With a sunny Bank holiday weekend ahead, many will be planning a day trip to the seaside. And a new survey has revealed some of the best UK locations to head for beach days out.
And it was the tiny village of Bamburgh in Northumberland which came out top – followed by the ever-popular seaside resort of Llandudno in Wales. Welsh resorts were given a big thumbs up in the survey with three more in the top ten – Tenby and St David’s in Pembrokeshire as well as Conwy in North Wales.
The annual Which? survey asked more than 4,300 visitors to rate coastal resorts they have visited across a range of categories, including the quality of beaches, seafront, tourist attractions, food and drink, scenery, peace and quiet and value for money.
Read more : Cheshire’s only coastal village hailed “the best place on earth”
Ranked number one in 2021, Bamburgh proved unbeatable once again, coming top in the survey. It was hailed for its “sheer beauty”, with its sweeping sandy beach overlooked by a clifftop castle described as “spectacular” and “imposing” by respondents.
Wales has three of the top six seaside towns in the list, with budget-friendly Llandudno claiming second spot overall with a score of 86 per cent. The town’s biggest draw was said to be the Great Orme, the limestone headland which rises to nearly 700ft and boasts “incomparable” views.
Active visitors enjoyed lacing up their walking boots and hiking to the summit, while others opted to take the tram or open-sided cable car. Llandudno has twin West and North Shore beaches and reasonably priced hotels – £95 a night on average, which the survey said proves that for popular locations there’s no need to break the bank.
Third-placed St Andrews is the highest-ranked Scottish seaside destination with an 84 per cent score. The city heaves with history, hosting Scotland’s oldest university, a world-famous golf course and a network of medieval streets to explore.
It’s one of three places that scored five stars for food and drink (alongside Padstow and Lytham St Annes in Lancashire) thanks to its variety of cafés and food shops. Visitors said St Andrews “oozes golf” while praising the university city’s “youthful vibe”, quaint streets and historical sites, testament to its winning blend of sport, culture, sand and sea.
Dartmouth in Devon shows it doesn’t need a sprawling beach to attract visitors to the water: as it still scored five stars in the seafront category. This propelled it to a destination score of 83 per cent and joint fourth place in the overall table along with Tenby.
The town – in Pembrokeshire, west Wales – has a parade of pastel-coloured Georgian houses and a selection of five-star beaches. That includes the golden sweep of North Beach, peppered with rock pools and windbreaks, to Castle Beach tucked into a cove, or the smaller Harbour Beach.
1. Bamburgh, Northumberland
2. Llandudno, Conwy
3. St Andrews, Fife
4. Dartmouth, Devon
5. Tenby, Pembrokeshire
6. St David’s, Pembrokeshire
7. Aldeburgh, Suffolk
8. Filey, North Yorkshire
9. Conwy, Conwy
10. Lyme Regis, Dorset
11. Lynmouth, Devon
12. Lytham St Annes, Lancashire
13. Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire
14. Southwold, Suffolk
15. St Mawes, Cornwall
16. Lymington, Hampshire
17. Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk
18. Whitby, North Yorkshire
19. Beaumaris, Anglesey
20. North Berwick, East Lothian
The results of the Which? poll aim to shine a spotlight on the sheer quality of Britain’s coastline. It pointed to 51 destinations scoring an impressive 70 per cent overall rating or higher.
It included Folkestone in Kent which was the cheapest seaside destination at £63 per night. Its destination score of 72 per cent makes it an appealing choice for travellers whose holiday budgets are tighter than usual this year due to the cost of living crisis.
Lytham St Annes was the highest rated seaside town in the north west region on the list, coming in at number 12 with a 79 per cent rating. And it fared significantly better than its near neighbour of Blackpool in Lancashire, which came in at tenth bottom on the list, with a lowly 58 per cent score.
Blackpool gained just one star for its shopping and for the “peace and quiet” categories on the survey. Coming in at the very bottom of the table were Skegness, Bognor Regis, Southend-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth and Burnham-on-Sea, all with destination scores of no better than 51 per cent.
Despite its low ranking, holidaymakers did have highlights to share from their trips to Skegness. Many recommended the Natureland seal sanctuary, with one visitor calling it “the sort of thing you expect to see on a David Attenborough programme” while nostalgic attractions and amusement rides for children made Skegness a “proper” British seaside resort in the eyes of some respondents.
Visitors to Bognor Regis found a “charming” town with the best climate on the south coast. Holidaymakers tipped the peaceful Pagham Harbour nature reserve and Hotham Park – a “little gem” – while the flat promenade was praised for being accommodating to visitors with limited mobility.
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “The British seaside hasn’t boomed like this since the 1960s. Holidaymakers had such a fantastic time in their caravans, tents and beach lodges over the past two years that a coastal break on home shores is on the cards for many, even with restrictions on overseas travel lifted.
“Prices for a UK stay have increased, but there’s no need to pay over the odds. For a holiday on a budget it’s best to aim for an off-season trip. Head to one of the many well priced resorts with your bucket and spade, an empty stomach for the candyfloss and a pile of 2p coins and go make your fortune on the slots.”
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