The weather, at time of writing, could not be more suited to driving, along with half the country, to the nearest seaside town to spend time by the beach. Though my personal preference is for cool, fresh, crisp weather, I can’t help but recognise that the vast majority of the public has a permanent appreciation for the muggy climate. I suppose it makes up for the fact that holidays abroad, not least in the Mediterranean, look increasingly less likely until at least the middle of next year.
So what better time is there to list, from my perspective, the best beaches in Britain? Being an island nation, there are certainly a variety to choose from. Whether you prefer sand or pebbles, want beach huts or a pier, arcades or donkey rides, no trip to a UK beach is fully complete without at least one of those. If you’re currently in a landlocked county, sit back, relax and just imagine you’re far from home, right on the coast, ice cream in hand.
The beaches of this city became iconic in the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. Photos of swathes of people sitting on deckchairs framed all the tabloids as there were fears it would lead to a mass spread of Covid. As it happens, no major outbreaks of Covid were linked to beaches, demonstrating just how much less the virus spreads outdoors. In the pre-Covid heydays of 2007, I spent a summer holiday there where, without fail, we would walk down to the beach every morning. Though obviously popular, not least at that time of year, it was a haven away from my home city, providing numerous fun opportunities.
This is probably the beach at which I’ve spent the most amount of time of my childhood. Undoubtedly a posh town, the sand and its dunes of Southwold always took my breath away with the opportunity to be so near to the sea. The beach huts too, which cost an arm and a leg, always looked picturesque and immensely aesthetically pleasing. No visit to the Southwold seaside, however, was complete without a trip to the pier, with arcade games galore bringing many hours of entertainment, even if we did have considerably less money by the end of it.
There is perhaps no better location for…sitting on a bench by the sea, appreciating the waves, sea and sky blend into one, imagining what could be in the future and reminiscing on the past
One of the many things I love about Wells-Next-The-Sea is how hidden away from the rest of society it is (maybe advertising the town isn’t the best idea). It is hugely idyllic, with plenty to explore in the town alongside the beach. There is perhaps no better location for getting fish and chips – from the shop with the longest queue, of course – and sitting on a bench by the sea, appreciating the waves, sea and sky blend into one, imagining what could be in the future and reminiscing on the past.
Sheringham is a simply lovely town, which, every time I have visited it, always has had an immensely crowded beach. From what I can remember, it has one main High Street which naturally leads everyone down to the sea. At points, those beautiful shores appear just out of sight, but then come perfectly into horizon. I have fond memories of just sitting against the sea wall (I’m not one for swimming in the sea, or anywhere else for that matter), reading my book, all my cares and worries in the world temporarily disappearing.
I explicitly remember visiting Southend on Sea on a weekday due to my school teachers being on strike. I went with my cousins (also off school) and, I must say, it felt eerie and unusual to visit a seaside town away from its peak season. Fish and chip shops were open, the arcades and tourist attractions were on offer, but it did have the sense of a ghost town. It taught me that so much of the success of locations is having the volume of visitors arriving. That said, the beach itself was lovely and reinforced to me why that location has so much popularity.
Brighton is a city built around the ideals of social equality
Brighton, Brighton, Brighton. Would any list be complete without mentioning this most glorious of cities? I think not. From the quaint Lanes, to the numerous shops, various piers and delectable restaurants, Brighton is a city built around the ideals of social equality. The beach spans what feels likes miles, with ample opportunity to sit down and relax on offer. For my money, you haven’t truly visited British beaches until you’ve paid a visit to the joyous city that is Brighton.