Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sensational seaside escapes that won't break the bank!

I've been meaning to write a blog post on those fabulous beaches ideal for a day-trip from city since the start of the summer. Unfortunately it took me so long to put pen to paper that by the time I actually started writing I received a clear and unceremonious sign of a change of season, by being caught in the mother of all downpours and arriving back home looking like a drowned rat in a wet t-shirt contest.

Despite this and the predictions of four months of snow ahead, in a show of unrelenting optimism I have decided to plough on with writing this post regardless.

During those glorious summer days basking in the sunshine is a favourite pastime for many a Londoner . Unfortunately unlike New York which has Coney Island, London doesn't have its own neighbourhood beach where we can go to soak up the sun, unless you count the Costa del Thames (that tiny stretch of sand on the Southbank next to the Thames). 

However jump in the car or grab a train and within no time at all you will be whisked away to some truly impressive beaches within a stone's throw of the city. 

Here are a couple of my favourites places that I have come across in my travels so far -

Dungeness Beach

If Charlotte Bronte and Dr Who designed a beach, Dungeness is undoubtedly what they would have ended up with - a deserted shingle beach with a nuclear power station looming in the distance. It's like a spooky graveyard for old fishing boats and the combination of abandoned huts, discarded machinery dotted randomly across the beach and disused rail tracks (used in days gone by to transport the day's fishing haul across the shingle beach to the nearby road) gives it an eerie feel which is like no beach you will have ever seen before.  

In reality this is still a working fishing village and a number of the boats are still in regular use, yet despite this you'll rarely see another soul while walking along the beach, making it the perfect, quirky beach break to truly get away from the unrelenting buzz of the big city.

If you are travelling via public transport it's a bit of a trek to get there - you need to take a train to Folkstone Central, a bus/taxi to Hythe Light Railway Station, then take the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Light Railway to Dungeness (phew!!). We decided the better bet was to hire a car. If you can find a couple of friends to come along with you, this definitely works out the best option, hassle, price and time wise.


Visiting Broadstairs is like taking a step back in time to beach holidays from long ago. A favourite seaside retreat for Charles Dickens there are lots of treasures to uncover here including the Dickens House Museum which is housed in a pretty little cottage that provides the inspiration for the home of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. 

Once a small fishing port, in the 18th and 19th Century Broadstairs became a hotbed of smuggling activity. Visit the Smugglers Museum in Bleak House for a chance to explore the original tunnels used by smugglers and to learn more about this fascinating history.

This is a beach escape brimming with old world charm - think sandy beaches dotted with cute little beach huts, old fashioned ice-cream parlours, local museums and a sleepy, English coastal town feel which you can't fail to fall for.


Completely different from my first two choices, Brighton is a gloriously kitsch and infectiously fun seaside resort. 

To make the most of a day trip make sure to take a ride on the Brighton Wheel to get a bird's eye view of the city and to hear about its colourful past.

Explore the refurbished pier to embrace your inner child and wile away a few hours on the arcade games. It even has its own Zoltar machine  - which as a child of the 80's had me bouncing up and down in excitement!

Shop till you drop chocaholic style at the fabulously fun Choccy Woccy Doodah

Stop into the Marwood Coffee Shop which is filled to the brim with the most fabulously random bric-a-brac and order a dreamy cup of coffee made by the young Johnny Depp lookalike barrista behind the bar.

Finally don't forget to visit the exotic looking Royal Pavilion to live like royalty and to hear about its 'humble' beginnings as a pleasure palace for King George IV

So whenever city life gets you hot under the collar, grab your bucket and spade and wander a little outside the M25 and you'll find a little slice of paradise in your own backyard.


1 comment

  1. Great pictures , especially Dungeness :)



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