5 of the Best English Coastal Towns to Visit

When you think of England, you’d be forgiven when dark, drizzly weather comes to mind. Believe it or not, though, there are several days each year when it isn’t raining cats and dogs and you get the opportunity to spend a great day out in the open. And what better way than to visit one of its many stunning English coastal towns?


Dotted around England’s coast are some popular seaside towns to explore if crashing waves and toes in the sand is a must. We already wrote about all the great things to do on the Padstow coast so, let’s take a look at which other coastal areas are especially worthy of a visit.



english coastal towns, falmouth


5 English Coastal Towns to Visit

Falmouth, Cornwall


Not super far from Padstow is the village of Falmouth. Why is this place so great, we hear you ask? Where do we begin! Well, a few years ago it was named Britain’s Best Coastal Town for a start!


If you love being surrounded by sea, then this is one of the best English coastal towns place to be. Even while walking along the high street, you’ll catch glimpses of the sea just mere meters away.


Falmouth is also home to the world’s third-largest natural harbor and home to hidden coves and beautiful creeks. With heaps of beaches to choose from such as Swanpool, Gyllyngvase, and Maenporth, you’ll never be short of a sandy view.


The award-winning National Maritime Museum Cornwall is worth a visit as is the local pub, THe Working Boat, in Greenbank. There you can enjoy a tipple while being surrounded by the idyllic scenery of one of Britains most stunning English coastal towns.


And no visit to Cornwall would be complete without trying its delicacy – the cream tea. Join in the debate about whether the jelly or the clotted cream should be placed first on the scone.


English seaside towns, Bournemouth


Bournemouth, Dorset


Bournemouth is a relic of the Victorian beach break and offers seven miles of sandy beaches, known for being the cleanest in the country. You may have seen cute little beach huts dotted around the coast, but did you know that they actually originated in Bournemouth in 1908? It’d be rude not to hire one for the day!


The pier-to-pier walk along the promenade from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier is a great way to make the most of the fresh sea air. Warm-up first with a round of Adventure Golf, situated next to Bournemouth Pier.


Take a break from the sea and pop over to the Victorian gardens, which include an art exhibition at Pine Walk, an aviary, an ornamental rocker, and a beautiful bandstand. The garden hosts many worthwhile events throughout the year so check to see what’s on when you’re there.


With heaps of family attractions, picturesque walks, and a buzzing nightlife, it’s no wonder Bournemouth is one of Britain’s finest English coastal towns.


Sampling the local seafood is a must when visiting Bournemouth, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry as there are restaurants catering to every need.




Brighton, Sussex


If you’re a fan of famous landmarks, Brighton is the place to be. The opulent Royal Pavilion, the over-the-top Brighton Pier, and the narrow Lanes peppered with quaint shops are enough to keep you going for a while.


If you’re visiting around August, you won’t be able to miss the amazing Pride celebrations. It’s no wonder that the city is Britain’s LGBTQ+ capital.


There’s definitely not a shortage of culture here making it a top choice for travelers to English coastal towns. The Brighton Dome, which is part of the historic pavilion estate, plays host to a year-round schedule of music, theater, and dance so check the schedule before you go.


While perusing the streets, you might even be lucky enough to see some of the famous Banksy’s works of art.


If you want to be extra sure you’ll get a couple of sunny days during your trip, then you’ll be glad to know that this region enjoys more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Britain. The city is always a few degrees warmer than the rest of the UK, so that’s good to know!


Whitby, English coastal towns


Whitby, Yorkshire


A tag further up north than the other seaside places mentioned so far, Whitby lies on the east coast and boasts shingle cliffs packed full of fossils so, it’s no wonder the place has been nicknamed Yorkshire’s “dinosaur coast.”


It’s not surprising that Bram Stoker chose to set his famous Dracula novel here, what with the many ruins and cemetaries that give off an eerie vibe. You can even learn more about Dracula by paying the Dracula Experience a visit.


Don’t be shocked to see people walking around laden in black – October is when the annual Whitby Goth Weekend takes place. Why not dye your hair black and join them?


Being a seaside town with a working fish port, there’s no shortage of fish & chip shops, with the Magpie Café being the most famous. It was even voted the best fish & chip shop in the world in 2007. Just expect a bit of a line!


With so much history surrounding Whitby, this is certainly one of the best English coastal towns to visit for such enthusiasts. Check out the memorial statue of Captain James Cook, situated next to the famous Whale Bone arch. He was one of Britain’s most important navigators and the museum dedicated to him – Captain Cook Museum – can be found on Grape Lane.


Tynemouth, English coastal towns


Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear


Even more north is the large town of Tynemouth which is one of the best English coastal towns for families to explore. Just outside of Newcastle, Tynemouth manages to perfectly combine city coolness with the perfect seaside experience.


Its three white sandy beaches, ruined priory and castle, and working lighthouse are definitely highlights that are not to be missed.


Traditional pub food and an abundance of fish & chips places will keep your belly full. Riley’s Fish Shack serves locally caught fresh seafood and can be found right on the beach in King Edwards Bay.


If you’ve always wanted to learn to surf, here’s the place to do it! The abundance of surf schools means you’ll be riding the waves in no time. And if it does happen to rain, pop into Tynemouth Aquarium, which is a great day out for the whole family. 


End Thoughts


Not enough good things are said of English coastal towns. When we think of a trip to the UK we think of London, but exploring outside the city and to the sea is not only glorious but fun. Where will you put your toes in the sand?

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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