We Brits are starting to wake up to the fact that you don’t need to hop on a plane and travel thousands of miles just to enjoy the delights of a beach holiday. The UK has some fabulous beaches and many traditional seaside towns that you might remember from your youth and are now experiencing something of a renaissance. Here are some of the best…
One of the original seaside resorts and the setting for the Simon and Garfunkel hit, Scarborough is on the Yorkshire coast and has been a popular resort for nearly 400 years. Today it is still a great destination for old fashioned fun for the whole family: donkey rides, amusement arcades, shellfish stalls and sandcastles. What could be better?
After a campaign to tell the public that ‘Blackpool’s back’, the seaside town has had a resurgence with a 70% increase in accommodation bookings last year, apparently. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie who fancies the thrill of the rides on the Pleasure Beach or a massive ‘Strictly’ fan who wants to trip the light fantastic at the iconic Tower Ballroom, now is the time to don your Kiss Me Quick hat and head up to Lancashire.
Bognor Regis, on the West Sussex coast, began life as a small fishing village. The spot is still a haven for fishermen now. And you can be guaranteed some delicious seafood if you visit Bognor. The Grade II listed pier is a hugely important focal point for the town and home to the world famous (and slightly crazy) ‘Birdman’ event. The town is trying to create a continental feel to the seafront so visitors will have plenty of choice in bars to stumble between!
The 50s and 60s saw Margate in Kent booming with the launch of the UK’s first amusement park, Dreamland. The park was once one of the UK’s top 10 visitor attractions and even had a 2,000 capacity ballroom that played host to groups including The Who and Rolling Stones. In 2003 there was talk of closing the park and turning the site into housing, which triggered a huge public backlash. The site was saved and Dreamland has now been ‘reimagined’ for a new generation of tourists.
Popular since the 1920’s, Skeggy (as it is affectionately known) is the seaside town gift that keeps giving. There are so many attractions in this East Lincolnshire town that you’ll need more than just a day trip to visit them all. The pier, aquarium, Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve and model village are definitely worth a visit but for really traditional fun you need to take a trip down memory lane and ride on the Skegness Seasider Bus!
Since playing host to the 2012 Olympic sailing events, Weymouth has seen thousands of tourists returning to experience this nostalgic seaside town. It might have had an upmarket facelift but underneath it is still the traditional town it once was with retro ice cream parlours, Punch and Judy shows, and donkey rides. Part of its flashy refurb included the rather spectacular Sea Life Tower, which offers panoramic views across the harbour to Portland, Lulworth and beyond. Oh and for those without a head for heights, head to Sand World too for spectacular sand sculptures and playtime!
According to reports, Eastbourne is the sunniest place in Britain. Don’t believe the stats? Well its beautiful white shingle beaches, palm trees, fabulous pier, dramatic chalk headland Beachy Head and a jolly promenade will woo you all the same. It has a reputation for being a pensioner hotspot (and the regular tea dances probably back this up), but don’t let that put you off as this East Sussex town can easily rival its more fast paced neighbour, Brighton, for a great day out.
Always the venue when Eastenders goes off on location, Southend consists of seven miles of Essex beach running along the north shore of the estuary. The town’s big draw is its pleasure pier, which is the world’s longest and features a mile of railway line and £3 million Cultural Centre (now you know). Being just a short train ride from London makes this an ideal seaside day trip for the city slicker!
The surge in popularity of Bridlington has been attributed to its use in the recent Dad’s Army film that was shot there. However, we think that the gorgeous beach, old fashioned amusements on the North Shore and the collection of vintage shops and galleries in the Old Town must have helped the revival too. The Nautical Mile, which is a promenade of sculptures, modernist beach huts and artworks, also adds to the appeal of this North Yorkshire hotspot.
But which seaside towns remind you of your youth…?