We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Reviews based on facts
Our rigorous tests find the facts, and our impartial reviews tell you the truth about how products perform. First month £5, then £9.99 per month, cancel anytime.
Try Which?
11 May 2021

Best seaside towns in the UK

We asked Which? members to rate the beach, attractions, scenery, value for money – and more – for nearly 100 seaside towns and villages across the UK
W
WhichEditorial team

Millions of British holidaymakers will be seeking seaside getaways closer to home this summer – but which part of the UK’s miles of idyllic coastline should you choose for a staycation or day out?

More than 4,061 visitors told us about their recent UK trips to seaside towns, villages and resorts. Destinations were rated on their beaches, attractions, value for money, peace and quiet, and scenery.

Thirty of the nearly 100 British destinations were awarded four or five stars for peace and quiet. This will be especially valuable this year given that uncertainty over foreign trips has seen a booking boom in domestic breaks. Perhaps this is one reason lesser-known spots such as Beer in Devon and Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands have risen up our rankings, replacing old but overrun favourites in Cornwall. 

Top of the pile, however, was Bamburgh in Northumberland. It won visitors over with its stunning scenery, beach and peaceful surroundings.

If you're planning a UK break and fancy exploring the countryside, you may also be interested in the area of outstanding natural beauty scores and results from the best national parks survey.

Bamburgh: The UK's best seaside town

The former 2019 winner is back on top thanks to its five-star beach. This glorious stretch of golden sand runs for three miles, backed by a vast, tussock dune system and dominated by the epic Bamburgh castle. The beach is big enough that it’s rarely crowded, which may suit those looking to socially distance this summer. The bracing wind off the North Sea 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: nothing to do here except walk, run, let the dog off the lead, or sit behind a windbreak with a Thermos and watch the waves roll in. 

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

Find out how your favourite coastal town fared in our table below. 

The best and worst UK seaside towns, as rated by you
Destination Avg hotel rate Beach Attractions Scenery Peace and quiet Value for money Customer score
Bamburgh, Northumberland £100
85%
Dartmouth, Devon £135 n/a
84%
Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear -
84%
St Andrews, Fife -
83%
Aberaeon, Ceredigon £120 - -
- 82%
North Berwick, East Lothian £122
81%
Rye, East Sussex £104 -
81%
Filey, North Yorkshire £81
80%
Southwold, Suffolk £135
80%
St Davids, Pembrokeshire - -
80%
Swanage, Dorset £123
80%
Beer, Devon -
-
79%
Conwy, Conwy £116 -
79%
Criccieth, Gwynedd £85 - -
- 79%
Sidmouth, Devon £155
79%
Tenby, Pembrokeshire £95
79%
Aldeburgh, Suffolk £122
78%
Mevagissey, Cornwall - - -
78%
Saltburn-by-the-sea, North Yorkshire £115
78%
Ullapool, Ross and Comarty £125 - -
- - 78%
Ventnor, Isle of Wight £120
78%
Whitby, North Yorkshire £79
78%
Falmouth, Cornwall £135
77%
Fowey, Cornwall £170 -
77%
Llandudno, Conwy £82
77%
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire £88
77%
Blakeney, Nofolk -
76%
Dungeness, Kent -
76%
Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire -
76%
St Mawes, Cornwall -
76%
Exmouth, Devon £76
75%
Lymington, Hampshire £131 n/a
75%
Plymouth, Devon £69 -
75%
Swansea, Swansea £67
75%
Beaumaris, Anglesey £93
74%
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland £99
74%
Deal, Kent £80
74%
Eastbourne, East Sussex £65
74%
Lyme Regis, Dorset £105
74%
Lynmouth, Devon £110
74%
Salcombe, Devon £221
74%
Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire £110
74%
St Ives, Cornwall £190
74%
Weymouth, Dorset £94
74%
Aberystwyth, Ceredigon £97
73%
Porthcawl, Bridgend £68
-
- - 73%
Sheringham, Norfolk £100
73%
Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear £55
73%
Broadstairs, Kent £96
72%
Bude, Cornwall £110
72%
Oban, Argyll and Bute £105 n/a -
72%
Shanklin, Isle of Wight £85
72%
Appledore, Devon - - -
71%
Barmouth, Gwynedd £95
-
- 71%
Teignmouth, Devon £80
71%
Whitstable, Kent £120
71%
Brighton, East Susex £95
70%
Bournemouth, Dorset £81
69%
Brixham, Devon £109 -
69%
Felixstowe, Suffolk £62
69%
Grange over Sands, Cumbria £109 n/a
69%
Poole, Dorset £105
69%
Porthmadog, Gwynedd £95 -
69%
Scarborough, North Yorkshire £75
69%
Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk £67
69%
Cromer, Norfolk £90
68%
Looe, Cornwall £120
68%
Minehead, Somerset £83
68%
Torquay, Devon £93
68%
Barton on Sea, Hampshire £75
-
- 67%
Padstow, Cornwall £145
67%
Penzance, Cornwall £120
67%
Herne Bay, Kent £49
-
66%
Seahouses, Northumberland £116
66%
Dawlish, Devon £107
65%
Hastings, East Sussex £78
65%
Southsea, Hampshire £77
65%
Folkestone, Kent £45
64%
Ramsgate, Kent £75
64%
Hunstanton, Norfolk £84
63%
Littlehampton, West Sussex £90
62%
Bridlington, East Yorkshire £72
61%
New Brighton, Merseyside £110
60%
Newquay, Cornwall £110
60%
Southport, Merseyside £71
60%
Blackpool, Lancashire £60
59%
Fleetwood, Lancashire £65 - - - - - 59%
Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset £62
-
- 58%
Colwyn Bay, Conwy £77
-
- 58%
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk £66
58%
Morecambe, Lancashire £77
58%
Worthing, West Sussex £78
58%
Lowestoft, Suffolk £73
- 57%
Margate, Kent £73
57%
Ilfracombe, Devon £84 -
56%
Weston-super-Mare, Somerset £72
55%
Skegness, Lincolnshire £65
48%

Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. A dash (–) indicates we didn’t receive enough responses to provide a rating. N/a indicates there is no beach close enough to the city, town or village centre to rate. Sample size was too small to include any Northern Irish locations.

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

Avg hotel rate: Kayak.co.uk

For more unbiased news and advice, sign up to Which? Travel