Weekends away: the best of British seaside resorts

Looking for a beach for a staycation or family day trip in North Wales or the west coast of England? Here are a few ideas for you to put in your diary.

Emma - Avanti West Coast Blog Author

Emma from our web team

3 mins read | June 3, 2021

Britain is blessed with vast stretches of beaches around its 12,500 km coastline. Whether you want to sunbathe on the sand, try rock-pooling and fossil hunting or enjoy the views of our dramatic coastline, there’s something for everyone.

So if you’re planning a weekend away to the beach, or looking for the best staycation the UK has to offer, you can start your seaside break early with a relaxing, comfortable train journey. From Anglesey to southern Scotland, our routes take in some of the most stunning seaside destinations. So get your sunscreen on and head for the coast – a warm welcome awaits!

Traeth Mawr, Anglesey

The name “Traeth Mawr” literally means “big beach” in English, and anyone in North Wales will know exactly the place you’re referring to. Located near the village of Aberffraw, it’s halfway between Rhosneigr and Traeth Llanddwyn on the south west face of Anglesey.

This beach is a true haven. It never really gets full because there’s no car park; most visitors park on the road about 300m away and cross the sand dunes to reach it. Don’t expect ice cream vans, gift shops and bars however; you’ll need to make sure you bring everything you need for the day.

If you come by train, your nearest station is Bodorgan, where you’ll be able to get a taxi to take you close to the beach. Alternatively, head to Aberffraw, where you can cross the bridge and walk to your chosen spot in 15 to 20 minutes. There’s a promenade in the village which is a lovely place to do some sightseeing and have a cup of tea.

Bangor, North Wales

Over the Menai and onto the Welsh mainland, the first major town you’ll reach is Bangor. A small city with lots of historical significance, it is also a university town with an exciting nightlife. With a promenade, a small marina and of course the famous pier stretching out towards Anglesey, it’s a great alternative to the tourist hotspots of Llandudno and Conwy.

The beach sits to the north east of the city, with a few bars and takeaways to get a snack while you’re watching the boats come in and out of the harbour. If you fancy going on a weekend away to the seaside, Bangor is a great place to stay, with Snowdonia, Anglesey and Llandudno all just a few minutes away.

Colwyn Bay, North Wales

Generations of tourists have made Colwyn Bay one of Wales’s most attractive holiday destinations. Connected by rail in the 1800s, a resort has grown around the town, complete with a promenade, dozens of hotels, B&Bs and plenty of other family attractions, as well as a beautiful sandy beach that nestles into the curving coastline.

It’s a family-friendly place ideal for any beach break, whether that means splashing in the sea, visiting the Welsh Mountain Zoo or getting some fish and chips to eat on the prom.

Prestatyn, North Wales

Over in the east of North Wales, Prestatyn is one of the country’s small cluster of resorts. The arrival of Pontins in 1939 made it a favourite for family holidays, especially for people from Manchester and Liverpool, and it has been a destination of choice ever since.

The North Wales Expressway misses Prestatyn, so it’s a quieter place than the resorts further west, and that’s exactly why people love it. Throw in a Blue Flag award-winning beach, plenty of activities for the whole family and a superb golf course just on the outskirts, and you’ve got a pleasant staycation destination. There’s always plenty going on but it’s never too busy, so your stay is guaranteed to be a relaxing one.

Blackpool, Lancashire

If you’re looking for an exciting and fun-packed beach break, Blackpool is the choice destination. The town’s fame comes more from its landmark tower, theatres, illuminations, trams and white knuckle rides, but it also has two Blue Flag beaches: Blackpool Sands and Blackpool South. You can turn up with your beach towel, parasol and picnic and almost forget you’re in an entertainment capital while spending the whole day with the sand between your toes.

Neighbouring Blackpool on the Ribble Estuary is the slightly more serene Lytham St Annes, with its wide sandy beach and refined tea houses. Hire a beach hut and spend the day looking out over the Irish Sea, where the only coasters are the ones you put your drinks on. Perfect.

Morecambe, Lancashire

Located on the coast where Cumbria meets Lancashire, Morecambe Bay is a huge tidal estuary, beloved of birdwatchers and anyone who appreciates dramatic scenery. On its east sits Morecambe, a historical resort with attractions all of its own. You can spend hours trudging around the beach, though it’s not advisable to go too far out unless you are on a supervised cross bay walk as some parts can be dangerous. 

This is a walk you won’t forget in a hurry, putting you in an otherworldly, desert-like environment, neither on the land nor on the sea. Then it’s back to the resort itself for a great meal and drink while you talk about your breath-taking experience.

Allonby, Cumbria

Cumbria is understandably better known for its Lake District National Park than for its 165 kilometre long coastline, but those who frequent the beaches like it that way. Dotted along the coast are several notable beach resorts, but toward the north of the county is the little-known Allonby, situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Allonby has eight kilometres of sand and shingle beaches, perfect for day trips and afternoon walks. You’ll see plenty of wildfowl all around you, but look over the Solway Firth and you’ll be able to see the hills of southern Scotland on the horizon. Because it’s west-facing, you can expect dramatic sunsets on clear days. Even if you’re staying at Keswick, it’s worth the half-hour journey for an afternoon out.

Rockcliffe Beach, Dumfries and Galloway

Our final stop takes us into Scotland, where the West Coast Mainline takes a more inland route until it reaches Edinburgh. Just off the line, on the southern coast of Dumfries and Galloway, is a local favourite toe-dipper, Rockcliffe Beach.

Rockcliffe is part of a National Scenic Area, with a beach fronting a tiny village overlooking the Solway Firth. A great base for walkers, it’s where most of the locals come to stretch their legs. You can head inland on one of many marked walks, or stick around the beach for some cool coastal breezes. Either way, it’s a destination to remember.

Get going with Avanti West Coast

Are you ready to enjoy some fresh sea air? From Anglesey to southern Scotland, you can get there on an Avanti West Coast train. Some routes are direct, and others will require a change to reach those off the mainline, but it’s all straightforward to book using ourJourney Planner. Don’t forget your bucket and spade!

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