Seaside Serenity: Unveiling England's Hidden Coastal Gems

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Curated By

Judith Coetzee

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  • Beaches

  • Family Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Sustainable Travel

  • England

  • Local Food

  • Local Culture

  • Sightseeing

A picture of brown sand beach with arch rock during the daytime.
Curator’s statement

As a seasoned traveler, few places have captivated me like England's coastal havens. The rhythmic waves, charming villages and hidden gems along the shoreline make it an absolute delight. The English coast is truly a canvas of contrasts – from windswept cliffs to tranquil bays. I would encourage any traveler visiting these beautiful coastal towns, to indulge in seaside hikes offering panoramic views, savor locally sourced seafood in quaint villages and soak up the maritime history in charming port towns. The hotels and homestays scattered along the coast are perfect examples of where luxury meets the untamed beauty of the English coast. Unwind in opulent retreats and create memories amidst the maritime magic.

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Where to stay in England

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Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate

Where coastal elegance meets luxury retreat in Cornwall's picturesque embrace.

The Idle Rocks hotel

A seaside sanctuary where luxury and tranquility converge on the picturesque shores of St Mawes.

No 42 by Guest House

Where boutique charm and modern comfort intertwine, creating a unique haven for discerning travelers.

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Things to do in England

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Durdle Door

Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Nestled along the enchanting stretch of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England, Durdle Door stands as a geological masterpiece, captivating the hearts of all who wander its way. Venture down the steep path, and the grandeur of Durdle Door unfolds before you – a magnificent arch standing proudly amidst the sparkling azure waters. The contrast of the chalky cliffs against the deep blue sea creates a mesmerizing panorama. Sunset at Durdle Door is a spectacle not to be missed.

Seven Sisters

East Sussex

The Seven Sisters coastline is an iconic stretch of coastal splendor nestled in East Sussex, England. These towering white chalk cliffs got their name from the seven peaks that the cliffs form. The sheer scale of the cliffs evokes a sense of awe, and the brisk sea breeze invigorates the senses. For those seeking adventure, hiking the Seven Sisters is an exhilarating experience. The cliffside trails offer breathtaking vistas at every turn, revealing the dramatic interplay between land and sea.

Porthcurno Beach

Porthcurno, Cornwall

Nestled along the southwestern coast of Cornwall, Porthcurno Beach unveils itself as a hidden gem, a sanctuary of golden sands and crystalline waters. Bask in the sun's warm embrace or take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. For those with an affinity for nature's wonders, a short walk from the beach unveils the magical Minack Theatre. Carved into the cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, this open-air theatre hosts performances that come alive under the starlit Cornish sky.

Kynance Cove

The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

As you approach, the golden sands and turquoise waters, it creates a mesmerizing contrast against the dark serpentine rocks, painting a scene of unrivaled coastal allure. The azure waters beckon, inviting swimmers and explorers to immerse themselves in the refreshing embrace of the Atlantic. Visitors are surrounded by the iconic arches and caves carved into the cliffs that envelope this pristine beach. For the adventurous souls, the coastal pathways offer panoramic views of the cove and beyond. Hike along the cliff's edge to witness the rugged beauty of the Lizard Peninsula. Take a moment to indulge in a Cornish cream tea at the hillside National Trust café, savoring the flavors amidst the scenic splendor. Or, bring a picnic and let the beauty of Kynance Cove be the backdrop to your seaside feast.

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool

Margate, Kent

Margate, with its golden beaches and clear waters, has been a timeless lure for those seeking the embrace of the sea. Among the coastal treasures, the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool stands as a testament to the town's rich maritime heritage. Just a 15-minute walk east of the Main Sands, this Grade II-listed structure is not just a swimming spot; it's a living relic. Opened in 1937, the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is a piece of living history, offering a glimpse into an era when seaside pleasures were simple yet profound. As the largest tidal pool in the UK, it has welcomed generations of swimmers. The pool is not only an iconic swimming spot, but it has also become a canvas for trendy and artsy Instagram shots among the younger crowd.

