EVEN locals are surprised to hear that one of Europe’s biggest stretches of sand is on their doorstep in tucked-away Brean.
Its beach is a seven-mile expanse of sand and dunes.
Now, with new attractions, year-round entertainment and activities for all the family, the Somerset town looks like becoming a 2024 staycation hit.
Brean is an undiscovered treasure with spectacular headland walks and accommodation to suit every budget.
Last week, the beachfront Warren Farm Holiday Centre was named Holiday Centre of the Year at the AA Caravan and Camping Awards.
The family-run site has luxury caravans — with hot tubs — for hire and spacious touring pitches, some with private bathrooms.
A National Trust ranger tells me: “Brean is all about the beach and the downs.”
Their café is situated at the base of Brean Down, a 97-metre headland stretching to the sea.
A few energetic souls hike up the hill to take in views of the Bristol Channel.
The remains of a Roman temple are here.
And at the summit, there is a 19th-century fort built to fend off a possible Napoleonic invasion.
With the chance to spot rare birds and plants, and the recent opening of the first section of the King Charles III England Coastal Path at Brean Down, more walkers and nature lovers are expected to flock to this part of the world.
Dog-friendly Brean Sands is one of the few places where you can park on the beach and it has compact, clean sand perfect for drawing and building castles.
With rock pools, shallow water for paddling and lots of space for picnicking, it has all you could want for old-fashioned seaside fun as well as adventurous water sports.
The conditions are ideal for windsurfers, kite surfers, metal detectorists and mudlarks.
Brean beach has been featured in TV shows including hit costume drama Sanditon and, this year, crews were spotted filming new mini-series The Killing Kind, starring Merlin’s Colin Morgan.
Brean may be small but there is lots to do.
Choose from golf, waterparks, birdwatching or dancing the night away.
Country fans travel from all over to Brean’s Country & Western festival in September.
Year-round entertainment at Holiday Resort Unity (hru.co.uk) includes cabaret, game shows and themed weekends such as Pop Icons and The Best of British.
Loveable resort characters are around to charm the kids, and there is comedy, live wrestling and quizzes for the grown-ups.
But you can’t visit Somerset without enjoying a cider.
For an award-winning tipple, head to Rich’s Cider Farm, which has been producing it for 70 years.
With The Wurzles playing in the background, you can see the old press and vintage farm machinery before enjoying a carvery lunch.
Tours and tastings also take place.
The West Country may not be the West Indies, but if you pause for a beer or cocktail while watching the sunset at a bar like Sundowners, overlooking the bay, you get a great vacation vibe.
The Brean Golf & Country Club serves hearty Sunday lunches and indulgent afternoon teas in its restaurant with views of the Mendip Hills.
If you want a little luxury, the wedding and events venue offers spacious lodges with hot tubs.
But there are plenty of affordable family and pet-friendly options at the many sites along the coast.
Have you been to Brean? If not, 2024 should be the year to do it.