One of the best things about a British summer is getting to the beach. My cousins are lucky because they’re on the eastern coast, but living in the middle of the country means we only see the beach when we go away. So even for short breaks I try and book somewhere within a short driving distance to the coast. I wanted to share some of my favourite beaches, but also asked other bloggers what their favourite British seaside towns and beaches for families are.
My favourite British seaside towns
It’s not got the biggest beach and it’s shingle (urgh!), but if Southsea has a lot to offer families. There’s a massive common with a good children’s playground, fairground rides, crazy golf and the usual junk food places to eat on the front. There’s a huge promenade to walk along, with another larger play area and the Blue Reef aquarium. Not forgetting you can watch the hovercrafts come in and leave to go to the Isle of Wight.
Half of my family are from Cleethorpes area, so we spent a lot of our childhood round there and I even (randomly) went on my hen do there (long story why!). The sea isn’t great, but it’s got sandy beach, fairground rides, a land train, arcades, fish and chips, crazy golf, a rowing lake and a good swimming pool at the leisure centre.
North Norfolk was another place we used to go as children. Cromer is infamous in our family for our beach trek one evening from Sheringham to Cromer pier. But there’s plenty of seaside town fun, with lovely ice cream, tacky souvenir shops, the usual rides and fish and chips as you’d expect.
Other bloggers seaside town favourites
Louise from A Strong Coffee loves Skegness. Another traditional seaside resort in the east of the country. She says there’s always something to do there whatever the weather, and great value ice cream. (I say, be prepared for wind!).
Raimonda from Cosmo Mum loves South Queenferry. You can have a boat trip, see the 3 Forth bridges, lunch at cute cafes and restaurants, grab a fish and chips or ice cream
Fern from Mum Conventional votes for Whitby. There are cobbled streets, shops filled with all kind of touristy crap that we all love, an abundence of fantastic fish and chip shops and everyone is so lovely. It truly feels like home when you’re there and I think you can’t get better than that.
Emma from Happy Family Hub is a fan of Lyme Regis. It’s such a quaint little seaside town, a mix of shops, coffee shops and traditional seafront balanced with natural scenery and The Cobb. The beach is lovely and sandy and perfect for paddling too! (I loved it when I went too, if only for The Cobb as featured in one of my favourite books The French Lieutenant)
Lytham St Annes is a favourite of Carla-Marie of My Bump 2 Baby. It is stunning and Blackpool is 10 minutes down the road ‘ best of both worlds (I’d agree – I spent New Year’s day there one year).
Katie from Mum of 2 point 5 loves Weymouth. It’s a proper traditional seaside town with donkey rides on the beach, swing boats and a helter skelter. They’ve been there since before I was born! (Just take shelter if eating due to the seagulls).
Sarah from Mum of Three World shouts for Padstow, their home from home.
Katy of Hot Pink Wellingtons is all for St Ives in Cornwall saying it has to be the most picture perfect seaside village – full of pretty fisherman’s cottages, fantastic restaurants, cute shops, cobbled streets, and 3 beaches to choose from.
Another for Cornwall, this time Newquay, which is Helen from Welsh Mum Writing’s favourite. There is so much to see and do for kids, plus great restaurants and a wonderful beach. Everything from Padstow to the Eden Project is within a short drive so it’s a great base for exploring.
Emma-Louise from Even Angel’s Fall promotes Bournemouth. Bournemouth! I’m biased as I live here but it’s such a lovely place to be based. There’s lots to do, the fish & chips down by the pier are incredible and my kids are huge fans of the oceanarium on the seafront. There’s always lots going on in the town, just a short walk from the beach, and the sand is lovely and soft – can’t be dealing with beaches that are covered in stones
Jemma from Have Kids will Travel UK says Aberystwyth is worth a visit for it’s pier, funicular and loads of things to do surrounding it (butterfly house, huge waterfalls, steam railway) and plenty of other places to visit nearby.
Leila from This Day I Love, is all about Scarborough. It’s split into two distinct areas, the North Bay and South Bay. South Bay is where you will find the fairground, the traditional 2p slot machines and the beach shops selling t-shirts, buckets and spades and souvenirs
Polly of Our Seaside Baby adds Brighton to the list, saying it’s unique in its own way with the pier, i360 & many attractions
Claire of Life Love and Dirty Dishes shares her love of Bude. Great beaches. You can hire a beach hut for £15. Lovely sea side town, and of course cream teas!
My best British beaches
My asks of beaches are plenty of sand, no aggressive seagulls, space to move, a chance to paddle, car park, toilets and refreshment facilities nearby, and ideally a lifeguard if we’re planning to be in the sea.
Some of my favourites include
Woolacombe – perfect for families, huge stretches of beach, and good for body boarding and rock pooling
Caswell Bay, Gower – a lovely small bay perfect for children to enjoy both the sea and the rock pools. The car park fills up so early though, so be prepared to be there early even if the sea is in – it’s worth waiting for it to go out again.
Rhossili Bay, Gower for gorgeous cliff top walks and an epic expanse of beach. (if only it was an easy walk back up to the car park from the beach).
Lulworth Cove – but only if you can stomach the crowds because it gets insane. You can take boat trips out, and the turquoise sea makes it feel like you’re in the Med.
Thedlethorpe beach – we used to go as children. It’s got one of the biggest inter-tidal zones, so you might not actually see the north sea, but if you want wind to fly kites and don’t want to sit on top of people, it’s perfect.
