The UK’s beach towns are seeing a revival. Here are our top picks for a beach escape.
If you want to blow away the cobwebs with some sun, sand and sea air. The UK’s vast, sweeping coastline is peppered with charming seaside communities. No need to travel abroad for a day at the beach; we have plenty of options right here.
Forget rain, stones, chippies, and fading towns. Beautiful beaches abound on our island nation, and many of the towns and villages around them are experiencing a resurgence. Hip art scenes and gourmet restaurants reviving British coastal holidays.
So, what does it all mean? It’s time to arrange your next coastal vacation. This comprehensive UK coastal guide includes arty locations in Cornwall, fishing villages in Wales. And hidden coves in Scotland. See our guide to the top global journeys.
The harbourfront of Tobermory was featured in the CBeebies song “Balamory” in the early 2000s. It boasts a puffin population and a long tradition of making fantastic malt whiskies, aside from its pre-school legacy. After seeing the famed rainbow cottages by the harbour. Go to the picturesque Rubha nan Gall lighthouse, the megalithic Standing Stones at Baliscate. Take a boat ride to see minke whales and basking sharks. Tobar, Mull’s art centre, puts on a good show of traditional Scottish music. Pre-order a fish dinner from the pier’s famed trailer.
Beautiful Blue Flag beaches and a trendy university town. Unlike other Cornish beach towns, Falmouth is more youthful and cosmopolitan due to University College Falmouth, which specializes in arts, design, and media. The picture-postcard waterfront is lined with chic bars and cafés, independent boutiques. Artisan cuisine, and the award-winning Falmouth Art Gallery.
Miss out! Take the boat from Falmouth to Truro. The route includes Malpas and the Tudor castles of Pendennis and St Mawes.
Rather than a beach resort, it is a town on the banks of the River Dart, a few miles from the sea. But Dartmouth has everything you need for a coastal vacation. There are old taverns and walking routes that go to the sea. There are daily boat cruises and crabbers in the harbor. Mitch Tonks is a local super-chef whose restaurants provide some of the best seafood in the country. It’s got a Mediterranean taste in a British setting.
Don’t miss Tonks’ swankiest beachfront restaurant, The Seahorse. Your next meal may be risotto with squid and aioli. It’s all insanely tasty.
St Ives was and is a working fishing community, and the seafood is still outstanding. Especially when served at the elegant cafés on Porthminster and Porthmeor beaches. Artists and potters like Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach, and even Piet Mondrian joined the fishermen in the 1920s and 1930s. All three: Tate St Ives, Hepworth’s residence and sculpture garden, and the tucked-away gallery-shop St Ives Ceramics, are all still here. It’s also become a surf town, with rad lads of both genders salting up in its numerous piratical-looking coves.
The atmospheric fishermen’s graveyard atop Barnoon Hill includes Alfred Wallis’ tomb.
Lyme boasts quaint fishermen’s cottages, beautiful beaches, antique stores, and pasty shops. But it also has something unusual: billions of years of fossil history. If you’ve seen the movie Ammonite, you’ll remember Mary Anning, the young Regency fossil hunter extraordinaire. So there’s prehistory everywhere, from the countless fossil stores to the ammonite-shaped street lighting along the seashore. There’s no harm in looking for an ichthyosaur skeleton on the beach while out paddling.
Miss out! A walk along The Cobb, Lyme’s ancient harbour wall. Features in writings by Jane Austen and John Fowles, and includes a small aquarium.
With the peculiar stripy cliffs behind and The Wash in front. Hunstanton is the only place in East Anglia where you can watch the sunrise and set. Enjoy Hunstanton’s Heritage Gardens, look out for fairs and activities on the green. Pick up a memento from Britain’s largest joke store. Visit Old Hunstanton’s stone cottages, and refuel at The Neptune, a fantastic local pub.
Miss out! Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By walking the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Sea Palling.
It’s surrounded by gorgeous hills and peaceful tidal beaches. It’s a bit glitzier and more expensive in the summer, but it’s also got lots of natural beauty. The South West Coast Path passes secret beaches, craggy pinnacles, and undulating sea vistas on East Portlemouth Beach.
Enjoy the lovely National Trust garden (and view) at Overbeck House, then a seafood plate at The Winking Prawn.
Tynemouth, eight miles from Newcastle. Combines artisan city chic with healthy coastal pleasures into the ultimate salty, seaside package. A ruined priory and castle overlook its three white sandy beaches, and a functional lighthouse sits at the apex of its rugged promontory. A flourishing surfing community, forward-thinking eateries, eccentric pubs and craft beer locations. Designer-maker emporiums like Land of Green Ginger, a converted church packed with stores and artisan cafés.
Riley’s Fish Shack is a Michelin-starred seafood restaurant in a shipping container directly on the beach.
For additional information on how to get around visit Corporate Stays website.