We do like to be by the seaside!
In fact, the British like to be by the seaside so much, that we have a popular music hall song about it written back in 1907, and most British people still know how it goes!
Seasides hold a special place in the hearts of the British. Britain is after all, an island nation and most of the population lives within 70 miles (120 km) of the coast. It might be on the North Sea, the English Channel, the Irish Sea or the Atlantic Ocean. Before package holidays to destinations in mainland Europe became available in the 1970s, people almost always holidayed in the British Isles. In fact it was not unusual to repeatedly return to the same resort every summer, almost like a home from home.
Arguably, all British beach resorts are the same in that they share the formulaic mix of features. Shops selling beach wares and souveniers; takeaway food outlets and family restaurants, and live entertainment on the promenade or pier are all to be expected.
Though tastes have inevitably become more sophisticated, the British seaside holiday has changed little over the generations. Messing about with nets in rockpools, sand-castle building and braving the unreasonably cold temperatures of the seas around the coast of the British Isles are as life affirming now as they have ever been, and so people still flock to the seaside to recreate the old fashioned traditional seaside holiday.
What’s new is that greater affluence has injected upmarket lifestyle shops, restaurants and accommodation options into some seaside resorts, enhancing their appeal as a fashionable destination. The chic and smart stylish additions to the harbours and coastal towns help buoy them up in the off season when there are fewer holiday visitors. There is also a transformation in dining options. Where visitors to the seaside would once have been satisfied with ice creams and fish & chips, they can now enjoy a far more sophisticated offering, especially locally sourced specialities and seafood.
The rich variety of coastline around the British Isles provides the visitor with a huge array of choice for their seaside experience. Whether a family on school holidays, water sports enthusiasts, fans of gastronomy, artists seeking inspiration or naturalists on a research trip, there is a seaside destination to fit the bill. From the Victorian resort with miles of golden sands to a harbour town with a mountainous backdrop, each seaside has its own unique character. Whatever the resort, and whichever coast it is located on, a visit to the British seaside is a liberation from the routine and stress of daily life and an opportunity to reconnect with nature.
'That the sea is one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights in Nature, all admit. (Quote - Irish scientist John Joly).'
Please browse our gallery of selected great British Seasides above for inspiration and enjoyment, and click on each of the images to find more useful information and links to help you plan your day beside the seaside.