UK holidays : wonderful breaks by the sea

14 min. read
Published 24 Aug. 2020

Struggling to decide where to go on a UK break? Why not check out one of the UK's fabulous coastal resorts.

Whilst there’s plenty of places to explore across the UK that’d make for a great staycation, there’s no denying the fact that a trip to the seaside is the quintessential British holiday. And whilst a trip to a holiday park might spring to mind, the Great British seaside now boasts everything from charming B and Bs, to cosy pubs with rooms to fabulous boutique hotels, meaning you’re spoilt for choice when picking a short break to the beach. 

If an award winning beach is what you’re looking for, you’re in luck, as England alone is home to 74 prestigious Blue Flag beaches, the iconic and international award, widely considered the gold standard ,that’s presented to beaches with high quality water, clean beaches and top notch facilities that make it an overall great seaside resort. 

A handful of these prestigious beaches even feature in some of our top picks for a seaside break, such as the award winning, delightful town of Southwold on the Suffolk heritage coast. Southwold’s unique pier is quite possibly the main attraction, with not only restaurants and shops, but a small arcade that’s home to a range of quirky and slightly bizarre games you won't find anywhere else. Southwold is also home to the world famous Adnams brewery, so you know there won't be a lack of your favourite drinks in the local pubs. And if any of your group is a particularly big Adnams fan, you’ll be pleased to know the brewery frequently offers tours, with both behind the scenes looks and tutored tasting sessions.

Southwold, Suffolk

On the popular North Norfolk coast is another award winning Blue Flag beach, in the traditional Victorian seaside town of Cromer. This popular resort is famed for its delicious crab, but there’s so much more to it that makes it ideal for a weekend break to the beach. The fabulous golden sandy beaches, set just in front of Cromer’s delightful Victorian promenade, are the perfect place to spend a summer's day. The seafront is also home to a charming, historical pier, which was built in 1901, and is still being used today. For those who enjoy everything nautical, there’s the Lifeboat Station at the tip of the pier that has been operational since 1804, as well as the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum to explore. Additionally, for the history lovers, Cromer is also home to a beautiful church with wooden ceilings, stained glass windows and a 58-metre tower with wonderful panoramic views of Cromer from the top, and the National Trust property of Felbrigg Hall, a fascinating 17th-century country house with 500 acres of garden, and an estate that dates all the way back to medieval times.

But that’s not all the English coast has to offer. Just an hour's train journey (or a two hour drive) from London is the fabulous bohemian seaside city of Brighton. This well-known resort still remains a popular pick for a short break to the beach, and for good reason. The attractions the town boasts are seemingly endless. You’ll never have a dull moment on a short break to Brighton, with its iconic pier, amusements and rides; the historical Royal Palace built for King George IV;  the charming shopping streets laden with quirky and trendy independents, known as The Lanes; the myriad of cafes, restaurants and bars; and, of course, the wonderful beach. And if that still isn’t enough for you, Brighton is within easy reach of the South Downs National Park, England’s newest national park, which, along with the beautiful rolling countryside and woodlands, includes the breathtaking white cliffs at Seven Sisters, and a handful of charming National Trust gardens to explore.

Brighton, East Sussex

Head west and travel to Cornwall to find the classic port town of Falmouth on the south coast. An always popular seaside destination famous for its creativity, Falmouth boasts a thriving arts scene, with exhibits, galleries, and events held right throughout the year. But that’s not all Falmouth has to offer. It’s also home to a charming harbour, which lends itself to a fascinating maritime history that can be discovered at the town's National Maritime Museum. On top of all of that, there’s also Falmouth’s four gorgeous beaches, and location nearby to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it the perfect base for a trip to Cornwall

On the other hand, head over to the east and discover the seaside town of Ramsgate in Kent. Although it may not seem like the most obvious choice for a beach break, there’s still plenty on offer to make for a great weekend away. Ramsgate is home to a whole host of fascinating Georgian and Regency architecture, a thriving ‘cafe culture’, and the UK’s only Royal Harbour, a title given to the town by King George IV.  Take a boat trip out to sea to spot some seals, or take a guided tour of the Ramsgate Tunnels, an underground system used to shelter thousands of people during World War II.

If quaint little seaside towns and villages is more your style, then head down to Devon for a short break to the charming resorts of Sidmouth in the south, or Mortehoe right in the north. Surrounded by the stunning Jurassic Coast, and home to those award winning Blue Flag beaches, Sidmouth is a great British seaside break for all ages. This wonderful resort is packed full of fascinating royal history and delightful walks around the coast and through the countryside, as well as being nearby to great days out, including tranquil river cruises and elegant botanical gardens. 
Mortehoe, however, is a tad quieter. This charming resort is perhaps a little more ‘wild’ and remote than the others mentioned in this list, but is an equally good pick for a UK break to the coast. The views from the village are fabulous, as Mortehoe is perched upon a secluded clifftop. It’s also right next to the beach, and nearby to a whole host of fabulous walks and wonderful wildlife. 

