Rye harbour, above
Even if you generally object to portmanteaus, or whatever you choose to call it, the ‘staycation’ is here to stay. Holidaying in the British Isles isn’t just better for your carbon footprint and brilliant for the UK economy – it’s very fashionable too. If you think that English seaside’s are full of kiss me quick hats and knobbly knees competitions, think again – and check out this lot.
Margate has shed its dilapidated image to become one of the top 10 destinations worldwide, according to Rough Guide’s 2013 travel hot list. A haven for anyone interested in the arts, the £17.5 million Turner Contemporary is a must-see attraction – but the Old Town is the perfect place for gallery hopping. Independent art spaces pop up regularly, and when you’re ready for a cup of tea, the Cupcake Cafe is worth checking out for homemade treats.
The Lancashire town has plenty of well appointed B&B’s, but for the ultimate taste of retro seaside glamour, stay at the refurbished Midland Hotel, gleaming water fronted Art Deco building fitted with a pink spa in the basement. The original spirit of Morecambe is still very much in evidence – every year, people head to the seafront to visit the larger than life Eric Morcambe statue, sometimes going via Lewis’ Coffee Shop for some Pistachio ice cream.
Perhaps it’s a little quieter than your typical seaside town, but this often overlooked spot in Sussex boasts some of the most beautiful and inspiring scenery in the country. Walk to nearby Winchelsea and Camber Sands and watch out for the wildlife – it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. A drink at the Ship Inn is recommended. Just down the road from Rye is Rye Harbour, a relatively undiscovered oasis of natural beauty. Try this stunning Pilot's House for the weekend.
If you’re struggling to choose between a beach break and a trip to the mountains, visit Llandudno and do both. From the West Shore, you can see Snowdonia – the pier is reputed to be one of the prettiest there is, and undisputedly the longest in Wales. If you’re feeling active, Great Orme Country Park is worth a visit – you can walk up to its summit, or travel down via the artificial ski slope.