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10 of the UK’s greatest seaside cities | Travel

Falmouth, Cornwall

Politicians and entrepreneurs, pirates and outlaws, Falmouth’s founding household, the Killigrews, lurched over the centuries between respectability and infamy. And although they’re lengthy gone, Falmouth retains one thing of the Killigrews’ twin nature. From the city’s three stunning seashores the soiled smudge of tankers could be seen on the horizon. Commercial ships within the harbour tower over the sails of picturesque Falmouth working boats.

The greatest views are from the water, and there are many alternatives to discover the sheltered Carrick Roads (the Fal estuary) by kayak, paddleboard, dinghy or on the small ferry that hyperlinks Falmouth with St Mawes. Landlubbers can watch the boats from the again home windows of the Star and Garter on the High Street and luxuriate in glorious nose-to-tail dishes from the kitchen’s wood-fired oven.

The city has an fiercely impartial streak and is home to some distinctive foods and drinks fanatics. Dolly’s Tea Room and Wine Bar shares greater than 200 gins; Espressini (two branches) takes its espresso extra critically than most; and tucked away in a small courtyard, Beerwolf combines darkish wooden and pale ale with a wonderful number of books.

You could have to seek for it however the Killigrews’ maverick spirit persists. Falmouth is vigorous, tough spherical the perimeters in all the suitable methods and nonetheless not fairly respectable, and for these causes alone, I find it irresistible.

Stay On the quayside, the 17th-century Chain Locker has doubles from £95 B&B.
Wyl Menmuir, creator of Man Booker prize-longlisted novel The Many

Rothesay, Isle of Bute

Photograph: Alamy

What you will need to do, straight off the boat, is go to Zavaroni’s on Argyle Street and purchase a Top Hat – an ice-cream cone topped by a marshmallow snowball. Rothesay just isn’t a spot the place pleasure should be deferred, and in any case, it gives you one thing to stroll off. While consuming, wander over to Fraser Gillies, the gents’ outfitters at 30 Montague Street, and admire the window show with its Ivor Cutler-ish indicators: “Socks for feet”, “Cavalry twill trousers – must supply own horse”, and so forth.

Rothesay, the primary settlement on the Isle of Bute, is the archetypal Scottish seaside city from the times when Glaswegians went “doon the watter” for his or her summer season holiday, and a few of that gaudy ambiance persists. It’s stunning, although. The view throughout the bay to the Cowal hills is the very best seaside panorama in Scotland.

You get there by ferry, a 35-minute crossing from the terminal at Wemyss Bay railway station. This a wee marvel in itself, its Edwardian cover a swirl of metal and glass. Make certain and go away sufficient time to choose up one thing to learn from the secondhand bookshop within the former first-class ready room.

That’s a visit to Rothesay: a day of Top Hats and tales.

Stay Chandlers Hotel in close by Ascog Bay has views over the Clyde to the Ayrshire coast, and doubles from £110.
Peter Ross, creator of The Passion of Harry Bingo: Further Dispatches from Unreported Scotland

Herne Bay, Kent

Beach huts at Herne Bay

Beach huts at Herne Bay. Photograph: Getty Images

I fell in love with seashore huts at Herne Bay. Watching their pointed shadows march alongside the shingle again in 1998 impressed me to pursue a profession as a seaside historian. Though Herne Bay has lengthy performed second fiddle to neighbouring Whitstable, on a current go to I see it has undergone some spectacular enhancements.

The Georgian clock tower that dominates the promenade is trying spruce, and the playground subsequent to the seashore is a success with my youngsters. Stepping into the enclosed bandstand felt like stepping again into the 1930s and amid the art-deco particulars, Makcari’s ice-cream parlour is the proper place to cease for refreshment.

