If you are looking for a last minute weekend escape, or day trip this August Bank Holiday weekend, why not take inspiration from this round up of places to visit and events around the UK.
Still wanting to escape to the seaside? Here is a suggestion of beaches to visit around our coast from The National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland.
Soar Mill Cove, Devon
Soar Mill is a small sandy cove that can only be reached on foot or by boat. The effort to get there is worth it, with an abundance of wildlife and a quiet spot to relax or explore.
Aymer Cove, Devon
Explore the beauty and remoteness of the Ringmore Valley on a journey through old smugglers’ lanes down to a secluded cove. Aymer Cove boasts magnificent coastal views and colourful rock formations. Walking around here is great for anyone interested in geology. At low tide the vast rock pools are teeming with marine life such as blennies, anenomes and starfish. The sand dunes are also constantly shifting and developing.
Woody Bay, North Devon
Woody Bay, so named because of the ash, larch and birch trees that line the rolling cliff edge, it is a good place for bird watching. A wide variety of sea birds nest and breed on the cliffs between Woody Bay and Heddon’s Mouth Lantic Bay, and is also an excellent place to look out for the peregrines and buzzards that breed here.
Strangles near Crackington Haven, Cornwall
The route to Strangles can be steep in places, with steps and a rocky descent. Taking this alternative route you will be rewarded with golden sands, rock formations, smooth striped pebbles and interesting flotsam and jetsam.
Holywell is the largest bay on this stretch of Cornish coast. Sandy dunes and unspoilt coves make Holywell a perfect escape from the crowds at Newquay. It’s a great spot for rock-pooling and swimming. With Trust car parks, refreshments, toilets and seasonal lifeguards – what more could you want? You’re welcome to bring your dog all year round.
Sweep of unspoilt surf beaches with miles of sand, rock pools and twisted cliffs. Sandymouth is a perfect picnic spot, or head to the café which is open during the summer months. With great surf but also a convenient National Trust car park, toilets and seasonal lifeguard you will be well catered for at Sandymouth. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and check tide times before your visit.
An awe-inspiring expanse of sandy beaches around St Ives Bay, this is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Cornwall with an equally popular beach café. There is added comfortable amenities with a seasonal lifeguard, toilets and a National Trust car park close by.
Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Burton Bradstock is part of the Jurassic Coast, Britain’s only natural World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast covers 95 glorious miles that record 185 million years of the earth’s history. An idyllic mixture of coast and countryside, you may recognise it as the cover star of this year’s National Trust handbook. Head to Hive Beach where the café there will be serving tasty, local and seasonal refreshments.
London and South East
St Helen’s Duver, Isle of Wight
St Helen’s Duver is a wonderful open space to wander, fly a kite, walk the dog, watch the birds, or just sit and enjoy the tranquillity. So why not pack a picnic, the children and the dog then set off for the day? There’s something to keep everyone busy from rock pooling on the beach to wildflower and bird spotting, plus plenty of grassy open land for running amok.
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
This huge expanse of sandy beach is protected by multi-coloured cliffs. It’s great for fossil hunting (dinosaur footprints) and the shallow waters are good for swimming with little ones. The waves are little here too, so they’re perfect for 50 things wave jumping. Compton’s self-guided trail on the chalk ridge above the beach is rich in wildflowers and butterflies in summer.
Newtown National Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight
Whilst not strictly a beach, this nature reserve is still perfect for family fun by the water. Last year the reserve launched an adventurous canoe trail. Open to anyone who’s got a canoe or kayak; it takes you along a picturesque route – through the creek, and past flower-rich hay meadows, ancient woodlands and salt marshes alive with rare birds and butterflies. Mid-summer is the best time to visit Newtown Nature Reserve.
East of England
At low tide Brancaster Beach offers a huge expanse of sand and seemingly endless views out to sea. During the summer months the beach is an ideal spot for a barefoot walk or building sandcastles. With guided ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 & ¾’ activities, dog-friendly areas and a special zone for kite sports, the whole family can enjoy a scenic picnic by the sea.
Dunwich Heath & Beach
The peaceful, colourful heathland of the Dunwich Heath Nature Reserve, with its shingle and sand beach, is rich with wildlife and ideal for family walks. The beach and heath provide the perfect habitat for species such as Dartford warblers, nightjars and woodlark, and if you pause for a while in the Sea Watch Hut you might be able to spot porpoises and seals. There are also plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, from geocache trails and scavenger hunts to flying kites in the summer sunshine. After all that activity you can head to the tea room at Coastguard Cottages for a rest and a cool drink. Dogs are welcome throughout, although they need to be kept on leads at certain times of the year to protect nesting birds. They can enjoy playing off-lead on the beach all year round.
Embleton Bay, Northumberland
Embleton Bay has just been voted the Best Beach in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Awards, and it’s easy to see why. This fine sandy beach is one of the most spectacular in England, with the imposing ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle looming large on the horizon at one end. It’s a great spot for paddling, and also gives some good surf conditions. The Northumberland Coast also provides a stunning outdoor gym for running, walking and cycling with lots of fresh sea air.
