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The 50 best seaside towns in the UK

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside! We all remember having a paddle and building sandcastles as a child - we’re getting all nostalgic at the thought! But what makes the best seaside? We’ve “beach-combed” the UK for answers - and here they are!

We asked over 2,000 families to tell us their favourite seaside towns and what they love most about the coast, both as and adult and from what they remember as a kid! We then gathered data to scientifically decide the best seaside towns in the UK.


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What makes the perfect seaside town for families?

To “fish” out the best “plaices” to go, we asked families about everything from sea and sunshine to ice cream and crabbing.

Then we counted the following in each town:
- Family attractions
- Beaches (Blue Flag and otherwise) in a 10-mile radius
- Fish and chip shops
- Instagram hashtags and check-ins
- The cost of an ice cream
- The average temperature and number of rainy days in August

We took the factors that mattered to families most and boosted their rating, giving each town an overall score (and creating a unique and clever “algorithm”!)

Out of 378 locations, this gave us the 50 best seaside towns in the whole of the UK, ranked in Gold, Silver and Bronze!

50 Best Seaside Towns in the UK

Gold Seaside Towns

These towns made it into the top 10, putting them into the prestigious Gold category of 2019 family-friendly seaside towns. They’re the best all-rounders, performing strongly in terms of clean beaches, safety, fun things to do, good weather, and beauty spots. In fact, you could say they’re simply "fintastic"!

1.  | 2.  | 3.  | 4.  | 5.  | 6.  | 7.  | 8.  | 9.  | 10. 

Silver Seaside Towns

Coming in positions 11-25 out of 378 towns in the UK, these locations have all achieved the status of Silver in our best seaside towns for families in 2019. Loved by generations, these towns have tons to offer families, from tasty chip shop fare to some of the best sea views you’ll find anywhere! We’re “shore” you’ll agree!

11.  | 12.  | 13.  | 14.  | 15.  | 16.  | 17.  | 18.  | 19.  | 20.  | 21.  | 22.  | 23.  | 24.  | 25. 

Bronze Seaside Towns

Positions 26-50 belong to our Bronze seaside towns, completing the list of the best seaside towns in the UK for families in 2019. Some of these are less well-known gems than the towns higher up in the rankings, but since “quiet and calm” is what most families are aiming for in their seaside trips, they might be just the ticket for a “whale” of a time:

26.  | 27.  | 28.  | 29.  | 30.  | 31.  | 32.  | 33.  34.  | 35.  | 36.  | 37.  | 38.  | 39.  | 40.  |
 41.  | 42. | 43.  | 44.  | 45.  | 46.  | 47.  |
48.  | 49.  | 50. 

Two boys in summer hats and clothes walk on a coastal path with backs to camera and sea to the left
A mum watching her daughter licking an ice cream as they sit on a bench overlooking the beach and sea

Special Mentions

While the towns above came out on top when we looked at their combined scores across the board, there were some stand-out winners in individual things we looked at. These towns are the best for family attractions, blue flag beaches, weather, instagram hot spots and - of course - the cheapest ice cream!

Most Family Attractions

Brighton wins the fairground prize for most family attractions at any seaside town in the UK, with 643 attractions listed in a 50-mile radius on Day Out With The Kids! We’ve added links to some of our favourite attractions in each area below, but of course, you can find the full list of things to do in each area by clicking on any of the links to the seaside town itself.

1. Brighton (643 attractions)
2. Southend-on-Sea (556 attractions)
3. Bognor Regis (503 attractions)
4. Southport (474 attractions)
5. Hayling Island (437 attractions)

Top attractions in each area



Bognor Regis:   

Hayling Island:   

Most Blue Flag Beaches

The Blue Flag Programme recognises the very best beaches in the world, so we knew this had to be a factor in our best seaside towns report. Blue Flag looks at things like water quality, environmental activities hosted at the beach, beach cleanliness, controlled access for dogs, drinking water availability and life guards. The towns below ranked best for Blue Flag beaches:

1. Bournemouth (5 blue flag beaches)
2. Tenby (4 blue flag beaches)
3. Torquay (3 blue flag beaches)
4. Margate (3 blue flag beaches)
5. Brighton (2 blue flag beaches)

Hottest August Temperature

We thought it was important to include the temperatures you can expect when you visit the seaside town in the school summer holidays - since that’s when families have to go! We were able to find the average August temperatures for all the towns using the Met Office website, so make sure you pack the sun lotion if you head to any of the destinations below. Temperatures are given in degrees Celsius:

1. Newport (22.1 degrees)
2. Southend-on-Sea (22 degrees)
3. Bournemouth (22 degrees)
4. Whitstable (21.9 degrees)
5. Herne Bay (21.9 degrees)

Fewest Rainy Days

When you holiday in the UK, it’s not possible to avoid the rain and wind! Our survey showed that families visiting the coast don’t let a little bit of rain ruin their fun - however, forewarned is forearmed! Knowing where the most rainy days are is just one more reminder to pack that waterproof for your trip - and to locate local amusements when you need to take cover.  The towns below have the fewest rainy days in August:

1. Southend-on-Sea (6.6 days)
2. Margate (6.9)
3. Herne Bay (6.9)
4. Whitstable (6.9)
5. Bournemouth (7.3)

Most Instagram Check-ins

Instagram is a staple of modern family life - nowadays our beautiful family holiday snapshots don't just have to stay in a photo album or shoebox under the bed Of course, it helps when you have the most scenic backgrounds in the shot, and these locations should all be able to help with that. These are the towns with the highest numbers of Instagram check-ins:

1. Brighton (2,815,145)
2. Blackpool (1,359,563)
3. Bournemouth (1,284,953)
4. Southend-on-Sea (540,592)
5. Newquay (487,125)

Cheapest Ice Cream on the Beach

A trip to the seaside with the kids wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream! We chose a 99 with a flake, bought on the beach, as our yardstick - because the best place to eat ice cream is always looking out to the waves! We used a variety of routes to gather these costs, including reaching out to tourist boards, social media users and cafes themselves. Here are the lowest cost places to get your ice cream fix:

1. Southwold (£1.30)
2. Hayling Island (£1.50)
3. Mablethorpe (£1.50)
4. Southport (£1.50)
5. Blackpool (£1.50)

There you have it! The best seaside towns in the UK as chosen by families like yours. If you’re planning a trip with your family, why not try out the Day Out With The Kids membership, to get great savings on days out, meals and short breaks? Head to the  page to find more, and have a wonderful summer sea-son whatever you have planned!

Data Sources

Thank you to the websites which allowed us to gather publicly available data for this project, alongside our own data from Day Out With The Kids