West Wittering – we had a lovely morning there, and it really is lovely with colourful beach huts as a backdrop.
Berrow beach, Somerset – get there at high tide and you can go in the sea, but the sand is great and surprisingly it wasn’t busy when we were there on a beautiful half term day.
Whitby, North Yorkshire – it’s a long walk down the hill to the beach, but there is a cliff lift from May through the summer. A large beach in different areas, from up at the harbour to further down the coast. It was surprisingly quiet when we went.
Tenby, Pembrokeshire – 3 beaches in the one small town, with a harbour, and little island and rock outcrop to explore at low tide. All overlooked by the prettiest pastel houses.
Westward Ho! Devon – one of the only beaches we’ve been on holiday with the OH as well. Lovely large beach, alongside nature reserve and golf course.
Here’s best beach recommendations from other bloggers:
Kelly-Anne from Mimi Rose and Me says they have some amazing beaches in and around Norfolk. My favourite is Hunstanton beach as it’s just a small drive away from my home. It’s also sentimental for me as my husband proposed to me at this beach
Hayley from Devon Mama likes Saunton Sands. it’s dog friendly, backed by huge sand dunes that are perfect for toddlers to climb and slide down and it goes on for miles. Its the perfect place to spend a day watching the surfers, whatever the weather. We live near some beautiful beaches but Saunton is my favourite to holiday at!
Nichola from Global Mouse Travels loves Gorran Haven Beach in Cornwall. it’s got a real old feel about it, you can imagine all of the fishing boats pulling in centuries ago. It works perfectly for sandcastle building today though and is perfect for kids to paddle in the water here. For me it sums up Cornish beaches with character.
Laura from Wafflemama loves Moggs Eye beach for simplicity. It’s just a carpark, toilets and miles of sand and sea! Perfect.
Jenny of The Brick Castle speaks up for Compton Bay Beach on the Isle of Wight. The fact it has a dinosaur footprint and lots of fossils wins a lot of children round.
Kate from Dark Tea likes Studland Beach in Dorset, for its shallow sea perfect for children to snorkel and catch sea animals
Laura of Five little Doves puts in a word for Formby. It’s the most gorgeous beach, completely untouched and in the most beautiful setting. It’s a real hidden treasure..
Jemma from Have Kids will Travel UK shared Mwnt in West Wales as her favourite. It sounds magical with a waterfall, dolphins you can see from the shore, crystal clear water and golden sands.
Laura of Autumn’s Mummy loves Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire. We went there on honeymoon and marvelled at the colour of the sand. It feels quite private in its somewhat secluded location and a little magical!
Jenny from The Bear and the Fox loves Edinburgh’s Portobello, and its 5 miles of award winning beach
Clare of the Organizer UK likes Rhosneigr in Anglesey saying it’s so clean and has lots of little coves to explore . The perfect place for kids!
David of Potty Adventures is proposing Newborough and Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey with its stunning coastline and miles of beach, coastal path and forest tracks to wander along…
Laura of Dear Bear and Beany loves Sandbanks in Poole! It’s a beautiful sandy beach and with a view of Brownsea Island, it’s a lovely place. It has everything you want for a trip to the beach.
One for Scotland, Susan from Susan K Mann likes Irvine beach. It’s clean, beautiful sea & it’s not too busy on the rare sunshine days in Scotland.
Nikki of Yorkshire Wonders talks about her favourite beach, Fraisthorpe in East Yorkshire. It’s a huge expanse of beach, perfect for beach games, sand surfing, kite flying, paddling and castle building! There is a cafe there and nothing else. You park in a farmer’s field right next to the beach, so there isn’t miles to carry all your beach gear.
One of Eileen’s (of Your Money Sorted) favourite beaches is Powillimount in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s an amazing place, and one that the masses don’t know about, so it’s usually pretty quiet. Our favourite thing to do there is build a fire and have a sausage sizzle!
Emma of Ready Freddie Go is a fan of Ynyslas, Wales. Probably the nearest beach to us and a great mix of soft sandy dunes, rock pools and scenery.
Emma of Me and B Make Tea wants to support her home town Weston-super-Mare – it has everything a family needs, with countryside on our doorstep, or cities such as Bristol just up the road (just watch out for the mud!)
Rachel of Coffee Cake Kids’ favourite is Talacre beach in North Wales. It’s beautiful golden sand, dog-friendly, horse-friendly. Beautiful lighthouse which is a photographer’s dream, dunes to play in, and then right next to the beach there’s a bakery, a chip shop and an ice cream shop, so it’s perfect for a day out.
Jaymee of the Mum Diaries suggests Boscombe Pier. It’s a really lovely beach, clean and i loved how close to the beach you could park
If you’re out in Scotland, why not try Balmedie Beach in Aberdeen which is Latoya’s favourite beach. It’s a bit out of town so usually quiet and very well maintained compared to the main beach in Aberdeen.
Nickie of I am Typecast says her happy place. St Annes beach. My childhood stomping ground and now where I take my grandchildren. It’s GLORIOUS!
A bit off the beaten track in Jersey, Emma of Island Living 365 loves Portelet Bay! She says it’s It is well worth the many steps down to the beach. This sheltered cove offers a sandy beach that is perfect for building sand castles on.
You can find the map with these suggestions and more below.
Where’s your favourite spot for enjoying the sea, sand and coastline?
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