You have to feel sorry for British naturists like myself. Unlike nude bathing hot spots in Formentera and Corsica, we’re relegated to B-list beaches and windswept coves.
Personally I blame Sid James. The Carry On series painted naturism as a slap’n’tickle rain-fest. In fact, all nude bathers really want to do is swim and soak up the sun without the encumbrance of a pair of shorts.
Indeed, nude bathing kicked off in Germany a century ago with Freikorperkultur (FKK, or the Free Body Culture movement) as a way to get closer to nature. Hence the moniker ‘naturism’.
Don’t scoff, but naked rambling and naked picnics in the park are entirely normal German pastimes. And, somewhat unlike in the UK (ask naked rambler Stephen Gough), the activity is totally legal.
At nude camping resorts like Koversada in Croatia, which is Europe’s largest, campers simply go about their daily routine (walking the dog, shopping for milk, a round of golf) as naked as nature intended. No one bats an eyelid. And it saves hours in front of a washing machine.
A naturist’s most frequently asked question? How to protect yourself from peeping Toms. But as these five great British naturism hot spots are bucolically isolated, I wouldn’t worry.
Studland Bay, Dorset
The signpost in the sand says it all: 'Naturists may be seen beyond this point'. Britain’s best-known bare-all beach boasts nearly a mile of soft white sand, backed by a line of privacy protecting dunes.
Studland’s hedonistic history dates back to the 1920s and it has ample facilities to match. The beach has a dedicated gay section, local naturist B&Bs, plus the excellent Studland Summer camp site.
Like most British nudist camps it’s for couples and families only. As their website reasonably states: “All adults over 18 are expected to be naturists (weather permitting).”
Brighton Beach, Sussex
It seems a lifetime since Brighton beach’s nudist section opened to rapturous scandal in 1979. (Carry On Emmannuelle starring Kenneth Williams had just opened at the pictures.)
The 180-metre stretch of no-swimsuit shingle was the brainchild of local councillor Eileen Jakes. A landlady herself, Jakes thought it would pull in liberal-minded tourists.
She showed her fellow councillors topless photos of herself in Ibiza to prove the point. ‘No’ campaigners said it would entice "perverts and voyeurs". But 35 years on, it remains one of Britain’s busiest naturist spots, if a baptism of fire for uninitiated nudists.
Cleat's Shore, Isle of Arran
What’s that? Reckon Scottish weather and naturism are chalk and cheese? Well, the nation’s first official nudist beach offers a wholesome ‘naturist’ experience with rock pools, basking sharks and the occasional golden eagle. On any given day there may be more seals than humans so it’s also a top spot for first-timers.
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St Osyth, Essex
What would Nigel Farage say? The wild naturist beach at St Osyth, a few kilometres from the UKIP stronghold of Clacton, is a bucolic introduction to bare-all bathing.
It’s a devil to reach. Paddle through streams, tread over tree trunks and duck over dunes to find this kilometre or so of near-deserted tidal sand. Its isolated nature means that privacy is guaranteed.
Morfa Ganol, Wales
Between Barmouth and Harlech sit some of Wales’ finest sands. You’ll need walking boots to reach the blissful beach of Morfa Ganol – but you can leave the cossie at home.
Backed by the Snowdonia National Park, it’s as clean as can be. The water quality is excellent and dolphins occasionally bask offshore. It’s so splendid that our naturist cousins from Germany come en masse. And they should know.
Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Devon isn’t all cream teas and pasties. If you head to the quaint seaside retreat of Budleigh Salterton – and climb down Steamer Steps to the shingle beach – you’re in for a big surprise.
One of the county’s two official nudist beaches, it wins top marks for friendliness. As Budleigh is a retirement haven, older naturists predominate. Poseurs are put off by pebbles so large they’d make any parading peacock look ungainly.
Porthzennor Cove, Cornwall
So isolated are tracts of Cornwall’s 480-kilometre coastal path that bathers can strip off with few worries. Porthzennor is one such sandy cove.
A non-official naturist beach, it’s so isolated that your bare bits can only offend the occasional sheep or hiker. The backdrop is positively Jurassic.
Crashing cliffs cleave open to reveal several corners of private sand. Just watch yourself in the waves – start swimming west from here and the next stop is the USA.
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This article was written by Tristan Rutherford from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.