5 BEST UK FAMILY BEACH DESTINATIONS
Who needs to go abroad when we have lovely beaches in the UK? Here are our top five beach holidays. It’s time to find your bucket and spade!
Gorleston is a small town with a beautiful, long, wide, sandy beach which is perfect for small children to play on. There is a long promenade where the more active can ride bikes or scooters. A small number of seaside shops sell buckets and spades and other beach equipment, and there are a couple of slot machine amusement arcades. There are food outlets selling the British beach staples of fish and chips or ice cream, as well as a couple of pubs overlooking the beach which sell snacks and meals. Further along the promenade is a popular beach café which also sells snacks and meals.
Gorleston is less than five miles from the much bigger and busier Great Yarmouth, a traditional British seaside town, where you will find lots of shops, plenty of places to eat and drink and a pier with entertainments. Great Yarmouth also has the Pleasure Beach (funfair), a Sealife Centre and horse-drawn carriage rides along the promenade.
There are many beautiful beaches in Norfolk and plenty of indoor activities to keep children entertained. A little further afield, you can take boat trips to see the seal colonies at Blakeney Point or hire a boat on the Norfolk Broads.
NORTH BERWICK, EAST LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND
North Berwick is a seaside town on the east coast of Scotland, around 25 miles drive south of Edinburgh. There is a sandy beach in North Berwick itself, with rock pools at low tide, but there are also a number of other fine sandy beaches, some with sand dunes, close by.
You can stroll round the harbour and see the boats or visit the lobster hatchery between April and September. The Scottish Seabird Centre is based here, and you can visit the interactive exhibition centre with games and activities to keep younger children amused. There are interactive live cameras where you can see the gannet and puffin colonies on the Bass Rock and Isle of May. There is a café and gift shop within the Centre.
A number of companies offer boat trips out to the Bass Rock where you will see the birdlife, seals and, if you’re lucky, dolphins too.
If you’re feeling active you can walk from North Berwick up Berwick Law, a hill rising 187m above sea level, from where you will have great views on a clear day.
If the weather is not good enough for the beach or to be outdoors, you could drive or take the train to nearby Edinburgh where there are plenty of indoor activities for the children.
There are some beautiful beaches in and around Newquay. One of those is the hugely popular – and therefore very busy – long, fine sandy Fistral beach. This is a surfers’ beach with big waves so it isn’t suitable for very young children but older children can either body board or learn to surf at one of the many surf schools. There are lifeguards on duty and there are good facilities including places to eat, toilets and parking.
There are plenty of other beaches in the area but younger children might be happier at Crantock beach, which you can walk to across the Gannel estuary at low tide.
Other attractions for children include Newquay zoo and the Blue Reef Aquarium, which is located in the centre of Newquay. For something a little different, children will enjoy Pirate Quest Adventure Golf, an interactive walk-through experience. A little further afield, is Dairyland Farm Park which has an indoor play centre for those wet weather days.
There are numerous pretty little Cornish towns and villages where the whole family can enjoy a day trip from Newquay. One of these is the pretty little village of Mevagissey, with its working harbour, only 21 miles by road from Newquay. Watch the boats in the harbour, go crabbing, eat ice cream and Cornish pasties – what’s not to love!
LYME REGIS, DORSET
Lyme Regis is a pretty town, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Jurassic coast in Dorset. The beaches are a mixture of sand and pebbles. Cobb Beach is a sandy beach supervised by lifeguards, with good facilities including toilets, showers, food and drink outlets.
A really fun alternative to Cobb Beach is fossil hunting on Monmouth Beach. Join the army of adults and children clambering over the rocks with their little hammers tapping away as they search for fossils. Even better, their enthusiasm won’t be dampened by the weather. If all else fails, you can always buy fossils from one of the gift shops in town!
Thrill-seekers of all ages will enjoy exhilarating rib rides along the coast for the whole family. More leisurely rides are also available for those who would prefer to see the scenery.
Indoor activities include the Lyme Regis Marine Aquarium and Dinosaurland Fossil Museum, housing a large private collection of fossils and minerals, which will delight fossil hunters young and old.
Around 10 miles away is the Jurassic Fun Centre at Freshwater Beach Holiday Park which features indoor and outdoor pools with slides, sauna and steam room, 10-pin bowling and a bar-restaurant. A little further on is Weymouth (about 32 miles). Something different for the whole family to enjoy is Sandworld Sculpture Park, an all-weather attraction next door to the Sealife Centre in Weymouth, which is open between Easter and Halloween. Here you can marvel at the wonderful sand sculptures then try and create something of your own. Afterwards, the children can play in the large sandpit area.
CROYDE BAY, DEVON
Croyde Bay is a beautiful wide sandy beach, popular with surfers and body boarders. It has rock pools to play in at low tide and sand dunes. There are lifeguards, public toilets and places to eat and drink. The beach is within a short walking distance of a number of caravan & campsites and self catering cottages. Croyde is a pretty little village with a couple of shops and pub-restaurants.
You can walk along the coastal clifftop path from Croyde to the beach at Putsborough, with stunning views along the way.
Croyde village hall houses a deckchair cinema, so called because the audience is seated on deckchairs. Family films are shown and snacks are available.
For something different, the whole family could try horse riding at nearby Woolacombe, where beginners and more experienced riders will be taken out on a ride to suit their level of ability.
A truly unique attraction is The Big Sheep at Bideford, around 20 miles away. It’s an all-weather attraction which includes sheep races, sheep show, sheep shearing, lamb feeding (in season), indoor play area, rollercoaster, tractor and pony rides and more. The adults will be kept entertained with a beer show and a gin distillery!
Once you’ve tried a traditional family holiday at the British seaside, you’ll find yourself heading back again and again creating wonderful family memories. Explore the choices available – talk to the friendly team at Mondial Travel. You’ll be delighted with the choices and value to choose from.