Michelin-starred cream tea at Lympstone Manor

Exmouth, Devon

For those seeking the epitome of a traditional cream tea, Lympstone Manor emerges as a destination where every element is elevated to perfection. Cream tea, also known as Devon cream tea, is an afternoon delight that weaves together the simple pleasures of a cup of tea, scones, clotted cream and jam. However, at Lympstone Manor, this time-honored tradition transforms into a Michelin-starred affair situated on a terrace overlooking the beautiful Exe estuary.

Beyond the indulgence of cream tea, Lympstone Manor offers a range of activities for the discerning tourist. Explore the meticulously landscaped gardens, stroll along the Exe estuary or embark on a wine-tasting journey in the Manor's extensive cellar. For those seeking relaxation, the heated pool facilities, Michelin-starred restaurant and luxurious accommodations provide a retreat to unwind amidst the beauty of Devon's countryside.

Treyarnon beach

Padstow, Cornwall

Nestled along the rugged shores near Padstow, Cornwall, Treyarnon Beach beckons those seeking a seaside escape with a touch of tranquility and natural splendor. Tucked away from the bustling crowds, this hidden gem embodies the essence of a perfect North Cornish beach day. Surf enthusiasts find paradise at Treyarnon, where fantastic surf beckons riders of all skill levels. So, whether you're basking in the sun, exploring rock pools, riding the waves or simply relishing the coastal serenity, Treyarnon Beach is a pretty perfect destination on Cornwall's north coast.

St Ives Bay Line

St. Erth to St. Ives, Cornwall

Embark on a railway journey that transcends the ordinary, as the St Ives Bay Line unfolds the picturesque tapestry of Cornwall's coastal splendor. As the train departs from St. Erth, the anticipation builds for the spectacle that awaits. The rhythmic chug of the locomotive becomes a companion on this immersive adventure. Golden sands greet the eye as the train skirts along the coastline, passing the enchanting Hayle Towans. The mesmerizing views extend to Carbis Bay, where azure waters meet pristine shores. As the journey unfolds, St Ives emerges on the horizon, a charming coastal town embraced by the sea. As the train arrives in St Ives invites explore its cobbled streets, local cafés, art galleries and panoramic views from the harbor.

Places to eat & drink in England

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Rick Stein

Sandbanks, Dorset

As you step into the restaurant, the aroma of fresh seafood and the sound of waves gently crashing nearby set the stage for an unparalleled dining experience. The interior exudes an understated elegance, with nautical touches that pay homage to the coastal surroundings. Large windows frame panoramic views of the sea, creating a seamless connection between the dining room and the maritime landscape.

The cuisine at Rick Stein's is a celebration of local, sustainable seafood. From succulent lobster to perfectly grilled fish, each dish is a testament to the culinary expertise that has made Rick Stein a household name. The menu showcases the flavors of the sea with a contemporary twist, ensuring a memorable dining experience for seafood enthusiasts and culinary adventurers alike. During the day, it's a sunlit retreat for leisurely lunches, while evenings bring a more intimate ambiance, perfect for romantic dinners or celebratory gatherings.

Paul Ainsworth at No6

Padstow, Cornwall

Nestled in the quaint harbor town of Padstow, England, Paul Ainsworth at No6 stands as a culinary gem, inviting discerning palates on a journey through elevated British cuisine. This Michelin-starred restaurant, led by acclaimed chef Paul Ainsworth, is a celebration of local flavors and culinary innovation. The cuisine at Paul Ainsworth at No6 is a symphony of modern British flavors, expertly crafted with a focus on seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. From Cornish lamb to the freshest seafood, each dish is a testament to the chef's commitment to excellence. The menu offers a balance of familiar comforts and daring creations, ensuring a culinary journey that surprises and delights.

The Beachhouse

South Milton Sands, Devon

Step into the Beachhouse Café, and you'll be embraced by a laid-back yet sophisticated atmosphere. The interior, adorned with beach-inspired décor, exudes a relaxed charm that invites guests to unwind and savor the moment. Large windows frame panoramic views of the National Trust-preserved South Milton Sands. It's the ideal location to catch the morning sunset along with a hot coffee and an excellent breakfast. Whether you're enjoying a leisurely brunch with friends, a family gathering, or a romantic dinner by the sea, the Beachhouse Café effortlessly caters to diverse occasions.

