Britain’s warmest beaches for one last end-of-summer dip in maps

Formby Beach: Ariel views show golden sands in Merseyside

Hopes for sunny summer were quickly dashed by deluges in July and a mild August. Thankfully, September has provided a few last-minute scorchers.

Those who have shunned or simply missed out on beach action so far need not despair, data show water temperatures tend to highest around this time of year.

But with the seas surrounding the British Isles ranging from a bracing 15C (59F) to a balmy 20C (68F), choosing the right spot for a dip is something of a necessity.

While northerly latitudes tend to be chillier, the Gulf Stream also makes the Irish Sea generally more mild than the East Coast.

Pack your swimsuit and towel, has mapped the warmest waters in England and Wales.

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Clacton-on-Sea topped the charts, with a reading of 18.2C (65F), according to outdoor equipment retailer Millets’ Coastal Index.

The largest town on Essex’s Sunshine Coast has been in decline for many years, but the golden sands of the beach itself continue to attract visitors. 

With a seasonal lifeguard service, easy parking and plenty of amenities close by it is a hotspot favoured by families. According to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the water quality is also excellent

Folkestone has a number of beaches in and around the international port and resort town – from Sunny Sands to the shingles of Mermaid Beach in the city centre. The average temperature there came in a close second, at 18C (64F).

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In third came Bognor Regis Beach. Just a 20-minute drive from the South Downs National Park, the West Sussex town is self-described as a “traditional” seaside resort, boasting a 2.7-mile promenade with top-shelf fish and chips. 

Its waters reached 17.8C (64F) and their quality was considered good by DEFRA.

Then came Barry Island Beach in Wales, Margate in Kent and Worthing in West Sussex, all posting a temperature of 17.7C (64F).

These destinations may be top of the league, but imagery from the European Space Agency (ESA) this summer showed waters around virtually the entire UK coastline were warmer than usual in what it described as a “marine heatwave”.

Met Office data show global sea surface temperatures for April and May 2023 were at their highest since records began all the way back to 1850.

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