Skip to Content

10 best coastal places to visit in the UK

10 best coastal places to visit in the UK

Sharing is caring!

The coast is where my heart is. I don’t think I’ve ever lived more than a couple of miles from the sea. Just the thought of being landlocked makes me feel claustrophobic. I think this is why we usually seek out coastal places to visit in the UK when we are planning our family holidays.

*Advertorial feature*

If you are thinking of booking a break by the sea check out these coastal cottages available from Classic Cottages.

But which locations should you consider?

In this post I’m sharing some of our favourite coastal places to visit in the UK.

Crantock in Cornwall

Dog on Crantock Beach in Newquay, Cornwall
The dog-friendly beach goes on for miles

Crantock just to the south of Newquay is home to one of our favourite Cornish beaches. There’s dunes to explore and the sand is that brilliant squishy consistency that makes for deep, satisfying footprints. 

It’s also a dog-friendly beach all year round making it a go-to place for families holidaying with pets.

Of course, staying in Crantock also puts you close to all the brilliant family-friendly attractions of Newquay

We recommend the Camel Creek Adventure Park for a fun day out, Healey’s Cyder Farm to sample local produce and Pirates Quest Adventure Golf for rainy days.

Here’s some more ideas for places to explore along the Cornish coast and some inspiration for things to do in Cornwall in the summer.

Where to stay

Flowering bush in front of white washed cottage on a sunny day
Greycott Cottage in Crantock, Cornwall

Greycott | sleeps 8 + 2 cots | dog-friendly

Lymington in the New Forest

I spent many weekends and school holidays staying in Lymington in the New Forest when I was a child.

The town’s market and antique shops are always worth a browse. And if your kids love crabbing then the harbour is a top spot for catching a crustacean.

Sailing boats bobbing along the Quay in Lymington town in the New Forest on a bright sunny day
The Quayside in Lymington

Of course you are also perfectly placed for exploring the natural beauty of the New Forest National Park, a former Royal hunting ground that covers 220 square miles and has 26 miles of coastline.

It’s the perfect coastal spot for families who enjoy walking and cycling. There are also some lovely family attractions like Beaulieu for car fans and Longdown Activity Farm, which is ideal for tiny tots.

Where to stay

Large and light modern kitchen
Ridge House in Lymington

Ridge House | sleeps 12 + 2 cots | dog-friendly

Lyme Regis in Dorset

If your kids are fascinated by fossils, coastal places to visit in the UK don’t come better than Lyme Regis. It is at the heart of the Jurassic Coast.

Fossils found here come from rocks formed between 250 and 65 million years ago, including the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological periods.

View of the famous Cobb harbor of Lyme Regis with the docked boats and yachts, with the Lyme Regis town on the background. Dorset. England.
The Cobb Harbour in Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis recently hit the big screen in the film Ammonite all about fossil hunter Mary Anning who made several important dinosaur discoveries here.

Once you’ve had your fill of beach combing there are plenty more things to do in Dorset from aquariums and animal parks to water parks and historic houses.

Where to stay

Garden furniture on patio outside converted barn
Woodville Cottage in Dorset

Woodville Cottage | sleeps 4 + one cot | dog-friendly

Bigbury on Sea 

Tucked away on the South Devon coast is the seaside village of Bigbury on Sea. 

This is just the spot for a family beach holiday with a sandy shoreline, views of the enigmatic Burgh Island, which you can walk to at low tide, and surf schools offering expert tuition in the shallow waters.

Kids in the sea at Bigbury with Burgh Island in the background
Bigbury Beach is a favourite of ours

Bigbury is part of the South Hams area where you’ll find characterful towns, small family attractions and plenty of places to enjoy a locally whipped ice cream. 

If you want to disconnect from the busyness of life then Bigbury is the ideal coastal place to visit for your next family holiday.

Where to stay

Light and airy top floor of modern house overlooking the coast
The Qube in Bigbury-on-Sea in Devon

The Qube | sleeps 8 + 2 cots | dog-friendly

Poole in Dorset

Poole is proof that you don’t need to fly abroad to relax on long white beaches, dine on platters of fresh seafood and ogle super yachts. It has it all.

Sandbanks, Shell Bay and Branksome Chine are rated the best beaches here for the safety, golden sands and family-friendly facilities. There’s also a strip of beach on the inside of Poole Harbour which is shallow and ideal for small children to paddle in at high tide.

The Grand Italian Garden at Compton Acres
The Grand Italian Garden

In terms of places to visit in Poole we love Compton Acre gardens with its Italian influences, grottos and water features. 

Somewhere else to enjoy a walk is Upton Country Park which also has a great adventure playground for kids.

Read about these places and more in my guide dedicated to things to do in Poole with kids.

