Revealed: Britain's Best (And Worst) Seaside Destinations

Brits have been voting on their favourite coastal spots – and poor old Skegness hasn't fared well.

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

The village in Northumberland has been named as Britain’s best seaside destination, in a survey of the nation’s favourite coastal spots.

The survey of more than 4,000 people, conducted by Which?, ranked nearly 100 towns and villages, with Bamburgh rated the best seaside destination overall. It slipped from its first place ranking last year, but reclaimed the top spot after receiving 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 prices for accommodation being half those of some popular spots in Cornwall.

Bamburgh Castle is located on the coast at Bamburgh, Northumberland, England.
Bamburgh Castle is located on the coast at Bamburgh, Northumberland, England.

Visitors were particularly fond of the castle and, despite the small size of Bamburgh village, the vastness of its beach meant it received four stars for peace and quiet, allowing visitors to easily distance themselves and avoid busy crowds.

Tynemouth, in Tyne & Wear, took joint second place alongside Dartmouth in Devon. Both received a visitor score of 84%, and five stars for their seafronts, while Tynemouth was given five stars for its beach, and four stars for scenery.

The sun rises over the North East coast at Tynemouth. 
The sun rises over the North East coast at Tynemouth. 

Visitors to Tynemouth praised the selection and quality of restaurants and food options on offer, as well as the market at the Metro station at weekends.

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

A view along the River Dart from Kingswear, looking across to the historic town of Dartmouth, Devon
A view along the River Dart from Kingswear, looking across to the historic town of Dartmouth, Devon

In third place – and taking the title of Scotland’s best beach town – was St Andrews. Busier than some of the other destinations at the top of the table, the “home of golf” earned its high ranking thanks to its five-star rated tourist attractions as well as its shopping options, which received four stars.

It also received four stars for beaches and value for money. Those looking to beat the crowds were advised by respondents to visit outside of term time, when fewer students of its famous university are around.

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

Aberaeron was ranked fourth and named the best seaside town in Wales, with a customer score of 82%.

The quiet harbour town was given five stars for its scenery, with visitors commenting fondly on the painted houses in pastel colours. It also received four stars for peace and quiet – likely due to it being a little harder to reach than more popular tourist locations 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 customer score of 48%, was poor old Skegness. The seaside town was also rated bottom by visitors last year, but its score has improved slightly as a result of investment and refurbishment in the town centre and higher footfall.

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

People sunbathing in Skegness.
People sunbathing in Skegness.

Respondents recognised the family-friendly appeal of Skegness and its amusements. One commenter described it as “unpretentious and a very pleasant place to visit”, and encouraged visitors to “enjoy the old fashioned 1950s atmosphere of a traditional English seaside town”.

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

“Many of us discovered the joy of a British summer holiday last year and the trend looks set to continue well into this summer,” commented Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel. “The results of our survey show that bigger is rarely better, with smaller and less crowded resorts taking the top spots over better-known destinations.”

The most popular 10 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 least popular 10 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