Holidays

Staycation ideas: the UK’s best seaside towns to visit this summer

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Lauren Geall
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Bamburgh, Northumberland

Fancy taking a trip to the beach this summer? These are the top UK spots to visit in 2022, according to Which?.

While the restrictions on overseas holidays over the last two years left many frustrated, the pandemic taught us to appreciate how many great spots we have on our doorsteps. 

From awe-inspiring road trips to picturesque parks and rural escapes, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to staycation spots – especially when it comes to the UK’s impressive collection of beaches.

Sure, a beach holiday at home may not guarantee the hot, sunny days you’d expect from a trip abroad, but what the UK lacks in reliable weather conditions it makes up for with its quaint, seaside towns and beautiful coastline. The only issue? Choosing between the wide array of brilliant spots just waiting to be explored.  

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With this in mind, Which?’s latest reader’s survey couldn’t have come at a better time. Ahead of summer holiday season, the team at Which? asked readers to rate the beach, attractions, scenery, value for money and more for nearly 100 seaside towns and villages across the UK, in order to reveal the best places to visit this summer.   

If you were expecting the top of the list to be dominated by spots across Devon and Cornwall, you’re in for a surprise. Only one beach from Devon made it in the top ten – the first beach from Cornwall to feature on the list came in at 15.  

The beach at Lytham St Annes in Lancashire
Although it didn’t make the top 10, Lytham St Annes, a coastal town in Lancashire, was still highly rated.

Instead, the list’s top 10 boasts a variety of locations across the UK – making it a perfect way to discover an area you might not have considered visiting before.

So, whether you’re looking to book a summer getaway or are just intrigued to see which spots made the list, keep reading to discover the UK’s top 10 seaside towns for 2022, according to Which?’s guide. 

  • 10. Lyme Regis, Dorset

    The beach huts at Lyme Regis
    Best UK seaside towns: Lyme Regis, Dorset.

    Located on the world-famous Jurassic Coast, Lyme Regis is a seaside resort packed with things to do.

    From its beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery to picturesque harbour and seemingly endless supply of walking routes, it’s not hard to see why this spot is often referred to as “the pearl of Dorset”. 

  • 9. Conwy, Conwy

    Conwy castle and harbour
    Best UK seaside towns: Conwy, Conwy.

    This idyllic market town on the northern coast of Wales not only boasts a great beach, but it’s home to a variety of intriguing tourist attractions.

    These include Conwy castle – described as a “massive, imposing 13th-century fortress” – and the smallest house in Great Britain – a 1.8-metre-wide red building on the town’s quay. 

  • 8. Filey, North Yorkshire

    Filey, North Yorkshire
    Best UK seaside towns: Filey, North Yorkshire.

    It’s not hard to see why Filey has become such a popular destination for holidaymakers, thanks to its impressive golden sandy beach and variety of eye-catching Edwardian architecture.

    It’s retained its spot at number 8 for the second year in a row, thanks largely in part to its highly-rated seafront and beach as well as its value for money. 

    If you’re travelling by train, it takes just over three hours to reach Filey from London.  

  • 7. Aldeburgh, Suffolk

    The beach in Aldeburgh, Suffolk
    Best UK seaside towns: Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

    If you’re heading anywhere near Suffolk this summer, you need to give Aldeburgh a visit.

    Famous for the annual Aldeburgh literary festival, the former Tudor port is also home to one of the UK’s best fish and chip shows and the largest Martello tower in the UK, which you can even stay in if you fancy. 

  • 6. St Davids, Pembrokeshire

    Whitesands Bay in St Davids, Pembrokeshire
    Best UK seaside towns: St Davids, Pembrokeshire.

    Known for being Britain’s smallest city, St Davids in Pembrokeshire, Wales is surrounded by a number of beautiful beaches including Caerfai Beach and Whitesands Bay.

    It came in at number 10 last year, but the high ratings it received for its tourist attractions and stunning scenery were enough to bump this spot up the rankings. 

    Unlike some of the other spots on this list St Davids is not located directly on the coast, but with its quaint array of shops and an impressive cathedral to boot, there’s plenty to explore. 

  • 5. Tenby, Pembrokeshire

    Tenby, Pembrokeshire
    Best UK seaside towns: Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

    As one of Wales’ top seaside towns, it’s not surprising to see Tenby feature near the top of this list. Not only is its beach is home to lots of soft, golden sand, but it’s harbour is incredibly picturesque – and that’s not forgetting all the great restaurants, cafes and pubs on offer.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also catch a 20 minute boat from Tenby to the nearby holy island of Caldey Island – its open to the public on summer weekdays and Saturdays. 

  • 4. Dartmouth, Devon

    Dartmouth, Devon
    Best UK seaside towns: Dartmouth, Devon.

    Dartmouth may have dropped two places on this year’s list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a brilliant place to visit.

    Located on the county’s South Coast just along from Exeter, Dartmouth is surrounded by picture-perfect scenery. 

  • 3. St Andrews, Fife

    St Andrews, Fife
    Best UK seaside towns: St Andrews, Fife.

    Alongside being home to the world-famous university, St Andrews is a popular seaside town with lots of places to explore – in fact, it’s even managed to jump up the rating one spot for 2022.

    The town’s expansive West Sands beach is backed by a cluster of dunes which are home to many important plants and animals, and is famous for appearing in the opening scenes of Chariots Of Fire. 

  • 2. Llandudno, Conwy

    Llandudno, Conwy
    Best UK seaside towns: Llandudno, Conwy.

    Just up the coast from Conwy lies Llandudno, a coastal town which is renowned for its Victorian architecture and stunning pier (which happens to be the longest in Wales).

    The Great Orme Tramway which lies northwest of the town is also a popular attraction. 

  • 1. Bamburgh, Northumberland

    Bamburgh, Northumberland
    Best UK seaside towns: Bamburgh, Northumberland.

    Topping the list for the second year in a row is the historic town of Bamburgh in Northumberland, which is famous for its iconic castle which can be seen from miles around.

    Plus, it’s beach is seriously big, so you won’t need to worry about things getting too crowded. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.