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!

  • Minack Theatre, Porthcurno
    17.49%
    Minack Theatre, Porthcurno
  • The Shell Grotto, Kent
    12.93%
    The Shell Grotto, Kent
  • Blakeney Point, Norfolk
    10.54%
    Blakeney Point, Norfolk
  • Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire
    10.01%
    Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire
  • Bodnant Gardens, Wales
    8.97%
    Bodnant Gardens, Wales
  • Cragside House, Northumberland
    8.74%
    Cragside House, Northumberland
  • Kyoto Gardens, London
    8.52%
    Kyoto Gardens, London
  • Heights of Abraham, Derbyshire
    7.92%
    Heights of Abraham, Derbyshire
  • Kilchurn Castle, Scotland
    7.10%
    Kilchurn Castle, Scotland
  • The Rock Houses, Stourbridge
    5.61%
    The Rock Houses, Stourbridge
  • Cathedral Cavern, Cumbria
    2.17%
    Cathedral Cavern, Cumbria
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.
Like this article? Subscribe to receive updates...
Subscribe to receive notifications when we post new articles to our online magazine.
By subscribing to these updates you’re agreeing to receive email updates when new articles are published to the McCarthy & Stone online magazine.
We’ll never send you spam or sell your details. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 Recipes For A Royal Wedding

We look into the perfect recipes to pair with a royal wedding. We've picked out the most delicious, as well as the quintessentially British for the special occasion! ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

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

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