth a visit too (opposite) though at the time of writing (June 2020) it is closed… 

Description: Saltdean is a shingle beach

♥ Sandgate Beach, Kent

A quiet and peaceful shingle beach located a couple of miles from Folkestone in the village of Sandgate. There are plenty of cafes nearby and it’s possible to walk into Folkestone along a concrete path. Good for bikes, dog walkers and joggers! Apparently the village has old fashioned charm…

Description: Despite its name, Sandgate Beach is pebbly

♥ Seaford Beach, East Sussex

Seaford is another good option for avoiding the crowds and parking is free! Situated between Newhaven harbour and Seaford Head in East Sussex, this beach is all pebble so no sandcastle building here. There’s a cycle path which runs along the back of the beach and a few good nearby cafes.

Description: Seaford is a pebbly beach

♥ Whitstable, Kent

The seaside town of Whitstable has also been described as stepping back in time – I think we are seeing a pattern here? With its pretty little beach huts and gorgeous views, this is a fantastic place to visit.

Apparently it doesn’t get as busy as other seaside towns which sounds good to me! The sand isn’t quite as nice as some of the other beaches mentioned. Overall it’s a lovely seaside town to visit with lots of quirky and independent shops.

Description: Whitstable is a pebbly beach

best beaches in Kent and East Sussex

♥ Winchelsea, East Sussex

Around 10 miles East of Hastings, Winchelsea has been recommended to me several times as a quieter beach option. It’s a beautiful drive to get to this pebble beach from Tunbridge Wells. When the tide goes out there’s a really lovely sandy area and shallow water for the kids to play in too.  

Description: Winchelsea is a shingle beach

♥ Brighton Beach, East Sussex

We like Brighton as a whole package. not just for visiting the beach but I couldn’t not include it in here! There’s so much to do their, from amusements at the pier, visiting the Sea Life Centre or the British Airways i360 to cycling along the promenade, visiting some of the quirky beach shops and wandering down the lanes. The downside is that parking can be pricey and during the current Covid-19 crisis, it might be a bit too busy?

Description: Brighton Beach is pebbly!


Minnis Bay and Margate are also recommended beaches too – more on them next time. Are there any other places we should consider as the best beaches in Kent and East Sussex? for families? We are always looking for new places to explore!

For more inspiration, here are 75+ things to do around Tunbridge Wells this Summer!

5 COMMENTS

    • Thanks you George – that’s really kind of you. You have a lovely blog too. Definitely want to visit some of the places you have written about. Would be lovely to meet up soon. Do u have a FB page for your blog? X

  1. Cow Gap (with its far reaching sandy bay at low tide) just to the east of beachy head promontory with spectacular views towards Eastbourne and of the lighthouse. This beach can be acessed from Hollywell to the western end of Eastbourne or via a steep descent from beachy head (would prob benefit from taking an OS map for first visit). It is our firm favourite for exploring, rock pooling and fossil hunting as little known. Be sure to know your tide times and access only on an outgoing tide as beach can be cut off at high tide – be sure to tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you back as mobile signal was limited when we went last time! Not suitable for those with limited mobility and due to distance (about two mile return walk on foot) probably not suitable for small children. BUT WELL WORTH GOING!

    • Oh wow, this sounds fab!! My partner used to ho rock pooling a lot as a child so I’m sure he would love to visit Cow Gap too. Lovely to get suggestions like this. Thanks Pip 🙂

  2. […] There is also a lovely little pedestrian street with some quirky shops, plenty of places to sample fish and chips and the usual seaside amusements to keep the little ones entertained (especially if the weather isn’t great)…If you fancy trying a different seaside location, you might like to read about my top five family beaches near Tunbridge Wells here. […]

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