Formby is the perfect place for coastal walks, dog walking, horse riding, wave jumping, kite flying or just lazy days at the beach. Backed by dramatic sand dunes and pine woodlands, the beach is a great picnic spot for those who like to explore. Hunt along the nearby mudflats for prehistoric human footprints, or head into the woods to see if you can spot some of the red squirrels that live there. When you need a rest you can laze about on the dunes enjoying the contents of your picnic hamper, or treat yourself to something from the coffee cart and ice cream van that are onsite most days.
Sandscale Haws, Cumbria
Sandscale Haws is a beautiful sandy beach and National Nature Reserve, with far-reaching views across the Duddon Estuary. There are plenty of opportunities for seaside play, from building sandcastles to shell collecting as well as some old favourites like flying a kite and skimming a stone. Kids and adults can also have fun running up and down the dunes or a family game of cricket on the beach. The vast and beautiful dune habitat supports a high diversity of plants and animals, from coralroot orchids to curlews and great crested newts. Take a walk into the back of the dunes and look for butterflies amongst the marram grass and dragonflies around the sheltered slacks.
Llanbedrog, Llyn Peninsula
Tourists have been visiting Llanbedrog on the Llŷn Peninsula since Solomon Andrews built a tramway to connect it to Pwllheli in the 1890s. The mile-long beach at Llanbedrog still a popular destination today, perfect for a family trip to the coast. The sandy beach and shallow water make it a great spot for paddling, and intrepid little ones can try one of the family activity packs available at the car park – bug hunting, games, leaf trails and more. Whilst you’re here, why not add an extra dimension to your break by renting one of the colourful beach huts?
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
This wild and unspoilt south-Pembrokeshire beach is not only a beautiful location for a walk – it’s also one of Wales’ foremost surfing destinations, with consistent swell and waves ideal for the experienced watersports enthusiast. There’s also plenty on offer for non-surfers, with buckets of sand for sandcastle building, and plenty of space to fly a kite. The beach also has a wealth of rockpools, which little ones will love exploring. The National Trust also often host beach cleans here, where you can grab a litter picker and join in to help keep this special place clean and tidy.
Rhossili’s three mile long beach has some of the most magnificent views on the Welsh coast. If you stand at Rhossili Down, you can see not only the peninsula, but the coasts of west Wales and north Devon just on the horizon. With its scenic clifftops and sprawling beach, it’s a perfect place to spend summer days walking, swimming, surfing and kite-flying. To stretch your legs, take the level walk along the cliff top to the Old Coastguard Lookout, where they would have kept watch for ships in trouble on the high seas. On the way back you can pick up a souvenir from the National Trust shop, and help contribute to the conservation of this beautiful landscape.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
The view from Murlough Beach is one of an impressive shingle beach and four miles of magnificent strand set against the backdrop of the Mourne Mountains. For families with young children looking for a great place to explore, Murlough is a must. There’s a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath from where you will see lots of butterflies and wild flowers. You may even be lucky enough to spot seals bobbing among the waves. Murlough is celebrating 50 years in the Trust’s care this year and there are lots of activities planned – keep an eye on the website for details.
Sweeping along the edge of the North Coast, this two-mile stretch of golden sand is one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches. It’s an ideal place for sandcastles, lazy picnics and long walks into the sand dunes, and also provides the gentlest waves in Norther Ireland which makes it perfect for water sports. There’s something to see whatever the season, including whales, dolphins and seals. In summer the dunes are filled with butterflies, moths and vibrant wild flowers.
White Park Bay
This spectacular sandy beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim Coast. Its secluded location means that even on a busy day there is plenty of room for quiet relaxation and a picnic. The beach is backed by ancient dunes that provide important habitats for birds, butterflies and bright wildflowers that attract bees. Out to sea you might be able to spot dolphins or porpoises and watch the seabirds diving into the sea to catch fish.
Summer days by the seaside with the National Trust – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/our-best-beaches
Here is a selection of beaches from the National Trust for Scotland www.nts.org.uk :
Mingulay, Outer Hebrides
Simply getting to the island of Mingulay is an adventure in itself – but it’s worth it! Sailing to this island on the very edge of the Outer Hebrides is an unforgettable trip. Lying just south of Barra, the uninhabited islands of Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay boast spectacular coastal landscapes. To the west lie rugged cliffs, caves, sea stacks and promontories; in the east, green grassy slopes, white sandy bays and turquoise seas.
On Mingulay, a pristine sandy beach welcomes visitors on their arrival by charter boat from Barra. Puffins have their burrows on the slope above the rocks and abandoned dwellings can be seen at the top of the beach. The last inhabitants of the island left in 1912 and these sand filled houses are the only trace of the communities who lived here more than a century ago.
