Best seaside towns in the UK

Bamburgh has been voted the best seaside destination in the UK this year.  Image from Lauren Bell.

As British holidaymakers start to seek seaside getaways and holidays that closer to home this summer – it is hard to know where to start.

Which? has recently released the results of their survey, where 4,061 holidaymakers gave their opinions on their recent UK trips to seaside towns, villages and resorts.

The destinations were rated on their beaches, attractions, value for money, peace & quiet, and scenery.

So which part of the UK’s miles of idyllic coastline should you choose for a staycation or day out?

Thirty of the nearly 100 British destinations were awarded four or five stars for peace & quiet. Lesser-known spots such as Beer in Devon and Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands have risen up the rankings, replacing old but overrun favourites in Cornwall.

However, Bamburgh in Northumberland was awarded top of the list. It won visitors over with its stunning scenery, beach and peaceful surroundings.

Best seaside town in the UK: Bamburgh, Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh in Northumberland was the former 2019 winner, and is now back on top thanks to its five-star beach.

The glorious stretch of golden sand runs for three miles, backed by a vast, tussock dune system and dominated by the dramatic scenes of Bamburgh castle. The beach is big enough that it’s rarely crowded, which will suit those looking to socially distance this summer.

The bracing wind off the North Sea means it’s not the best destination for sunbathing, but it also helps to keep mass tourism at bay and the beach pristine and free of litter.

This is the British seaside at its low-key best: perfect for those who want a subtle holiday to walk, run, let the dog off the lead, or sit behind a windbreak with a Thermos and watch the waves roll in. 

Bamburgh, Northumberland
Beach: ★★★★★
Attractions: ★★★★★
Scenery: ★★★★★
Peace & quiet: ★★★★
Value for money: ★★★★★

Joint second: Dartmouth and Tynemouth

Dartmouth, Devon

Joint second best seaside was awarded to Dartmouth in Devon and Tynemouth in Tyne and Wear.

Dartmouth’s narrow half-timbered streets evoke the grandeur of Britain’s maritime past. The town offers an abundance of chic shops and lauded seafood restaurants that draw the crowds.

While not as peaceful as the likes of Bamburgh, Dartmouth continues to impress holidaymakers (it came second overall last year). There’s no beach in the town, but it offers beautiful harbour views, with plenty of coves to explore that are within walking distance from Dartmouth castle.

Tynemouth’s town peers out over a one-mile stretch of beach, Long Sand. A smaller beach at King Edward’s Bay is tucked around the corner between sheltering cliffs. This picturesque seafront scored a full five stars from holidaymakers. Evidence of the town’s historic past is all around, from a smart Victorian railway station to the ruins of Tynemouth Castle and Priory, all ready to be explored.

Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear

Dartmouth, Devon
Beach: N/A
Attractions: ★★★★
Scenery: ★★★★★
Peace & quiet: ★★★
Value for money: ★★★★

Tynemouth, Tyne
Beach: ★★★★★
Attractions: ★★★★
Scenery: ★★★★
Peace & quiet: ★★★
Value for money: ★★★★

Planning a staycation this year? Which? reveals the best seaside towns in the UK.

The top ten seaside towns on the list are:

  1. Bamburgh, Northumberland
  2. Dartmouth, Devon
  3. Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear
  4. Andrews, Fife
  5. Aberaeon, Ceredigon
  6. North Berwick, East Lothian
  7. Rye, East Sussex
  8. Filey, North Yorkshire
  9. Southwold, Suffolk
  10. Davids, Pembrokeshire

Skegness took the less coveted title of the worst-rated seaside town in the survey. It failed to impress holidaymakers and gained just one or two stars in most categories. However, it did manage to score three stars for its long golden-sand beach. The town does have plenty of family-friendly delights from caravan parks, endless beaches, a gigantic funfair, and fish and chips at every corner.

You can check out the full results of the Which? survey here. How did your favourite seaside town fare? Let us know on Twitter or email us at

Ashleigh Ridler