Want to escape to the coast this weekend? Cool Places recommends their favourite stops, featuring donkey rides, fresh seafood and breezy walks
When it comes to traditional bucket-&-spade seaside towns in England, Weymouth is up there with the best. Its fine, long sandy beach is elegantly lined with Georgian terraces, and is also where you’ll find the famous donkey rides, and England’s longest running Punch and Judy show.
For great restaurants and B&Bs, head to the Old Harbour, where you can also watch the fisherman landing their catch of the day.
With its epic beautiful sandy beach, which also happens to be open to dogs all year round, it’s easy to see why Winterton-on-Sea is one of the best seaside villages in Norfolk. The beach is backed by sand dunes that stretch all the way to Horsey.
The village has a great pub, but if you decide to stay on the beach, you might be fortunate enough to spot the resident seals, which often like to bask in the waves close to shore.
A favourite spot of beloved author Jane Austen, the picturesque harbour town of Lyme Regis is an eclectic mix of hidden alleyways, elegant Victorian villas, thatched houses and fisherman’s cottages all spilling down a steep hillside to the sea. The beach is great for fossil hunting and has fine sand for kids to play on.
Whether you go in peak season or not, Lyme is always a lively, creative place and perfect for being explored.
Any town that claims to be the birthplace of the deep fried Mars bar, is worth seeing. But with a coast stretching over 150 miles, and a town with such a deep-rooted, fascinating history, Stonehaven offers more than just fried Mars bars.
It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Scotland, and that’s probably down to the great seafood restaurants, B&Bs and things to see, including the famous Dunnotar Castle – the setting for the 90s film version of Hamlet.
Wales’ answer to seaside heaven comes in the shape of quaint fishing village New Quay. Set high on a hill leading down to the sea, you’ll find great pubs, restaurants, a local fishmongers and a selection of novelty shops. But the best thing to do in this part of Wales is dolphin spotting. The stunning Bottlenoses often come fairly close to the shore to say hello, but you can also join one of the many dolphin-spotting boat rides to get a closer look.
The seaside town of Morecambe and its magnificent Bay is on the up again, spurred in part by the reopening of the Midland Hotel and a completely new promenade walk stretching five miles along the coast. You can see the Bay in all its glory by taking a walk with 'Queens Guide Across the Sands', or simply get a bag of chips and watch the sunset across the Lake District fells. The views across the sands to the Irish Sea and Cumbrian hills from the café at the end are quite something.
Cool Places is a website devoted to selecting and celebrating the best of UK travel, whether you’re booking a last-minute weekend away or looking for longer trip ideas. They cover the UK’s best places to stay, from stunningly located campsites to cosy boutique hotels, great gastropubs and restaurants to beachside cafés, and the country’s quirkiest shops and markets. Check it out, and add your own favourites.