UK’s best and worst seaside town named – full list

The UK has some incredible seaside towns but which is the country’s best for a staycation? In a new Which? survey, over 3,000 visitors ranked Britain’s seaside towns on the quality of the beaches, food and drink, tourist attractions and value for money. While an incredible seaside destination took the top spot, tourists were less than impressed with some of the lowest scoring towns.

Best seaside towns in the UK

  1. Bamburgh, Northumberland
  2. Dartmouth, Devon
  3. Portstewart, Londonderry
  4. Portmeirion, Gwynedd/ St Andrews, Fife/ Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear
  5. Southwold, Suffolk
  6. Aldeburgh, Suffolk/ St David’s, Pembrokeshire/ Tobermory, Isle of Mull
  7. Beer, Devon/Blakeney, Norfolk/Conwy, Conwy/Crail, Fife

Worst seaside towns in the UK

  1. Skegness, Lincolnshire/ Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
  2. Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset
  3. Bangor, County Down
  4. Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire
  5. Bognor Regis, West Sussex
  6. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
  7. Colwyn Bay, Conwy
  8. Southend-on-Sea, Essex
  9. Morecambe, Lancashire
  10. Fishguard, Pembrokeshire

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Northumberland’s Bamburgh was the UK’s best-rated seaside town, scoring five stars for scenery, quality of the beach and seafront and peace and quiet. A visitor ‘Sarah E’ wrote on Tripadvisor: “What a beautiful beach!”

Steeped in history, Bamburgh’s sandy shoreline is overlooked by the ruins of an ancient castle. A beachgoer said there was always “plenty of space so the beach never feels crowded”.

Dartmouth in Devon grabbed second place with a five star rating for scenery and accommodation. Although the pretty spot wasn’t as quiet as Bamburgh, a reviewer praised the town’s “atmosphere and vibrance”.

Derry’s Portstewart grabbed third place on the list with visitors praising the “fantastic” sandy beach and the local cafes’ home baking.

At the other end of the scale were Skegness and Clacton-on-Sea, which left reviewers less than impressed. Skegness’s pier was ranked one star while Clacton-on-Sea received one star for its scenery.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “Where was my last UK seaside break? Southend on Sea. This small city on the Essex coast finished an unhappy fourth from bottom in our survey.

“Now I’m not going to try and convince you it deserves to be up the other end of the table.

“Is it as nice as Bamburgh, or Dartmouth? No. But for that holiday where you want to have some fun and not spend a lot of money, it’s fantastic.

“In Southend me and my kids won (and lost) a fortune on the penny slot machines, took a spin on the carousel aboard a pair of pink elephants and ate £9 fish and chips with our toes in the miles of sandy beach.

“It was not a warts free holiday. Rubbish blew around our feet while we walked along the promenade and many buildings looked run down, a reflection of the struggles Southend and many other traditional seaside resorts have in raising enough revenue to regenerate their town centres.

“Not for the first time we also had to cross the road away from boozed up and shouty day drinkers. This is a perpetual problem in some seaside resort towns. Clacton, Skegness and Southend all received one star from visitors for the lack of peace and quiet, and some visitors complain that the boisterous atmosphere can tip into feeling unsafe.

“That’s a shame, because what Clacton, Skegness and Southend offer is exactly the sort of seaside break many of us want. Big beaches, big entertainment and small prices. More should be done to help them level up and become first class holiday resorts.”

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