‘Brighton attracts me again, repeatedly’: six authors on Britain’s finest seaside resorts | United Kingdom holidays

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Put on

‘It has a large sweep of seashore excellent for constructing sandcastles’

Daybreak on the east coast is particular. The solar rises over the ocean and whether or not it’s midwinter with frost on the sand or midsummer when it hardly appears to get darkish in any respect, there’s a glory to it. It’s price celebrating. Cullercoats, the little cove to the south of Whitley Bay, is sheltered and contained. Folks swim at daybreak and practise yoga. Whitley is that kind of place now: arty and liberal.

When my children had been little, we lived in a village a little bit approach inland. We went into Whitley for procuring however to not play on the seashore. The seafront was cheesy then: the fairground at Spanish Metropolis on its final legs, the golf equipment and bars attracted stag dos, and on financial institution holidays the streets had been stuffed with pub-crawling drunks.

Nevertheless it has reinvented itself as a spot for household holidays. It has a large sweep of seashore excellent for constructing sandcastles. Cullercoats hosts paddle-boarding and kayaking – you possibly can rent each within the village and take classes.

I work early, and by mid-morning I’m able to stretch my legs and head for espresso. If the climate’s good, I’ll get a takeaway at Di Meo’s hut on the seafront, sit on a bench and watch the massive ships making their technique to the Tyne.

‘Brighton attracts me again, repeatedly’: six authors on Britain’s finest seaside resorts | United Kingdom holidays
The tidal island of Saint Mary’s. {Photograph}: Clearview/Alamy

An extended stroll takes me to the tidal island of Saint Mary’s to take a look at the seals. My grandchildren have had birthday events on the customer centre there. They go pond-dipping with the rangers, and again on the centre they establish the contents of the nets earlier than they devour the cake. Essentially the most energetic can climb to the highest of the lighthouse for a spectacular view.

I usually take guests for a elaborate afternoon tea within the newly refurbished dome. Spanish Metropolis was in-built 1910 (a duplicate apparently of some unnamed city on the Mediterranean) and attracted hundreds, the vacation park of its time. Its crowning drama was the dome, which fell into disrepair within the Nineteen Nineties. Now restored, it’s as grand because it ever was. There’s a champagne bar, a fine-dining restaurant and, on the bottom flooring, fish and chips – so one thing for everybody.

On weekend evenings, there’s nonetheless a pub crawl of kinds alongside Park View, Whitley’s most important road. However it is a promenade not a stagger, and idlers are consuming cocktails and cava, not brown ale. The Guardian as soon as named Park View among the best procuring streets within the UK. The locals had been astonished, however they’re getting used to the thought.
Ann Cleeves, creator of the Vera Stanhope novels and The Rising Tide (out in September)

Millport, Firth of Clyde

‘We’d sit within the warmth and have a look at the seals lolling on the tiny islands offshore’

Beach at Millport with the Arran hills in view.
Seashore at Millport with the Arran hills in view. {Photograph}: Dennis Hardley/Alamy

To return, 12 months upon 12 months, to the identical seaside city is to put down layers of reminiscence in order that, as you stroll alongside the seashore, you might be passing over the remembered joys of the previous. That is true, for me, of Millport – though I additionally go for the ice-cream.

It needs to be purchased from the Ritz Cafe and consumed in a pink vinyl and Formica sales space. Raspberry sauce needs to be added for each flavour and color coordination. The Ritz seems to have altered little because the Sixties, an impression strengthened on a current go to by the jukebox enjoying You’ve Misplaced That Lovin’ Feelin’.

Millport is on Nice Cumbrae within the Firth of Clyde. The island shouldn’t be massive, however is so named to differentiate it from Wee Cumbrae half a mile south. Getting there may be a part of the enjoyable. You are taking the ferry from Largs, and the 10-minute is crossing quick sufficient for the joy of departure and arrival to fulfill and mingle like a confluence of waters.

When the children had been small, we might spend summer time days on the sand. The boys would construct castles and guddle in rock swimming pools. We’d sit within the warmth and have a look at the seals lolling on the tiny islands simply offshore. This might go on till the fats and gleaming creatures started to look too correct a mirror of our personal laziness and we’d rise, creaking on the knees, and go seeking cake.