The pier was as soon as the third-longest within the nation however as of late its seaward finish is an island of iron marooned within the Thames estuary. Its landward finish, nonetheless, has been revived, with seashore hut-style retail and craft items, and its railings yarn-bombed with a joyful parade of nautical knits. The Oyster and Chop House on the High Street specialises in domestically caught lobster, or for a contact of London-on-sea, attempt the Herne Bay Traditional Pie and Mash (72 Central Parade).

Stay: Evening Tide Guesthouse on the seafront, reverse the bandstand, has doubles from £79 B&B.
Kathryn Ferry, creator of Sheds on the Seashore: A Tour by way of Beach Hut History

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire

Saltburn Cliff Lift

Saltburn cliff raise Photograph: daverhead/Getty Images

I have bittersweet recollections of Saltburn. Yes, it’s an enthralling seaside city, designed by a Victorian philanthropist, on a sandy stretch of coast. Yes, it has a real 16th-century smugglers’ tavern, the Ship Inn, which nonetheless echoes with the ghosts of the previous. And sure, it has a fairly pier, untroubled by vacationer tat, the place I surfed by moonlight one clear November evening, in head-high waves that shimmered as they broke.

But my recollections are clouded by the 17-day flat spell I sat by way of as I tried to surf each seashore in Britain. That’s 17 days staring out to sea from Saltburn’s brief-but-charming promenade; 17 days sitting in numerous pleasant tea homes (till I used to be ejected for vagrancy). Living in a van, I used the Sitting Room, a comfy cafe by the station, as, effectively, my sitting room. It does a very good line in mismatched 1970s furnishings, scrumptious muffins and fascinating cocktails.

Most of the time, Saltburn appears like a correct surf city, the place you’ll be able to fall off the bed, pad by way of the streets, seize a board on the surf shack and dive straight in to its beginner-friendly waves. Add this to its appeal and friendliness, and the nice fish and chips on the Seaview Restaurant, and Saltburn may virtually declare to be the Biarritz of Britain.

Stay If you’ll be able to’t sleep in your van, Brockley Hall Hotel, a neo-gothic mansion overlooking Skelton Beck, is a brief stroll from the station and has doubles from £95 B&B.
Jonathan Bennett, creator of Around the Coast in Eighty Waves

Portstewart, County Derry

Portstewart harbour and promenade, Co Derry

Portstewart harbour and promenade. Photograph: Alamy

Whenever there’s a blink of summer season solar in these elements, Portstewart Strand, the two-mile Blue Flag stretch of sand west of city, is reworked right into a pleasure floor, jam-packed with daytrippers. My most well-liked route (the canine’s, too) takes us off the seashore, up one of many “sand ladders” into the dunes, the place the wind instantly drops and the Atlantic roar softens to a purr. I can spend hours in there over a carpet of pansies and wild thyme, looking for fritillaries and bee orchids or watching on the Barmouth, the place the Bann river empties into the ocean, because the sanderlings do their comedian dance on the water’s edge. The extra energetic carry of their boogie boards and surf down the tallest dune. (I’m informed that within the 1950s, locals used to do the identical on tea trays.)

There’s contemporary seafood on provide at Harry’s Shack on the head of the seashore, from the place you’ll be able to take the coastal path up into city. For a lighter chunk, cease off on the Paper Fig, simply earlier than the Fisherman’s Cottage at The Berrins on Berne Road. By the time you attain the promenade you’ll be prepared for a “poke” (ice-cream cone). Try the salted caramel from Morelli’s, which additionally does dairy- and gluten-free variations, or, nearer to the harbour, Roughan’s does a scrumptious mango and fervour fruit ice-cream. Further alongside the promenade, stock up on Young Buck blue cheese and Corndale Farm chorizo to convey a style of the native fare home at Warke’s Deli .

