From all around the coast, from the remote wildness of Cullykhan in Aberdeenshire to the bustling working harbour at St Ives in Cornwall, from the vast empty sands of North Norfolk to Anthony Gormley’s iron men at Crosby beach on Merseyside, the author has asked individuals what the beach means to them. He noticed that people are generally happier on the beach and wanted to find out why. Thus began an engrossing venture. Collecting responses, he was surprised on two counts. Firstly, that people were very open and forthcoming; they had never met and none of the interviews were pre-arranged, yet the answers came thick and fast. Secondly, the range of answers was as diverse as the moods of the sea. He discovered that the beach inspires creativity and connections with nature and can be a place of reflection, work or activities and, above all else, the beach has an uplifting effect. These reflections and opinions are the basis of this guide which features 130 of Britain’s beaches, a cross-section of a larger journey. For each beach, there is a summary, including the author’s own impressions, and the answers from people encountered on that beach with photos. As well as being a showcase for the fine words of those who have so generously shared their answers, this is a celebration of us as an island people and an acclamation of the beach itself, this unique place where the land, sky and sea meet.The beach interviews showcase its profound effect on people, whether enhancing creativity, decision- making and energy levels, being restorative and settling, as part of a routine or a reference point through generations, perhaps representing freedom, an escape or just fun.