5 great coastal destinations for a weekend break

Explore these Great British coastal delights.

Alnmouth, Northumberland

Back on the mainland, welcome to Alnmouth. This picture-postcard fishing village also straddles the picturesque River Aln estuary. Rich in history - it was once an important grain port - Alnmouth is perfect for a family break.

Beach info: Alnmouth’s beach is its main event. Wide, golden and sandy, it’s perfect for a day building sand castles, walking the dog or going for a run in the sun.

What to see: Aside from the beach, check out the Ferryman’s Hut, thought to be the smallest museum in the country.

Where to stay: Pick from hotels, B&Bs and self-catering.

Where to eat: We like Bistro 23, Hooked (great for seafood) and the Sun Inn (traditional pub grub).

 

Portobello, Edinburgh

Did you know Edinburgh has its own beach? Set off walking from Princes Street (or cycle, or jump on a bus) and within half an hour you’ll reach the beach resort of Portobello, one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets. Like many seaside resorts, Portobello (or Porty, as it’s also known) has an air of faded glamour - but in a good way. Quiet, charming and relaxing, the resort is all Georgian villas, teashops, ice-cream vans and amusement arcades.

Beach info: This year Portobello beach secured its third consecutive Seaside Award in recognition of its water quality and facilities. Stretching for 2 miles, the beachfront is peppered with cafes and pubs. Watch the sun set with an ice cream, build a sand castle with the kids.

What to see: Aside from the gorgeous beach, there’s a bustling high street packed full of interesting shops, like bY Mi, which sells hand-crafted Origami creations.

Where to stay: You’re spoilt for choice for B&BS and hotels and there are plenty of seaside apartments available too.

Where to eat: Portobello is home to loads of nice delis, cafes and restaurants. Pop to family-friendly place the Beach House, right on the promenade, for organic coffees, breakfasts, salads and speciality breads. 

Lindisfarne

The famed Holy Island. Just a few miles off the spectacular Northumberland coast, Lindisfarne is home to just over 150 people yet thousands visit the island each year. Steeped in history, Lindisfarne is a tidal island - meaning it’s cut off twice a day from the rest of the world. So if you really want to get away from it all, head to Lindisfarne.

Beach info: Lindisfarne is home to a number of beaches, with most offering fishing and sailing. Enjoy a summer BBQ or a bike ride along the sands.

What to see: Lindisfarne Castle is a 16th century structure affording spectacular views. Elsewhere, learn about Lindisfarne’s religious history at the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre.

Where to stay: There are plenty of self-catering options as well as hotels and B&Bs. Note that camping is not allowed on Lindisfarne.

Whitley Bay

This delightful town and seaside resort is home to some of the finest beaches on the coast - not to mention great architecture and local walking routes.

Beach info: A Blue Flag-winning beach, Whitley Bay’s sands stretch from the bay to nearby St Mary’s Lighthouse. Parts of the beach are patrolled by lifeguards, making it great for families. And every year there’s an annual sandcastle-building competition.

What to see: Make sure you visit St Mary’s Lighthouse and visitor centre and Jam Jar cinema, a community-run picture house.

Where to stay: Enjoy sea views from one of the many Whitley Bay hotels, or choose from B&Bs and self-catering.

Where to eat: Shikara offers fine Indian cuisine and Made Cafe brings together crafts, culture, cake and tea.

Berwick-upon-Tweed

The walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed - the most northerly town in England - is rich in dramatic history and is packed full of things to do on a coastal break.

Beach info: Spittal beach is a family-friendly beach with a promenade, splash park and play park.

What to see: Walk Berwick’s dedicated Lowry trail and take in some culture at the Gymnasium Gallery.

Where to stay: There are plenty of B&Bs, chalets and hotels to choose from.

Where to eat: Enjoy tapas at El Taperio, a cuppa or a coffee at Amaryllis and some fine cuisine at Foxtons Restaurant and Wine Bar.