The most beautiful seaside towns in the UK


Is there anything sweeter than strolling along the seafront of a British seaside town on a warm summer’s day, with the smell of fresh seafood in the air and the sound of waves crashing on the shore?

With a coastline stretching for tens of thousands of miles, the UK has a quintessential catalog of towns to choose from, including some delightfully quieter corners.

And with British weather playing ball and flight chaos set to continue into the summer, Britain’s coastlines have never looked more inviting.

So pack up your bucket and spade, slather your face with factor 50, and start planning a trip to one of the UK’s prettiest seaside towns, chosen by our experts below.

The most beautiful seaside towns in the UK

Polperro, Cornwall

Possibly one of the UK’s most idyllic seaside towns, Polperro in Cornwall is a picture-postcard treasure nestled between Fowey and Looe. While traffic has been a problem in the past, locals have gotten around the problem by having all visitors use a park and ride. It also has a popular fisherman’s choir that can be found performing on selected nights at Polperro Quay in the autumn.

Staithes, North Yorkshire

This little town in North Yorkshire is one of the county’s biggest secrets. Once the home of Captain Cook, the little fishing village is steeped in history. It’s also a great place for foodies, and you can eat fresh fish at Cleveland Corner or take a boat trip to catch your own with local captain Sean (

Hope Cove, Devon

Living up to its name, Hope Cove in Devon has everything you could want from a British seaside town. It is, in fact, two towns, Outer Hope and Inner Hope, and sits on golden sand beaches, amidst thatched-roof huts and the lulling sound of the sea. It’s a great place to dive, with 30 wrecks in the surrounding area, and is famous for its delicious crab and lobster, caught daily by local fishermen. Hope Cove Weekend is an annual festival of live music, great food, and family fun (during the bank holiday in August this year).

Hope Cove -Michael Roberts/Getty

Hope Cove – Michael Roberts/Getty

Portmeirion, Gwynedd

While it may be the only town on the list with opening hours, Portmeirion in Wales has to be one of the most interesting. Created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1976, who wanted to show that a landscape of natural beauty could be developed without ruining it, the colorful tourist village offers free 20-minute tours between Easter and October, as well as a courtesy. rail tour of nearby Gwyllt Woods (

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

While this too-cheesy-to-be-real port town may look like it belongs in Denmark, it’s actually located on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Just a short ferry ride from Oban, it was built in 1788 to a design by Thomas Telford and is home to the Tobermory Distillery, art gallery, live music venue, theater and marine visitor centre. You can also rent a kayak and head out to explore the surrounding waters.

Tobermory-Richard Kellett/Getty

Tobermory-Richard Kellett/Getty

Mousetrap, Cornwall

Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) is one of Cornwall’s most picturesque harbor towns. In fact, in 1930, Dylan Thomas described it as the “loveliest village in England”, and today it has hardly changed. Growing around its small fishing port between Penzance and Land’s End, the town is home to a small coastal beach, as well as small shops, galleries and restaurants.

Walberswick, Suffolk

The wooden bridge that runs from the quaint town of Walberswick to the beach is always teeming with children clinging to crabbing lines and plastic buckets. Climb over the crest of the dunes into the magical light of the Suffolk coast and you’ll understand why so many artists are drawn to paint this long, empty stretch of sandy beach.

Walberswick - iStock

Walberswick – iStock

Blakeney, Norfolk

One of Norfolk’s prettiest seaside villages, Blakeney’s back lanes are dotted with small flint cottages and a narrow, winding main street. The pier is a prime spot for crabbing (or gill) fishing and children can regularly be seen dangling their legs over the side, catching crabs on locally purchased lines. The Blakeney Point Bird Sanctuary is a must-see and is home to harbor and gray seals, which laze lazily at the water’s edge.

Portloe, Cornwall

Sheltered by the cliffs of the Roseland Peninsula, Portloe is another quintessentially perfect seaside town to be found in Cornwall. Sir John Betjeman once called it “one of Cornish’s least pampered and most impressive fishing villages” and it’s not hard to see why. Naturally protected (its name originates from Cornish Porth Logh meaning ‘cove pool’), Portloe has grown, like many Cornish seaside towns, from a history of fishing and smuggling.