The Ritz cafe.
Very good ice-creams are served on the Ritz cafe. {Photograph}: PictureScotland/Alamy

Now, we discover it fits us higher to go to in spring, when it’s cooler and never as busy. It’s a quiet Sunday delight to stroll as much as the Cathedral of the Isles, Britain’s smallest cathedral, passing from the odor of untamed garlic that carpets the grounds to the odor of incense that lingers inside, Eucharist being recently over. Afterwards, nonetheless within the temper for all issues miniature, we cease by the mannequin railway exhibition within the grounds of Garrison Home. One hut has working fashions of the West Highland Line and the Glasgow community; the opposite exhibits Millport itself, the cathedral and the Ritz and the remaining recreated in cardboard with loving allure.

The city’s icon is Crocodile Rock. That is the title given to a jutting slab of foreshore stone, about six metres lengthy, with hungry eyes and jagged tooth painted white, black and pink. It’s a customized amongst guests to climb the beast’s again. It doesn’t look very similar to a crocodile, however Conger Eel Rock or Goblin Shark Rock wouldn’t sound fairly so welcoming. This custom has been happening since no less than 1913, and is symbolic of the best way during which Millport, a spot of light pleasures, by no means appears to alter.
Peter Ross, creator of A Tomb with a View

Lyme Regis, Dorset

‘A lady picked up a big rock from the seashore. It was the vertebra of a dinosaur’

Beach huts line the promenade in Lyme Regis.
Seashore huts line the promenade in Lyme Regis. {Photograph}: Graham Custance/Getty Photos

I’ve a love-hate relationship with seafront arcades. I like the joys of the win however discover the sunshine and music from the video games machines headache-inducing. That, and the reminiscence that as a baby the expertise usually resulted in tears – often mine – as I set my coronary heart on a large stuffed toy that was by no means meant to be gained. As soon as the cup of two-pence items had been fed to the coin pusher and one-armed bandit, as soon as dad and mom had been petitioned a closing time and everybody was totally overstimulated, the joy of the promised win gave technique to tantrums and disappointment.

I can get pleasure from them once more now, with my very own kids, in entrance of whom I’ve to behave extra like an grownup, and my alternative of a seaside city with the children may be Blackpool, with all its glitz and present. Nevertheless, when alone, I might fortunately swap Blackpool’s Golden Mile for Lyme Regis’s ammonite pavement and a city that has comparatively little in the best way of amusement arcades.

Fossils are regularly found on Charmouth’s crumbly cliffs and on the beach.
Fossils are recurrently discovered on Charmouth’s crumbly cliffs and on the seashore. {Photograph}: Callum Redgrave-Shut/Getty Photos

The attraction here’s a completely different kind of potluck. The cliffs across the small Dorset city are the place the palaeontologist Mary Anning found the fossils of a Jurassic shark, a pterodactyl and, most famously, the entire skeleton of a plesiosaurus. Although she was missed in her lifetime, a lifesize bronze statue of Anning was unveiled at Lengthy Entry earlier this month.

Only a fossil’s throw away from the city is Charmouth seashore, the place I’ve spent hours looking out and sifting for ammonites and belemnites on the sand beneath the cliffs. The final time I visited, I noticed a girl in her 60s stoop and choose up a big, clay-encrusted rock. She lifted it with some issue, turned it over and shouted so loudly that a number of walkers stopped. It was the vertebra of a big dinosaur, probably a plesiosaurus, which had fallen from the cliffside after current storms. Having visited Lyme for years with no finds to talk of she couldn’t imagine her luck. Her response jogged my memory of successful the jackpot on the arcade, although with out the tantrum and headache that adopted.

The ever-friendly Lyme Regis museum affords guided fossil walks at each East Seashore and Black Ven, and Kiosk on Marine Parade, overlooking the seashore, affords wonderful breakfast bagels, crab sandwiches and salads to gas you when you probability your arm.
Wyl Menmuir, creator of The Draw of the Sea

Brighton

‘Solely the pier’s foundations poke from the waves, just like the legs of a useless spider’

A flock of seagulls flies over Brighton beach with the ruins of the famous West Pier in the background.J3J86B A flock of seagulls flies over Brighton beach on the south coast of England with the ruins of the famous West Pier in the background.
The stays of West Pier, off Brighton seashore. {Photograph}: Philip Reeve/Alamy

Brighton has all the time held a sure magnetism: it attracts me again, repeatedly. I grew up a couple of miles alongside the coast, in a city that prided itself on being the antithesis of its grander neighbour – a kind of puritanical marine roundhead to Brighton’s roistering cavalier. Accordingly Brighton, with its two piers and palm readers and a status for loucheness inherited from the Prince Regent’s time, stays the place I head to at any time when, to paraphrase Melville, I really feel the necessity to see a watery a part of the world. Though now I take the practice from London.

