The best of British beaches

The best of British beaches

Our best bet for a seaside holiday this year is a staycation. According to Ordnance Survey, the British Isles has over 19,000 miles of coastline, the only question is where to go?

Based on a survey that Which? conducted prior to lockdown, this respected magazine has compiled a list of the top 105 resorts in the UK. Why 105? I haven’t a Scooby!

As an Essex born boy who now lives in Suffolk, I was interested to see how these great counties did in the survey.

Great news.

2 of the top 4 resorts are in Suffolk; Southwold and Aldeburgh. The highest-ranked Essex resort was at number 20 and it was? I’ll tell you later.

British beaches

The best of British beaches - AldeburghLet’s look at the top 10.

  1. St Mawes
  2. Dartmouth
  3. Southwold
  4. Aldeburgh
  5. Bamburgh
  6. Blakeney
  7. St Andrews
  8. Saint Davids
  9. Tynemouth
  10. Beer

I’ve visited 9 of them. All very nice places. The one I have never visited is Tynemouth. Even when I was touring the beautiful Northumbrian coastline. Even when I was excavating a fort on Hadrian’s wall. Even when I was working in Newcastle. I never visited Tynemouth. Of course, all those milestones in my life happened before Vera was filmed in Tynemouth.

    According to Ordnance Survey the British Isles has over 19,000 miles of coastline,...  

So, putting Tynemouth to one side for the moment. The one characteristic shared by the others is that they are all very, oh how can I put this? They are WASP. They are polite. They are very middle class.

And the top-ranked Essex resort?


There used to be a road-sign at a junction off the A12. To left was posted Harwich for the Continent. To the right; Frinton. To which some wag had appended, “for the incontinent”.

The best of British beaches - SouthwoldWhen the recent heatwave hit us and the lockdown was relaxed, people flooded to the coast. We saw images on the TV and across news media of crowded beaches. Where did they go? I remember Brighton featured, ranked 70 in the survey. You will have seen shots of Clacton (103), Yarmouth (104), Skegness (105) and Southend (unranked).

It seems to me that the Which? survey says more about the demographic of its own audience than it does about the seaside resorts.

If listening to rehearsals of Peter Grimes on a North Sea beach is your idea of holiday bliss, then you will love this report.

If your ideal seaside experience includes rock, kiss me quick hats, jellied eels, and saucy postcards, I wouldn’t bother.

FYI, I am writing this sitting on my balcony overlooking the North Sea in Felixstowe, ranked 54. The only English resort on the East Coast that faces south and the only one that offers culture and candyfloss in equal measure.

It’s 7 in the evening the sea is calm and there’s a gentle breeze. I have a cool glass of Albarino to hand and all is well in the world.

So, if you are looking for a seaside holiday this year you could do a lot worse than the Costa del Suffolk.


Published: 5 March 2021

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd 2021

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