The UK summers may be temperamental but as soon as the warmer weather hits, there’s only one place you want to go: the seaside. Filled with childhood nostalgia, flurries of sun loungers lining the shoreline and a portion of fish and chips in tow, the UK is home to some striking coastal towns waiting to be discovered by train.
From oysters in Whitstable to crabbing in Cromer, these are the ten best seaside towns to visit by train.
Nearest Train Station: Hastings
This seaside town isn’t just known for its 1066 battle; it’s also renowned for its South Coast shoreline. Located in East Sussex, Hastings is rich in history, charm and all the usual nostalgic seaside quirks.
It’s been a popular seaside resort since the 19th century, and is now home to the UK’s largest beach-based fishing fleet. Tourists from afar head here for a history lesson on the 1066 Battle of Hastings, as well as to pursue the many antique shops dotted along the highstreet and to walk along the pier with a bag of chips in hand.
Nearest Train Station: Margate
Situated along England’s southeast coast, Margate is known for its sandy stretch of beach that’s just perfect for setting up camp with sun loungers, towels and cool boxes for the day.
Often referred to as ‘Shoreditch on sea’, it’s a popular spot with Londoners as it’s easily accessible by train. There’s plenty to do and explore, from window browsing in the many independent shops and dining at the quirky eateries to catching the latest inspiring art exhibition at the Turner Contemporary museum.
Dreamland Margate, the amusement park in a 1950s arcade, is well worth exploring too for a throwback to childhood and to keep the kids entertained.
Nearest Train Station: Darsham or Halesworth
Along the Suffolk coast lies the small town of Southwold, renowned for its pier and boasting some of the best fish and chips in England. The pier is great for wandering as it’s home to traditional arcade games and 2p machines, as well as old fashioned games that you won’t find anywhere else, from peculiar walking the dog machines to the Mobility Masterclass where you play as a pensioner on a zimmer frame…
If arcades aren’t enough, there are plenty of other attractions, from grabbing a pint of the locally brewed Adnams to visiting the Southwold lighthouse and walking along the seafront.
Just a brisk 30 minutes walk or short ferry ride away is Walberswick that’s great for visitors looking to give crabbing a try.
Nearest Train Station: Whitstable
Located on the north coast of Kent, Whitstable is a great seaside day out for those travelling by train from London. It’s a small coastal town that’s famed for its fresh oysters and quirky independent shops.
Visitors can stop by the harbour to find a locally made trinket and sample some of their freshly caught seafood, before a quiet walk along the West Beach. For the windsurfers, it’s worth visiting Tankerton Beach to see if you can catch some waves or find some grabs in the many rockpools.
Nearest Train Station: Falmouth
Cornwall may be home to many beautiful coastal villages and towns, but Falmouth is high on our list of the best. Spend the weekend here exploring the town’s arty nature, from the cool bookshop-turned-bar Beefwolf to bohemian independent shops and art-led university.
Other local attractions include the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Pendennis Castle and scenic Gyllyngvase Beach.
Nearest Train Station: Tenby
Thousands of tourists flock to Tenby every year thanks to its mediaeval history and sandy stretches of shoreline. The quaint harbour town in southwest Wales is known best for its 13th-century town walls that line the existing town and visitors can explore the castle ruins that remain today. The colourful harbour houses make this a popular spot for taking postcard perfect photos.
Caldey Island, just off the coast of this Pembrokeshire town, is accessible by boat and is one of Britain’s holy islands. Today the Cistercian monks of Caldey practise and continue a tradition that dates back to Celtic times, inviting visitors to explore the tranquil island during the summer seasons.
Nearest Train Station: Alnmouth
For a classic English seaside visit, look to the Northumberland town of Amble. Situated on the coastal area and located next to the River Coquet estuary, this little harbour town is home to everything you could wish for. Visitors are invited to explore the petit fish shacks, delicious seafood eateries and snap photos in front of the colourful beach houses that line the beachfront.
Those looking to explore should explore Coquet Island Situated just a mile from the coastal town and easily accessible by boat, the island is bursting with over 35,000 seabirds, including puffins that waddle along the terrain.
Nearest Train Station: Whitby
Located in Yorkshire, Whitby is a small port town that’s brimming with history. There are many well deserved stop off points, from the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, which allows visitors to delve into the famous explorer’s life in more depth, to the Dracula Experience on the front where visitors can learn more about the town’s connection to the legendary vampire.
Once you’ve spent the day exploring the picturesque town, there are plenty of pretty areas Surrounding Whitby that are worth visiting too, including the Moorlands and fishing villages of Staithes.
Nearest Train Station: Cromer
On the north Norfolk coastline lies Cromer, a seaside town that’s ready to throw its visitors back in time. The adorable town is famed for its crabbing along the pier, stretches of beaches and many campsites and caravan parks that are handily located nearby.
It’s easy to spend the day pottering around this small town, from visiting the local museums, including Cromer Museum and the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum to catching a performance at the Pier’s Pavilion Theatre.
Sheringham is also located just a twenty minute train ride away from the town and offers a quieter coastal experience complete with brightly coloured beach huts.
Nearest Train Station: Plymouth
Devon is home to some beautiful beaches but for a small city experience, Plymouth is the ideal spot to base yourself for a week of wandering the southwest coast. Steeped in maritime heritage, the port city is great for exploring alone or in groups, with several focal points including the red and white lighthouse, named Smeaton’s Tower, located on Plymouth’s Hoe.
For visitors looking for a dip, Tinside Lido is fantastic for outdoor salt water swimming with a difference. With views over the open ocean, it’s the perfect pastime come the summer months.