Exiting Brighton station, smelling the faint tang of salt within the air, I discover it onerous to not be swept straight all the way down to its pebbly seashore. Queen’s Highway can really feel nearly tidal with shoals of latest arrivals. However my opening port of name is often The Document Album store, a wunderkammer of vinyl simply uphill from the station. It was established in 1948, and for over 40 years its proprietor was the ever-tie-wearing George Ginn, who just lately retired aged 88. Keith Blackmore and David Chappell have taken up the reins however the inventory (present tunes and soundtrack albums a speciality) appears extra an extension of George’s character than a mercantile enterprise.

Pilgrimage over, I pivot down Trafalgar Road, pausing to refuel at Espresso At 33, earlier than making for North Laine. Coasts are all about flotsam and jetsam, and I’m all the time eager to see what treasures have washed up within the stalls of Snooper’s Paradise, the classic market in Kensington Gardens. Current finds embrace a stack of postcards of Shoreham’s previous energy station and a paisley Tootal scarf that Jimmy from Quadrophenia might need coveted.

The Record Album shop in Brighton.
Travis Elborough makes a beeline for the Document Album as quickly as he hits Brighton. {Photograph}: Kevin Clarke

Starvation and the lure of the shore beckon me to the entrance, the place after an compulsory activate the Palace Pier I stroll alongside the promenade in the direction of Hove and the West Pier. Memorably described by MP John Locke as “a butterfly on the ocean”, the pier was a masterpiece of Victorian engineering by Eugenius Birch, who additionally designed Brighton’s aquarium. After an arson assault in 2003, solely its foundations now poke out of the waves just like the legs of a useless spider. I’ll ponder its destiny over fish and chips on the Regency Restaurant, a seafront seafood eatery in enterprise since Graham Greene’s day.

After post-lunch peregrinations alongside the seashore to skim stones and paddle within the shallows, I ultimately purpose for the Colonnade Bar. A stone’s throw from a statue of Max Miller and adjoining to the Theatre Royal, it’s the epitome of the lounge bar as thespy salon. Rail-car formed and curtained with pink velvet, its partitions are festooned with framed actor mugshots. Glancing up from the bar, a craft gin in hand, you possibly can look sitcom regulars of yore (Penelope Keith, George Cole) within the eye. Its barely pale glamour, which relatively mirrors the rackety charms of previous Brighton itself, make it the proper spot to conclude an tour.
Travis Elborough, creator of Want You Had been Right here: England on Sea

Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

‘We’ve got sand between our paws and toes on this lazy, secure perfection’

Sand, sea and trees at Coppet Hall beach.
Coppet Corridor seashore on the northern finish of Saundersfoot seashore close to Wiseman’s Bridge. {Photograph}: Christopher Nicholson/Alamy

West Wales holidays as a baby had been full of the myths of fine climate – a seek for an elusive patch of blue to go the travelling time. Right now, the sky is behaving.

I’m heading to Saundersfoot from Stepaside: it is a flat stroll alongside the Dramway, shared with a couple of jolly hikers, the occasional waft of untamed garlic and my canine companion, Watson Jones.

At Wiseman’s Bridge – apostrophe negotiable in line with signage – I sigh fortunately on the sweep of Carmarthen Bay. Removed from the tiresome cliche of deepest, darkest Wales, it is a shimmering feast for romantic hearts, and I’m misplaced in it awhile. The waves are bold. The cliffs are topped by bluebell woods.

All is wild and the sunshine magnificent. Rockpool heaven in an unruly panorama. I’ve seen a dinosaur footprint right here. Or I believe I’ve. The tide is excessive, so we stride on by means of a Grade II-listed railway tunnel, the place kids howl and adults pretend concern, to Saundersfoot village.

Boats on a sunny calm evening at Saundersfoot harbour.
Saundersfoot’s harbour. {Photograph}: CW Photos/Alamy

The Strand, which as soon as carried coal all the way down to ready ships, now boasts an eclectic array of retailers. We go to Sue’s Pantry (she provides bits of cake to canines, so Watson Jones insists) and Chobbles conventional candy store, to chew on childhood recollections. We covet antiques by means of windowpanes. Blackbird Ceramics creates sea globes impressed by the coast, and Parts of Pembrokeshire shows native artisan work; there’s a beautiful feeling of neighborhood. My bag is considerably heavier as I attain the harbour.

