Weekend breaks at the seaside
We’ve all been there. The working week has been manic beyond belief, and you feel like the only way you can truly detox is with a change of scenery at the weekend.
Of course, time of the essence. No one wants to be travelling too far away from home when you’re only a couple of days away from the grind again! With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favourite coastal places close to the UK’s five largest cities. These pristine coastal paradises are no more than a two-hour drive from one of these large urban areas. This list proves that you don’t need loads of time off to escape to the polar opposite of hustle and bustle. These UK seaside locations are ideal for a weekend break.
Clacton: just two hours from London
It’s easy to see why Clacton and its surroundings are such seaside favourites. This iconic area has been welcoming holidaymakers since 1871 and is undergoing what can only be described as a cultural renaissance. Just two hours from the heart of London along the A12, the town is a great option for a weekend break at the seaside. Make you visit one of the gems of the British coast- Clacton Pier, with all its traditional seaside amusements and some modern features thrown in to surprise you.
Discover the town’s history with a walk or cycle along the beach to one of the 19th-century Martello Towers, structures that concentrated gunfire on enemy ships. These were the UK’s first line of defence and are now the first ports of call for tourists. So much can be done in a short space of time in this corner of Essex, and that’s why it’s a top weekend break at the seaside.
Blackpool: just one hour from Manchester
Based in Lancashire? You probably don’t need us to tell you that Blackpool is the place to be for a relaxing weekend break at the seaside. With an abundance of award-winning attractions, the town offers variety like few others can. Visiting the world-famous Blackpool Tower is a must, undoubtedly one of the UK’s most loved landmarks and home to a whole host of shows.
Enjoy the thrilling rides of the Pleasure Beach, which provides visitors with one of the best theme park experiences in the country. For a throwback to former glory, take a ride on the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway, a brilliant way to navigate this part of the Lancashire coast all the way up to phenomenal Fleetwood. If the weather behaves itself, sit on the vintage top deck and admire the surroundings!
Prestatyn: just two and half hours from Birmingham
Prestatyn might offer the biggest contrast to the city we’ve grouped it with. Just a two-and a half hour drive takes you from one of England’s biggest population centres to one of Wales’ quietest coastal towns. A walk along the Irish Sea coast here is the perfect antidote to trials and tribulations of the midweek routine. But it isn’t just the scenery that propels visitors to this area of North Wales. Prestatyn is another coastal conurbation that’s undergoing a cultural revival.
Check out the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre which screens everything from the latest blockbusters to much-loved classic movies and pantomimes. You can go on a natural discovery at the Gronant Dunes Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to some of the rarest species of wildlife in the UK. And no weekend here is complete without a visit to Offa’s Dyke, the linear earthwork that makes up the traditional border between England and Wales. Prestatyn sits at its northern tip.
Scarborough: just one and half hours from Leeds
Scarborough is just a short hop along the A64 from Leeds, passing beautiful York and some stunning scenery in its own right before you get close to the coast. The town is truly a home away from home for many- one that consistently attracts people back year after year. Traditional seaside fun marries perfectly with some newer innovations that really turn Scarborough into a hub for a 21st-century staycation.
Vintage shops and boutique eateries couple with traditional fish and chips and seafood stands to bring something to the table for all types. There are two beaches, many exciting attractions and a wealth of history just waiting to be discovered. The town is in fact home to one of the first purpose-built museums in the world. The Rotunda opened in 1829 and gives visitors an insight into the natural history of the Yorkshire coast to this day.
Portpatrick: just two hours from Glasgow
Portpatrick is just a couple of hours away from Glasgow in terms of geography, but a whole world away when it comes to environment! One of the most popular Scottish seaside locations, the town is actually one of the closest points in Scotland to Northern Ireland. On a clear evening, the bright lights of Belfast are visible as the sun sets behind the iconic Mourne Mountains.
Pubs and restaurants dot the seafront promenade, with several quirky gift shops adding to the fun around Portpatrick’s harbour. A short stroll along the cliffs on the outskirts takes you to the 16th-century Dunskey Castle, with its ruins standing gloriously on the banks of the Irish Sea. If you’re based in Scotland, make sure you check out this town for a weekend break by the seaside.