The beautiful coastline that runs along the south of England is dotted with seaside towns and fun activities. From historical sites linked to legends of the past to more contemporary attractions like sports events and music festivals, there’s something to keep everyone happy. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip to Brighton or a week away on the Isle of Wight, now is a wonderful time of year to set off to the south coast and explore the delights of the British seaside.
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Colourful Brighton brings you the ultimate British seaside experience. From its family-friendly pebble beach and lively Palace Pier packed with fairground rides to its upbeat nightlife scene, Brighton is all about having a good time. Although Brighton and Hove is technically a city, it still retains a quaint and friendly village feel, with traditional tearooms and small winding passageways. Brighton is a great place for a bit of shopping too, with its wonderful selection of quirky boutiques tucked away in The Lanes.
There’s also the fabulous architecture and gardens of the Brighton Pavilion to explore, or you could take a stroll along the promenade lined with grand Victorian buildings. For unrivalled views, take a ride in the new British Airways i360, the world’s first vertical cable car. The spaceship-like structure will glide you up to 450 feet, giving you panoramic views of Brighton seafront and beyond.
If you’d like to experience the views of the BA i360 for yourself, you can book tickets here. Plus, you can also take advantage of seasonal BA i360 event packages and much more.
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Lush green countryside and pretty sandy beaches make Chichester a lovely place to take some time out. With its rich Roman history, there are plenty of museums to explore. Visit the Novium Museum to learn about the Roman baths or check out the modern art in the Pallant House Gallery. If you’d like to take in the sea air, the charming beach town of Littlehampton is nearby too.
You’ve also got Goodwood on hand to fulfil your need for speed with its world-famous sporting heritage. Visit Goodwood Motorsport, host of the annual Festival of Speed, to see a fantastic collection of classic cars on display. There’s a whole host of other sports-related activities on offer too, such as various horse racing events throughout the year. You can take a spin in a helicopter or tee off on one of the 18-hole golf courses with beautiful leafy surroundings.
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With one of the country’s most popular nature reserves nearby and its maritime heritage, there’s a lot to keep you entertained in and around Portsmouth. You can climb aboard Nelson’s famous Georgian warship, the HMS Victory, and discover its role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Or head to Southsea Common to see the skies come alive with colourful kites during the Portsmouth International Kite Festival in mid-August.
Get back to nature with a visit to the New Forest, where you’ll be treated to glorious views of green woodlands and gardens. There are lots of cycling, hiking and horse riding trails to choose from too. Then spend some time exploring the surrounding villages, such as Lymington with its traditional Saturday street market. There’s also the Lymington Sea Water Baths with lots of fun activities for kids and adults alike, such as kayaking and water zorbing.
Isle Of Wight
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Just a short boat ride away from Portsmouth is the enchanting Isle of Wight. You can hop on the ferry across the Solent, bringing your car with you, and find yourself on the island 45 minutes later. You’ll be greeted by a great selection of Blue Flag beaches and some stunning natural scenery. Try Shanklin beach with its golden sands backed by a promenade. Or head to the sandy beaches of Ryde for watersports and wonderful views of the mainland.
Visit the Needles Landmark Attraction to take a ride on a chairlift that will give you a bird’s eye view of the beaches and rugged cliffs below. As well as a 4D cinema at the activity centre, you can also watch traditional glass blowers and sweets makers at work or go for a spin on an authentic Victorian carousel. Or you can simply wander round the quaint little harbour side towns and sleepy villages. The island wakes up during the weekends of the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival when thousands of revellers come to town for these major music festivals.
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Bournemouth and its lovely 7-mile stretch of sandy beach have been attracting visitors since Victorian times. As well as a lively pier area, buzzing bars give Bournemouth a party atmosphere. A fantastic array of restaurants and cafes are scattered across the town if you want to treat your taste buds to something delicious. Follow the coastline round a little further in either direction and the soft golden sands continue. You’ll stumble upon some great spots for watersports such as kite-surfing.
Be sure to stop off at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum with its various exhibitions and creative workshops. The impressive Victorian building is surrounded by beautiful gardens. There’s a stone grotto to admire as well as a Japanese garden complete with a pond full of goldfish and some lovely fountains. Or take a day trip to Brownsea Island. At just under a mile wide, this floating nature reserve is teaming with flora and fauna.
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Don’t miss the wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast, which stretches between East Dorset and East Devon. Starting at Old Harry Rocks near Swanage, you can follow it right along the shoreline for 95 miles to Orcombe Point near Exmouth, passing 185 million year-old cliffs on the way. Be sure to stop off in Lulworth to see the spectacular rock formation known as Durdle Door, a limestone portal that rises from the sea.
Follow the coastal route a little further and you’ll pass more pretty coves and striking scenery. Then finish your Jurassic adventure at Exmouth, the first beach resort in Devon. You can explore the cycling routes here or try out the watersports on offer. End your visit with an explosion of colour as the annual autumnal Exmouth Illuminated Carnival lights up the streets with fabulous costumes and glowing decorations.
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