IF YOU fancy a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life you don't have to jump on a plane to find brilliant beaches.
In fact, there are loads of sandy options less than two hours away from the UK capital, so get your bikini ready.
Now that the weather is warming up, you might be thinking about where to go for a quick weekend getaway, or even just a day trip.
There's no need to venture more than a couple of hours to find the perfect place to relax – here are seven of the best to choose from.
If it's stunning views you're after, this beach on the east coast of Essex has got you covered – the seaside town is home to the second-longest pier in England and can offer 5k of sprawling beaches to stretch your legs on.
There is loads to keep the family occupied too, with boat trips, nature reserves and the nearby 86ft shipping tower-turned art gallery, which offers incredible views.
Getting there: One hour and 50 minutes from London Liverpool Street to Walton-on-the-Naze.
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Known as the original seaside town, even with the tide out there are plenty of sandy spots for dog walks or sandcastle competitions.
There is loads to see, whether the Turner Contemporary is your thing, or Dreamland, Margate's iconic amusement park, where you can find the UK's oldest wooden roller coaster.
Getting there: Approximately one and a half hours from St Pancras International.
Mersea Island, Essex
Twice each 24 hours Mersea has a high tide that covers the road, stopping anyone from coming or going but you can take a boat ride around the harbour, or sit back and relax on the lush shore.
Stick to west Merca for sandy beaches and delicious sea food, or venture to east Mercer for shops, pubs and more rural walking options.
Getting there: One hour by train from London Liverpool Street to Colchester, then a 45-minute bus to Mersea Island.
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Botany Bay, Kent
This hidden section of coastline is perfect for anyone looking for a calmer stretch of beach.
Located between Margate and Ramsgate, it's perfect for a distraction-free getaway -and while there may be no arcades or rollercoasters, but the stunning views more than make up for it.
Getting there: One hour and 40 minutes from London St Pancras International.
This lush Whitstable beach is perfect for a long summer walk, or just having an ice-cream and enjoying the sprawling seaside views.
Don't let the lack of sand stop you, the beach huts, nearby cottages and twisty lanes are perfectly picturesque.
Getting there: Roughly one and a half hours from St Pancras, Cannon Street or Victoria station.
West Wittering, West Sussex
The perfect choice for fish and chips fans, West Wittering beach is just south of Chichester.
If you want to grab a spot to sunbathe on a sunny day it's best to get there early, as it can quickly get busy.
Getting there: Approximately one hour and 30 minutes by train from London Victoria, plus a bus or taxi to the beach.
Camber Sands, East Sussex
If you want to pretend you're in a far-away destination without being too far from home, Camber Sands is perfect.
The large dunes are great for lounging on, but it does get windy, so remember your sunglasses to stop sand from getting in your eyes!
Getting there: One hour and 40 minutes by train from London St Pancras International to Rye and a short bus or taxi.
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Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton is the perfect weekend getaway if you want to breathe in some fresh sea air, but also has plenty to keep you occupied.
The pebbled beach might not be great for walking barefoot, but the famous pier and lanes more than make up for it.
Getting there: Roughly one hour from London Victoria or London Bridge.
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