The Elephant

Torquay, Devon

In the heart of Torquay's culinary landscape, The Elephant invites you to savor the artistry of Chef Simon Hulstone and the beauty of the English Riviera. Whether you're a connoisseur of fine dining or a seeker of seaside elegance, this Michelin-starred gem promises an extraordinary culinary experience. As you enter The Elephant, the ambiance exudes an air of refined elegance. The interior is a symphony of modern design and comfort, setting the stage for a sophisticated yet inviting atmosphere. Large windows frame sweeping vistas of the English Riviera. The Elephant is a celebration of modern British cuisine, elevated with a creative flare, with a focus on sustainability and locally sourced ingredients. The menu, curated by award-winning chef Simon Hulstone, showcases inventive dishes that elevate Devon's culinary heritage.

The Sportsman

Whitstable, Kent

The Sportsman is a testament to the philosophy of simplicity and quality. Chef Stephen Harris's dedication to local, seasonal ingredients results in a menu that champions the flavors of Kent. This Michelin-starred gem, situated amidst the salt marshes, invites you on a gastronomic journey that mirrors the beauty of its surroundings. The restaurant offers a variety of menus to cater to different preferences. The à la carte menu showcases signature dishes such as Slip Sole Grilled in Seaweed Butter and Salted Caramel Tart. The Tasting Menu is an immersive culinary exploration, a symphony of meticulously crafted courses that tell the story of the region's culinary heritage. For a more laid-back experience, the pub-style menu features comforting classics like Ploughman’s Lunch and Salted Baked Potatoes.

The atmosphere at The Sportsman is both welcoming and unpretentious. The rustic charm of the pub setting, with exposed beams and coastal hues, creates a sense of warmth. Large windows frame views of the marshes and distant sea, providing a serene backdrop for your culinary adventure.

Sardine Factory

Looe, Cornwall

This waterfront gem invites you on a gastronomic adventure where the essence of the coast is captured in every dish, making it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic taste of Cornwall. The atmosphere at the Sardine Factory is a harmonious blend of coastal charm and sophistication. With panoramic views of Looe's picturesque harbor, the restaurant exudes a relaxed elegance. The food is a perfect expression of Cornish cuisine, with dishes prepared with excellent attention to detail and impeccable flavors. The menu boasts an array of dishes that showcase the diversity of the ocean's offerings. From succulent grilled sardines to buttery lobster bisque and crispy calamari, each plate is a symphony of flavors inspired by the rich maritime heritage of Cornwall.

Angela’s

Margate, Kent

Perched along the captivating coastline of Margate, Kent, Angela's restaurant stands as a beacon of culinary sophistication, where the finest local ingredients are transformed into masterpieces that tantalize the palate. As the proud owner of one of the UK’s first-ever green Michelin stars, you will only ever find seasonal, locally sourced, and sustainable produce and seafood being used in simple and unpretentious dishes that truly hero the bounty that the English seaside has to offer.

The Cornish Arms

Padstow, Cornwall

The Cornish Arms stands as a welcoming haven for locals and visitors alike, offering an authentic village pub experience. With a backdrop of the picturesque Cornish countryside, this charming pub, proudly pouring real ales from St Austell Brewery, beckons you to unwind and savor the simplicity of classic British fare.

The cuisine at The Cornish Arms is a celebration of traditional pub favorites, ensuring a hearty and satisfying dining experience. Indulge in classics like fish and chips, burgers, ham, egg and chips and the iconic steak and ale pie. The menu, a nod to simplicity and quality, caters to diverse tastes, ensuring everyone feels at home. As winter winds beckon a coastal walk, find respite by the fire with a glorious Sunday roast, while summer invites you to the beer garden for woodfired pizzas and alfresco delights.

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Travel Advisor

Judith Coetzee

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For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Nataliya Gowan's guide, What to do during the Holiday Season in London, England. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to England.