It’s all correct seaside fare. Salt-scuffed and altering. An abundance of benches from which to soak up the view. Cheery boats with cheery names. Seagulls, reportedly ferocious in different places, are content material to permit vacationers their picnics. A newly constructed schooner towers over the sluice. I think about faucet dancers on packing containers, Edwardian bathing carts, 80s expertise exhibits. Evidently, I’m no historian, however I do love a way of what has come earlier than. There’s additionally regeneration. Companies popping up, renovations, a mixture of previous, new and younger. Somebody sings to an exuberant pub backyard. Canine nod their heads in time. Although I’m no saint and revel in an excellent glass, for now I’m searching for peace.

We wander the sensory backyard, then stroll to the cleanly washed seashore. Cormorants skim, gannets dive, kids accumulate shells and construct castles with sea-glass home windows. Somebody smugly readies a campfire. For me, the tiniest moments depend. We’ve got sand between our paws and toes on this lazy, secure perfection. A blissful afternoon for easy souls at relaxation.

Night comes with scrumptious colors and a cone of vinegary chips. Swimmers courageous the coolness in bobble hats and bathers. The swell glitters dreamily beneath a bloated moon. Fishing boats head out as we head residence amongst owls.
Eloise Williams, creator of The Tide Singer

Scarborough

‘Even tea for one is available in a pot, and waiters costume as if Victoria remains to be on the throne’

Clock Café, Scarborough.
Clock Café, Scarborough. {Photograph}: Alan Curtis/Alamy

Scarborough, which I’ve frequented since my boyhood in Seventies Yorkshire, is a sprawling, elemental, place. On the South Bay, Saint Nicholas Cliff and South Cliff are separated by an precise ravine, and the drama of the topography is usually matched by that of the ocean. I used to be as soon as blown off my ft on Marine Drive, which skirts Fort Hill and results in the expansive North Bay. However in my reminiscence, and sometimes (I insist) if truth be told, Scarborough is sun-dazed.

I step out of the Italianate railway station to be greeted by excessive, wheeling seagulls and indicators indicating Saint Nicholas Gardens, Valley Gardens, South Cliff Gardens. I head for the third of these, which includes strolling by means of the second. South Cliff Gardens are in flip subdivided into half a dozen others, together with Holbeck Gardens which – a noticeboard quaintly boasts – affords “the most effective views from a placing inexperienced wherever in England”.

The massed gardens create a floral carpet stretching from the luminous white stucco of the Esplanade (Scarborough’s poshest tackle) to the ocean, though the colors are muted this season because the gardens are being refurbished, bringing a modernist twist to northern municipal planting. I’ll then have a cup of tea within the Clock Cafe, which stands amid the gardens, and whose terrace I consider as a sort of big sundial with the caff’s clocktower because the pointer. Maybe outside music can be floating up from the Solar Court docket of that venerable seaside palace, the Scarborough Spa.

Harbor seafront town with castle on hill: Scarborough
Scarborough is a ‘sprawling, elemental’ city. {Photograph}: PaulVinten/Getty Photos

I head north alongside the seashore for lunch: a crab sandwich on the bustling harbour wall, the place there are almost as many fishers as vacationers. Then a bus experience (ideally by open-topped double-decker) to the North Bay, and its dreamlike points of interest. Peasholm Park, in its personal valley, has oriental stylings, together with pagodas and unique bushes in shocking day-glo shades. And twice weekly since 1927, the dragon boat pedalos on the decorative lake have made approach for the Naval Warfare present, the place council staff sitting in coffin-like battleships, shoot fireworks at each other.

There’s additionally the North Bay Railway, the place trains hauled by engines resembling the Flying Scotsman, solely one-third the dimensions and powered not by steam however early diesel engines (making them extra traditionally notable than in the event that they had been steam), putter alongside the clifftops.

I often double again to the South Bay for a fish-and-chip supper on the Golden Grid on Sandside. The important thing phrases on the Golden Grid are “Est. 1883”: it’s genteel, so tea (even for one) is available in a pot, and the waiters costume as if Victoria remains to be on the throne. Then it’s the final practice again to York, on which I all the time go to sleep.
Andrew Martin, creator of Yorkshire: There and Again