There’s something magical about living by the sea. Being able to take bracing walks on the beach while gazing out at gleaming waters can give you a unique sense of freedom. And the invigorating sea breeze is unbeatable if you’re having a bad day.
Plus, many seaside destinations encapsulate much of what’s best about Britain – from painted beach huts to cosy coastal pubs and, of course, the obligatory fish and chips or Mr Whippy with a flake!
While there are some seaside towns that are perfect for a staycation, there are others that seem more suited for putting down roots. So, if you’ve always dreamt of living by the sea, why not think about making those dreams a reality?
For inspiration, here are nine beautiful seaside towns…
1. Deal, Kent, England
Margate might be known as Kent’s ‘original’ seaside town. But, it’s Deal that can be considered the most charming.
Located along the iconic White Cliffs, this quirky yet underrated town boasts gorgeous sea views year round – and on a clear day, you can see all the way to France. Coastal walks are exceptional here, though Deal has much more to offer.
The pedestrianised town centre is a joy to explore, and there are excellent and varied dining options – from fancy French cuisine to retro fish bars. Pastel-coloured cottages rub shoulders with elegant Georgian houses; art galleries sit beside upmarket delis on the high street; and if you’re into antiques and bric-a-brac, you’ll have a blast strolling through the winding streets of the Old Town.
A major draw for history lovers will be having Deal Castle – one of the country’s finest Tudor artillery castles – on your doorstep. Plus, just down the road is Walmer Castle, which has gorgeous gardens and a cute tearoom.
There are also football, cricket, tennis, golf, and rowing clubs here – and, as you might expect, Deal Castle Beach is a wonderful location for windswept walks.
Average house prices in Deal sit at around £365,000, making it mid-range for the South East.
2. Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Pembrokeshire is famous for its miles of pristine coastline. And though there are many beautiful and charming seaside towns here, Tenby is undeniably a contender for the most special.
This Victorian harbour town is a lovely place to lay down roots. It’s perched on a headland where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Irish Sea; bordered by Blue Flag beaches; and packed with culture, nature, and history.
If you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand, you won’t find a better spot in Pembrokeshire. Not only is Tenby one of Wales’ sunniest places, but Castle Beach was named ‘British Beach of the Year’ by The Sunday Times in 2019.
History lovers will be in their element too, as Tenby boasts a 13th-century medieval wall and is home to Wales’ oldest independent museum: the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery.
Meanwhile, if you’re into nature, you’re only a 20-minute boat ride away from tranquil Caldey Island, where you can spot seals and seabirds from the shore, and buy handmade soaps and perfumes from the island’s resident Cistercian monks.
Tenby’s quaint narrow alleys are also lined with ice cream parlours, art galleries, pubs, restaurants, and colourful pastel houses – so you won’t be short of things to do!
Average house prices in Tenby are around £340,000.
3. Weymouth, Dorset, England
If you enjoy wandering along winding coastal paths and sweeping golden beaches, then Weymouth in Dorset might be the seaside town for you.
Weymouth has been one of the most popular seaside resorts ever since King George III started holidaying here, and it has just as much to offer today as it did in the 18th century.
As part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline and the South West coastal path, there are miles of stunning trails to explore in and around Weymouth. The town’s award-winning sandy beach is perfect for walking and sunbathing, and the pretty harbour is dotted with gently bobbing fishing boats and sleek yachts. Surrounded by pastel-coloured houses, it’s a great spot to people-watch.
While the town’s beach is beautiful, you’re also just a short drive from famous coastal spots like Lulworth Cove, Chesil Beach, and Durdle Door, as well as many other beach towns. So when Weymouth gets busy in the summer, there are plenty of places to retreat to if you’d like some peace and quiet.
Weymouth is also one of the sunniest places in the UK, and even when it does rain, there’s still plenty to do – from visiting museums to cosying up in snug quayside pubs.
Average house prices for this beautiful spot on the south coast are around £310,000.
4. Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland
If you’ve always loved the idea of living somewhere remote, then Tobermory, in the Inner Hebrides, definitely ticks the box.
The Isle of Mull boasts some of the wildest and most rugged scenery in the UK, yet its capital, Tobermory, is a picture-perfect harbour town. While it might be the capital, it’s home to less than 5,000 people – and with average house prices sitting at around £190,000, you get a lot more for your money here.
Painted in vibrant shades of yellow, red, and blue, the waterfront houses may be more reminiscent of Scandinavia than Scotland, but this town is bursting with Gaelic heritage.
Tobermory comes from the Gaelic ‘Tobar Mhoire’ – the well of Mary – and you can visit the site where the medieval well once stood, marked by a granite cross. You can also delve further into the past at Tobermory’s Mull Museum, which is packed with historical artefacts.
In contrast, modern Tobermory is home to attractions like a nine-hole golf course, the Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory Chocolate, and Mull Aquarium.
If you want to work up an appetite for local delicacies like mussels, oysters, or piping hot chips, there are miles of beautiful coastal and forest paths just outside the town to explore on foot or by bike. If you’re feeling brave, you could even take a dip in the chilly emerald-green waters!
5. Bamburgh, Northumberland, England
Another excellent coastal location for people who want to live somewhere that feels quiet and remote is Bamburgh.
Known as ‘England’s last great wilderness’, Northumberland is the least populated county in the country, so if you’re looking to live in a traditional English seaside village that’s decidedly less busy than those down south, Bamburgh fits the bill.
Surrounded by windswept beaches and beautiful moorland, the picturesque village is enchanting – boasting cosy pubs and cafes tucked away down side streets, old, snug cottages, and grand detached houses backing onto vast greens.
