Do you dream of waking up to the sound of waves rolling back and forth and the possibility of opening your windows to fill your lungs with fresh sea air?
Seaside towns were once only fully inhabited in high season, during the summer months, they are now places that for many offer an idyllic lifestyle through all the seasons.
Over the years, as transport and communication connections have improved and the way people work, particularly the increasing ability to work remotely, has changed more and more people have chosen to plant their roots by the sea and set up home in a seaside town.
Seaside towns tend to have much to offer residents, a good selection of amenities as standard, a sense of permanently being on holiday as there is usually some form of tourist attraction nearby and of course, the best bit, immediate access to the coast. So which seaside towns are excellent places to live in the UK?
In this blog, we share our latest list of the top seaside towns, and for some, what may be the best places to live in 2023.
Padstow is one of the most popular places to live in Cornwall and, not surprisingly, has a robust property market.
The harbour is the focal point of the town, which is known for being a foodie destination thanks to Rick Stein.
His famous fish and chip restaurant, and other harbourside eateries, showcase seafood freshly caught by the local fishermen.
Those who love the great outdoors are well served in Padstow with stunning beaches, hiking, watersports and cycling paths. The town is the start and endpoint of the Camel Cycle Trail.
In terms of amenities, Padstow has a decent sized Tesco, independent clothing stores, galleries and craft shops, and a farm shop.
The nearest train station to Padstow is Bodmin Parkway, with the town being connected by bus to Newquay and Newquay Airport.
Situated just a few miles from the Scottish border, Berwick-upon-Tweed is a frontier town that has changed hands no less than 13 times between the Scots and the English.
For house hunters, the bustling seaside town boasts a wealth of attractions and interesting architectural features, a thriving arts scene, good schools and amenities, as well as large, well-maintained Georgian and Victorian homes.
Although there are bigger supermarkets on the outskirts, the town centre has a number of independent delis and grocers.
The town is encircled by Elizabethan Walls (built in 1558 to keep out marauding Scots) which are a mile and a quarter in length and can be walked around.
There are many spots from which to enjoy views across the estuary, up the Tweed River and across the wide sandy beaches of the North Sea.
Berwick has around half a dozen primary schools, all ranked as “good” by Ofsted and the area is well served by three high schools.
There are regular train connections to Newcastle, Edinburgh and London King’s Cross.
Hove, East Sussex
In East Sussex, Hove is the lesser-known neighbour to Brighton. Hove is a tranquil more suburban place than Brighton whilst still benefitting from incredibly easy access to the next-door city.
You might not want or need to venture into Brighton as these days Hove is very well established and has much to offer its residents.
From the many independent shops to impressive eateries such as etch., popular gastropubs including The Urchin and The Ginger Pig – there’s a lot to enjoy in Hove itself.
Hove is filled with stunning period property including Regency townhouses that look out to sea, house hunters will also find an abundance of Victorian and Edwardian properties.
Many choose to commute to London from Hove, there are regular and direct trains into London Victoria which take a little over an hour.
One of Suffolk’s gems, Aldeburgh is known for the image of its line of pastel-coloured houses serving as the backdrop to the pebble beach.
Residents choose Aldeburgh for its stunning coastal scenery, the pace of life and the friendly atmosphere.
Naturally, as with all seaside towns, there are a number of second homes but there is a strong community spirit in Aldeburgh that isn’t always present in coastal locations.
Aldeburgh boasts a number of independent shops and galleries and for those who enjoy outdoor activities, there are many water sports possible in the area along with sailing and golf.
East Preston, West Sussex
The pretty seaside village of East Preston lies near South Downs National Park and is a favourite spot to live for its sense of community.
It is also known for having some of the most sought after properties in West Sussex and many people buy holiday homes here.
With a population of around 6,000 it offers a good range of amenities, including restaurants, takeaways, bars and a coffee shop, sports and leisure activities.
There is always something going on in the village, and there’s an annual East Preston village festival that is held in June.
East Preston has four shopping areas, a post office, a library, and schools. If you fancy eating local there are lots of organic food producers, farm shops and markets in the area.
Angmering station at the top of the village has trains to London Victoria, Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton. While the Brighton to Portsmouth Coastliner 700 bus also runs through East Preston.
Dartmouth’s population swells in the summer months due to its proximity to the English Riviera, plentiful family attractions in the area and one of England’s best beaches, Blackpool Sands, just down the road. This year, Dartmouth has been named one of the coolest seaside towns in the UK.
The town itself boasts picturesque waterfront townhouses overlooking the River Dart, while terraced houses and flats are set back from the market. Many properties are holiday rentals and second homes.
