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The Swale coastline

If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard or, if you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

 We are responsible for the following areas of coastline and beaches:

Beachfields gardens sandpit, play area and paddling pool

Disabled access

Location Description of access


Ramped footpath to the west of Tesco Store, off Bridge Road

Sheerness Ramped access over sea defence, west of Beach Street Car Park 
Sheerness Floodgate, east of Beach Street Car Park
Sheerness Floodgate, next to Catholic Church, Broadway
Sheerness Floodgate, east of Neptune Terrace, Marine Parade
Sheerness Floodgate, next to Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club, Marine Parade
Sheerness (access to cycle route) Ramp opposite Barton’s Point Country Park, Marine Parade
Minster (access to cycle route) Shingle Bank Access Ramp, Marine Parade
The Leas, Minster Adjacent to vehicle emergency entrance, east of The Broadway
Minster Eastern end of The Leas, near junction of Seaside Avenue
Warden Bay Adjacent to vehicle emergency entrance, junction of Jetty Road and Imperial Drive
Leysdown Floodgates/boards west of bottom of The Promenade

Parking for our beaches

Please visit our car parks page to find a public car park.

Using the beaches responsibly

RNLI Lifeguards

The RNLI provide the lifeguard service on Sheppey’s beaches on behalf of Swale Borough Council. The RNLI has been operating a lifeguard service in the UK since 2001 and it's now an integral part of the commitment to saving lives at sea. The expansion of the service continues, and they are patrolling over 200 beaches around the coast of England, Wales, Jersey and Northern Ireland.

The RNLI Lifeguard service on Sheppey utilises rescue boards, rescue tubes, and distinctive static lifeguard units to provide surveillance of the beach areas.

They operate a fleet of lifeboats at well established stations within this area. As part of the lifeguard service establishment the lifeguard team will be fully integrated alongside the existing lifeboat service to provide a seamless service from beach to open sea - another exciting opportunity for lifesavers on The Isle of Sheppey.

You can view the Recommended beach list form the Marine Conservation Society - Good Beach Guide.

Dogs on the beaches

All of our beaches are dog friendly, apart from the three prohibited areas listed below. We do expect that dog owners comply with the restrictions and are responsible. When you take your dog/s on the beach they must be supervised and under control at all times and any fouling must be cleared immediately (up to a £1000 fine).

Current locations where dogs are prohibited between 1 May and 30 September each year:

Sheerness - The beach from an imaginary line at 90 degrees from the centre point of the headland Jacobs Bank eastward to an imaginary line at 90 degrees from the west side of the steps leading over the sea wall immediately to the east of Sheerness Swimming Pool.
Minster Leas - The beach from an imaginary line at 90 degrees from the east side of the Lifeguard Station on the sea front opposite the Playa Public House eastwards to an imaginary line at 90 degrees from the west side of the vehicle ramp leading to the beach, opposite the Little Oyster Café at 4 Sea Side Avenue.
Leysdown on Sea - The beach from an imaginary line at 90 degrees from Stokes Amusements, eastwards to an imaginary line at 90 degrees from the west of the beach steps opposite the small roundabout at the seaward end of 'The Promenade Road, Leysdown.

Please note that the beaches are governed by wind, tide and adverse weather conditions therefore these criteria may change.

More Information

The coastline of the Isle of Sheppey has many different characteristics from undefended cliffs to promenades with sea defences. There are a number of access points available to the leisure beaches, although many of these are through floodgates which are owned and maintained by the Environment Agency.

The floodgates are opened at the beginning of April each year and closed in October in preparation for the winter season. Unfortunately, during the closed season and at other times when the floodgates are closed as a result of a flood warning being issued, disabled access onto the leisure beaches does become more limited, but this is essential to ensure that the flood defences are not breached.

Access points for our disabled customers can be found at the following locations, and where this access is via a floodgate and could therefore be limited at times.

Sheerness beach

An award winning beach since 1991, when it won Kent’s first Blue Flag award. For more information on the Blue Flag award, please visit the Keep Britain Tidy website. Sheerness beach is located only 200m from Sheerness High Street and is a European Union designated bathing beach. As such its waters are regularly tested for quality and motor boats are not allowed in the bathing area.

The beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from late May at weekends and Bank Holidays, and then full-time from mid-July until early September. Volunteer lifeguards from Sheerness Swimming Club and Lifeguard Club are present on a Sunday during the summer holidays, based in the seafront facing hut at the top of Beach Street.

There are many attractive amenities close at hand including the modern Sheppey Leisure Complex and Swimming Pool. There is also a children's free paddling area and a large sand pit containing the "galleon" play area.
Ample parking is available right against the sea wall and access for the disabled on to the promenade is made easier with wide ramps. Dog owners are reminded that dogs are strictly controlled on the promenade and no dogs are allowed on the bathing beach between 1 May and 30 September.

Marine Parade beach

Still within Sheerness, this beach is primarily for sailing. All craft must use the waters beyond the yellow marker buoys and not travel above 8 knots on the landward side of them. For further information visit the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club online or call 01795 663052 (weekends only).

The Shingle bank

Sheppey's windsurfing and watersports beach and the open uncluttered nature of the beach is ideal for the sport. It also contains a launching area which is popular with fishermen and dinghy sailors. Parking is available on the shingle bank itself.

Situated opposite the shingle bank is Minster Windsurfing Academy which provides lessons and equipment hire.

Minster Leas

The Leas is the most accessible length of tranquil beach on Sheppey and has regular awards for its cleanliness including the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award. It is a good recreation beach with a bathing area between the Shingle Bank and the Little Oyster. An increasingly popular fishing and walking area with good views of the Thames Estuary.

The beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from late May at weekends and Bank Holidays, and then full-time from mid-July until early September.

Public toilet facilities are available adjacent to the White House Restaurant and parking is available at the Little Oyster car park, Seathorpe Avenue car park and on the along The Leas on the road.

Beach huts were introduced at The Leas in 2013 as part of a two year pilot project, run by SBC and Minster Beach Huts Association. For further information about the beach huts, email or call the Customer Service Centre on 01795 417850.

The Conservation Coast

This stretches for approximately three miles from the Leas to Warden Bay. It is the only area on Sheppey where cliffs rise steeply from the beach. Due to the soft character of the rock within these cliffs (much of it is clay) it can be a dangerous area with landslides occurring, so take care.

As a conservation area the coast is of great interest to naturalists and geologists. Many shells can be found on the beach and the rocks contain some interesting Eocene and Pleistocene period fossils. Only the keenest & experienced of walkers should attempt to follow this coast from end to end. It is not recommended that children attempt to access the cliffs.

Little Groves beach

Access to Little Groves Beach is via the Little Groves Leisure Park. It is a mainly sandy beach safe for bathing with a separate channel marked out for boat launching and water-skiing. Ample parking available. For further details of fees email or call 01795 510316.

Leysdown-on-Sea bathing beach

Leysdown beach is another European Union designated bathing beach with many of the amenities associated with a popular British Seaside Resort. It is also a regular recipient of the prestigious Seaside Award, run by the Keep Britain Tidy Group. The beach itself is one of the few sandy beaches on Sheppey and the most intensely popular. 

The beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from late May at weekends and Bank Holidays, and then full-time from mid-July until early September.

The Naturist beach

Following the road through Leysdown Coastal Park towards the Swale National Nature Reserve, the Naturist Beach is reached 200m before the Shellness Hamlet; a small residential area on the tip of Sheppey. It is an official naturist area in a secluded position with convenient free parking opposite the beach. 

Private beaches

There are also two private beaches which we are not responsible for: Loves Beach and Central Beach, which run from Warden Bay to Leysdown.

Water and beach quality

Information on bathing water quality is displayed at Sheerness sea front and is updated regularly through the peak and off peak seasons.

Regular water sampling has proved the excellent quality of the North Coast waters while improvements to facilities on and around the beach have ensured that these high standards are constantly maintained
Beaches and Sheerness and Leysdown promenade are cleaned daily, bins are emptied twice per day.

Please visit the Environment Agency website for more information on bathing water quality.

For more information

For further information please email us.

Harbours and Quays

Information on tidal berths, buoys, visitor berths, facilities and fees.

Beach huts

Beach huts can now be found on Sheppey, thanks to the Minster Beach Hut Association.
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