Bamburgh was voted the UK’s best seaside town in 2022, so its charms aren’t exactly a secret, but its secluded location still makes it a smart choice for anyone seeking solitude. The town’s beauty, history, and stunning location don’t come cheap and houses can go for around £700,000 (although the average property price over the last year sits around £305,000).
Bamburgh’s most spectacular attraction is its imposing castle, which dates back to 1500. Looming above Bamburgh Castle Beach, the castle is an impressive sight and makes the village feel both unique and historic. From the beach, you can spot seals and porpoises, as well as countless seabirds – and if you want to see puffins, just head over to the nearby Farne Islands.
6. Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Portrush is famous for being one of Northern Ireland’s most scenic seaside towns – and if being surrounded by dramatic landscape is appealing to you, then Portrush is an excellent choice. Plus, average house prices sit at around the £200,000 mark, so your money goes much further here.
Situated along the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route, Portrush isn’t only home to breathtaking coastal paths, it’s also one of Ireland’s top surf spots, so it’s ideal if you enjoy being active and spending time outdoors.
The name Portrush comes from the Irish Port Rois, which means ‘promontory port’ – an apt title once you glimpse the one-mile peninsula that Portrush is perched on.
With the wild Atlantic Ocean in front, stunning blue flag beaches on either side, and miles of rugged countryside behind you, Portrush’s County Antrim location couldn’t be more idyllic.
There’s plenty for residents to do in the town itself too. Royal Portrush Golf Club hosted the 148th Open in 2019, which should give you an idea of how stunning it is – and the town has all the traditional shops, pubs, restaurants, arcades, and galleries that you’d expect from a seaside town.
Nearby Portstewart is a little more sedate and genteel, so there’s something for every mood.
7. Salcombe, Devon, England
Devon definitely isn’t short of pretty beach towns – but Salcombe often tops the list as the loveliest.
Today, this upmarket coastal town is perhaps more famous for its picture-perfect harbour than for its maritime history and smuggling roots, and it’s probably more suited to people who prefer culture over hiking and exploring.
The colourful waterfront is circled by pastel buildings; with majestic rolling hills on one side and golden sandy beaches on the other. Boats and yachts bob in the aquamarine waters, and opposite the beach, you can taste your way around some of the best food in the county: from seafood shacks to nautical pubs and award-winning restaurants, Salcombe has it all.
While summer is busy, the rest of the year is much quieter, and you can take advantage of the town’s excellent shops and galleries without the crowds.
If you’re looking to get away from it all, just hop on a ferry to the isolated Sunny Cove – though there are many gorgeous beaches right on your doorstep too. Plus, situated on the Kingsbridge Estuary, there are plenty of riverside walks to enjoy here.
Unsurprisingly, living in such a stylish and sought-after destination isn’t cheap. House prices are typically around £995,000, but if you’re after a smaller property, these can be around £400,000.
8. Llandudno, Conwy, North Wales
Llandudno might be Wales’ biggest seaside resort, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also a lovely place to live.
Home to some of Wales’ most glorious beaches, vibrant Llandudno has been popular since the Victorian times. And thanks to its excellent surf, fascinating history, and timeless British seaside charm, it remains a thriving destination today.
Llandudno can trace its history back to the Bronze Age, but it was in the Victorian era that this town boomed – and the tall, elegant architecture that lines its sweeping promenade is a testament to this. There are two award-winning beaches that are excellent for water sports and sunbathing. Or, if you prefer quieter beaches, head to West Shore Beach, where you can watch kite surfers and kite fliers.
If you enjoy walking, you’re in luck, as Llandudno has the Great Orme on its doorstep – a rugged limestone headland that’s a great place to stretch your legs. At the top of this mini-mountain, you can admire otherworldly views of Snowdonia and the craggy landscape that surrounds you. From the end of Llandudno’s Victorian pier, there are also dazzling views over Llandudno Bay and the Irish Sea.
House prices in this lovely destination hover around £225,000.
9. Margate, Kent, England
In a recent survey of the UK’s best coastal towns, Margate – England’s original seaside town – came out on top.
Popular since the 1730s, Margate has had its ups and downs, with many describing it as ‘rough’ and ‘rundown’ in recent decades. But, fast forward to today and it’s experienced somewhat of a resurgence.
With affordable properties, blue flag-certified beaches, and enviable hours of sunshine, it’s a great place to live. Average house prices sit around £340,000.
Margate is a town of contradictions; it’s faded yet glorious, vintage yet contemporary, and boasts historic 18th-century buildings as well as many new bars, restaurants, galleries, and independent shops.
If you’re hoping to have loved ones visit, it won’t be difficult to persuade them. Margate is known for its varied attractions – from the iconic and colourful Dreamland amusement park (which is set to reopen in 2024) to the mysterious Shell Grotto: an underground chamber decorated with over four million shells that was only discovered in 1835. Plus, with a thriving food and arts scene, Margate has something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, creative inspiration, invigorating sea air, or captivating coastal views, the UK isn’t short of spectacular seaside towns. From bustling, stylish towns like Salcombe in South Devon to the remote Tobermory in the Inner Hebrides, there’s a coastal spot to suit every personality and preference.
For some, living by the sea is a chance to enjoy a sense of freedom and solitude – and for others, it’s an opportunity to enjoy the lively ambience that’s typical of coastal resorts. The good news is that because the UK is so diverse, you’re sure to find a seaside destination to suit you.
Have you always dreamed of living by the sea? Or perhaps you have your own recommendations for the best seaside towns in the UK? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.