Tropical getaways are popular when the weather starts getting nippy. It is traditional for people to run away from the cold to go somewhere hot and where the beaches are beehives of activities. If you are from tropics and you are looking for snow, but can’t still get enough of sand and sea, the British seaside is for you.
Even without the sun peeking in, you stand to have a great time just walking along the UK beach destinations, visiting the quirky museums and having a lovely time after dusk in one of its cozy restaurants or hotels. You can gather ideas from the article “Sand, sea … snow? The best UK seaside holidays in winter” written by Lesley Gillilan and posted in The Guardian – Travel Section.
Gillilan suggested six British coastal destinations: Whitley Bay, Tyneside; Oban, Argyll, West Highlands; Portmeirion, Gwynedd; Boscastle, Cornwall; St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex; and Southport, Merseyside.
Whitley Bay, Tyneside
Why? … Whitley Bay’s aptly named Longsands beach is Tyneside’s surfing capital, with some of the best UK surf north of Cornwall, plus all the trimmings. Surfy cafe Crusoes … For cyclists, the classic Coast and Castle cycle route heads up to Northumberland. Or just hang out on Tynemouth’s Georgian Front Street .. . For good tucker, check out Irvins Brasserie or the Staith House … On the seafront, check out the domed Spanish City ballroom …
Oban, Argyll, West Highlands
Why? A hub for Calmac ferries sailing to the Inner Hebrides, Scotland’s self-styled seafood capital is a busy little harbour town – with dreamy views across the Firth of Lorn to the Isles of Kerrera, Lismore and mountainous Mull. Off-season … fishy restaurants; my favourite is the family-run Oban Fish and Chip Shop (116 George Street) …. On fine days, head for … Ganavan or Tralee on Benderloch; or hike up the hill to McCaig’s Tower … Warm up with a wee west Highland malt in the Oban Distillery opposite the North Pier…
Why? You can pretend you’re on a Mediterranean holiday: … make-believe Ligurian village has an Italianate piazza, a domed Pantheon, loggias, statuary, topiary, colonnades, cobbles and watery vistas, all framed in cherry laurels and Monterey pines. .. the pretty cottages are holiday lets or hotel rooms … there’s lots to keep you busy: smooth creamy sands, walks to hidden coves and views across Tremadog Bay, plus cafes and restaurants, including gelateria Caffi’r Angel Ices. There’s a food and craft fair on 6-7 December, and Snowdonia national park is 10 miles away…
Boscastle, Cornwall is a fabulous winter getaway with its rocky cliffs and moody waters. The village feel is something that will give you much comfort – smoke spiraling from the smokestacks of old cottages, real ales and roaring fires in the low-lit Cobweb Inn, and spooky witchery in the eerie Witchcraft Museum. Beautiful sights await you as you walk down the rocky footpaths to Bossiney Cove, to Tintagel, or east towards Bude.
St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex is a hip destination along with its neighbors – Hastings and St Leonards. The place is well known too for its vintage and retro shops on boho Norman Road. Be entertained by the architecture and other local attractions – wreckage at Hastings Pier, the art deco at the Marine Court and more architecture at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
Southport, Merseyside is home to cast-iron canopies, glassy Victorian arcades on Lord Street, the Marine Lake, Christmas lights and UK’s oldest pier. The waterfront is a little unexciting but the beach of yellow sand is immense extending to Formby Point. Gustatory delights wait at Southport’s hip restaurants such as the Warehouse and the V Café.
For additional ideas, check out “Britain’s best winter beaches” written by Louise Roddon for Telegraph Travel – Family Section. Other than walking, the beaches can offer a lot of treasures. If you are a collector or you want your kids to appreciate what the beaches offer apart from swimming and doing water sports, take Roddon’s suggested destinations based on what “treasures” the beach combers would love to hunt for.
She said, “A beachcombing walk is a great way to entertain children on a winter weekend. Louise Roddon suggests where to look for washed-up wonders on Britain’s shores.”
She suggested the following:
- Anglesey treasure trove at remote Llandona
Best for: Rock pooling; small marine creatures
Hope for: Ancient coins
- Bournemouth Pier
Best for: Unusual marine creatures
Hope for: Victorian or Celtic coins
- Scarista on the Isle of Harris
Best for: Shells
Hope for: Sightings of unusual jellyfish
- Herne Bay in Kent
Best for: Sharks’ teeth fossils
Hope for: Ancient coins
- Runswick Bay, Donosaur Coast in North Yorkshire
Best for: Shells and fossils
Hope for: Jet
- Prehistoric Essex
Best for: Fossils
Hope for: Rare finds such as prehistoric fossils
- Cornwall’s Talland Bay
Best for: Spider-crab spotting and shell-collecting
Hope for: Sightings of by-the-wind sailor jellyfish
- Cumbrian coastline extending into St Bees Head
Best for: Semi-precious stones, fish skeletons
Hope for: Sightings of ancient graffiti
Beachcombing and treasure-hunting are great ways to enjoy cold beaches on a wintry day. To motivate kids into learning a few lessons such as tides and natural habitats, a trip to the beach would make a practical and inspiring activity. With a small trowel and some pails and bags, teach them to be patient and to pay attention as they discover interesting beach finds.
To keep the kids safe, it is good to teach them what to avoid and how to handle animals they aren’t sure about (with tongs or gloves). Keep them away from unstable craggy cliffs and ask someone from the resort to provide a safety orientation. It is also important to keep a first aid kit for minor accidents and illnesses. Make sure you are going to a resort where there is adequate medical help available if and when you would need it.