Brittas Bay: when to visit, wild swimming, and things to know

Sitting along the coast of County Wicklow, Brittas Bay is a stunning stretch of sand that is ideal for summer holidays, weekends away, or simple Sunday strolls.

The island of Ireland is ripe with beaches; in fact, there are some 109 beaches listed. Still, many more exist under the radar, shielded by impressive cliffs or only accessed by secret trails known by the locals.

Brittas Bay is arguably one of Ireland’s most well-known beaches. Located on the east coast of the island in County Wicklow, Brittas Bay is a popular destination for holiday-makers, sunseekers, and beach babies year-round, with a particular surge in numbers during the warmer months.

Planning a visit to Brittas Bay? Read on to find out all you need to know before you go!

Overview – in a nutshell

The beautiful Brittas Bay.
Credit: Instagram / @jessigiusti

Brittas Bay is a 5-kilometre (3.1-mile) stretch of velvety golden sand.

With majestic dunes that stretch to the sky and crystal water of deep blue and turquoise, it comes as no surprise that this beach has been awarded the European Union (EU) Blue Flag. This award recognises beaches for their excellent environmental management.

When to visit – simply the best

Summer is the best time to visit.
Credit: Flickr / Paul Albertella

Visitors flock to Brittas Bay year-round. On weekends, bank holidays, and school vacations throughout the year, Brittas Bay can be busy. The main driving force in this narrative is the weather; if the sun shines, both locals and out of towners will flock to this fair shore.

Summertime sees the largest crowds, and parking can be a nightmare (unless you arrive bright and early). Still, late spring and early autumn can be an excellent opportunity to soak up the sun in a more serene setting with the kids at school and vacationers having headed home.

Where to park – for those on wheels

Parking at Brittas Bay.
Credit: Flickr / Kelly

Brittas Bay Car Park is located a stone’s throw from the sand and is open to the public all year.

Keep in mind that the road parallel to Brittas Bay is a residential road with beachfront properties flanking the sea. Do not block driveways, and ensure you leave your car in a safe and legal spot before venturing off for a day of fun. No better way to spoil a day than to return to a hefty fine.

Things to know – the fine details

Things to know about Brittas Bay.
Credit: Pixabay / comuirgheasa

Lifeguards patrol this beach during the high season (June until September between 11 am and 7 pm).

Brittas Bay is ideal for bathing and wild swimming with no headlands to disrupt this laidback beach paradise. That being said, keep an eye on little ones as the sea is always a force to be reckoned with.

How long is the experience – for the best experience

How long you will need to visit Brittas Bay.
Credit: Instagram / @_photosbysharon

Brittas Bay is a magical destination. Listed as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Brittas Bay is an area of ecological importance, meaning it’s great for adventurers, little and big.

Give yourself enough time for a soak in the sea, sunbathe on the sand, some games, a picnic, and time to explore the wild dunes and surrounding grasslands; we reckon three hours minimum.

What to bring – the packing list

What to bring to Brittas Bay.
Credit: Pixabay / DanaTentis

Although you’re never too far from amenities, we recommend you pack what you need for a trip to Brittas Bay. By no means is this a city-side beach, so come prepared.

Beach toys and games, some food and water, towels, sunscreen, and any other bits that fall onto your ‘must-have’ list are all advisable.

What’s nearby – in case you have time to spare

Visit the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Only 30 minutes by car from Brittas Bay is the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Here you can find bucket list things to do and see, including Glendalough, Powerscourt Estate, and the Sugarloaf Trail.

Where to eat – for the foodies

Grab a bite to eat at Jack White's Inn.
Credit: Instagram / @jackwhitesinn

Jack White’s Inn is the nearby go-to for some pints and pub grub after a day at the beach. There’s a wholesome charm about this local with its outdoor beer garden, green lawns, and picnic tables.

It also operates a food truck that means that if the pub is at full capacity, or you simply want to grab a burger on the go, you’ll be sorted in no time!

Where to stay – for the overnighters

Great beachside accommodation options abound.
Credit: Pixabay / palacioerick

If you want to wake up to the sound of the ocean, that’s not a problem at Brittas Bay. There is a tonne of beachside accommodation options just waiting to be plucked up.

From entire private property rentals to holiday homes like Millrace Holiday Park, there is something to suit all sorts of budgets.

Insider tips – local knowledge

Bring a bodyboard to Brittas Bay.
Credit: Pixabay / Jonny_Joka

Bring a sledge or bodyboard and surf the sand dunes. This makes for a great beach toy that can be used in the sea and along the enormous dunes that denote this stunning beach in County Wicklow.

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