Break from London for the Beach!
Wrapped up in the urban delights of a city break in London, it can be easy to forget this dynamic city is the capital of an island nation. Yes, you’re hardly more than a 50-mile drive away from heart of London to the sea. A day trip to one of south eastern England’s iconic seaside towns or beaches is a great way to have some fun any time of year. Come the long daylight hours of summer, a visit to one of London’s nearest beaches is a mandatory excursion.
Here’s a list of five coastal hot spots all within easy reach of London.
Brighton, aka Soho by the Sea, is as famous for its nightlife as it is for its pebble beaches and pier. Top rated restaurants, plenty of bars, pubs and clubs and accommodation options for every budget, Brighton truly can feel like a little slice of London – just a lot more chilled out with a touch of seaside charm.
Distance from Central London: under 60 miles.
Trains from London Victoria Station take about an hour to arrive in Brighton. You can walk to the beach from the station.
According to New Wave band, The Squeeze, “they do it down in Camber Sands/they do it in Waikiki” but what is it? Well, have a blast on the beach obviously. Camber Sands is an expansive and sandy beach with massive sand dunes, where despite its popularity there always seems to be plenty of room for everybody.
Distance from Central London: roughly 80 miles.
To reach Camber Sands via rail, you’ll need to take the train to the scenic town of Rye, well worth a visit in and of itself. Trains to Rye from London St Pancras Station take about an hour and a half.
This quaint in Kent offers everything you’d expect from a day on the English seaside: sandy beaches, fish and chips shops and lots of history. One of the city’s most famed residents was artist JMW Turner, whose legacy may be seen in the thriving art scene which includes new Turner Contemporary Gallery.
Distance from Central London: Less than 80 miles.
Trains to Margate from London Victoria Station take about two hours.
Home of the world’s longest pleasure pier, built in 1830 and stretching just under a mile and a half from the shore, this in resort town in Essex is in many ways offers the quintessential English seaside experience. And with its own London Southend Airport now offering international flights just two miles from its city centre, Southend-on-Sea is accessible to the rest of Britain and much of Europe as well.
Distance from Central London: Less than 50 miles
Trains to Southend-on-Sea from London Liverpool Street Station take about an hour.
With a population of around 30,000 and a scenic but still working harbor, Whitstable retains a very village-y feel. Everything is within easy walking distance, including some really pretty beaches, a decent variety of accommodation options and an overwhelming array of awesome restaurants. Keen for the best of British seafood? This is the place!
Distance from Central London: About 60 miles.
Trains to Whitstable from London Victoria Station take about an hour and a half.
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photo: Chris Osburn