Call us now on

0800 201 4811

The Top 10 Best British Seaside Towns

Mark Gale

Mark Gale

Author

Lifestyle
Retiring to the seaside -- isn't that every person's dream? Waking up to the sound of rolling waves, wandering along the promenade, and admiring the views over the ocean. The UK may seem small, but with over 7,700 miles of coastline, it boasts some of the most beautiful beaches and breath-taking sea views imaginable.

From the golden sands and foaming surf of Cornwall to the dune-fringed beaches and iconic castles of Northumberland, we asked you to help us select the top seaside destinations in the UK. Now the results are in! We've ranked your ten favourite destinations in order of preference -- can you guess which seaside resort came out on top?

We asked our valued customers and supporters which of the below top 10 best British seaside destinations was their favourite and, after receiving over 2500 votes, we've compiled the data into an easy to digest map. Below you'll find the overall findings and, if you'd like to know which destination your region specifically voted top, just click the drop down menu and select your area!

  • Salcombe
    18.55%
    Salcombe
  • Weymouth
    16.1%
    Weymouth
  • Whitby
    12.06%
    Whitby
  • St. Ives
    11.73%
    St. Ives
  • Bamburgh
    10.48%
    Bamburgh
  • Cromer
    9.19%
    Cromer
  • Shanklin
    6.28%
    Shanklin
  • Deal
    5.95%
    Deal
  • Worthing
    5.7%
    Worthing
  • Hastings
    3.95%
    Hastings
SCO TL AND SOUTH EAST SOUTHERN N ORTH EAST N ORTH WEST NORTH LONDON WEST MIDLANDS EAST MIDLANDS - SOUTH WEST

10. Hastings, East Sussex

An expansive sand and shingle beach backed by grand whitewashed Edwardian hotels, a two-layered promenade, and a Victorian pier combine to make Hastings an archetypal British seaside town. The steep grassy hillside nearby leads to an ancient and ruined castle which was the first in England to be built by William the Conqueror. The town itself is steeped in history, and takes pride in its heritage as the location of the famed battle of 1066 which takes its name.

Best for history

History lovers will fall head over heels for Hastings. Head to Battle Abbey to hear the story of Hastings’ innumerable historic invasions. Visit the Old Town and admire the impressive architecture which ranges from Medieval to Victorian. Wind through the many narrow streets and passages known as ‘twittens’, or spend an afternoon exploring Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.

9. Deal, Kent

A vast sandy beach backed by pastel shaded hotels, Deal is a breath of fresh air and the perfect escape from city life. The pier has been modernised to feature a restaurant instead of the typical arcades, so you can enjoy the sea view over lunch.

Best for shopping

The broad, pedestrianised town centre is home to fascinating selection of antique and bric-a-brac shops. Wander through the winding streets to discover period furniture, jewellery and curios.

Find retirement homes in Kent.

8. Shanklin, Isle of Wight

The delightful seaside resort of Shanklin features charming thatched cottages, chintzy tea rooms, and a great selection of gift shops. Brightly coloured beach huts line the soft sands of Shanklin Beach, all of which contribute to make this village on the Isle of Wight a brilliant destination for traditional seaside breaks.

Best for cream teas

No trip to the Isle of Wight would be complete without sampling a famous cream tea. The innumerable tea rooms in Shanklin boast some of the best afternoon teas on the island, from the traditional pot of tea and scones piled high with clotted cream and jam, to the modern take on an old favourite which might include finger sandwiches, miniature pastries and cakes, and even Champagne.

Find retirement homes in the Isle of Wight.

7. Cromer, Norfolk

This traditional seaside resort rose to prominence in the Victorian period, and you’ll still see plenty of the original features today, including the pier and much of the town’s architecture. The Pavilion Theatre is the UK’s only remaining end of the pier variety show. Cromer prides itself on its independent cafes, bars and restaurants, many of which have been family run institutions for generations, and which give the town its own unique character.

Best for seafood

Head to one of the many independent restaurants in Cromer to sample the famous Cromer crab. Traditionally the delicious crab meat is cooked, seasoned and then stuffed into the crab shell and served with a salad garnish, but you'll also find tasty terrines and crab sandwiches too

Find retirement homes in Norfolk.