Where to stay

Garden table and chairs laid with drinks in front of larger garden with countryside view
Sunnyholme in Sandbanks in Dorset

Sunnyholme | sleeps 6 + 2 cots

Brighton in Sussex

King George IV thought Brighton was one of the best coastal places to visit in the UK, and who would argue otherwise?!

From the Royal Pavilion to the Palace Pier and famous Lanes shopping area, Brighton is a fun seaside town to wander around.

onion domes, towers and minarets forming the roof of the royal pavilion palace in brighton england, King George IV's summer house and Regency folly
King George IV’s Royal Pavilion in Brighton

To get the very best views of the town take a ride on the Brighton i360. If the weather fails you then Brighton has a SEA LIFE Centre housed in a purpose built Victorian building. 

The wider East and West Sussex area also have plenty to offer visiting families including the historic landscape of Battle, the ancient mosaics of Fishbourne Roman Place and Winnie-the-Pooh’s stomping ground, Ashdown Forest.

Here’s some of our recommended places to visit in Sussex with kids.

Where to stay

White two seater table and chairs outside converted barn
Quebec Barn in Sussex

Quebec Barn | sleeps 4 + cot | dog-friendly

Exmoor National Park

Both Devon and Somerset have the privilege of sharing this National Park that comes with a stunning coastline.

In fact Exmoor has the highest sea cliff in England and Wales. It’s called Great Hangman and measures 244m.

Somewhere you must visit during a stay in what is one of the UK’s must visit coastal spots is Lynton and Lynmouth. These North Devon towns are connected by the world’s steepest and tallest water-powered funicular

View of Lynmouth from the top of the funicular track at Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway in Devon
Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway

On this cliff railway you can get great sea views and a delicious cream tea at the top.

More wonderful experiences in Exmoor are walking the Valley of Rocks, finding Somerset’s hidden beaches and of course, visiting Exmoor Zoo where you might spot the moor’s mythical beast.

Where to stay

White country house in large gardens
Meadowbank house in Exmoor

Meadowbank | sleeps 8 + cot

Cowes in the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is one of the most relaxing places to visit in the UK. But if you want to find the most buzzing place on the island then it has to be Cowes.

Each year it hosts Cowes Week – a major sailing regatta that attracts competitors from around the world.

Sailing boats and other vessels in the marina at Cowes in the Isle of Wight
Cowes marina – the hub of Cowes Week regatta

Cowes is a great base for exploring the rest of the island with cycle and bus routes starting here so you don’t even need to bring your car.

Catch the ferry to Cowes from Southampton.

Here are some more ideas for spending time in the Isle of Wight.

Where to stay

Old white washed cottage
Starboard Side in Cowes in the Isle of Wight

Starboard Side | sleeps 4 | dog-friendly

Tenby in Pembrokeshire

The picture postcard perfect harbour at Tenby has been attracting tourists since Victorian times.

Why? This gorgeous fishing village has got something for everyone: sandy beaches, historic places to explore and direct access onto the coast path.

Picturesque Tenby Harbour captured at low tide. A lovely sunny day highlighting the colourful houses.
Tenby in Wales is a popular holiday spot on the coast

Close by you’ll find wildlife parks, activity centres and the Oakwood Theme Park for thrill seekers.

Tenby is also a great base for exploring the rest of Pembrokeshire including the tiny city of St David’s to see the Cathedral and Bishops Palace. It’s a very compact destination so is an easy one to wander around with kids.

Where to stay

View from balcony towards a small island.
St Catherine’s House in Tenby, Wales

St Catherine’s House | sleeps 16 + 2 cots | dog-friendly

Mevagissey in Cornwall

If you want to explore Cornwall’s South Coast then we can recommend making Mevagissey your base.

There’s plenty of beaches, historic sites and family attractions to explore as well as a warren of streets where seafood restaurants serve up the catch of the day.

The inner harbour is also a popular spot for crabbing. Make a day of it by buying a takeaway fish and chip dinner to nibble on while the kids drop a line. Just keep an eye out for the seagulls – they are ravenous here.

Colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour of the fishing village of Mevagissey in Cornwall
Mevagissey harbour

For a relaxing stroll head to the Lost Gardens of Heligan where you can lose yourselves for hours looking around the cottage garden, hidden sculptures and adventure playgrounds.

And to learn about the thousands of shipwrecks that have happened along the Cornish coast visit Charlestown. Here you can see some of the salvaged cargo as well as tall ships that have been the backdrop for TV shows and films including Poldark, Dr Who and Treasure Island. 

Here’s some more places to visit close to Mevagissey.

Where to stay

Rattan table and chairs on patio of large back garden
Oyster Cottage in Mevagissey

Oyster Cottage | sleeps 6 + cot | dog-friendly

Have you visited any of these coastal spots in the UK? Or would you add others?

Disclosure: this is an advertorial feature with Classic Cottages.

Sharing is caring!

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.