There’s a wonderful sense of inevitability about it – when the sunshine comes out in Britain, thousands of us head to the seaside to make the most of the warm weather. Jostling for a decent spot on the beach may be a bit of a national sport, but what about the quieter destinations? Here, me and my fellow SuperBreaker Catherine tell you all about our respective weekend trips to the smaller seaside towns, and a more relaxed take on the traditional escape to the coast…
Catherine Goes to Whitby
Over the past few weeks we have been blessed with some gorgeous weather and being a keen sun-worshipper I have been cherishing every moment! Last weekend a trip to the seaside was definitely on the cards and living in the Vale of York I have an abundance of coastal resorts to choose from. My hometown of Thirsk is just an hour’s scenic drive over the picturesque North York Moors to many classic coastal towns. I have enjoyed many happy childhood memories in the popular family location of Scarborough, with its colourful beach huts, amusements and attractions. Don’t miss Filey’s endless sands, Redcar’s famous ‘Lemon Top’ ice cream and the underrated gem of Robin Hood’s Bay!
On this occasion, I was tempted by the Gothic Town of Whitby! The BBC weather forecast was dubious, so with both umbrella and sunglasses to hand, I headed out for a quaint Sunday afternoon in the historic town. With the other pea in my pod doing the driving, I was set to enjoy a relaxing journey across the stunning moors which are certainly a sight to behold. We parked up at the brand new Park and Ride scheme, which is just a mile from the centre of town. The bus drops you off right in the heart of Whitby and was just £2.30 return – highly recommended as it allowed us not to have to watch the clock all afternoon.
Walking through the bustling cobbled streets, we stopped for a quick cuppa before making our way up to the Abbey. A caffeine boost was obviously required before walking up the 199 steps! You may wish to count…I chose to believe the hearsay! Grey clouds began to form and added to the atmosphere around the town’s most prominent landmark. After picking up some traditional Whitby Rock, discovering the whale bone arch and taking some obligatory photographs, it was time to sample some seafood delicacies.
A trip to the seaside is not complete without some good ol’ fish and chips and a luckily for us Whitby is a ‘foodies favourite’, boasting an array of award-winning restaurants. I have walked by the famous ‘Magpie Cafe’ many times and having been wowed by queues as well as the reviews, it was certainly worthy of a try! The seafood options on the menu were endless, so after quite a decision I opted for Crab Parcels to start and a ‘choose your own’ meal including poached Lemon Sole and Plaice…don’t worry if you’re not a fish expert, the menu conveniently describes the taste of each type on offer. ‘Woof’, a type of catfish, as I was informed, is certainly worth a shot for the adventurous kinds. Alternatively, I can vouch that the standard haddock and chips was excellent and it came in great ‘Yorkshire portions’, of which my boyfriend failed to polish off!
Just as we jumped in the car to venture home the weather started to turn…a well-timed departure and a wonderful day by the coast! The pictures speak for themselves to show that the North Yorkshire coast can be beautiful whatever way the Great British weather turns!
Michael Goes to Sidmouth
I’m a self-confessed city kid. Being anywhere with more beaches than cinemas frightens me, so a seaside break isn’t my absolute ideal. That could all be changing however. After a recent weekend break to Sidmouth, down in East Devon, I’ve finally been convinced of the restorative power of an escape to the coast.
It’s not only the fresh sea air that’s good for the health; these peaceful surroundings, away from the constant noise of city life, are good for the soul – stress ebbs away with the tide! If retail therapy is more your thing then the seafront boutiques offer respite from the big chain stores of the high street and, failing that, there’s always the pub! Whether you’re after a chance to reconnect with an old friend, a partner, or simply with yourself, a seaside break promises just that.
In town for a friend’s wedding, it proved the perfect opportunity to catch up with an old friend. Having travelled around South-East Asia together, we’re used to exploring new places – South-East Devon might not sound quite as glamorous, but it offers something exciting in its own right. Over the weekend, we spotted a fair few families visiting from abroad, enjoying the gorgeous Sidmouth sunshine and revelling in the antiquity of the British seaside experience. Travelling the world is all well and good I reckon, but it’s all too easy to overlook the hidden gems at home.
Having explored the town’s pristine Connaught Gardens, admired the sweet and pastel-coloured beach huts and taken a million pictures up and down the Esplanade, it was time for a rest. Is there anything finer than sitting out on a cafe terrace near the seafront, enjoying a delicious Devonshire cream tea and watching the world go by? One of the nicest benefits of a seaside break is its old-world charm, and people have been doing this since before photographs were invented – that’s the kind of tradition I can’t find too many arguments against!
A mostly pebble beach, Sidmouth isn’t the best suited for building sandcastles – but altogether more adult pursuits like paddle-boarding and kayaking and surfing are more than enough compensation. Whether from the water or just on a pleasant coastal hike, the rugged and impossibly pretty red cliffs of the Jurassic Coast are worth seeing and exploring. Or pull up a deck chair and admire the view – it’s the admiration part that’s key.
There are a great number of spots dotted around the country perfect for this. Some are brasher, bigger, more popular, and undeniably entertaining – Blackpool, Scarborough or Weston Super Mare for example – but others, like Sidmouth and Whitby, are overlooked gems of holiday destinations right on our doorstep.
The best news though, perhaps, is that summer isn’t over yet…
Planning a seaside break? Let us know where you’ll be heading for handy hints and pointers in the comments section below…