Beyond the beach: 20 amazing ways to enjoy the British seaside this summer

Polzeath Cornwall
Polzeath in Cornwall is perfect for beginner surfers Credit: © Paul McGee 2011/Paul McGee
When the delights of building sand castles or paddling on the shore begin to pall, fear not, there’s a lot more to the great British seaside.

Test the waters

Swim the seashore, East Sussex

F2020欧洲杯体育投注开户or a different perspective on the iconic Seven Sisters, try swimming along them. Swimtrek’s outing covers the two miles from Birling Gap to Cuckmere Haven. Seven Sisters swim costs from £75pp (01273 739713; ).

Leap off the End, Cornwall

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Kernow Coasteering runs trips along the wild Atlantic coast between St Ives and Porthleven, taking in caves, gullies and 30ft-high jumps.A three-hour coasteering trip costs from £40pp (07734 343954; ).

Take in caves gullies with Kernow Coasteering

Perfect your stroke, Highlands

Wilderness Scotland’s trip teaches the essential skills of sea kayaking around the Applecross Peninsula.A five-day guided Scottish Highlands Sea Kayaking Introduction costs from £875pp (01479 898514; ).

Swoop above the swell, Kent

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Learn to kitesurf safely on Thanet’s waves: Kite Pirates’ lessons are limited to two people. More advanced kitesurfers can stay separate, with coaching via in-helmet intercom. A four-hour lesson costs £95pp (07739 369531; ).

Sail the seashore, Norfolk

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The Coastal Exploration Company will skipper you and your crew along the creeks and beaches around Wells and Holkham; you can help sail if you like, or spend time crabbing, cockle-picking and bird-spotting.An exclusive charter costs from £340 for four people (07484 736283; ). 

Surf solo, Cornwall

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户George’s Surf School isn’t too put out by social distancing – it only offers one-on-one or private-group surf ­lessons anyway. Its sessions on Polzeath’s beginner-friendly waves mean after one lesson, you should be standing for five full seconds. A two-hour one-on-one surf lesson costs £95pp, £20 for each additional person up to five maximum (01208 479006; ).

George's Surf School on Polzeath offers one-on-one surfing sessions Credit: Peter Denton/Peter Denton

Frolics with the family, Devon

Reach Outdoors has introduced new two-to-one coaching sessions and five-to-one family sessions for those who’d prefer to SUP, coasteer or kayak south Devon’s red cliffs and coves with those in their bubble.Three-hour activity £150 for up to five (01803 524950; ).


Stroll beside the sea

Make a new circumnavigation, Cumbria

The Cumbrian section of the All England Coast Path is coming along and February 2020 saw the launch of a 16-mile loop of Walney, England’s eighth-largest island. The path passes salt marshes, sand dunes and two nature reserves known for their seabirds, grey seals and natterjack toads. The views are excellent too – out to the Coniston Fells, Piel Castle, Morecambe Bay and across the Irish Sea. Murphy’s Miles offers guided Walney walks (01229 473746; murphysmiles@hotmail.co.uk).

Walney Island in Cumbria is England's eighth-largest island Credit: Dave Willis

Begin the best trail, Somerset/Devon

It’s official(ish), according to a poll in June, the South West Coast Path is the nation’s favourite National Trail. See what all the fuss is about by starting at the beginning: from Minehead you’re soon on one of the trail’s ­wildest stretches, striding along the high cliffs and rocky valleys of Exmoor National Park. A seven-day self-guided Minehead-Westward Ho! walk costs from £680pp (0131 610 1210; ). For day-hikes see .

The South West Coast Path is the nation's favourite trail Credit: James Osmond (James Osmond (Photographer) - [None]/James Osmond

Stride through Outstanding Beauty, Suffolk

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Virtually all of Suffolk’s coast is within an AONB. See it by walking the 50-mile Suffolk Coast Path, which links Felixstowe and Lowestoft via low cliffs, marshes, riverbanks and seaside spots like pretty Southwold and historic Orford Ness. Alternatively, concentrate on the trails at Dunwich Heath & Beach. Parking at Dunwich costs £5 (01728 648501; ). You can download walking guides at .

Combine coast and castles, Northumberland

The 60-mile Northumberland Coast Path is under-walked and over-castled. It leads past big beaches and ancient strongholds, including Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh. Bamburgh Castle is set to reopen on July 6 while the pools amid nearby Harkess Rocks are ideal for wild swims.A six-night self-guided Northumberland Coast Path trip costs from £495pp (0141 530 8886; ).
 

