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The 4 Chicest British Seaside Towns

by Daisy Buchanan
13 July 2013 15 Comments

Why go to the South of France, the Balearics or Capri when this lot are on your doorsteps?

Rye harbour, above

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.


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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.

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cyril 4:45 pm, 12-Apr-2013

what about Skegness ... very bracing this time of year !!

Boll Weevil 6:12 pm, 12-Apr-2013

Come join us in Cleethorpes.

SBW 7:12 pm, 12-Apr-2013

Rye - posh hastings @oxymoron

Dom 6:52 pm, 14-Apr-2013

Chic has the idea of stylish, fashionable about it. Margate is not. I live downwind in neighbouring Broadstairs, great micro pubs and Folk Festival btw. Digression aside Margate has been a repository for the unwanted and those considered socially undesirable since sunshine became affordable in the 60s which is fora mother topic. Whilst the Turner Centre has undoubtedly been a massive boon to this sad, economically gutted place, a few tiny galleries, the excellent Lifeboat pub and overpriced cupcakes do not make it by any stretch of an artist's imagination chic. Fine for a day out, no more.

WorldBull 4:55 pm, 17-Apr-2013

You can also go to Rye's world famous club - Ryia-Napa

Hugh Bliette 11:26 pm, 19-Apr-2013

Llandudno? Admittedly, it's the nicest resort along the North Wales coast, but when I visited with my wife, we were the youngest people on the pier by a good 40 years!

James C 10:47 am, 12-Jun-2013

I was born in Margate and grew up in nearby Herne Bay, and while I found the latter stifling and had to get away (via Birmingham/Peterborough/London) I find it's a pleasant town now, Margate is not. Frankly, it's a dump. Which is a shame as it clearly has potential - it has a good beach, the Turner (although the building is an eyesore IMO) plus some good galleries, boutiques, cafes around it - but that is all. Now Rye, that's a lovely place but anyone expecting amusement arcades and donkey rides will be disappointed.

Steve 11:04 am, 12-Jun-2013

Morecombe? Really? Have you ever been? Outside of the Midland and the revamped promenade it is a poor, struggling place and chic is a word you would not associate with it

Howard 12:42 pm, 12-Jun-2013

Just up the road from me Aldeburgh & Southwold no smackheads or litter like some of the other places mentioned, perhaps that makes them less "chic"

robert 12:48 pm, 12-Jun-2013

Think you have the wrong word here. These places are chic if Shoreditch and Hoxton are chic. They ain't. They're hip - sure - but not chic. Bond Street is chic, as is South Ken. I was expecting a list that run something like Salcombe, Padstow, Southwold and Aldeburgh - not DSS dumping grounds with a few lifestylers and students, and with perhaps a bit of tax-payer subsidised art stuff going on.

Barry 9:58 am, 13-Jun-2013

The only good thing about Morecambe is that you can see Barrow in Furness across the bay

Northern Barry 9:59 am, 13-Jun-2013

The only good thing about Morecambe is that you can see Barrow across the bay

Fr3sh 2:32 pm, 15-Jul-2013

Sandgate and/or Broadstairs in Kent are pretty nice

AngleseyKev 7:35 pm, 15-Jul-2013

Drive past Llandudno and visit Beaumaris, a much more genteel and scenic resort. There's a Norman Castle and a Victorian Gaol, a Pier and lots of pubs and cafés. Lovely. ;)

djpekingman 3:34 pm, 16-Jul-2013

Rye? Seaside? Not for some 900 years matey. Come on - keep up.

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