Guide To Beaches

Published: by National Naturist Information Centre
Date: 27/01/2014

A General Guide to Naturist Beaches

This article is to be used as general guide only and not to be used as a definitive interpretation of the law.

The Term ‘Naturist Beach’ Defined

In this context, a ‘naturist beach’ is a stretch of coast where naturism is occasionally or widely practised, or is considered suitable for naturism. There is no legal definition of a naturist beach and the legal status of naturism remains the same on all beaches throughout the UK, that is, in the absence of any local bye-law stating otherwise. This is so regardless of whether the landowner or the Local Authority ‘designate’ an area or by erecting signs which imply that naturism is either permitted or prohibited. Such signs purely exist to discourage complaints from objectors, or to discourage the practice of naturism.

“Beach users should always remember that they are using shared space with other members of the public and should respect them accordingly. While it may not be illegal to sunbathe and swim naked, it should be remembered that some people might object to it.”

Naturist Beach Typical Locations

Naturist beaches are normally located away from the crowds, away from car parks and not visible from roads. These are usually places where the main-stream ‘bucket-and-spade’ type beach users do not venture. Often some of the best beaches are the ones used for naturism, but they can also be some of most difficult to get to involving long walks over rugged terrain. For that reason we suggest that families with younger children or those with any mobility difficulty, check before-hand to see how accessible any naturist beach is before going.

Other Beach Users

Not all naturist beach users are naturists but they do have every right to be there. Other beach users may include walkers, dog-walkers, kite flyers, wind-surfers, horse riders as well as people who simply prefer to be clothed. Naturists are advised not to approach or to sit down next to clothed beach users and wherever possible to maintain some distance from them. This is to ensure that no offence can be caused. It is also often fairly easy to discreetly sunbathe naked using windbreaks or beach tents. Unless the naturist is openly walking around, it would be difficult for anyone to be able to see whether they are actually naked or not. If there is no one around, or there are plenty of other naturists there, you may feel comfortable taking a walk and a swim. If other beach users are clothed you may want to exercise discretion.

“What often happens at naturist beaches is everyone is waiting for the someone else to strip-off first, when they do, others follow. The best thing is to get there early and be the first as it sets the tone for the day.”

Report Offensive Behaviour

Due to the remoteness of naturist beaches, they can also sometimes attract those who wish to engage in offensive or sexually motivated behaviour. It is therefore imperative that naturists do not become associated with these types and that any offensive behaviour is reported to the police.

Good Behaviour

In the main you will find other naturist beach users friendly and willing to chat. Please be aware though that other people may not want their personal space invaded.

  • Find a place away from clothed beach users
  • Do not approach clothed beach users
  • Respect others and their personal space
  • If necessary be discreet