Norfolk and Suffolk may be known for having some of the best beaches in the country, with the two counties’ beaches collectively holding more of the prestigious Blue Flag awards than anywhere else in the UK, but what about when you want to stray a little further afield? While this region may have some great surf spots and swimming areas, it is sorely lacking in thriving seaside towns.
Staycations are on the up across the UK, with the Sykes Staycation Index reporting that British holidaymakers are now opting for domestic seaside spots over foreign holidays at unprecedented rates, rising 20% last year alone. This means that now has never been a better time to explore some of the best beach towns the UK has to offer, as many have shaken off previously bad reputations, cleaning up to become world-class resort destinations. Here’s a round-up of the four best seaside towns in the UK right now.
St Ives, Cornwall
The now world-renowned coastal settlements of Cornwall have been in the news a lot recently, having reached such high levels of international tourist visitors that many of the most popular spots are struggling to cope. Popular TV shows like Poldark have led to a surge in interest from European holidaymakers to Cornwall and it’s not hard to see why. St Ives is a little more relaxed than the other Cornish hotspots, with the main draw being the incredibly local arts scene and laid-back cafe culture. Head to the newly-opened Tate St Ives to take in some of the best art in the UK, and try your hand at crab fishing in the local marina.
Clacton-On-Sea, located in the heart of Essex’s famous Sunshine Coast, is the place to go if you’re looking for a more traditional yesteryear experience. The beautiful Victorian town is jam-packed with attractions, including the elegant piers, arcades and theatres running shows every night of the summer season. This is definitely a seaside town with a lot going on, with a booming city centre packed with plenty of evening attractions for the adults, including a newly opened Buzz Bingo hall in the heart of town. Make sure to spend a day on the Clacton Pier, riding the rollercoaster and gorging on hot dogs and candy floss.
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales
Once a hard-on-its-luck town, Aber is on the up. The beautiful gem on the very edge of the country is home to stunning natural backdrops, highly affordable prices and a buzzing nightlife scene, owing largely to the huge student population. It’s also home to one of the best pizza restaurants in the world, according to the official Where to Eat Pizza guide. Make sure to take a hike up Constitution Hill for rewarding views of Cardigan Bay.
Margate has really come out of the blue recently, going from sleepy seaside town to one of the trendiest destinations in the UK. A lot of the phenomenal growth of the town in the last five years has been attributed to the mass migration of young Londoners who feel priced out of the capital, according to the London Evening Standard, who have been working hard to bring cosmopolitan comforts to Margate. There is no shortage of art galleries, nightclubs and street food markets in this small town, and the beaches are to die for.
The best thing about these places is that you really can visit them all year-round, not just in the summer. British seaside towns are going through an unprecedented revival, so now is the best time to go visit.