6. Worthing, West Sussex

Pull up your deckchair on the fine shingle beach at Worthing, and admire the far-reaching views. Worthing is a traditional seaside town with a modern twist. Residents can enjoy all the typical coastal activities, like strolling along the promenade, indulging in ice creams and visiting the Pier, but Worthing also has plenty of unique quirks, from a vintage cinema to an Iron age fort, and micro pubs to beach hut art studios.

Best Pier

The iconic Worthing Pier makes the focal point of the seafront, with a stunning Art Deco pavilion and all the usual pier-side amusements, like an arcade, café and fairground. Worthing Pier has come runner up in the Pier of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017.

5. Bamburgh, Northumberland

Rugged countryside, dune-fringed beaches, and ancient and iconic architecture makes Bamburgh one of Britain’s best seaside destinations. Enjoy windswept walks along the coast, spend the day exploring Bamburgh Castle, or simply enjoy the solitude of this secluded seaside location.

Best for nature lovers

From Bamburgh you can watch a huge variety of seabirds, from shags and guillemots to puffins. Seals and harbour porpoises can also often be spotted playing in the waves. Take a boat trip to the Farne Islands, where the birds nest in their thousands every year.

4. St Ives, Cornwall

A favourite destination for summer holidays, St Ives has a bustling, lively atmosphere during the summer months. Make the most of the many restaurants, cafes and bars in St Ives, and meet people from all walks of life come to make the most of the British sunshine.

Best weather

St Ives is a subtropical oasis nestled in the corner of Britain. Enjoy plenty of sunny weather, balmy summer evenings and mild spring and autumn temperatures. Even the plants here seem to belong to another part of the world.

Find retirement homes in Cornwall.

3. Whitby, North Yorkshire

Blue Flag beach, rugged coastal walks, delicious fish and chips and ice creams aside, Whitby is a misfit’s paradise. The steep, winding cobbled paths of Whitby’s town centre reveal a unique character to this seaside resort.

Best for quirky character

Perhaps it’s Whitby’s ties with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it could be the popularity of the famed Whitby Jet gemstone, or maybe it’s the imposing Abbey ruins casting long shadows over the harbour below. Whatever it is, Whitby has become a mecca for goths, who descend on the town in their droves. People watching has never been so fascinating.

2. Weymouth, Dorset

Weymouth is a great place to visit the seaside for older people, as the safe shallow waters are ideal for paddling, and the picturesque harbour is a joy to admire, with traditional fishing trawlers and luxury yachts framed by the pretty pastel shades of the surrounding houses.

Best for beaches

Boasting several enviable titles, Weymouth Beach was recently announced as #1 beach in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017, and has also been ranked 9th best beach in Europe. The golden sandy swathe is part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline.

1.Salcombe, Devon

A picturesque harbour surrounded by pastel-hued buildings rising gently uphill, Salcombe typifies the nautical beauty of South Devon. You’ll find plenty of beaches close to Salcombe, each one suited to a different day out. From North Sands with the ever-popular Winking Prawn café, to the secluded and picturesque Sunny Cove which is accessible only by ferry.

Best for boat trips

Whether it’s to access more distant beaches, or to admire the beautiful Devon coastline and wildlife, daily ferries depart from Salcombe harbour to all manner of destinations. You can even climb aboard angling boats for your own sea fishing experience.

Find retirement homes in Devon

From your morning dip in the ocean to the refreshing smell of a sea breeze, a retirement property by the sea is an ideal way to stay relaxed, active and inspired.

Start the search for your dream retirement property on the coast.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Building Blocks

 A huge amount of care goes into every McCarthy & Stone development. Take a look at what goes into the planning, building and designing interiors of each development we build.

...Read more

Lifestyle

Home is where the hound is

McCarthy & Stone’s pet-friendly policy* is a big draw for some looking to move into a retirement development. Here, Tara the dog tells Andrew Woods about her new life at Carrick Court in Hampshire  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Heart and Soul of the Community

Marbury Court in the heart of rural Cheshire is an Assisted Living development that overlooks the River Weaver. Rachel Halliwell meets some of the people who work behind the scenes to help life run smoothly for its 66 homeowners 
...Read more

Lifestyle

A fresh start nearer to your dearest

Selling the family home your children grew up in can be a big wrench. But many McCarthy & Stone homeowners say that the change brought them a perfect mix of independence and closeness, as Rachel Halliwell finds out  ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more