Rockcliffe, Dumfries & Galloway
Rockcliffe is one of Scotland’s most beautiful coastlines, stretching along the Solway Firth on the southern edge of Dumfries and Galloway. Part of a National Scenic Area, the National Trust for Scotland nature reserve is fringed with wildflowers and dotted with sailing villages. Further inland the shells and shingle give way to patches of ancient broadleaved woodland and meadows, rich with flowers, butterflies and birds. The beach is small and picturesque, surrounded by rocks and backing on to the village of Rockliffe. Just a few hundred meters out to sea visitors can walk across the mudflats – at low tide – to access Rough Island, a popular bird sanctuary which is a haven for oystercatchers and ringer plovers.
Village Bay, St Kilda
Towering out from the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean, St Kilda’s cliffs and sea stacks clamour with the cries of nearly a million seabirds. The archipelago, cared for by the National Trust for Scotland since 1957, is the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage site, recognised for both its natural and cultural importance. A community existed here for at least 4,000 years, with the remaining 36 islanders evacuated in 1930. At Village Bay you can walk through the last human settlement, with numerous buildings including a church, cottages and small stone storage huts. In addition to St Kilda being home to the largest colony of Atlantic puffins in Britain, you may also spot some unique wildlife at Village Bay, including wild Soay sheep and a mouse species almost twice as big as the mainland fieldmouse.
A visit to Village Bay, and St Kilda, is memorable for life; there is no place like it on earth.
Culzean Beach, Ayrshire
With the magnificent Culzean Castle perched above, the beaches at Culzean offer amazing views within a secluded setting. Wildlife hunters can spend endless hours in the rock pools in search of marine creatures, or you can take a leisurely walk along the beach to look for dolphins out at sea. From the shore you’ll also catch glimpse of the cave network underneath the Castle; the caves have a long history but are perhaps best known for what happened after nightfall during the 17th and 18th centuries – smuggling!
The miles of sandy coastline are just one part of the Culzean experience, with the Castle and Country Park including the Swan Pond, an ice house, flamboyant formal gardens, fruit-filled glasshouses and a newly opened children’s adventure playpark.
This vibrant extravaganza of outdoor performance, cabaret, comedy and street theatre will return this year as a major international festival, combining the Carlisle Pageant, a Best of Carlisle market, an ancient Proclamation and a bustling international market. The Cumbrian city’s streets will be action-packed with a colourful street theatre programme set to run alongside the festival as well as a 1950’s-style street party celebration, which will see laden tables being spread throughout the city centre on Carlisle Pageant Day. Most shows are £8.50, others range from free to £14.50.
Let the music move you at Trunchonbury Festival, Norfolk
25 – 27 August
Take a trip to North Norfolk for a small, yet perfectly formed, festival experience. With acts such as Dub Pistols and Dodgy bringing the nostalgia and The Correspondents and Electric Swing Circus bringing the energy, you’ll be breathless in no time, at which point you can enjoy a host of acoustic performers to help you chill out. Even better, all the money raised goes towards local projects and charity fundraising, so you can party with that fuzzy warm feeling of doing something worthwhile. Priced at £60 + £4.31 booking fee for a weekend adult ticket.
Be #CarnivalHappy at Leeds West Indian Carnival’s 50th anniversary, Leeds
20 – 28 August
The 2016 instalment of Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean Carnival was the biggest yet, and it’s set to be outdone in 2017 – the carnival’s 50th anniversary. Five stunning new carnival costume headpieces will be commissioned for the occasion, and go on tour so everyone can try them on. The headpieces will be themed to represent the key stages of the journey of the carnival from the Caribbean to Leeds. Regularly attracting crowds of over 100,000, Leeds West Indian Carnival is one of the North’s biggest annual events, combining soca music, phenomenal steel pans, arts, crafts and cuisines of the Caribbean in an explosion of colour, costumes and addictive rhythms. A variety of events lead up to the carnival on August bank holiday Monday. Most events are free, others range from £2-£10.
Rave at a world-famous electronic festival at Creamfields, Liverpool
24 – 27 August
Creamfields is the leader of the pack when it comes to electronic festival revelry. Boasting award-winning events around the world, including Malta, Rio de Janeiro and Australia, its roots have been here in England since 1998. Specialising in DJs and live dance-music acts, Creamfields is also known to offer crowd-interactive FX towers, impressive light visuals, explosive pyros, and a spectacular firework finale to go out with a bang. They even have two main stages to host the plethora of acts playing event. Headliners for Creamfields 2017 include Deadmau5, Annie Mac and Andy C. A standard 4 day camping ticket costs £250.
Prepare to be snap-happy at the International Scooter Rally, Isle of Wight
25 – 28 August
Dig out your winkle pickers, two-tone suits, parkers and miniskirts and head to Union Street for an explosion of colour as around 5,000 Vespa and Lambretta’s congregate for one of the largest scooter rallies in the world. Featuring both modern and vintage scooters, you’ll be spoilt for choice for photo opportunities. If you can make a weekend of it, don’t miss the ride-out towards Sandown on Sunday afternoon. This event is free to watch.
For further bank holiday break ideas visit: www.visitengland.com/things-to-do/bank-holiday-breaks
For weekend break ideas check out the VisitEngland blog https://www.visitengland.com/blog/weekend-ideas
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