Some people imagine the perfect seaside vacation as one spent lounging on white sand beaches and soaking up the sun. Others just want to get away from it all. While there’s definitely an allure of visiting the tropics to explore a beachy paradise, there’s also something to be said for the sombre, quiet seaside destinations in the United Kingdom.
Though not many really know about its beaches, the UK is an island home to many charming seaside towns. From the well-travelled to the unexplored, any of these make the perfect break from the hustle of a more “traditional” beach vacation. Here are the best seaside towns you can find in the United Kingdom.
1. St Agnes, Cornwall
St Agnes is technically a large village, and it might be one of the best-kept-secret seaside towns in England. Located just north of Redruth in Cornwall, this is a popular summer spot for tourists who live nearby. Not only will you find some of the prettiest seaside views, but there are also stone-age remains and antique finds. It’s also a great chance to indulge into Cornish culture, including getting to know the language, the cuisine and the history of the flag.
Since 1986, St. Agnes Heritage Coast has been a nationally protected area that protects over 40 species of mammals and amphibians. One of the most spectacular spots is Trevaunance Cove which has seas the color of the Mediterranean. There’s so much to do here in the summertime, you’ll be wondering where it’s been all your life. Visit Duchy Holidays for more information on visiting St Agnes.
2. Bournemouth, Dorset
All readers of my blog know how much I love Bournemouth in Dorset. I spent 6 years in this gorgeous coastal town and I know the beaches like the back of my hand. As well as having glorious miles of sand, a brace of piers (Boscombe and Bournemouth), the town is a hit holiday destination in the summer months thanks to the party life.
Bars, pubs and clubs line the streets, accompanied by excellent international restaurants. And thanks to local hero Eddie Howe, the town now has a world class football team, with AFC Bournemouth having beaten European Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur in May 2019.
3. Brighton, Sussex
No list of best seaside towns in the UK would be complete without Brighton. Even though there’s no sand, Brighton is still the UK hippest beach town with just about anything you could want here. It’s a bit kitsch and touristy, but it’s also a lot of fun. There’s always something going on in Brighton, so it’s a sure-fire pick for any vacation.
4. Woolacombe, Devon
If you’re more about sweeping views and dramatic cliffs than going to the beach, Woolacombe is for you. This is an impressive town with a 3-mile shoreline full of hoards of beachgoers. Part of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this beach has been recognized as one of the best in Europe.
Believe it or not, this is the place to find the best surf conditions in England. Many holiday flats and hotels focus on catering to this surf crowd, but you’ll also see plenty of families. If you want to make the most of these views, visit early when it’s less crowded or during the offseason.
5. Torquay, Devon
Finally, Torquay is a unique spot well-worth a visit. It’s located on what’s known as the English Riviera, a spot known for celebrity chefs, expensive boutiques, and its yacht culture. While it might be a bit upbeat, you can’t deny the breathtaking ocean views, palm trees, and seaside charm. Plus, if you’re interested in crime fiction, this is where you’ll find the International Agatha Christie Festival every September.
Stay By the Seaside
Maybe it’s not Cannes or the Amalfi Coast, but there’s something undeniably alluring about the UK seaside. If these towns prove anything, it’s that you can find beauty and spectacular ocean views just about anywhere.
There’s nothing more stunning than a summer day spent in one of these destinations. If you’re looking for a beach destination that speaks for itself, try one of these.