- a thematic guide to Britain
the sea in England - shorelines beaches &
Britain is an
, and England is half of this island, and has
a third of its coastline. No English city is more than 70 miles or 120
kilometers from the coast , and the majority of the population lives
within 60 km of the sea Thus, the coast and the sea are very important
things for the English. Ever since people first lived in England, the
sea has marked their history , their literature, their culture, their
economy , their eating habits, their society, their attitudes, and more
recently their leisure .
The English have been enjoying
the pleasures of their seashores for over 250 years. It was way back in
1750 that the seaside town of Brighton, 60 miles south of London, began
its transformation from fishing harbour into a seaside resort for
Londoners, coming to enjoy the health benefits of fresh sea air and sea
water. In the early 19th century, the Prince Regent, later King George
IV, firmly established the popularity the seaside as a place
leisure, by building the famous Brighton Royal Pavilion, a royal
seaside holiday home designed in an exotic Indian oriental
Today, Brighton remains a jewel
in the crown among the great English seaside resorts , fully equipped
to accommodate guests in any season, tourists .... or large conferences
. But Brighton is not alone. During the 19th century, all
round the English coast, large resorts sprang up, it first for the new
middle classes from the big cities, later for the working classes too .
Until the late 1960s and the advent of
cheap international flights between Britain and the Mediterranean coast
, these resorts were the preferred holiday destinations of English of
all classes. They remain popular today, especially for older people and
for people wanting a short break from city life.
The English coast on foot.
Work is currently underway to complete a footpath right round the
English coast. The project should be ready by 2020. Long sections of
the route already exist. It is already possible to walk most of the
southwest coast, from Southampton round to Bristol along the southwest
coastal path, which follows the stunning coastline from
Falmouth, in southern Cornwall, to Ilfracombe, in north Devon.
Most popular seaside resorts
by coast :
Cities whose names are written in bold have a large hotel capacity and
infrastructure for hosting major national and international conferences
South coast , the English Channel - from east
to west :
Major resorts : Folkestone , Eastbourne,
Brighton , Bournemouth ,
Torquay / Paignton.
Smaller resorts : Ramsgate , Hastings, Newhaven , Worthing, Bognor
Regis, resorts on the Isle of Wight , Weymouth, Exemouth
West Coast Atlantic , Irish Sea - from south
to north :
Major resorts : Weston super Mare , Blackpool
, Morecambe .
Smaller resorts : Newquay, Bude, Ilfracombe, Minehead, Fleetwood,
East coast, North Sea - from south to north :
Major resorts : Southend on Sea, Clacton , Great Yarmouth, Scarborough
Other resorts : Lowestoft , Skegness, Bridlington.
General overview of the coasts
1 . The Channel coast - the south coast of
England, from Ramsgate (Kent) to Penzance (Cornwall) .
air theatre at Minack, on the southwest tip of Cornwall
This is England's most popular coastline. It offers many
once fishing towns now small resorts or small
ports, popular places to retire to. In the eastern part, the
coast is characterized
by plenty of great beaches, some of sand, some of shingle. The
Hampshire coast, between Chichester and Poole, is particularly popular
with yachtsmen because of its coves and its harbors, particularly
around the Isle of Wight. To the west of the peninsula of Portland
Bill, the coast is more rural, with small towns nestled between the
cliffs at the mouth of rivers, such as Lyme Regis and Sidmouth.
Virtually the whole of this coast is very attractive; from
to the tip of Cornwall, the coast is well protected and coastal
footpaths attract many hikers. To the west of Torquay, the south coast
of Devon and Cornwall is rocky and indented, a very attractive
coastline of beaches, inlets and estuaries, and is also
popular with yachtsmen.
See also: Southeast
2 . The
west coast of England, Land's End to the
Scottish border .
The English Atlantic coast. The north coast of Cornwall and Devon is
very rocky, but offers beautiful and large sandy beaches. Open to the
Atlantic swell, these are the most popular British beaches
for surfers. The seaside resorts here are small but popular.
The " Atlantic Coast" continues as far as the town of Minehead, a small
resort in Somerset . Further north, it becomes the Severn Estuary,
though there is a big and popular seaside resort at Weston super Mare,
near Bristol .
The Irish Sea : North of the Welsh border, the coasts of Cheshire and
Lancashire are noted for their great sandy beaches. This coast is
well-known for its large popular resorts which grew up in the 19th
century to cater for the inhabitants of large industrial cities of
northern England. It is a part of the coast that is very rooted
in tradition, and the resorts remain popular with people from
nearby cities. Blackpool, Britain's most famous seaside
resort, likes to give itself the appearance of a small Las
Vegas; as well as amusement parks , the city has plenty of casinos,
slot machines, cinemas, fast food restaurants and other entertainment
Very different from
all that, the coast of the Lake District is quite sparsely populated ,
except for small coastal towns like St Bees or Whitehaven. While the
Lake District itself is a very popular tourist area, the coast is less
popular, as this is one of the wettest areas of England. It
is also worth noting that there is a nuclear waste reprocessing plant
at Sellafield, on the Lake district coast.
3. The North
Sea coast - the east coast of
England. From Kent to the Scottish border..
Despite its reputation as cold coast, the east coast of England,
bordering the North Sea, has plenty going for it. Resorts are
relatively rare, and therefore it is a coast that offers long stretches
of fairly deserted beaches, especially around East Anglia.
The coast of East Anglia is popular with bird
watchers, because it is a region rich in sedentary and migratory
waterfowl. This part of England, like the Netherlands on the other side
of the North Sea, is very flat , and just inland from the coast, there
are large areas of fens and an area of lakes known as the Norfolk
Broads, very popular for boating. See the East of England
Halfway up the east coast is a
large square bay, called the Wash, one of the most important wetlands
and bird sanctuaries in Europe .
To the north of the Wash , the
coast alternates between cliffs and flat areas, with relatively little
in the way of tourism.
Other sectors of the North Sea coast
that are popular with tourists are the coast of North Yorkshire, south
of the small historic port Whitby , and the far north coast of
Northumberland, a rocky windy coastline exposed to
the rigors of the north Sea . This coast is famous for its castles and
ancient monasteries . Between these two areas, between the rivers Tyne
and Tees, there is an industrial area with some of the largest
in England, where coal mines once stood on the shore, and even sent
their workers to work few kilometers under the sea ...