Summer is the perfect time for a UK staycation, so check out this list of the most beautiful seaside towns in Britain with a piers to inspire your next trip.
As we sizzle our way through what feels like the hottest summer ever, every sun-filled weekend feels like a chance to get outside, make the most of the gorgeous weather and explore parts of the country we’ve previously overlooked.
If you’re based down south, heading up to Blackpool can feel like a marathon, especially in the winter months. Equally, Northerners will wince at the time it takes to visit beachy Bournemouth. But if there’s ever a time to explore more of the UK, it’s got to be during a heatwave, thanks to those long summer days.
Author Kat French couldn’t agree more. Her new book A Summer Scandal uses the British countryside and coastline as its setting, and follows protagonist Violet as she moves to Swallow Beach, inheriting a Victorian Pier that she’s determined to make grand again.
To celebrate this, French has cherry-picked the seaside towns with the prettiest piers around the country, to create a list of perfect UK staycation spots for this summer.
Take a look through the five most beautiful seaside towns in the UK with a pier, and hear straight from French what makes each one so special.
“Bournemouth Pier is a cracker! At more than 1000ft long with high-adrenaline zip wires and climbing walls, it’s a must-do for thrill-seeking families and it sits on a glorious seven-mile sweep of coastland.
The beaches are particularly nice and the town is buzzing with life and culture; Bournemouth is certainly a long way from the retirement town it used to be portrayed as. Its proud Victorian heritage now sits side by side with vibrant modern life; there’s something for everyone at Bournemouth.”
“We can’t possibly talk about seaside piers and not mention Brighton Palace Pier. At a majestic 1772ft long, it truly is a south coast icon.
Trampolines, thrill rides, and a gorgeous traditional carousel; it’s just about as good as British seaside fun gets. Throw in Brighton’s wonderful Royal Pavilion and the famous Lanes for boutique shopping, and you’ve pretty much ticked everyone’s box.”
“Blackpool, fabulous Blackpool! Yes, it’s the home of slot machine arcades and the wind can whip up a storm along the front, but it holds its place in the hearts of the British public and rightfully so. It has so much to offer, from the tower at one end with its myriad of attractions packed inside (the glass viewing floor at the top from is not for the faint hearted), to the Pleasure Beach at the other with rides for all ages.
A compact theme park that punches hugely above its weight in terms of world class rollercoasters - the Big One is indeed huge. I’ve ridden it once and am not sure I’ll ever be brave enough again, but never say never. The arrival of The Big Blue hotel wrapped around the Pleasure Beach means you can now be woken by the sight of a rollercoaster flying past your window, something my kids really enjoyed on our last visit.”
“Hastings Pier is a marvel of modern architecture. Following a comprehensive rebuild in 2016, it was crowned Pier of the Year in 2017, and is now a truly modern affair. Huge viewing decks give it a wonderful sense of space and theatre, alongside the gorgeous Pavilion restaurant with far reaching sea-views.
It’s a wonderful space used for many festivals and events, and on the days when it’s quiet it’s a place to walk and recharge your batteries. I love how this one has risen from the ashes of a terrible fire to become something entirely different for a new generation.”
“For pure magical nostalgia, I can’t miss out Weston-Super-Mare. I have so many happy childhood memories of bucket and spade days there as a young child, proper family deck chair and donkey ride holidays.
The sun rarely shone and you don’t often see the sea because it goes so far out, but there was always the (now sadly gone) freshwater paddling pool on the beach and a sand-filled cheese sandwich in the offing! The pier itself hasn’t had much luck over the years, having been devastated twice by fire. I’m so glad it’s always been re-built, Weston just wouldn’t be the same without it’s brightly lit star attraction. Long may it thrive.”