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The Top 8 Seaside Towns in the UK

8 Seaside Resorts You Need to Visit


Parkdean Resorts by Parkdean Resorts on 14/01/2020
Someone holding up an ice-cream cone and flake on a busy sandy beach

Why choose a UK seaside holiday?

As much as we all love to treat ourselves to a holiday abroad, there’s something about the quintessential British seaside holiday that keeps us returning time and again to our old favourites. Boasting long stretches of golden beaches and quaint towns and villages just waiting to get lost in, your perfect family break could be just around the corner.

We’ve selected eight much-loved seaside towns from around the UK, all of which are within driving distance from at least one of our 67 holiday parks. If you’re already planning your 2020 summer getaway, read on for some inspiration on where to venture to next.

1. Bamburgh, Northumberland

Where to stay by the seaside in Northumberland: Cresswell Towers Holiday Park is approximately a 50 minute drive from Bamburgh.

Voted the number one UK seaside town in a Which? Travel poll in 2019, Bamburgh is one of the many Northumbrian coastal villages you need to add to your travel bucket list. The beaches in the North East are second to none, and Bamburgh’s is no exception – expect miles of pristine, white sand overlooked by the splendid Bamburgh Castle, one of the largest inhabited castles in the country. The beach is popular with surfers and windsurfers alike, and the wide expanse of sand makes it perfect for children who love to build sandcastles and play beach games. An added bonus is that Bamburgh Beach is dog friendly all year round, so you can bring your pooch along for the fun too!

Bamburgh has plenty to offer in the way of food and drink, ranging from traditional English pubs to cosy tearooms and cafes. The Copper Kettle comes highly recommended and serves a variety of tasty treats from crab sandwiches to cream teas. If you have time to spare, make sure to pay a visit to the RNLI Grace Darling Museum, sitting within the walled gardens of the castle and commemorating the life of the 19th century local heroine. If that wasn’t enough to keep you occupied, the neighbouring harbour town of Seahouses is less than a 10 minute drive away and is another fantastic seaside resort in Northumberland.

Bamburgh Castle overlooking the beach on a sunny day 
Bamburgh, Northumberland

2. Hastings, East Sussex

Where to stay by the seaside in East Sussex: Just 40 minutes’ drive from Hastings, Camber Sands Holiday Park is the perfect place to set up base.

As its name suggests, this southeast coastal town is well-known for being the setting of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, which was fought on a nearby field where the Battle Abbey now stands. Today, the three mile stretch of seafront at Hastings runs all the way from the fishing fleet and through the arcades, funfair and Victorian pier – a truly traditional seaside experience. Backed by grand whitewashed hotels, this sand and shingle beach is great for activities and you can even take a lift from the fishing beach up to Hastings Country Park – with views reaching as far as the coast of France!

With the majestic ruins of Hastings Castle towering above, the Old Town is comprised of old-world winding streets and Tudor cottages, nestled in a valley between two hills. In contrast, the newer parts of Hastings have gained an increase in investment in recent years, bringing the town to life with contemporary restaurants and boutiques. Depending on the time of year you visit, there are several exciting events you can get involved in, many of which are child friendly. These include food festivals, live music performances, art exhibitions and guided tours to name but a few.

A view from the beach huts at Hastings Beach 
Hastings, East Sussex

3. Bournemouth, Dorset

Where to stay by the seaside in Dorset: Sandford Holiday Park is just a 25 minute drive from Bournemouth.

Situated in a sheltered bay on the south coast and the largest resort in Dorset, Bournemouth is renowned for being one of the best seaside towns in England – and it’s easy to see why. Voted the UK’s best beach in Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards in 2019, you can really make the most of the seven miles of unspoilt coastline and Blue Flag beaches. Benefitting from a generally warm climate during the summer months, immerse yourself in watersports galore, whether it be surfing, paddle boarding or jet skiing. Not forgetting the colourful Bournemouth beach huts, which can even be hired out for the day.