There are many independent bakers, butchers, and veg shops; also a couple of convenience shops and an M&S Food.
The Flavel is the town’s cultural hub incorporating an art gallery, a cinema, a cafe and Dartmouth Library.
In terms of schools, Dartmouth Academy has a primary and secondary school and an independent on-site nursery.
Dartmouth has two car ferries for ease of travel: Dartmouth Higher and Lower ferries, and a passenger ferry that connects Dartmouth with Kingswear. There are regular bus links to Totnes and Kingsbridge.
Woodbridge is a market town that lies eight miles up the River Deben from the sea and is a beautiful, vibrant East Suffolk town. The larger town of Ipswich is seven miles southeast.
In 2021 the Sunday Times named Woodbridge as one of the best places to live in the East of England.
It is situated on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, featuring shingle beaches, estuaries, salt marshes, farmland and forest. The area offers a range of leisurely walks to more challenging hikes and includes the Suffolk Coast Path.
Woodbridge has a lively, creative community with a thriving high street. Here you’ll find artisan wine shops and independent boutiques, galleries, art spaces and two theatres. Frequent and seasonal food markets are held on Market Hill.
Direct train services to Ipswich and Lowestoft are operated by Greater Anglia, as well as connections to Norwich, Cambridge and London Liverpool Street.
Runswick Bay, Yorkshire
Runswick Bay lies in a sheltered inlet of the Yorkshire Coast, nine miles north of Whitby and on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.
The village with its distinctive red roof cottages is pedestrianised and features a single pub and cafe. If you want to live somewhere quiet without the usual tourist shops or arcades but still appreciate sea views, then Runswick Bay may suit.
In saying that, houses rarely come on the market in Runswick Bay as many are owned by families who have had them for generations. Those that do are quickly snapped up.
For those that enjoy coastal walks, the Cleveland Way National Trail runs both north and south of the village.
There is a selection of primary and secondary schools within half an hour’s drive of Runswick Bay.
The largest nearby town for train connections is Middlesbrough, a 45 minute drive away.
More specifically Sandbanks, the small peninsula which crosses the mouth of Poole Harbour is an incredibly sought after place to live.
The seaside town of Poole in Dorset is well known for this small area and the desirable homes located there.
is a misconception that Sandbanks is full of glitz and glamour, and why it
might be present overall the area is peaceful, relaxed and beautiful. Families
are drawn to Dorset for the access to excellent schooling, there is also a good
direct train service from Poole into London Waterloo which takes just over two
The waterfront property rarely becomes available to buy on the open market and buyers might wait years to find their dream home in Sandbanks with sea views and a gate from their garden onto the beach.
The blue-flag beach is a key attraction, along with the large natural harbour and the sailing clubs which operate in the area.
Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire
If you want to live within walking distance of stunning Scottish coastal scenery, Cruden Bay should tick that box.
The village has a population of 1,615 and is located on the Buchan coast, 25 miles north of Aberdeen near the cliff-top ruins of Slains Castle.
The Bay of Cruden itself is an attractive, sandy 2.5 mile stretch of beach offering sea fishing, bathing and watersports. There is a well-maintained golf course just outside the village.
For those that are into snow sports, hiking and wildlife, the Cairngorms National Park is a 2.5-hour drive west.
The village itself has a reasonable range of services, a chemist, newsagent, a post office, hardware store, a craft shop and a general store.
There are a number of youth groups run in the village, as well as sports facilities, tennis courts, and two football pitches.
Cruden Bay has a medium-sized primary, Port Erroll School, while secondary pupils can bus to nearby Peterhead Academy.
A regular bus service runs from Cruden Bay to Peterhead with a journey time of 25 minutes.
The seaside town of Salcombe is extremely desirable, Devon is known for its coastal towns and villages and the seaside town of Salcombe is comfortably one of the best places to live in Devon.
Renowned for its microclimate, Salcombe’s average temperatures are higher due to its protected position on the Salcombe Estuary, the town has two sandy beaches and easy access to a third via a short boat trip to East Portlemouth.
town itself has an excellent section of shops, restaurants and pubs and there
are good road connections to the M5 motorway via the A38 Devon Expressway.
What Salcombe is best known for and the images that draw homebuyers to the area are the incredibly well-positioned properties that offer far-reaching sea views.
Parts of Salcombe are elevated giving many homes vantage points from which to look out to sea, completely unobstructed by their neighbours.
In the heart of the town, there are many period homes and cottages hailing back to the town’s origins as a thriving fishing village.
Thornham is situated in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is on the Norfolk Coast Path.
A small coastal village, with atmospheric marshes, it was once a prosperous harbour and home to smugglers. Today its wildlife makes it popular with walkers, photographers, artists and bird watchers.