Mortehoe, Devon

 Whatever your style may be, we’ve definitely got some great properties to choose from, with our whole handpicked collection available to book with Mail UK Breaks just here.

Drakes, Brighton - with a stunning prime location right on the seafront, the 4 star, boutique Drakes hotel is perfect for a luxury weekend getaway to Brighton. All of the 20 fabulous guest bedrooms at Drakes Hotel are all individually designed with bespoke furniture, and feature Vi-Spring hand-made beds. Some of the rooms feature stunning seafront views, and the two front-facing attic rooms even have access to balconies. Several rooms boast freestanding baths, as well as the monsoon wet rooms, and are packed full of luxurious little extras, such as comfy robes, slippers and White Company products, with an added bonus of a bag of miniatures to take home . After a day relaxing on the beach, riding the rides  at the pier and shopping at all the wonderful boutiques, enjoy a cocktail at the hotel’s seafront lounge bar before venturing out for a meal at one Brighton’s many restaurants.

Drakes, Brighton

Howdale, Scarborough - one of England’s most famous seaside resorts, Scarborough is a great pick for a classic seaside escape. And since it’s a classic seaside town, why not stay at a classic Victorian B&B. Howdale, set on a cliff top overlooking the North Bay, is home to 13 wonderful, contemporary guest bedrooms - some that even feature great sea views- and serves a proper full English in the sea view dining room. It’s also located not too far from the award winning, Blue Flag, north beach. Scarborough itself has an endless array of activities to enjoy, from the history of Scarborough castle, to a big day out at the miniature railway or the Sea Life sanctuary, to a simple trip to the amusement arcade and ice cream stands. Scarborough is also home to a plethora of places to eat that are all located within walking distance of Howdale.

Howdale, Scarborough

Budock Vean Hotel - when you picture some of Britain's most beautiful beaches, more often than not you’ll picture Cornwall. Nearby to the popular coastal town of Falmouth, set on the bend of the picturesque Helford River, you’ll find the Budock Vean Hotel, an all encompassing resort perfect for a relaxing weekend with everything you need on site or close by. Set in an incredible 65 acres, this four star hotel has something for everyone, and is just a 20 minute stroll from a beach. The hotel boasts a fine dining restaurant for both dinner and a delicious afternoon tea, a 9-hole golf course, two all-weather tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool and a relaxing spa. This Cornish hotel is also well located for countryside walks (including the iconic  South West Coast Path), access to cycling routes, boat trips, kayaking adventures, and both river and sea fishing experiences.

Budock Vean Hotel, Falmouth

The Smuggler’s Rest, Mortehoe - tucked away in the little village of Mortehoe, The Smuggler’s Rest is a great pick for a weekend break in Devon. This charming 1800s bed and breakfast has welcomed guests for over 100 years, and has been recently renovated to an outstanding standard to boast eight comfortable and contemporary en-suite guest bedrooms, as well as a fabulous, trendy cafe. Miss Fea’s cafe is the perfect place to relax after a busy day exploring Devon - with a garden that creates a wonderful sun trap in the summer, and a cosy seating area, complete with a wood-burning stove for warming up in the cooler months.  The Smuggler’s Rest is also home to breathtaking countryside views of Devon’s north coast, and is  just a short walk one of the UK’s best beaches - Woolacombe -  an expansive sandy beach that boasts gorgeous cliffs and wide reaching views of both the sea and countryside.

The Smuggler's Rest, Mortehoe

The Grove, Cromer -  just a short stroll from the wonderful North Norfolk town of Cromer you’ll find The Grove, a fabulous Georgian country house hotel steeped in history, that’s also home to a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. There’s a whole host of wonderful en-suite guest bedrooms to choose from, with everything from characterful doubles to well appointed family suites. The award winning, fine dining restaurant offers delicious evening meals, as well as a fabulous afternoon tea that can be enjoyed in the restaurant, lounge, conservatory or gardens, ideal for a special occasion, or even just a little extra holiday treat. There’s also plenty to do at the hotel itself that makes it the ideal base for a short break to the beach, including an indoor heated pool, table tennis table, four acres of stunning grounds and a relaxing massage hut.  Guests also get to enjoy an exclusive 10% discount at The Royal Cromer Golf Club, a wonderful cliff top course just a short drive away from The Grove.

The Grove, Cromer

Still not found the right hotel for your short break to the seaside? Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more to pick from here at Mail UK Breaks that you’re sure to find the perfect place for you.