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The UK's best seaside towns

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We asked Which? members to rate the beach, attractions, seafront and scenery for more than 100 seaside towns and villages in the UK to find out which is best for a UK holiday, weekend beach break or just a day out.

 

More than 3,700 visitors told us about recent UK trips to seaside towns, villages and resorts, placing St Mawes in Cornwall at the top of the table. 

A week away in the UK, with warm sun on your back and the splash of the sea at your feet, is just what we need right now to blow away the stuck-inside-for-too-long cobwebs.

Fortunately this survey, conducted before coronavirus struck, saw you telling us that your favourite seaside destinations were those with a bit of space and some peace and quiet away from the crowds. 

Visitors named St Mawes, in Cornwall, the best place in the UK for a seaside break this year, handing it five stars for peace and quiet. 

Smaller town, such as Southwold, and less touristy villages, like Tynemouth, were rated better than classic favourites such as St Ives or Salcombe.

It’s likely we’ll be holidaying in the UK this year, so check out our reviews of the best and worst UK seaside hotels.

St Mawes: The UK's best seaside town

This corner of Cornwall is a well-kept secret. There is no sand, but pebbly Summers Beach is good for rock pooling. There's no amusement arcade, either. Yet it's the lack of these things that make St Mawes special. It's a lived-in village rather than a tourist trap. 

St Mawes is all about quiet pleasures: strolling along the seafront, pasty in hand, past whitewashed cottages to St Mawes Castle for sparkling views of the Fal estuary. 

Take your time choosing fish from a van on the harbour or enjoy a pint of Cornish brewed Doom Bar while sitting a wooden benches outside the Victory Inn.

UK's best and worst seaside towns: the full list

Find out how your favourite coastal town fared in our table below. Click on the link at the bottom to see even more ratings, including food and drink, seafront, attractions and shopping.

The best and worst UK seaside towns, as rated by you
Destination Avg hotel rate Beach Attractions Scenery Peace and quiet Value for money Town score
St Mawes, Cornwall - 85%
Dartmouth, Devon £150 n/a 84%
Southwold, Suffolk £160 84%
Aldeburgh, Suffolk £129 83%
Bamburgh, Northumberland £105 83%
Blakeney, Norfolk - 83%
St Andrews, Fife £128 81%
Saint Davids, Pembrokeshire - - - - - - 81%
Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear - 81%
Beer, Devon - 80%
Llandudno, Conwy £91 80%
Mevagissey, Cornwall - - 79%
Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire - - - - - - 79%
St Ives, Cornwall £164 79%
Tenby, Pembrokeshire £112 79%
Conwy, Conwy £105 - 78%
Dungeness, Kent £125 - - 78%
Sidmouth, Devon £149 78%
Whitby, North Yorkshire £84 78%
Frinton-on-Sea, Essex - 77%
Lyme Regis, Dorset £135 77%
Portmeirion, Gwynedd £147 - 77%
Rye, East Sussex £125 - 77%
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire £104 77%
Bude, Cornwall £95 76%
Aberdovey, Gwynedd £115 - - - 75%
Brixham, Devon £99 - 75%
Looe, Cornwall £120 75%
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire £99 75%
North Berwick, East Lothian £152 75%
Sheringham, Norfolk £163 75%
Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk £148 75%
Aberaeron, Ceredigion £68 - - 74%
Fowey, Cornwall £168 - 74%
Teignmouth, Devon £69 74%
Oban, Argyll and Bute £106 n/a 74%
Criccieth, Gwynedd £99 - 73%
Falmouth, Cornwall £125 73%
Filey, North Yorkshire £81 73%
Lymington, Hampshire £135 n/a 73%
Swanage, Dorset £120 73%
Whitstable, Kent £127 73%
Deal, Kent £79 72%
Porthmadog, Gwynedd £111 - 72%
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland £119 71%
Salcombe, Devon £209 71%
Eastbourne, East Sussex £66 71%
Padstow, Cornwall £145 71%
Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire £155 71%
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion £100 70%
Bournemouth, Dorset £99 70%
Broadstairs, Kent £101 70%
Cromer, Norfolk £139 70%
Felixstowe, Suffolk £57 70%
Lynmouth, Devon £110 - 70%
Southsea, Hampshire £97 70%
Swansea, Swansea £81 70%
Weymouth, Dorset £106 70%
Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear £68 70%
Plymouth, Devon £77 - 69%
Poole, Dorset £112 69%
Appledore, Devon - - - 68%
Barmouth, Gwynedd £95 68%
Beaumaris, Anglesey £87 - 68%
Exmouth, Devon £81 68%
Grange-over-sands, Cumbria £111 n/a 66%
Scarborough, North Yorkshire £78 68%
Seahouses, Northumberland £108 68%
Shanklin, Isle of Wight £87 68%
Brighton, East Sussex £122 66%
Dawlish, Devon £93 66%
Torquay, Devon £87 66%
Southport, Merseyside £71 65%
Ventnor, Isle of Wight £119 65%
Ayr, South Ayrshire £76 65%
Minehead, Somerset £84 64%
Ullapool, Ross and Cromarty £119 - - 63%
Worthing, West Sussex £82 63%
Barton on Sea, Hampshire - - - - - - 62%
Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire £75 62%
Herne Bay, Kent - - 62%
Hunstanton, Norfolk £103 62%
Largs, North Ayrshire £99 - 62%
Folkestone, Kent £52 61%
Hastings, East Sussex £88 61%
Lowestoft, Suffolk £80 61%
Porthcawl, Bridgend £80 60%
Colwyn Bay, Conwy £86 59%
Ramsgate, Kent £80 59%
Newquay, Cornwall £116 58%
Ilfracombe, Devon £85 57%
New Brighton, Merseyside - 57%
Penzance, Cornwall £126 57%
Weston-super-Mare, Somerset £80 57%
Margate, Kent £92 55%
Morecambe, Lancashire £89 55%
Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset £78 54%
Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire £61 54%
Littlehampton, West Sussex £150 54%
Blackpool, Lancashire £68 53%
Marblethorpe, Lincolnshire - 52%
Bognor Regis, West Sussex £105 49%
Clacton-on-Sea, Essex £129 48%
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk £68 48%
Skegness, Lincolnshire £65 44%

Click here for the full survey results table

Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses to provide a rating. 

Town score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the city as a holiday destination.

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