A beginner’s guide to the coastal destinations of the UK
An island nation, it’s not surprising that the UK is blessed with some fantastic coastal locations to explore and experience. While the weather may not always lend itself to lying on the beach, sipping cocktails, and working on your tan, there is still plenty of interest around the coast of Great Britain.
Here a quick guide to some suggested destinations.
You can catch the train to Aldeburgh, but it may be more practical to drive as you’ll need your car with you to explore this region.
This is an old fishing village, but it’s now most famous for its annual music festival that was originally established by the composer Benjamin Britten — perhaps Aldeburgh’s most famous resident.
One of Aldeburgh’s landmarks is an enormous steel sculpture that sits on the beach — in the shape of a scallop shell it celebrates Britten’s tragic opera Peter Grimes.
Easily accessible from London, you can reach Portsmouth in around two hours by train.
One of the unique features about Portsmouth is that it’s an island city — the only one in the United Kingdom.
Portsmouth has always played an important role in England’s defences, because of its strategic location.
Today, this is a modern, vibrant city that is well worth a visit.
It was from the landing point of Hastings that the invading Norman forces began their conquest of England in 1066. But, more than just being a historical point of interest, Hastings is a great coastal destination in its own right.
You can reach Hastings in just under two hours by direct train from London.
Wander through the medieval Old Town, admire the hill-top castle, and explore the Victorian-era sea front.
One of the highlights of the year is the annual Jack of the Green festival held in early May — an old pagan ritual to welcome the return of summer.
The longest pier in the world can be found at Southend-on-Sea.
Just one hour away from London, if travelling by train, Southend is a popular family destination.
Southend also has a small airport which is the ideal way for getting to a number of key destinations across Europe.
Just around the corner from the more well-known destination of Brighton, Shoreham-by-Sea is an idyllic little community leading a relaxed beach-side pace of life.
Surrounded by the South Downs countryside, there is more to this region than just the coast.
The farmers market is particularly good, and if you’re into architecture you’ll appreciate the quaint art deco airport building.
But the beach is the reason to come here — an enormous stretch of sand which prettily grows wild grasses and native flowers.
There is a good train service that takes you from London to Whitstable in around 90 minutes, so it’s no wonder that this is a popular weekend retreat for many Londoners who own beach-side cottages in this small village.
Whitstable is famous for its fresh, tasty oysters, and there are a lot of really good restaurants to experience — the Crab & Winkle, and Wheelers Oyster Bar are among the favourites.
If you like pottering around small art galleries, then Whitstable is for you. You’ll find a thriving local art scene with regular exhibitions.