Unless you've lived in a cave for the last few years, you may be aware that the Olympics are coming to town this summer! and as well as the Olympics we've got the Queen's Diamond Jubilee over the long weekend 2nd - 5th June. The city is going to be swamped. If you're a visitor or a local seeking some solace away from the throngs, there are plenty of great beaches a stone's throw from London where you can find some peace and quiet. Here's our top five.
1. Botany Bay, Kent
A gem of a beach in Kent, less than 80 miles from London. Quieter than it's neighbour Joss Bay, Botany Bay is a picturesque sandy beach, sheltered by the dramatic white chalk cliffs that characterise this part of the world. Definitely worth a day trip and the pretty coastal town of Broadstairs is only 3 miles away.
2. West Wittering, West Sussex
West of Brighton and just under 90 miles from London lies the stunning expanse of white sand that is West Wittering. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beach is backed by soft sand dunes and pretty coloured beach huts. Great for wildlife watching too. The perfect escape from the hustle and bustle. The historic city of Chichester is just 8 miles away.
3. Margate, Kent
One for art lovers. This area is undergoing lots of regeneration and has become a mecca for art and vintage lovers. The Turner Contemporary opened on the seafront last year and lots of quirky boutiques have started springing up in the town. The beach itself is a massive expanse of golden sand. A real traditional kiss-me-quick, bucket and spade beach with arcades and rides aplenty, contrasted with the arty new shops makes for an interesting day out. The busiest of our top five. 75 miles from London.
4. Camber Sands, East Sussex
At the far east of Sussex, close to the border with Kent lies Camber Sands. A huge sandy beach backed with sand dunes, the only ones in East Sussex. The dunes are home to interesting wildlife and a day here feels like a million miles from the stress of the city. Nearby Rye is well worth a look, it's a quaint town full of antique shops.
5. Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex
80 miles from London is the traditional seaside resort of Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex. Great for families, with loads to do on the pier, which is the 3rd longest in the country. It's a fun, family day out and a breath of fresh air, away from the Old Smoke. Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded town, is 20 miles away.