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This beach has been named best in the UK – and you’ve probably never heard of it

Gorleston beach is situated on the Norfolk coast (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Gorleston beach is situated on the Norfolk coast (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A small UK seaside town has been named as the home of the UK’s best beach and one of the most popular seaside destinations in Europe.

Gorleston-on-Sea near Great Yarmouth was listed as the 12th best beach in the world and the best in the UK in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards for Beaches.

The annual ranking assesses the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings from Tripadvisor travellers gathered from 1 January to 31 December 2022.

The Norfolk beach was praised for its “great water feature and awesome beach”.

A new entry, Tripadvisor said “the three-mile sandy stretch was the backdrop to the Richard Curtis film Yesterday and has hosted famous faces such as Ed Sheeran and Danny Boyle. Located along the picturesque Norfolk coastal path, this Victorian seaside town is a hidden gem, popular with families and surfers alike.”


The broad sandy beach has been described as a “hidden gem” by resident Emma Flaxman-Taylor, a local councillor, who says the pandemic attracted new visitors due to the rise in staycations.

Waves breaking on the beach at Gorleston (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Waves breaking on the beach at Gorleston (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“I call it a pure beach because it is just sand with no stones. We have got a cliff and a lovely promenade beneath it, and then this huge expanse of sand,” she said.

“It is not over-commercialised although there are lovely pubs, restaurants, shops and places to get ice cream.”

Fellow councillor Paul Wells said Gorleston is a “very nice and tasteful town” with “an absolutely fantastic beach”.

He added: “People either don't know about Gorleston, or if they do know about it, then they love it. Loads more people have been cottoning on to the beach in recent years, especially since Covid.”

A recent entry on the travel platform describes Gorleston as “the hidden gem of Norfolk.”

It reads: “The secret is out! Wonderful, traditional cliff-top promenade walk with great panoramic views to Lowestoft and beyond.”

The three remaining UK beaches that made the top 25 of Europe’s best beaches include Weymouth.

Located on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, the beach climbed five spots this year to secure number 14 in the list of Europe’s best beaches, followed by surfer paradise Fistral beach in Cornwall, which re-entered the list this year in 22nd place.

Bournemouth Beach, meanwhile, ranked 24th in Europe, with a “well maintained beach that stretches for miles”.