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Trip Report - English Nude Beaches
Hi, I'm, Kay, the official BeachWizard for the south east coast of England. Below is my report on two nude beaches on this coast.
Now, for the nude beaches:
First of all, let’s get clear what distinguishes the different kind of nude beaches in England and Wales. An official beach is one where you can take your clothes off on the beach without fear – it’s legal as long as you don’t cause a nuisance and you stay inside the boundaries of the beach. A tolerated beach is one where folk regularly take their clothes off and don’t get into trouble with the police, but it’s not legal. If a member of the public complained, you could just possibly get arrested. Got that? OK, let’s move on.
Shoreham Beach - tolerated nude beach - Portslade
Another confusion looms! This beach is really in Portslade, but locals call it Shoreham. The name is used because the beach is physically located inside Shoreham industrial harbour and if you aim for the power station chimney, you can’t go wrong. That doesn’t make it sound too great, but it is a lovely area if you don’t mind pebbles. It’s clean, a lot of families use it and the swimming is safe and good. Carrots Café is a favourite haunt of local groundsmen and fishermen and you’ll get good cheap food in no-nonsense portions. You do have to put your clothes on before you leave the beach though.
This beach is not wheelchair accessible as you have to access it via a set of metal steps.
Water quality is good.
The whole area is windy (you’ll find windsurfers congregating either side of the nudist beach) and because there is no sand you can’t put up a normal windbreak
Free parking available within 50 yards but be aware that you can’t see your car from the beach and you must dress to go back to it
Toilets in the car park. Functional but clean enough.
Black Rock official nude beach – Brighton
'Opened' in 1980, this is probably the best known naturist beach in the UK. When you reach Brighton seafront, head for Palace Pier – the one with the fairground on it - then travel east past the defunct Peter Pan's playground and cross the Volk's Railway on to the beach.
Another pebble beach, not accessible by wheelchair, but this one is overlooked in all directions. It has become notorious as a gay pick-up spot and many people feel uncomfortable using it for that reason. In the past couple of years voyeurs have been prowling the beach looking for both hetero and gay action. The beach has two big ledges or shelves, made of pebbles, about eight yards across. The top one tends to be the ‘gay’ area, the lower one is used more by naturists. Fully clothed voyeurs stroll along both. If you are an exhibitionist or swinger, this is the beach for you. If you are even a bit modest, think twice before coming here – you will be a target of voyeurs and regardless of your sex, physical approaches from men.
Swimming here is fine if you are careful. The groyne (breakwater) on the marina side of the beach has several sharp rocks around it and the unwary can end up gashing their legs and feet.
On the plus side, Brighton Marina has great eating and shopping outlets and if you like boats then you can feast your eyes on the moored craft while filling your stomach with some really excellent cuisine. No eating places are accessible unless you are fully clothed.
This beach is not wheelchair accessible because of the pebbles.
Water quality is good.
Parking available within 300 yards most of the year. In high season though, you might find you have a walk of a mile or more from your car to the beach. Depending on where you park you may need vouchers you can purchase at most newsagents and general stores in town or have to pay at a meter.
The toilets in the car park are basic – rumours exist of men accosting people using these toilets; I’ve never met anyone this has happened to though. Further toilets in pubs and bars along the sea-front but of course you have to get dressed to use any of them.