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I live in Oxford, UK, which is a lovely place, but I do wish it was a bit closer to the sea. What's the best way to get to a beach, starting from here? I sometimes have access to a car, so driving routes are interesting, but mostly I'm looking at public transport for a day trip, or single overnight stay.

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3 Answers 3

I may be biased because I grew up there, but I'm a big fan of the beaches around Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole. There is 7 miles of continuous sand from Sandbanks (Poole), past Bournemouth and on to Hengistbury Head (Christchurch). From Sandbanks, head across the mouth of Poole Harbour on the chain ferry, then you've another 5 miles of sandy beach along Studland Bay.

Bournemouth Beach and Pier

Cross Country Trains run one direct train per hour from Oxford to Bournemouth, and the journey takes just under 2 hours. (Currently it's the xx:16 train). You can also get there by changing at Reading and Baisingstoke, which sometimes makes sense if you've just missed the direct train!

If you're aiming for the beaches at Bournemouth, it's a 10-15 minute walk from the station to the nearest patch of sand (Holdenhurst Road / Meyrick Road / down the steps). For the Pier and the Gardens, there are plenty of buses from the station.

For Sandbanks and Studland, change at Bournemouth for a train to Poole (it's normally a few minutes behind on the same platform), then walk through the shopping centre to the bus station. Sit on the top deck if you can, and enjoy some stunning harbour views as you head to the beach!

Studland Beach

Otherwise, in a car head down the A34, then M3, M27, and get out a book. On a nice evening, especially a Friday night, you then have a 20 mile carpark across the New Forest... When you finally make it along the A31, take the Spur Road to Bournemouth or carry on for Poole. On a good day it's about 90 minutes without stopping, on a bad day 4 hours is not unheard of!

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+1 for Bournemouth etc. Particularly good for big holes! –  Ganesh Sittampalam Aug 15 '11 at 20:09

Getting to Hayling Island is fairly straightforward, a 1h 40m drive. dayoutwiththekids.co.uk has some other suggestions. Finding public transport links shouldn't be too difficult.

Hayling Island Beach

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Apparently the sandy beach has been topped with shingle in most places to prevent erosion, which may or may not be an issue depending on if you hoped to make sandcastles or not! –  Gagravarr Aug 15 '11 at 18:11
    
If that is the case, there are many others on that list. –  fredley Aug 15 '11 at 18:37
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Options 3 and 4 on that list are on the Isle of Wight, so while they're technically close they'll take an age to get to via the ferry! Options 5 and 6 are the same stretch of beach, the Bournemouth/Poole one I suggested :) –  Gagravarr Aug 15 '11 at 23:03

Take the Oxford tube to victoria station. You can get to Several beaches from victoria. For example

Brighton

Brighton is a Shingle beach Trains run direct from Victoria to Brighton

Margate

Margate is a sandy Beach Trains run direct from victoria to margate

The BBC have a page listing good beaches from around the UK and how to get to them

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2960774.stm

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It probably depends which side of Oxford you live on whether this is a sane plan or not. If you live on the east near Thornbridge P&R, then you can probably do Thornbridge -> Victoria -> Brighton Station in about 2.5 hours. Starting from Carfax, you're probably looking at 3.5+ hours until you're stood on the seafront in Brighton, which is rather a long trip... –  Gagravarr Aug 16 '11 at 21:03

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