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If you’re looking for fresh ideas for autumn breaks take inspiration from Discover Ferries’ tips for alternative beaches easily reached by ferry.


Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris, West Coast of Scotland

Luskentyre Sands is found on the west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides and has been named both one of the UK’s best beaches and among the best beaches in the world in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award. Luskentyre Sands include miles of white sand dunes, crystal clear waters and views over the island of Taransay, famous for being the setting of the BBC’s Castaway. Nearby activities include hillwalking, cycling as well as fantastic seafood. CalMac Ferries operate all routes between islands on the West Coast of Scotland – see www.calmac.co.uk/tickets


Dinard beach, France

The beautiful town of Dinard is just a river bus ride or ten minute drive from St Malo. Visitors can chose from a range of beaches in the area, from small coves to sweeping expanses of sand. Perhaps the most famous is Place de l’Écluse, instantly recognisable by its rows of stripy blue and for water sports fans there’s also Plage de St-Enogat. Brittany Ferries sail from Portsmouth to St-Malo from £293 return. www.brittany-ferries.co.uk 


Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

A short walk from Tresco quay visitors will find Pentle Bay. There is a large expanse of powdery white sand and crystal clear water and the oyster catchers are likely to be the only companions for the day. Pentle is perfect for families as there’s very little incline into the water and at low tide people can wade out for miles in the shallows. It’s also a spectacular bay for finding unique and intricate shells so famously found on Scilly such as rare Cowrie shells. Isles of Scilly Steamship Group sails from Penzance Harbour to St. Mary’s from £86 for an adult return and £45 for a child. www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk


Playa de Laga, Spain

Laga Beach is located 50 minutes from Bilbao near Ibarrangelu in the province of Biscay. It’s near the ‘Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve’ and is framed by the mountains of Atxarre and Ogoño. The beach stretches out to 574m of fine golden and is well regarded for watersports as well as its many secluded areas between large rocks and tide pools. The natural colours of the deep blue sea, golden yellow sand and emerald green mountains and hills translate into a picture-perfect backdrop for a beautiful day at the beach. Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth to Bilbao from £628 return. www.brittany-ferries.co.uk 


Zandvoort Beach, Holland

Zandvoort has a 3km long sandy beach and, in common with the rest of the Netherlands coastline, an expanse of sandy dunes which serve to protect the low lying country from the sea. It also has a special area devoted to nude recreation with five beach pavilions inviting nudists for snacks, meals and drinks. It is also the site of the Netherlands’ most important car racing circuit Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort. Stena Line sails from Harwich to Hook of Holland from £127 for two return and DFDS sails from Newcastle to Amsterdam from £70 per person. www.stenaline.co.uk / www.dfds.co.uk 


Petit Bot Bay, Guernsey

Petit Bot on Guernsey is a beautiful bay surrounded by magnificent cliffs and lying at the base of two wooded valleys. The sandy shores are perfect for autumn beach games and rock pooling. The bay was once guarded by a loop-holed tower which is still standing some two hundred years later. Condor Ferries sails from Portsmouth and Poole to Guernsey from £198 return. www.condorferries.co.uk

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Ireland

Murlough National Nature Reserve located only an hour away from Belfast and two hours from Dublin, is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and the most extensive in Ireland. It is perfect for walkers or anyone interested in bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains which sweep all the way down to the sea.

Stena Line sails from Cairnryan and Liverpool to Belfast. www.stenaline.co.uk

P&O Ferries sails from Liverpool to Dublin www.poferries.co.uk /

Irish Ferries sails from Holyhead to Dublin. www.irishferries.com


The Sandhard, Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has many lovely beaches. Sandhard is an often overlooked tiny beach located behind Yarmouth Harbour yet is easily accessible. The quickest way to get there is to take a harbour taxi from Yarmouth across the water and walk along the jetty to the beach. There are small sand dunes, a BBQ and picnic area and a pebbled beach that leads directly out onto the Solent, perfect for those looking for a quiet seaside getaway. Wightlink sails from Lymington to Yarmouth from £56 day return. Red Funnel sails from Southampton to East Cowes from £41 day return. www.wightlink.co.uk / www.redfunnel.co.uk


Fenella Beach, Isle of Man

Fenella Beach on the Isle of Man is popular with locals and tourists alike and is only half an hour by car from Douglas Ferry Port. The sandy beach is within a small, sheltered cove but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with superb views of Peel Castle, which is located right next to the beach. Peel Castle was originally constructed by the Vikings in the 11th century and was constantly added to right up until 1860. Isle of Man Steam Packet Company sails from Heysham and Liverpool to Douglas from £188 return. www.steam-packet.com


Rackwick Beach, Orkney

Two scenic ferry journeys will take you to Rackwich Beach on Hoy in the Orkney Islands. It’s well worth the effort though – a beautiful quiet beach, Rackwick is commonly considered one of the most beautiful places in Orkney. The beach has giant rounded pebbles, golden sand and two towering cliffs on either side of the bay. To reach this picturesque beach, journey from the Scottish mainland to Orkney with NorthLink Ferries, and then use the inter-island ferry service by Orkney Ferries to relax on the stunning sands of Hoy. As an added bonus NorthLink Ferries offers a close up view of the famous sea stack the Old Man of Hoy. NorthLink Ferries sails from Scrabster, Mainland Scotland to Stromness, Orkney from £66.60 return for two adults, or from £172.50 return for two adults plus a car. Orkney Ferries sails from Houton to Lyness from £27.20 return


For more information about travelling by ferry see www.www.discoverferries.com