The UK’s most popular seaside destinations


Bamburgh in Northumberland has come top in a survey of the UK’s favourite seaside destinations, with Which? members voting it the best from a list of nearly 100 seaside towns and villages.

The annual survey has become a ruler by which the merits of the UK’s coastal resorts can be measured, and those looking for a beautiful getaway can get some handy hints from the results. After all, as an island nation, we have plenty of seaside destinations to choose from!

So, which towns and villages made the top echelons – and where is best for peace and quiet, or scenery and views.

1. Bamburgh, Northumberland, England

Overlooked by Bamburgh Castle, the pristine sands of Bamburgh beach stretch for three miles, and a bracing North Sea wind runs into the bank of dunes that run along the shoreline.

It’s easy to see why this would be a favourite destination – the beach is big enough that even in the height of summer, it’s unlikely to be too crowded.

For history lovers, these ancient shores and the Celtic origins of Bamburgh Castle offer plenty of interest. The castle has featured on screen a good number of times, including two film adaptations of the Scottish play, in 1971 and 2015 respectively.

The memorial of Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter who saved survivors from a shipwreck in 1838, sits in the churchyard of St Aidan’s Church within Bamburgh village.

Image credit: www.fineandcountry.com

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2. Llandudno, Conwy, Wales


Llandudno in Wales got the second-highest score in the Which? survey, with top marks for scenery, its beautiful seafront, and value for money as a place to visit.

This coastal town in Conwy County Borough, North Wales, is known for North Shore Beach and the 19th-century Llandudno Pier, with shops, food stalls and a games arcade.

To the northwest of the town, the cliffs of Great Orme headland jut into the Irish sea. The Great Orme tramway, dating from 1902, travels to the headland’s summit and transports over 200,000 visitors every year.

Ancient tunnels lead to a cavern at Great Orme Mines. To the east, you’ll find a smaller headland called ‘Little Orme’, a popular nature reserve.

Llandudno is Wales’ second largest resort and has kept its Victorian and Edwardian elegance and splendour, despite its modern attractions.

Its brimming with attractions, hotels, BnB’s and is home to two beautiful beaches.

Credit: https://stock.adobe.com/hu/search/image

3. St Andrews, Fife, Scotland


Taking the metaphorical bronze medal on the Which? table is St. Andrews, on Scotland’s east coast. It’s known for its many golf courses, including the Old Course with the landmark Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole, and is home to the British Golf Museum.

St Andrews, much like Bamburgh, has a long history and plenty to show for it. On a headland nearby are the ruins of St. Andrews Castle, with its medieval dungeon.

The town itself is well known for its medieval streets, historic buildings, and perhaps most of all for its university, with alumni such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The town’s beaches and excellent food and drink choices add to these tourist attractions and help place St Andrews so close to the top of the UK’s most popular coastal spots.

You can take a stroll down The Lade Braes Walk, a scenic public footpath of about one and a half miles that follows the route of a medieval mill lade.

The lade’s function was to transport water upstream from Kinness Burn to the water mill in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral Priory. The water arrived at an elevated level simply by following the contours of the land.


Credit: wallsheaven.com

4. Dartmouth, Devon, England


For those who love historic houses and gardens, castles or immersing yourself in history and culture, then Dartmouth is the place – fourth place, to be exact.

With independent shopping, galleries, museums, and arts and crafts all in Dartmouth town centre, and the regatta an annual fixture, it’s easy to see why this Devon beauty spot is near the top of the table.

In the surrounding South Devon countryside, you can take part in outdoor activities, including walking, cycling and of course enjoy the watersports on the River Dart.

One of the top things to do in Dartmouth is to visit the local beaches; some of the best beaches in Devon – including Blackpool Sands, a ‘Blue Flag’ beach with a Mediterranean feel – are just a short walk or drive from the town and it’s stunning views.

Dartmouth has an abundance of history, yachting centre, pottery and a welcoming charm. A perfect destination year-round.

Credit: https://www.westend61.de/

5. Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales


Location 5 in the Which? survey, and by the sounds of it a 5-star location, is Tenby in Wales. This harbour town is known for its 13th-century town walls and its stretches of sandy shoreline, including Castle Beach.

The ruins of Tenby Castle are on a headland overlooking the harbour. Exhibits at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery include a 16th-century wrought-iron cannon, while the Tudor Merchant’s House (cared for by the National Trust) recreates domestic life in 1500, with a merchant’s shop and working kitchen. You can also take a boat out to nearby Caldey Island, the home of Cistercian monks and a particularly tiny chocolate shop.

In the summer, there’s the soft golden sand of Tenby Harbour Beach, ideal for families. During the colder months, the beach is opened up for dog walkers – and with the pastel-coloured buildings as your backdrop and the sea ahead, this picturesque spot is the perfect place for those crisp winter walks.

Set in the middle of Tenby’s coastline, there’s an array of restaurants, cafes and pubs nearby to refuel at after a long day of sandcastle building. Or if you fancy a snack at the beach, head to the Tenby Harbour Snack Bar. Their bacon sandwiches are particularly popular!

Credit: Pinterest.com

Are you planning any UK coastal trips this year? We’d love to hear whether any of the above are on your to-visit list. Don’t forget that it’s worth having travel insurance in place even for domestic travel, but often some of this may be included in your home and/or car insurance. For more information, speak with your broker or contact us via the details below.

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