With over 500 events taking place in Bournemouth every year, this vibrant seaside resort has so much to offer, from the famous annual air festival to outdoor cinemas and live music. Day to day activities cater to all budgets and include a wealth of museums, shops and theatres, or if you’d prefer to escape the hustle and bustle, take a stroll around the Victorian Gardens. A beautiful green space located in the town centre and the main route to the beach, you can enjoy year round attractions such as an art exhibition, an aviary and mini golf. If you’re looking to refuel after your day out, treat yourself to afternoon tea in one of the many hotels overlooking the sea or quench your thirst at a local microbrewery.

A busy summer's day at Bournemouth Beach 
Bournemouth, Dorset

4. Whitby, North Yorkshire

Where to stay by the seaside in Yorkshire: If you’re staying at Cayton Bay Holiday Park, you’ll only be a 45 minute drive from Whitby.

Bordered by the North York Moors and one of the most popular resorts on the Yorkshire Coast, Whitby immediately springs to mind when it comes to classic English seaside towns. Steeped in history and radiating Gothic charm, this picturesque harbour town is dominated by the dramatic Whitby Abbey, notably the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’ The Blue Flag beach at Whitby is very family friendly, lined with a rainbow of beach huts and providing donkey rides, fantastic rock pooling areas and even food stalls during the summer. Head to the south end of the beach and you’ll arrive at the harbour, which is home to the popular Lifeboat Museum, offering free admission all year round.

The town itself has a thoroughly medieval feel with its maze of narrow cobbled streets, red-roofed stone cottages and quaint tea rooms and gift shops. Pop into one of the several 19th century pubs for cosy open fires and low wooden beamed ceilings, or venture to the award-winning Quayside restaurant, renowned for its succulent fish and chips and spectacular sea views. Whitby plays host to plenty of exciting annual events, from the eccentric Goth Festival to Folk Week and the Whitby Regatta – you’ll be spoilt for choice! And with Scarborough, Filey and Bridlington just a hop, skip and jump away, the best of Yorkshire’s seaside towns are all within close range if you wish to venture further afield.

A view across the harbour towards the abbey at Whitby 
Whitby, North Yorkshire

5. Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Where to stay by the seaside in Wales: Pendine Sands Holiday Park is only a 30 minute drive away from Tenby.

To be found within the UK’s only coastal national park, the hilltop harbour town and seaside resort of Tenby is a must-visit if you’re holidaying in southwest Wales. Retaining two and a half miles of Blue Flag sandy beaches and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, this little gem is often recognisable for its pretty, pastel buildings dotted around the harbour. The North Beach at Tenby is sheltered by cliffs and its east facing sand means it catches the sun all day, making it the perfect spot for a family day out. Bask in the clear blue waters or get a piece of the action and take part in a whole range of water sports, from jet ski safaris to doughnut rides.

Enter the medieval Old Town through the still partially standing, 13th century town walls, and make your way through a labyrinth of winding streets. These roads are pedestrianised during the summer which is the perfect opportunity to dine al fresco, when many bars and restaurants provide outdoor seating areas. Explore an array of attractions, whether it’s taking the 20 minute boat ride to Caldey Island or stepping back in time at the Tudor Merchant’s House. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted to know that the waters are well stocked with both mackerel and sea bass and you can hire boats and rods down by the harbour. If you’re feeling brave enough, there is even a Ghost Walk, which has been credited as being one of the top five in Britain!

The colourful buildings surrounding the harbour in Tenby 
Tenby, Pembrokeshire

6. St Ives, Cornwall

Where to stay by the seaside in Cornwall: Both Lizard Point Holiday Park and Holywell Bay Holiday Park are approximately a 45 minute drive from St Ives.