Golfing is a popular leisure pastime for residents, with the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club at Brancaster or the Hunstanton Golf Club in Old Hunstanton.
Despite its small population, the village offers three restaurants; The Lifeboat Inn, The Chequers and The Orange Tree.
As well as a few independent boutiques in the village, there are more retail and food outlets, including Thornham Deli and Drove Farm, just out of town.
There is a collection of primary and high schools in the vicinity ranging between a ten and forty minute drive.
Norwich is just over an hour’s drive away by car, and Norwich Airport is just under an hour.
North Berwick, East Lothian
A mere half an hour from central Edinburgh, the Scottish town of North Berwick is easily one of the best seaside towns to live in the UK.
The high street is a hive of activity with many places to eat and drink as well as a fine selection of shops all within a stone’s throw of the sandy beach.
The east coast of Scotland is typically less stormy and a little drier than the rest of Scotland’s coastline but being Scotland the area is well prepared for the wetter months meaning residents can happily enjoy all that the area has to offer year-round.
The local golf courses are sufficiently well-drained so that play can continue whatever the weather and the East Lothian Yacht Club runs races through the winter.
Properties with sea views are the most desirable and command premium prices, especially those that are also within walking distance of the station.
A traditional British seaside town, Swanage home owners are perfectly positioned to take advantage of South East Dorset’s natural attractions, including the Jurassic Coast.
The town’s proximity to Bournemouth and Pool make Swanage an ideal choice for those who want a quieter life with access to larger centres for a change of scene from time to time.
Though the town is peaceful during most of the year, it does turn into a popular tourist destination in summer. The ‘60s seafront cinema, a summer jazz festival and regular community events mean there’s always something to do in the warmer months.
Nearby attractions include Corfe Castle, Durlston Country Park, and Studland, which are easily visited by car or bus. An iconic steam railway runs hourly to Corfe Castle.
For schools, you’ll find quite a few options, including St Mark’s, St. George’s, St. Mary’s and Swanage Secondary school.
The stylish seaside town of Whitstable is famed for its fresh seafood.
Visitors have long enjoyed the towns beaches, independent shops and many places to eat from Michelin starred restaurants to trendy cafes.
As a place to live Whitstable has seen its popularity steadily increase as visitors decide to put down more permanent roots.
Other Places to Live by the Sea
Gower Peninsula, Wales
With its stunning scenery, great beaches, and range of activities, it is no wonder that the Gower Peninsula is such a popular choice for those looking to relocate to the coast.
Situated on the south coast of Wales, the area is known as the “Hamptons of Swansea” for its large detached family homes set in secluded coves and A-lister residents.
In summer, Gower is a popular spot for surfing and sailing, attracting many enthusiasts each year, and being a designated area of outstanding beauty there are plenty of coastal walks to enjoy.
Its popularity as one of the UK’s best places to live by the sea makes The Gower Peninsula a strong drawcard for those seeking properties in which to work from home.
Although it has a rural aspect it still offers amenities such as Michelin-starred restaurants, a yacht club and specialty shops.
There are also excellent education options in the Gower Peninsula for those with school age children, including both state and private schools.
Milford on Sea is a thriving coastal village located in Hampshire, southern England with stunning views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight.
The New Forest National Park is a short drive away, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and horse riding.
You can find a good selection of large detached family homes on offer if you desire a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle by the sea.
The Village Green has a range of local amenities, including a butcher and fishmonger, as well as speciality shops, boutiques, restaurants, and pubs.
The towns of Lymington and New Milton are three miles away and larger shopping centres are available in Bournemouth and Southampton.
Residents can feel involved with events and programmes held by the community centre or village church programmes.
Several festivals and events are also throughout the year including an Arts and Music Festival, a May Fair and Dog Show.
Old Hunstanton, Norfolk
Old Hunstanton is a highly sought-after village in which to live by the sea.
Located in north Norfolk, it’s known for its large detached family properties, natural scenery and relaxed coastal vibe.
As well as boasting beautiful sandy beaches, the village is near a championship golf course and has a local shop and post office.
It is also close to several nature reserves and walking trails, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and birdwatching.
As a place to live, it offers a peaceful and idyllic lifestyle for residents.
UK Seaside Towns
Only including a handful of seaside towns was incredibly hard to whittle down – being an island the UK naturally has an abundance of places to live by the sea and there are many we’ve not included here that are well worth considering.
Wherever you are looking for a place to live in the UK our team of experts can assist.
From Scotland to Cornwall we have professional property finders who can advise on the best possible seaside location and then scour the market to find your dream home. To discuss your search and our services please do contact us.
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