Stay Saltwater House has doubles from £110 B&B, is inside simple attain of the coastal path and has views alongside the coast to Mussenden Temple and the hills of Donegal.
• The National Trust’s subsequent Orchid Walk on Portstewart seashore is on 18 June, and its subsequent Butterfly Safari is on 14 July (grownup £2, baby £1, reserving important, nationaltrust.org.uk)
Bernie McGill’s newest novel, The Watch House, is about on close by Rathlin Island

Appledore, Devon

Market stall at Appledore, Devon

Photograph: Alamy

At the top of a brief peninsula on the north coast of a protracted one lies a village on the street to nowhere – and for that I find it irresistible.

My first sight of Appledore, three miles north of Bideford, was eight years in the past when the Beaver Inn emerged from the swirling December mist just like the world’s final hostelry. Inside, most clients appeared to be enjoying an odd native card game. Observing from the bar, I had no thought this is able to quickly be my native – a minimum of all through each go to.

Mist rolling up the Torridge estuary to Appledore Quay is a daily function, however when the solar comes out, the village appears a distinct place. With views of dunes and the open sea, it’s a time capsule from a 1950s summer season: youngsters rock-pooling, dad and mom sampling Mr Hocking’s native ice-creams.

Other pubs embrace The Champ, for native actual ales and The Beaver for dwell music. You’re spoilt for selection of cafes: each the Market Street Kitchen and the award-winning Coffee Cabin do glorious cappuccinos. The nearest sandy coastal seashore is a few miles away however what retains bringing me again is the ever-changing river scene.

Stay The Seagate is a 17th-century waterfront pub with doubles from £85.
Richard Guise, creator of Over the Hill and Round the Bend, and Two Wheels Over Catalonia

Barmouth, Gwynedd

Barmouth Bridge

Photograph: Alamy

At first look, Barmouth is a shabby fairground arcade, a candyfloss-and-Carling sort of city. It can really feel cheesy, inflated dinghies bobbing on store partitions above stacked shows of plastic paraphernalia. But it’s additionally the seaside city of my childhood, and layers of repeated visits have distilled down into recollections of a pure and ideal sunny seashore holiday – operating previous the rock store and over the railway line right down to the sand, the elation of sunshine on naked legs, digging sand close to a cluster of folding chairs fastidiously set out behind striped windbreakers. The seashore has extensive flat sand on the estuary mouth, then turns to half a mile of dunes earlier than splitting into brief stretches between groynes. The hills and edges of the mysterious Llŷn peninsula lie far-off throughout the water.

Look inland and also you see mountains: each Cadair Idris and the Rhinogs are simple to succeed in for days out in wilder land. South of city, the picket planked railway viaduct gives an exquisite view over the Mawddach estuary. From the bridge you’ll be able to bike the 16-mile loop of the spectacular Mawddach Trail between Barmouth and to Dolgellau.

The arts centre and low store within the Ebeneezer Chapel on the High Street has good presents and muffins however for a very good meal head in direction of the harbour. The Last Inn on Church Street is sweet for native fish or black beef. And the Mermaid Fish Bar on close by Jubilee Street does the very best chips on the town.

Stay Beautiful Wales has luxurious self-catering barn conversions with fantastic seashore views in Llanaber, a mile or so simply up the street from Barmouth, from £290 for 2 nights (sleeps two).
Ursula Martin, creator of One Woman Walks Wales

Southport, Merseyside

Pleasureland at Southport, Lancashire

Pleasureland, Southport. Photograph: Alamy

Visiting each pleasure pier in England and Wales was a high quality option to see our coastal resorts, from the grottiest to the best. Southport had simply the suitable mixture of contemporary city bustle and buckets and spades to make it among the best.

The big seashore is nice for walks and wildlife, though strolling to the ocean itself would possibly take some time. Even the second-longest pier within the UK doesn’t, for more often than not, attain the water: Southport has one of many greatest tidal ranges within the world, and the ocean is usually away within the distance. Even the locals get excited when there’s a excessive tide.

The pier itself is the hub of seaside actions, a fab retro arcade on the pier head, with love testers, penny falls and a terrifying automaton known as Laugh with Jolly Jack. At the land finish, there’s an important corridor of mirrors, which doesn’t mirror badly in town in any respect.

