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Top Seaside Towns To Visit In The UK For A Summer Trip Out

Matt Crisp May 24, 2024

It’s the start of the summer, and this means that it’s an ideal time to make the most of the plentiful coastal towns we have here in the UK. They are the perfect place for a family day out or an end of term school trip. 

With the possibility of fresh rail strikes looming over the next few months, it is worth considering coach hire to avoid any disappointments and ensure that you reach your destination in comfort and style. You will also be able to sit back and relax while enjoying some lovely scenic routes along the way.

The classic UK seaside town is hard to beat for a destination that has something to offer for everyone, whether that’s traditional beach games, donkey rides and fish and chips on the pier, or state of the art visitor attractions such as theme parks and high-end restaurants and bars. Here are some of the best seaside destinations to check out.

Barmouth, Gwynedd

Barmouth in north west Wales is surely one of the most splendidly situated coastal towns in the UK. It stands at the entrance to the Mawddach Estuary, and beyond the picturesque harbour it is spanned by the iconic wooden rail bridge. The majestic Snowdonia mountain range rises in the background, while to the fore are sweeping views over Cardigan Bay.  

There’s literally miles of wide sandy golden beach to enjoy traditional seaside activities such as donkey rides and rockpooling, and is safe for watersports and bathing. The vast Blue Flag beach means that even at the height of the tourist season when this popular destination is busy, there’s enough space for everyone and it never feels too crowded. 

The town itself is full of charm and interest such as the Lifeboat Museum, a small funfair with amusement arcades, and a miniature land train that runs along the prom. In peak season, it’s possible to take the steam train from Fairbourne village to connect with the ferry to Barmouth. 

The wider area offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities such as mountain hiking, rock climbing, cycling, horseback riding, and sailing. The nearby Harlech Castle and Shell Island are also well worth a visit. 

Staithes, North Yorkshire

This pretty coastal town with its compact harbour and whitewashed red-roofed cottages has long been a favourite destination for artists, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s still popular with the artistic community and is slightly more under the radar than other well-known towns on the east coast such as Whitby or Scarborough. 

The town boasts plenty of cafes and restaurants serving fresh seafood, while the beaches are a mecca for fossil hunters. The village is known for its quaint winding cobblestone streets and 18th century fisherman’s cottages. It was once a busy fishing port and you can learn about its history at the Staithes Heritage centre.

The town is situated within the North York Moors National Park with access to a wealth of walking routes and opportunities for other outdoor activities. The town is a popular filming location for TV and movies, and it also hosts an annual arts festival in September. 

Brighton, East Sussex

If small traditional towns aren’t really your thing, then Brighton is the perfect place for urbanites to visit the coast this summer. It combines the classic piers and deckchair seaside experience with all the buzz of a metropolitan city destination. It’s also handy for access to the nearby Bexhill-on-Sea and Eastbourne. 

In summer it’s a vibrant party town with a diverse range of visitors and locals, from students and urban hipsters to old mods, rockers and hippies. You’ll find all manner of pubs, clubs and restaurants with something for all tastes.  It’s also an excellent place for shopping, with a great mixture of high street names and boutique vintage shops. 

Minehead, Somerset

Minehead is situated on the south bank of the Bristol Channel with views over to the south Wales coast. The traditional seaside destination is a family favourite, with a Butlin’s resort and crazy golf, amusement arcades, fishing and boat trips, and all the usual beach and watersport activities.