Revealed: Britain’s Finest (and Worst) Seaside Locations

Brits are expected to vacation in the UK in record numbers this summer – and it looks like many of us will be heading to Bamburgh.

The Northumberland village was named Britain’s Best Seaside Travel Destination in an overview of the country’s most popular coastal areas.

The Which? The survey carried out among more than 4,000 people rated almost 100 cities and villages, with Bamburgh rated the best seaside destination overall. It slipped from its first place last year but took back first place after an average score of 85%, with five stars for its beaches, tourist attractions and scenery.

Bamburgh received an additional five stars for value for money, with accommodation prices half as high as some popular Cornish spots.

Bamburgh Castle is on the coast in Bamburgh, Northumberland, England.

Visitors particularly liked the castle and despite the small size of Bamburgh village, it received four stars for peace and quiet due to the vastness of its beach, making it easy for visitors to distance themselves and avoid the busy crowds.

Tynemouth in Tyne & Wear took second place with Dartmouth in Devon. Both received a visitor rating of 84% and five stars for their coastline, while Tynemouth received five stars for its beach and four stars for the scenery.

The sun rises over the northeast coast in Tynemouth.

Visitors to Tynemouth praised the variety and quality of the restaurants and eateries on offer, as well as the market at the underground station on the weekend.

Those who had been to Dartmouth recommended a boat trip along the River Dart or the steam train from Paignton to get there.

Dartmouth Bay.

Dartmouth Bay.

Third place – and with the title of Best Beach Town in Scotland – went to St. Andrews. The “home of golf,” busier than some of the other destinations at the top of the table, has earned a prominent place thanks to its five-star tourist attractions as well as its four-star shopping.

It also received four stars for beaches and good value for money. Those who wanted to beat the crowds were directed by respondents to visit outside of semester time, when fewer students from the famous university are around.

St. Andrew's Castle, situated on a rocky promontory in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.

St. Andrew’s Castle, situated on a rocky promontory in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.

Aberaeron finished fourth and was named the best seaside town in Wales with an 82% customer rating.

The quiet port city received five stars for its landscape, with visitors lovingly commenting on the painted houses in pastel colors. It also received four stars for Peace and Quiet – probably because it’s a little harder to get to than more popular tourist spots further down the coast in Pembrokeshire.

Aberaeron on the Welsh coast.

Aberaeron on the Welsh coast.

At the other end of the table, with a 48% customer rating, was poor old Skegness. The coastal city was also rated the lowest by visitors last year, but its score has improved slightly due to investments and renovations in the city center and higher visitor numbers.

And while it only received one star for its tourist attractions and scenery, its beach still received three stars.

People basking in Skegness.

People basking in Skegness.

Respondents recognized the family-friendly appeal of Skegness and its amusements. One commenter described it as “unpretentious and a very pleasant place” and encouraged visitors to “soak up the old-fashioned 1950s vibe of a traditional English seaside town”.

Other destinations at the bottom of the table were Weston-Super-Mare (55%) and Ilfracombe (56%).

“Many of us discovered the joy of a UK summer vacation last year and the trend should continue this summer,” commented Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel. “The results of our survey show that bigger is seldom better, with smaller and less crowded resorts taking the lead over better-known destinations.”

The 10 most popular seaside destinations:

  1. Bamburgh, Northumberland

  2. Dartmouth, Devon

  3. Tynemouth, Northumberland

  4. St. Andrews, Fife

  5. Aberaeron, Ceredigion

  6. North Berwick, East Lothian

  7. Rye, East Sussex

  8. Filey, North Yorkshire

  9. Southwold, Suffolk

  10. St. Davids, Pembrokeshire

The 10 Least Popular Seaside Destinations:

  1. Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset

  2. Colwyn Bay, Conwy

  3. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

  4. Morecambe, Lancashire

  5. Worthing, West Sussex

  6. Lowestoft, Suffolk

  7. Margate, Kent

  8. Ilfracombe, Devon

  9. Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset

  10. Skegness, Lincolnshire

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