Just alongside the promenade, with views throughout Marine Lake to the seashore, is the Lakeside Inn, as soon as Britain’s smallest pub.

The Bottle Room a brief stroll away on Lord Street is a comfy craft beer haven with dwell music each weekend, whereas A Great Little Place behind the Town Hall combines the nice and cozy glow of excellent meals with the nice and cozy glow of a social enterprise serving to individuals with autism. A cumberland sausage bap with beer-braised apples and mushrooms is filling for round a fiver.

Stay The Grade II-listed Bold Hotel has simply had a multimillion pound refurb and has doubles from £68 room-only.
Jon Bounds, co-author of Pier Review, A Road Trip in Search of the British Seaside

Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear

Tynemouth surfing

Photograph: Rachael Tailford/Picfair

I first heard of Tynemouth when a good friend defined why there was a surfboard in his room at Newcastle University: “We’re just down the road from Longsands, the best surfing beach in north-east England.” I used to be intrigued, so we took the metro out to the coast, the place I rented a board from Tynemouth Surf Co and caught my first North Sea wave. I additionally caught the browsing bug that autumnal afternoon, and it occurred in the suitable place on the proper time: as winter attracts in, the swells begin pumping. Deepest, darkest January is my favorite time in Tynemouth – not only for the waves, or the camaraderie amongst cold-water surfers, however for the shocked expressions from canine walkers as they watch you dive into the ice -cold water. Little do they know we’re toasty heat in head-to-toe neoprene.

As winter eases into spring the swells settle down and actions in Tynemouth change. Surfing is changed by swimming within the cove, barbecues within the previous tidal pool and beers within the Gibraltar Rock pub overlooking the traditional fortress and priory. These immaculately maintained ruins are on a cliff-edge on the finish of Front Street, which is filled with locations to eat. My favorite dish is scampi from Longsands Fish Kitchen, devoured in our campervan on the hill overlooking the mouth of the Tyne. From there, you’re surrounded by thrilling locations to discover – from the glittering lights of Newcastle upriver, to the wild expanse of Northumberland up the coast.

Stay: Tynemouth’s Grand Hotel overlooks Longsands Beach, with doubles from £98 B&B.
William Thomson, creator of The Book of Tides and The World of Tides

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Ventnor

Photograph: Alamy

A freshly grilled bacon sandwich on the highest deck of the ferry heralded my childhood holidays to the Isle of Wight. Zipped up in cagoules because the wind gusted round us, my brother and I had tasted nothing finer. Our vacation spot was Ventnor, a seaside city with all the pieces a six-year-old may want: an enormous paddling pool with a 3D map of the island rising from its centre, a muddyish seashore to splash about on, and baggage of chips to eat as my ft dangled from a deckchair.

They’ve stopped serving bacon sandwiches on the highest deck of the Red Funnel, however just about all the pieces in Ventnor is reassuringly the identical. The hairpin bends of the Cascade Road – precise title Shore Hill, which pitches guests into the Victorian seaside city – nonetheless slaloms previous vibrant municipal bedding and steadfast granite villas. Much of the structure survives from Ventnor’s 19th-century heyday as a well being resort, and authentic bathing machines (with out wheels) at the moment are out there to rent as seashore huts.

Chips are nonetheless the snack of selection at Haven Fishery on The Esplanade, though as of late they’re accompanied with ingenious crab choices (samosas, croquettes). A 20-minute stroll alongside the seafront takes you now, as then, to the subtropical Botanical Gardens, a secure place to get lost in, very like Ventnor itself.

Stay National Trust cottage Little Chert is an annex to a modernist home in St Lawrence, a couple of mile to the south. It’s furnished in 1970s model – the orange Formica kitchen is a spotlight – and sleeps two from £323 for 3 nights.
Clare Gogerty, creator of The National Trust Book of the Coast, and National Trust guides to the Tin Coast, Gower Peninsula and Brownsea Island


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