With accolades under its belt which include being voted in the top 10 best European beaches by Trip Advisor, St Ives is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas of Cornwall. Sporting four fantastic beaches and one of the mildest climates in the UK, the turquoise waves and golden shoreline give it a positively Mediterranean feel, creating a surfer’s paradise. And it’s not just surfers the beaches cater to - there are plenty of rock pools waiting to be explored and sand perfectly suited for building sandcastles, making them ideal for families too. If you’re an avid hiker visiting the area, the 43 mile coastal path leading from St Ives to Lands’ End is well worth the trek, with outstanding views aplenty along the way.

Wandering through the cobbled streets lined with whitewashed fisherman’s cottages, you’ll stumble upon a number of galleries and museums, as this Cornish harbour town is renowned for its artistic heritage. Sample home-grown delights in one of the independent shops, selling an assortment of goods ranging from local produce to arts and crafts. If you’re feeling peckish after your day of sightseeing, whether it’s fresh seafood or an ice-cream parlour you’re after, food outlets range from family friendly to fine dining. Highly rated on Trip Advisor, head to The Cornish Deli, serving brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and more, you’ll be lucky enough to experience some of the region’s finest cuisine.

Blue skies over the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall 
St Ives, Cornwall

7. Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Where to stay by the seaside on the Isle of Wight: Shanklin is conveniently located just 5 minutes’ drive away from both Lower Hyde and Landguard Holiday Parks.

Regarded as the most popular holiday destination on the island, Shanklin is the jewel in the crown of the Isle of Wight. Picture a long white sandy beach surrounded by sandstone cliffs and a scattering of beach huts and you have the makings of a typically British seaside town. Not to mention the lively esplanade with its traditional seaside games and amusements, along with plenty of cafes, you can truly indulge in some bucket and spade fun when you visit Shanklin. Whether you’re hiring deckchairs and tucking into fish and chips on Sandown Beach or discovering one of the many walking or cycling routes in the area, the town offers something for everyone.

The Old Village features a cluster of pretty thatched cottages and you can find an assortment of independent shops, pubs and restaurants to choose from. Shanklin also benefits from a wide expanse of green spaces such as Rylstone Gardens, which is one of the few places in the country still inhabited by red squirrels. Leading down from the gardens is Shanklin Chine, a gorge lined with trees which is well worth a visit at night when it becomes illuminated with lights. Widely popular with tourists, the town and surrounding areas host many events throughout the year, including the Round the Island Race and several carnivals and festivals. An added bonus of holidays on the Isle of Wight is that a number of other seaside towns are in close proximity – both Ryde and Cowes can be reached in under half an hour by car.

Boats docked on the sand at Shanklin Beach 
Shanklin, Isle of Wight

8. Westward Ho! Devon

Where to stay by the seaside in Devon: Bideford Bay Holiday Park is just a 20 minute drive away from Westward Ho!

Part of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by scenic, natural landscapes, Westward Ho! is the epitome of the Victorian seaside resort. Boasting two miles of Blue Flag beaches, the wide and flat expanse of sand makes this a great beach for games when the tide is out. Westward Ho! is also one of the most popular surfing and swimming spots, or you can even learn to kite buggy if you prefer to stay out of the water. Take a jaunt along the promenade and enjoy amusements galore, followed by a hearty serving of fish and chips from one of the several stalls on offer.

If you’re a keen walker, there are lots of trails around the village and coastal areas leading to neighbouring towns if you wish to travel a bit further. Similarly, cyclists can follow the Tarka Trail, which is an easy 30 mile ride across the former railway tracks and countryside with glorious coastal views to take in along the way. If you prefer a more leisurely visit, while away the hours shopping or relaxing in one of the many fantastic restaurants and cafes, serving up a variety of dishes from fresh local produce to street food. No matter what time of year you visit Westward Ho! there is always something going on, whether it be the annual Kite Festival or the festive Christmas markets – you’re guaranteed to have a bucket load of fun!

A view from the pebbles on Westward Ho! Beach in Devon 
Westward Ho! Devon

Have we missed any of your favourite UK seaside towns from our list? Share them on our Facebook and Instagram pages!