If seaside holidays have you dreaming of donkey rides, sandcastle competitions and pop-up puppet shows, you’re not alone. Whether your fondest memories are of freshly baked doughnuts, arcade machines or seaside rock sticking to your teeth, there’s one thing we can certainly all agree on: seaside breaks were the best.
That’s why, at Expedia, we’re eager to keep those childhood memories alive. When you book a coastal break with us, we give you all the best bits of your fun family holidays, with a smattering of grown-up indulgence. From the golden sands of Cornwall to the exclusive beach resorts of Brittany, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on a seaside break.
Take a look at some of the best seaside holidays in the UK and France, below.
St Ives is the St Tropez of British seaside holidays. With its twisting cobbled streets, whitewashed fishermen’s cottages and golden-sand frontier, it’s easy to see why St Ives has earned a reputation as one of the best seaside towns in the UK.
From pebbly to powder-soft, popular to peaceful, breath-taking beaches are St Ives’ bread and butter. And while the town might boast 12 beaches in total, the most visited has to be pretty Porthmeor Beach. With the sunset to the west, crashing white waves and rugged headlands flanking the border, this seaside spot is a firm favourite for surfers and sunbathers alike.
For something a little quieter on your Cornwall seaside holiday, make your way to Porthgwidden Beach. This sandy cove enjoys plenty of shelter from much of the wind and waves that often come to Porthmeor’s shore – a dream if you’re looking for a lazy afternoon in the sun.
With its sandy beaches, medieval towns and lush moorlands, seaside holidays in Devon offer the ultimate staycation. And with highlights including the picturesque English Riviera and fossilised cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, why would you want to go anywhere else?
If horse-shoe shaped beaches and pretty harbours are your idea of summer-time fun, then look no further than Salcombe. To the west, you’ll find the tranquil waterfront of Kingsbridge Estuary, while the soft coves of Salcombe’s hidden beaches, such as Gara Rock Beach, peek out from behind sleepy fishing villages. When it’s time to kick off your sandals, head to the town’s eclectic high streets, where you’ll find all the best artisan patisseries, olde-worlde pubs and contemporary cafes in Devon.
If you’ve looking to sample the best of the Britain’s northern beaches, look no further than North Yorkshire. With its white fossil cliffs and dramatic waterfalls, Yorkshire’s Dinosaur Coast is as picturesque as the Med, just without the expense.
On your stay, make sure to sample the pretty fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Located in the North York Moors National Park, this ancient town is best known for its brooding cliff towers, dainty seaside inns and rock pool beaches, where families can go both fish and fossil hunting.
Once you’re done exploring the UK’s majestic coastlines on the mainland, there is still plenty to see and do on Britain’s island shores. For one of the best family-friendly resorts across the water, try Shanklin Beach on the Isle of Wight, a golden-sand beach which, flanked by cliffs and backed onto Shanklin Old Village, is particularly popular during summertime. Harnessing all the hallmarks of a traditional bucket-and-spade break, this family-friendly beach will take you back to your childhood, with seaside attractions such as crazy golf and go-karting just a short walk along the promenade.
With the English Channel to the north and French Riviera to the south, France is ideally placed to enjoy the most blissful seaside landscapes in Europe. From the cascading coastline of La Vendée to the shallow bays that circle Plage des Marinieres, France seaside holidays deliver classic seaside fare with a genteel flair.
For a French coast holiday that is both vibrant and peaceful, head to Brittany. Tucked into France’s north-westernmost corner, this hilly peninsula enjoys a lengthy coastline and high-end beach resorts. For some of the finest white-sand beaches, head to Saint-Malo, where you’ll find azure waters softly breaking against the Tomb of Châteaubriand in the distance.
To the south you’ll find a tight collection of luxury resort towns. From the beaches of La Grande Plage (‘The Big Beach’) in bustling Biarritz to the quaint fishing villages dotted along the coast of the Occitanie region, you won’t be short of blissful beaches in this Mediterranean mecca. Those heading towards Nice should take a detour to nearby Plage des Mariniers in Villefranche-sur-Mer. Sandwiched between Villefranche’s charming old port town and the stunning Riviera coastline, this wide beach is a veritable bolt-hole for budding photographers.
France’s west coast enjoys the longest stretch of coastline in the country, with medieval cities and Mediterranean-style beaches bringing in tourists by the bucketload.
In the Vendée western stretch, you’ll find 90 miles of golden sands, hidden coves, rock pools and soft sand dunes. When the weather is calm and clear, make sure to head to Vendée’s two islands, Ile-de-Noirmoutier and Ile d'Yeu, which are just a short boat ride away. Here you can while your days away collecting shellfish, ambling around local snail farms and exploring sites of historical importance, such as the imposing Château de Noirmoutier, which sits on the province’s northernmost island.