#1 ST IVES – CORNWALL
The spectacular, crescent-shaped Porthmeor Beach is the focal point for all visitors to St Ives while the jewel of the art crown is the white rotunda of Tate St Ives that stands proudly on the hillside behind the beach. Traditional hearty Cornish pasties are the must. And if the summer crowds become too much, head out of town and reach the village of Zennor.
#2 BRIGHTON – EAST SUSSEX
Cutting-edge bars, classy restaurants, slick boutique hotels and a cool, bohemian, seaside vibe are found here. Further along towards Brighton Pier, seafood vendors serve mussels, shrimps and jellied eels from their beachside kiosks. Enjoy some classic seaside fun: amusements, games stalls and traditional fairground rides. Visit the Lanes – a cornucopia of designer boutiques, restaurants and antique shops – and the Royal Pavilion, home of King George IV and the most exotic, extravagant royal palace in Europe.
#3 WHITBY – NORTH YORKSHIRE
Along the harbour, amusement arcades ring with the sounds of one-armed bandit machines. Brightly-painted fishing boats line the quayside, loading off their catch to the fish market. One of the best known fish-and-chip shops is the Magpie Café. Visit the house in Grape Lane – a museum in Captain James Cook’s honour, then take the pilgrimage stroll to the West Cliff and enjoy panoramic views over town and the Esk River.
#4 MARGATE – KENT
The Turner Contemporary Gallery highlights the town’s links with the famous artist whereas the revamped and re-opened Dreamland amusement park hosts the oldest roller-coaster in Britain. The long stretches of clean, sandy beaches and the 27-mile Viking Coastal Trail are still the main attractions, and the old town and Harbour Arm have a distinctive arty feel, with quirky shops, galleries, antique shops and great places to eat.
#5 BLACKPOOL – LANCASHIRE
Blackpool’s best-known attraction is the Pleasure Beach – housing a marvellous collection of old-style wooden roller coasters, along with one of Europe’s biggest: the Pepsi Max Big One. Visit Sandcastle Waterpark, where you can slip and slide through the world’s longest indoor roller-coaster water slide – the Master Blaster. Don’t miss Blackpool’s trademark: the 518ft-tall Blackpool Tower Eye with its 4D cinema and breathtaking Skywalk.
Text and photos by Andrew Marshall
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