But this is somewhere far closer to home – sunny Southend-on-Sea on the Thames Estuary in Essex.
For years, people have been sniffy about this little seaside town, but things are changing. In fact, some are even describing Southend as the new Brighton.
And at just an hour from London on the train and a swiftly-improving hotel, pub and restaurant scene, the comparison might not be that far off.
During the heatwave, Brits have flocked here, with train bookings to the town for July and August up an incredible 210% compared to the same period in 2016.
And with a lengthy beach and plenty of traditional seaside activities to keep kids and adults alike entertained, what’s not to like?
No trip to Southend is complete without a stroll (or train ride) down its 19th Century pier, the longest pleasure pier in the world.
The half-hour walk each way boasts some of the best views you’ll see in Southend – from the mud flats rising out of the waters of the Thames Estuary, to the boats in the distance and the birds swooping down.
Kids will love the free-admission Adventure Island theme park which has plenty of rides and scream-inducing rollercoasters.
And further along the front is the SeaLife Adventure Aquarium, featuring creatures from all over the world and family favourites otters, meerkats and penguins. Entry is £14 for adults and £10 for kids, or upgrade your Adventure Island wristbands for £5.
If all the activity on offer leaves you desperate for something to eat (and maybe a stiff drink), check out The Mews gastropub hidden away in Nelson Mews, a 15-minute walk from Southend’s front.
Don’t fancy slogging uphill on a hot day to get there? Hop on the funicular Cliff Lift, which transports passengers between the Western Esplanade and Clifton Terrace, just around the corner from the pub.
It’s a great way to travel, but only open 10pm-3pm at the weekend so check the time before you go. It’s 50p to ride each way.
At The Mews, try the fantastic Sunday lunch. And for dessert, take a stroll along the front and tuck into a locally-made Rossi ice-cream with a huge variety of flavours.
Bar-wise, trendy spots include the wine bar Ocean Beach on Eastern Esplanade, which also has a bistro and cafe, and East Coast Social on London Road for cocktails and craft beer.
For a completely different vibe, jump back on the train three stops to the picturesque old fishing village of Leigh-on-Sea.
The town centre boasts independent shops, bars and galleries, and there are some lovely pubs to visit in Old Leigh, with plenty of outside space and views of the Thames Estuary.
Check out The Peterboat and The Crooked Billet for drinks before heading to The Boatyard for food.
The restaurant, spread across two floors, serves up fresh fish and British classics, and there’s a big outdoor deck area for drinks. We stayed at Southend’s brand new Seven Hotel, which sits up on the cliffs in the Clifton Conservation Area, with views over the pier. This swanky boutique abode offers luxury top-floor suites decorated with sea blues and metallic fixtures and fittings, floor-to-ceiling windows and sink-in velvet armchairs.
The other rooms, classed as Chic, Cosy, Calm or Comfy, are no less glamorous.
The beautiful Aurum restaurant, led by award-winning chef Simon Webb, is the place where colourful dishes are created from local, seasonal produce.
The cocktail bar, meanwhile, has a list of 30 gins and an outdoor terrace and sea views, making it the ideal place for glam pals to catch up on the buzz about town.
Getting there: Travel to Southend with c2c trains from Fenchurch Street, London. The journey takes under an hour with tickets available from £11.75 return when you buy online three days in advance. Offers include kids travel for £2, save 1/3 on group bookings and two-for-one offers at attractions in Southend. See c2c-online.co.uk
Where to stay: Super king rooms with sea view from £218 including breakfast. Book at thesevenhotel.co.uk
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