Portloe, Cornwall - Mike Blakey/iStock

Portloe, Cornwall – Mike Blakey/iStock

West of Lulworth, Dorset

This quaint little Dorset town lives on the fringes. Here, the great British countryside blends with the coastline, creating a stunning scene: 400-year-old thatched-roof cottages stand alongside former coastguard houses, and a beautiful mill pond nestles at its center. Close to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, the town’s proximity to the Jurassic Coast only adds to its charm.

Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire

Old stone walls, red sandstone cliffs and the fresh smell of salty sea air characterize this pretty little Scottish town on the Aberdeenshire coast overlooking the Moray Firth. With a pod of resident dolphins in the estuary, keep your eyes peeled as you walk out front. There are many walks to enjoy in the area where you can see the abundant local wildlife, as well as a selection of galleries and workshops.

Village of Gardenstown - Getty

Village of Gardenstown – Getty

Bamburgh, Northumberland

The undoubted highlight of the town of Bamburgh is that it has a rather impressive 18th century castle in the middle of it, something that is not something many British towns can lay claim to. It also has a dune-fringed beach whose sands wouldn’t look out of place in the Mediterranean and is one of the best surf spots in the northeast. There are plenty of English tea rooms for a break and a museum dedicated to Grace Darling (famous for her part in rescuing survivors of the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838).

Portree, Isle of Skye

On the east side of bonnie Skye, Portree may be just a town, but it is the capital of the Inner Hebrides island. With Ben Tianavaig to the south, Suidh Fhinn to the west and Ben Chrachaig to the north, the town is surrounded by hills and has everything you could wish for, including a swimming pool amongst the brightly colored houses.

Clovelly, Devon

Scattered across the side of a hill and clinging to a 400ft cliff overlooking Bideford Bay, Clovelly has to be one of Devon’s most famous villages. While donkeys used to be the main mode of transportation, they are now only used for the kids’ rides, so be prepared for a hike if you want to walk to the boardwalk and back. If you fancy trying some of the freshly caught fish, head to Red Lion Harbor Restaurant (

Cromarty, Highlands

Found on the tip of the eerily named Black Isle (confusingly a peninsula rather than an island), Cromarty has the sea on two sides: the Moray Firth to the south and the Cromarty Firth to the north. Established as a port for the importation of materials needed to feed local cloth, rope and ironworks factories, Cromarty has a more interesting history than your typical seaside fishing village, with small cottages mixed in between larger buildings.

Cromarty Firth and the Village of Cromarty - Getty

Cromarty Firth and the Village of Cromarty – Getty

Carnlough, County Antrim

Set against the stunning backdrop of Glencloy, one of the Nine Glens of Antrim, at the northern end of Carnlough Bay between Garron Point and Park Head, Carnlough has a rich history with a settlement believed to date back to 6000BC. The entire harbor has been renovated and is popular with those who love nothing more than a fishing spot.

Beer, Devon

There are few coastal views in the UK as stunning as those of the Jurassic Coast. Surrounded by the iconic white cliffs at Lyme Bay, Beer is one of the lucky towns to have this sensational world heritage site on its doorstep. Colorful fishing boats bring in loads of fresh crab, fish and mackerel, while the town’s history includes its use as a base by notorious smuggler Jack Rattenbury. The town hosts an annual regatta every summer.

Beer, Devon - James Barrett/Alamy

Beer, Devon – James Barrett/Alamy

Crail, Fife

With charming cobbled streets lined with fishermen’s cottages leading down to a small harbour, Crail is possibly one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. Located in the East Neuk of Fife, just getting here offers some stunning views if you’re heading from Edinburgh (a 90-minute drive). The harbor front is a great place to enjoy some summer ice cream and watch the fishing boats return with their catch. There are also plenty of tea rooms to enjoy, galleries to explore, and even a heritage center to explore.

Llangrannog, Ceredigion

As the River Hawen makes its way into Cardigan Bay, it blows past this pretty town. While you can enjoy the main beach which is popular with surfers for much of the day, if you wait until low tide you can walk to a second one (which you can also walk down to from the cliff path when the waves hit higher). ). You can enjoy traditional pub food, homemade ice cream and a quick bite at one of the cafes. There is also a lovely circular walk to enjoy around the headlands of Ynys Lochtyn.

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