Beachcombing is a popular hobby that includes roaming the beaches in search of different beach treasures. Beachcombers collect a variety of different materials such as:

  • Sea glass
  • Fossils
  • Driftwood
  • Seashells
  • Marbles
  • Bottles

There are lots of different things to be found at the beach if you know what to look for and have the time to dedicate to searching for them. Different beaches are home to different materials, and this list will show you where the best places to go are, and what treasures you may be able to find there. 

Whether you are beachcombing as a hobby, or as a means for business resources, here you will be able to find out where to locate the materials that you are looking for, how to locate them, and when the best time to look for them might be.

Whitby and Runswick Bay

These places are located in Yorkshire and are some of the best places to find jet. Jet is a type of lignite, the lowest rank of coal, and is a gemstone. Unlike many other gemstones, jet is not a mineral. It is a mineraloid that is formed from wood that has changed under pressure. The jet located here was formed approximately 181 million years ago, and used to be a popular material for jewellery making during Roman times. If you persevere, you may be able to find some good quality jet. 

Another material that you can find on the Yorkshire coast is Amber. Amber is a yellow/orange-coloured fossilised tree resin. You can identify amber easily as it is usually warmer to the touch, and when sanded, it will smell like pine tree resin. This material is easier to find after strong winds and can often be located in washed-up seaweed. It is also often near coal as they are of a similar density. 

The best time to visit this location if you are in search of jet or amber, is after strong winds that are directed towards the East. This is because during these times, more materials are washes up onto the beach.

At Runswick Bay, you can find fossils such as dinosaur footprints along the Jurassic rocks, and it is also home to semi-precious rocks and shark eggs. You can sometimes even find historical artefacts like bullet casings from the war. 

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is the perfect little seaside town that is located in Dorset, along England’s Jurassic Coast. Here, you can find a wide variety of beachcombing treasures, and there is so much to see. 

The whole stretch of coastline is littered with fossils, and new ones are uncovered here all the time. Lyme Regis museum organises regular fossil hunting walks and expeditions that are very helpful and informative if you are visiting for the first time. 

Due to the location being a popular place for fossil hunting, there are shops nearby that sell the necessary tools and equipment that you may need. This can be useful if you’ve never been fossil hunting before. 

You are most likely to find metalized amenities near other metal scraps as they are close to the same density. You can also find fool’s gold here.

Aside from fossil hunting, Lyme Regis is also a great location for finding sea glass, which is scattered across the sand in plain sight, and not at all difficult to find. Certain colours, like white and green, are common here, whilst others are rarer. You can also spot pottery amongst the sand, and sometimes it’s worth sifting through the sand to find more pottery.

Finally, there is also the potential to find whole glass bottles from the Victorian era due to a bottle dump that is located there.

Lunan Bay

Lunan Bay is located in Scotland and is an interesting location in terms of what you can find here. It is a large sandy beach and presents an opportunity to search for agates. Agate is a common rock formation that is made up of quartz and chalcedony, and they can consist of a wide variety of colours. They are usually formed in volcanic rocks.

At Lunan Bay, you are more likely to find grey/blue coloured agates, but it is possible to find them in other colours and varieties. You can also occasionally find sardonyx here too.

Ruby Bay 

Ruby Bay is also located in Scotland, and it is known for its ‘Elie rubies’. These are bright and red in colour and can be found embedded in the volcanic rock across the coast. It is best to come here on a particularly sunny day as the rubies will glint in the sunlight, making them more visible and easier to find.

Seaham Beach

Seaham Beach is located in Durham and is one of the best places to go in the UK to find sea glass. There is lots of this type of glass littered across the beach, and it isn’t too difficult to find as there is so much of it. You may find it more difficult to find a variety of unique colours, but if you keep looking, you should be able to find some nice coloured pieces. 

Around 100 years ago, there was a glass factory near the beach, and they would throw their unwanted glass over the cliff into the sea. Over the years, this glass has ended up back on the beach in perfect shape for collecting. 

Barricane Beach

This beach is located in Devon and has the nickname of ‘shell beach’. This is due to the large variety of shells that you can find here. There are exotic shells on this beach that have been washed up from the Caribbean in perfect condition. These shells are brought in on the Gulf stream and can’t be found anywhere else in the country. 

The cliffs here are made up of Morte slate that is 400 million years old. This slate is grey in colour with white quartz veins. Fossils can be found in evidence between the slates that have been broken off by the waves. You can search here to find some interesting fossils.

Cowes Beach

Cowes Beach is a short pebble and shell covered beach that is located on The Isle of Wight. Some time ago, rubbish was tipped into the Solent (the strip that separates The Isle of Wight from mainland England), and now gets washed up onto the beach for us beachcombers to find. 

This beach is known for containing sea-glass, and you can even find old remnants of bottles that can have embossed writing on them. These types of bottles are no longer produced, so finding them can be really exciting. Using the writing, you may be able to identify what type of bottle that it was from. Most of the glass found at this beach is clear or bottle green, but you can also find bits of brown glass. 

Occasionally, you can find other colours like red, blue, and orange, but these are much rarer to discover. 

At Cowes Beach, you can find periwinkle shells of different colours. You can also find many other varieties of shells here. 

Herne Bay

Herne bay is located in Canterbury and is a quiet area of coastline that may pique your attention. One of the things that you can find here is quartz pebbles of different colours. These are easier to spot at low tide and when they are wet. They can often be found along the line where the shingle turns into sand.

You can also find flint geodes here with sparkling crystals. These are easier to spot in the sun as they glimmer and stand out more. Just look for the sparkles. 

Sea-glass can commonly be found on the bank of pebbles in front of the sea. The waves wash them up here, and then they get trapped. Some common colours that you can find here include green, white, aqua, and brown. There is also plenty of sea bricks and pottery here. Many of which have been formed into egg-like shapes. 

The beach is also home to fossils, and shark teeth are quite common here, nearer the sea during low tide. Look for dark colours amongst the gravel. Herne Bay is known for its fossils, and you can find fossilised wood, shells, and crabs. If you are really lucky, you might be able to find a mammoth tusk. 

You may also be able to find old victorian coins that have been washed up onto the beach after such a long time. There is a museum at Herne Bay that has a collection on display, full of items that have been found on the beach over the years.

This is definitely the place to go if you are on the hunt for some more unusual finds. If you’ve been on the hunt for a shark tooth, this definitely seems like the right location to visit. Other random items like glass beads have also been found here in the past, so it could be worth a visit if you’re interested in any of the items that have been listed here. Now you have a list of all the best beaches, check out our article on the best beachcombing tools you will need for beachcombing.

To discover more of the best sea glass beaches, check out our sea glass beach map, happy hunting!