Five UK Coastal Break Dupes to Beat the Crowds This Summer

Thursday 11th Jul 2024 |

As summer approaches, the allure of a coastal retreat beckons to many, promising salty breezes, sandy shores, and the soothing sound of waves. Yet, the popularity of some seaside destinations can often mean crowds, inflated prices, and a lack of tranquillity, especially with one in three Brits planning a holiday in the UK this year.

While the concept of the travel “dupe” is not new, it has found renewed interest through social media platforms like TikTok, where travellers share their hidden gems of an alternative destination offering similar charms. So, if you’re seeking a serene coastal escape away from the masses, consider these five UK coastal break dupes to beat the crowds this summer.

Swap Brighton for Whitstable

Brighton’s vibrant atmosphere, welcoming communities, and iconic pier have long made it a favourite among holidaymakers. However, its popularity means that finding a quiet spot on the beach can be a challenge, especially during peak season.

Whitstable is a charming seaside town nestled on the northeast coast of Kent and offers much of what you’re looking for from a coastal escape. With its picturesque harbour, colourful beach huts, and renowned oysters (so renowned they even have their own festival!), Whitstable offers a more laid-back alternative to Brighton’s hustle and bustle. Stroll along the pebbled beach, explore the quirky independent shops, and indulge in fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.

Substitute Blackpool for Morecambe

Blackpool’s iconic tower, vibrant promenade, and lively amusement arcades have made it a perennial favourite among holidaymakers seeking classic seaside fun. However, during the height of summer, you’re likely to find yourself trapped in crowds and struggling for space. For a quieter coastal retreat in the North-West of England, consider Morecambe. Just a short distance from Blackpool, Morecambe offers a more relaxed atmosphere while still retaining its own unique charm.

coastal towns in the uk

Ben Mercer from Leisure Lakes Bikes, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of mountain bikes, is an expert in the North West and the local area: “There’s plenty to do in Morecambe that often gets overlooked for other areas of the North West. Whether it’s strolling or cycling along the renovated promenade, admiring the breathtaking views across Morecambe Bay, or exploring the town’s vibrant arts scene. This includes the iconic Midland Hotel, a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture.

“With its wide sandy beach, stunning sunsets, and laid-back vibe, Morecambe provides a refreshing alternative to the hustle and bustle of nearby Blackpool, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil coastal escape.”

Choose Padstow over St. Ives

St. Ives may be Cornwall’s crown jewel, but to avoid the hustle and bustle of crowds particularly during the summer months, Padstow is a great choice for a quieter coastal retreat in Cornwall. Situated on the north coast, Padstow exudes charm with its quaint harbour, narrow streets, and scenic coastal walks.

Foodies will delight in the town’s culinary offerings, including the famous seafood restaurants owned by celebrity chef Rick Stein. With its relaxed vibe and stunning scenery, Padstow offers a refreshing alternative to the hustle and bustle of St Ives.

Opt for Seahouses instead of Whitby

Whitby’s Gothic charm and association with Dracula make it a magnet for tourists seeking a dose of history and mystery.

coastal towns in the uk

For a quieter seaside escape in Northumberland, head to Seahouses. This picturesque fishing village offers sweeping views of the North Sea, a bustling harbour filled with colourful boats, and easy access to the nearby Farne Islands. Explore the village’s quaint shops and enjoy freshly caught fish and chips heralded as some of the best in the North East while watching the sunset over the sea.

Explore Southwold instead of Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh’s pebble beach and pastel-coloured houses have attracted visitors seeking a quintessential British seaside experience for generations. However, its popularity can result in crowded beaches and busy streets, particularly during the summer holidays. For a more tranquil coastal getaway in Suffolk, consider Southwold.

With its iconic lighthouse, charming pier, and rows of colourful beach huts, Southwold exudes old-world charm and understated elegance. Spend your days lounging on the sandy beach, browsing the independent shops along the High Street, and sampling fresh seafood at one of the town’s renowned restaurants.

Visit Llandudno instead of Tenby

coastal towns in the uk

Tenby’s picturesque harbour, medieval walls, and golden beaches make it one of Wales’s most popular seaside destinations. However, its popularity means that finding a quiet spot to relax can be a challenge, especially during the peak summer season. For a less crowded coastal escape in Wales, venture to Llandudno.

On the north coast of Wales, Llandudno boasts a stunning Victorian promenade, a picturesque pier, and sweeping views of the Great Orme headland. Take a ride on the historic tramway to the summit of the Great Orme, stroll along the promenade, and admire the town’s elegant architecture.

Escape to the Country at Tylney Hall in Hampshire