Best And Worst UK Seaside Destinations Revealed – The Winner May Surprise You

Fancy a staycation this year? Make sure these are on your list.

A small village in the north of England has been crowned Britain’s best coastal destination – and chances are, some of you may never have heard of it.

Stunning Bamburgh in Northumberland triumphed over better-known and pricier destinations in a new survey by Which? – earning a full five stars for its scenery and unspoilt beach.

The village, which has a permanent population of just 400 people, received a glowing overall visitor score of 89%. In contrast, Bognor Regis in West Sussex and Clacton-on-Sea in Essex didn’t appeal to the masses, both earning only a 47% customer score. Perhaps it’s worth giving those a miss, then.

Bamburgh Castle.
daverhead via Getty Images
Bamburgh Castle.

The survey saw almost 3,000 holidaymakers rate their most recent visits to the seaside. Quality of the beach, seafront view, food, attractions and value for money were all taken into consideration.

The Best Of The Bunch

In second place was Portmeirion (88% customer score), enviably positioned on the fringes of Snowdonia. With its Italian Riviera-inspired architecture made famous by The Prisoner, it (unsurprisingly) earned five stars for scenery, attractions and accommodation.

St Mawes (83%) pipped swankier rivals including St Ives and Padstow to be named king of the Cornish coast. The fishing village boasts good seafood and restaurants, earning four stars for the quality of food on offer.

Wales dominated the list, with four entries in the top 20 – Tenby (81%), Llandudno (78%) and St Davids (78%) were also rated five stars for scenery and value for money, which proved an important consideration for those who took part in the survey.

Picturesque Salcombe (75%) in South Devon had the most expensive hotel at £210. But this didn’t deter those surveyed, as its famous sandy beaches earned the full five stars, too, as did the beachfront and scenery.

For those considering a trip to Scotland this summer, North Berwick (83%) and St Andrews (82%) both feature in the 10 best coastal destinations. While both were at the pricier end of the scale for hotel costs, some holiday makers surveyed suggested self-catering as a more affordable option.

Londoners looking for a hotel getaway should consider Rye (77%), Lymington (75%) or Whitstable (75%), with all three destinations scoring highly for accommodation, despite being among the more expensive destinations for a night’s stay.

Those looking for a cost-effective option should head to Deal (73%). The Kent town, which is less than an hour and a half from London St Pancras, managed a full five stars for value for money with an average room rate of £67.


The Worst Of The Bunch

Former seaside greats which, back in their heyday, would’ve been the go-to spots for British sun-seekers and holidaymakers seemed to have dropped.

Morecambe, in Lancashire, received just two out of five stars for its beach, and one out of five for attractions. And Weston-Super-Mare, Great Yarmouth, and Skegness all received just one star out of five for peace and value.

And Margate, in recent years hailed as a “hipster hangout”, was also among the bottom 10, receiving just one star for scenery, peace, and value.

Sadly, Clacton in Essex received some particularly critical reviews – and at £116 for an average hotel room, it was also rated as poor value for money.

Although it’s the sunniest town in Britain, Bognor Regis (47% overall) received low marks for its scenery, value for money and attractions on offer.

Some said the town, which had an average hotel room price of £96, was “tacky” – but others were more positive, praising the seafront promenade as “quintessentially English”.


Rory Boland, travel editor for Which, said: “These ratings won’t make happy reading for some of those destinations many of us remember from childhood breaks of times gone by, which may have failed to keep pace with trendier destinations or those offering a better overall experience for our hard-earned cash.

“But whether you fancy blowing out the cobwebs in Bamburgh, pottering around in Portmeirion or taking your bucket and spade to St Mawes, it’s clear that the Great British seaside has something for everyone.”