It's a wild life

Swim with giants, Inner Hebrides

Basking sharks are the biggest fish to frequent British waters. Though they can be up to 30ft long, with wide, gaping mouths, they’re harmless souls, and finning alongside them is a privilege indeed. Snorkelling trips off the Isle of Coll with Basking Shark Scotland affords the opportunity for some citizen science too – you’ll help record information about these fantastic fish.One-day Basking Shark Tours cost from £195pp (07975 723140; ).

Scotland's Isle of Coll Credit: Design Pics/Lizzie Shepherd

Scuba with seals, Northumberland

The Farne Islands are fabulous for diving with fascinating wrecks, ­ravishing reefs and thousands of inquisitive grey seals. Fifth Point Diving, a PADI Green Star centre, is gradually reopening.An Ocean Protector PADI course, including five open water dives and dry suit speciality course, costs from £595pp (01670 540821; ).

Dive with seals off the Farne Islands, Northumberland Credit: Bernard Radvaner/Bernard Radvaner

Scan for dolphins, Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay is one of only two places off the British mainland where bottlenose dolphins can reliably be seen. Dolphin Survey Boat Trips (limited to 12 passengers) provides close encounters, plus the chance to chat to onboard researchers, help record data and hear the cetaceans chatter via a hydrophone. Dolphin Survey Boat Trips £17/£65 one hour/eight hours (01545 560032; ).

See bottlenose dolphins at Cardigan Bay Credit: Andy Stothert

Follow the fish, Berwickshire  

Berwickshire Marine Reserve has an abundance of activity going on underwater. Species you might see include squat lobsters and cuttlefish, balloon wrasse and brittlestars. Download Scottish snorkel trails at .


Do it yourself

Seek out smugglers, Yorkshire

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户In the 18th century, Robin Hood’s Bay was an infamous bootlegging hotspot. Today, uncover the history and high jinks of those bygone ne’er do wells on a self-guided Smugglers’ Treasure Hunt – order a pack, follow the map and unravel the mysteries that haunt the caves, coves and back-alleys of this knockout North Sea bay. A Robin Hood’s Bay Smugglers Trail pack costs £6.99 (0777 398583; ; ).

Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire Credit: © Chris Mellor/Chris Mellor

Find fossils, Essex

Walton-on-the-Naze has been fancied by fossil hunters since the 19th century. Eroding at a rate of up to a yard or two a year, the cliffs here regularly reveal new finds. Wait for low tide, park by Naze Tower and walk north along the beach; treasures might include pyritised wood and sharks’ teeth, plus crabs, scallops and whelks in the pools. Download walking trails at .

Search for hidden gems, Durham

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Seaham was once home to the largest bottleworks in Britain. Now its shores – especially Seaham Hall Beach – are the country’s best for “gems”: every wave washes up a new scatter of sea glass. Go beachcombing for the smoothed stones, which range from common green to rarer yellow and red. Best time is just after high tide. Seaham Marina has cafés and a paddlesport outfit (; ).


On dry land

E-ride by the seaside, Lancashire

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Feel the sea breeze riffle through your hair as you pedal along – without putting in too much effort. The largely flat 90-mile Bay Cycle Way, which uses greenways, towpaths and promenades to trace Morecambe Bay, is dotted with places to hire and charge e-bikes. Do the whole route or pick a day section – perhaps Grange-over-Sands to Carnforth, via Sizergh Castle and RSPB Leighton Moss.E-bike hire costs from £36/day ().

Make a pilgrimage, Anglesey

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户For a more spiritual take on the seaside – and a welcome salve in these unstable times – make a pilgrimage on Anglesey. The British Pilgrimage Trust has mapped an 80-mile, largely coastal trail from the Roman fort at Caernarvon to the top of Holyhead mountain, the most sacred spot in prehistoric Druidic culture, with numerous pre-Christian holy places, ruined churches and invigorating cliff-tops en route. Download route notes at .

Go to Anglesey for a spiritual take on the seaside Credit: Slow Images/Slow Images

Go yogi, Yorkshire

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户It’s not quite that Sri Lankan retreat you had planned… but head to the Yorkshire coast for some al fresco flexing with Happy Seal Yoga. Since mid-June lifeguard and yoga teacher Helen Peterson has been able to move her online classes back to the beach; she leads small groups (maximum five people) in outdoor flow on the sands around Scarborough, Filey and Whitby. A 45-minute class costs £6pp (07968 290305; ).

Canter the coast, Lincolnshire

2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Horse riding is permitted on all of Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park’s dune-backed beaches – that’s a lot of soft, sweeping, splishy sand for seaside rides. Orchard Farm Equestrian Centre is just two miles inland from Chapel Point (home of the North Sea Observatory); from here, head out for an exhilarating gallop into the waves. A two-hour ride costs from £50pp, experienced riders only (07736 631323; ).