13 of the best seaside towns in England

Whitby in Yorkshire has a rich history and a rugged wild charm 

Whitby in Yorkshire has a rich history and a rugged wild charm - Credit: alh1 / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This summer, explore the best seaside towns found along England's diverse coastline from the rugged north to the near-tropical south-west.

And to make it easier for you we have picked 13 spectacular seaside towns to visit in England. Each town is located in a county home to one of our county magazines that make for the best beach reads!

St Ives in Cornwall

St Ives is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK, and it's easy to see why with its plethora of glorious beaches, delicious restaurants and picturesque views across St. Ives Bay.

Art lovers will not want to miss a trip to the Tate St Ives, which includes works by masters like Turner, William Blake and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to name a few.

Discover 7 things you probably didn't know about St Ives. 

Dartmouth in Devon

Dartmouth sits on the western bank of the River Dart, with its roots linking all the way back to the days of the Domesday Book. It's a charming town with lots to see and do, including a visit to the rather beautiful Dartmouth Castle and any of the town's several marvellous beaches. 

Discover 10 of the best towns and villages in the South Hams.

Lyme Regis in Dorset

Known as the "Pearl of Dorset" and famed as one of the best places for fossil hunting along the Jurrasic Coast thanks to pioneering palaeontologist Mary Anning, Lyme Regis is certainly a must-visit location.

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Avid Jane Austen readers will also recall the significance of a seaside trip to Lyme Regis in the novel Persuasion and protagonist Anne Elliot sings the town's praise, saying that "there is real beauty at Lyme" - which we wholeheartedly agree with.

Discover the best things to see and do in Lyme Regis

Southend-on-Sea in Essex

Southend-on-Sea, view from sea at sunset time

There are many lovely walking routes around Southend-on-Sea, Essex - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Southend-on-Sea is a longstanding seaside resort and home to the world's longest pleasure pier, which was built in 1830. It goes without saying that a visit isn't complete without a trip to Adventure Island, the resort's popular theme park, which is located on the Western Esplanade.

Discover our visitor's guide to Southend-on-Sea here.

Lymington in Hampshire

Lymington seemingly has the best of Hampshire to offer visitors, the pretty town nestled in the beautiful landscape of the New Forest and has the fortune to be on the rugged coastline too. Lymington is also a major yachting hotspot as the town has three marinas and is in proximity to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

Explore the best things about living in Lymington here.

Margate in Kent

Margate has so much going for it, and it's therefore unsurprising that the seaside town has become increasingly popular over the last few years.

And this popularity is not only with tourists as Hollywood recently come knocking in the form of Sam Mendes' (Skyfall and 1917) next film Empire of Light which started filming in the area this spring. Also, Margate had a starring role in the most recent series of hit spy drama Killing Eve

Tourist attractions include the iconic theme park Dreamland, which is home to The Scenic Railway, the oldest roller coaster in the UK, the Turner Contemporary, a modern seafront art gallery and many more.

Explore our town guide to Margate here.

Blackpool in Lancashire

The famous Blackpool illumination from 2021

The famous Blackpool illumination from 2021 - Credit: James Smythe / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Blackpool is perhaps the king of all seaside towns as it's known across the world for its amusements and iconic annual illuminations. And the fun doesn't stop there. Blackpool has a zoo, a water park and an amusement park, as well as legendary nighttime entertainment.

And if you're seeking a bit of nature, a stroll along the beach or a visit to Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve will certainly do the trick.

Discover 10 things you probably didn't know about Blackpool here.

Cromer in Norfolk

Cromer is a quintessential Victorian seaside town which shines through in the architecture of the ornately beautiful red brick building of the Hotel de Paris that dominates the seafront and the stunning Cromer Pier that first opened its doors in 1901.

But really, you can't talk about Cromer without mentioning the famous Cromer Crab, and the town is full of places to sample this renowned delicacy.

Discover what our readers love about Cromer here.

Minehead in Somerset

The view over Minehead from North Hill in Somerset

The view over Minehead from North Hill in Somerset - Credit: Robert Cutts / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Minehead is often referred to as the "Gateway to Exmoor National Park" due to its proximity to the gorgeous ancient landscape and its position on the coast.

The town is also the official start of the South West Coastal Path, which is 630 miles long and takes in the entire coastline between Minehead and Poole in Dorset!

Minehead is also a popular destination for lovers of watersports, with the most popular ones being sailing and windsurfing.

Explore the reasons why you must visit or move to Minehead

Southwold in Suffolk

The iconic Southwold Lighthouse in Southwold, Suffolk

The iconic Southwold Lighthouse in Southwold, Suffolk - Credit: John K Thorne / Flickr (CC0 1.0)

Perhaps Suffolk's most famous seaside town, Southwold is home to the iconic Southwold pier and lighthouse, which are instantly recognisable, as are the cute candy-coloured beach huts that line up along the beach. 

Another striking detail about Southwold is that it was formerly the home of famed writer George Orwell, who wrote Animal Farm and 1984.

Find out how to spend 24 hours in Southwold here.

Rye in East Sussex

Home to one of the most Instagrammed streets in England, it should be no surprise that Rye has made its way onto this list. It's a beautiful town full of historic charm, especially of the medieval variety, with wonky old buildings and a certain pub that used to be a smuggler hotspot.

Meet Rye's town crier who gives spooky town tours

Worthing in West Sussex 

Worthing Pier in Worthing, West Sussex

Worthing Pier in Worthing, West Sussex - Credit: Mick Baker / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Once a small fishing hamlet, Worthing was transformed into a popular seaside resort during the Georgian era. It quickly became a hub of wealthy holidaymakers, and later creative types like Irish writer Oscar Wilde and playwright Harold Pinter would flock to the town for something of a retreat from city life to work. 

Like many seaside towns, Worthing's pier is one of its biggest attractions, and this Art Deco masterpiece has been crowned pier of the year twice once in 2006 and then again in 2019, a feat afforded to very few piers!

Discover 9 fascinating facts about Worthing here.

Whitby in Yorkshire

Landscape image showing the ruins of Whitby Abbey reflected in a pond in front of the abbey taken in

Landscape image showing the ruins of Whitby Abbey reflected in a pond in front of the abbey taken in evening light with dramatic clouds - Credit: Neal Rylatt/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Whitby is a charming seaside town on the Yorkshire coast with a whole lot of rich history. Perhaps the town's most striking feature is its iconic abbey that looms in a sublime yet spooky way.

There's also the connection to Dracula, who is perhaps the most iconic vampire of all time. After escaping from arrives on the shores of Whitby in Bram Stoker's classic Gothic novel. Explore our Dracula tour of Whitby here. 

And as if that wasn't enough goth credentials for one town, Whitby is also the backdrop to the annual Goth Weekend every April.

Explore 6 great walks near Whitby.

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