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Day Trips From London, England To The Seaside

Updated on September 12, 2013

Three Great Coastal Destinations Within Easy Reach Of The Capital

London is a great city, but there are times when you just need to get away from it for a while. A day trip to the seaside can often be the answer. A great antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city, day trips from London to the coast provides a chance to breathe in salty fresh air, let the eyes relax on far reaching views over the sea, and enjoy a different pace of life for a while. Being an Island, Great Britain is blessed with a wonderfully varied coastline, and loads of great places to visit. For me there are three coastal destinations, I regard as some of the best in the country, which are easily reached from London.



Whitstable is located on the north Kent coast. Popular with Londoners for many years due to its proximity to the capital, only 60 miles by car or 1.5 hours away by train. Whitstable is a fishing harbour town, best known for its oysters which can be enjoyed in several of the town’s restaurants as well as the harbour itself which has it's own restaurants, cafes and arts and crafts stalls. There’s even an oyster festival held in the town each year.

The town has pretty weather boarded houses and fisherman’s cottages, making it an attractive town for a wander around. The beach is mainly shingle mixed with sand, broken into sections by a series of groynes.

My favourite place to eat and drink here is Windy Corner Stores on Nelson Rd, serving lovingly prepared breakfasts, snacks and main courses, as well as great tasting cakes. The small store has a sort of well-used charm and, in addition to serving food, is also a convenience store selling grocery essentials, artisan breads and sweets for kids. It’s a relaxed, easy going and child friendly place. Or for a pint or two try the Old Neptune. Perfectly located on the beach edge itself, it's an iconic Whitstable pub which features often in works of art depicting the area.

Whitstable. The white buildng is The Old Neptune pub
Whitstable. The white buildng is The Old Neptune pub


Broadstairs is the furthest point on the northeast Kent coast, about 80 miles by car or 1.5-2 hours on the train. With its beautiful, sandy main beach Viking Bay, Broadstairs is surely one of the best examples of a traditional Victorian seaside town, very family friendly, popular with overseas exchange students and with a good variety of places to eat and drink. This coastal town is a perfect example of a typical English seaside resort but with a quality rather than tacky feel.

My favourite place is the garden area of The Royal Albion Hotel. It’s one of the best places to enjoy a drink or a meal while enjoying great views of the sea. On a sunny day you'll feel more like you are in a restaurant on the Mediterranean coast rather the south east of England.

Broadstairs has a week long folk festival each year, turning the town into a week long party, as well as a Dickens festival, celebrating the life and works of writer Charles Dickens who lived here.

For a beach to rival any abroad, visit Botany Bay, only a ten minute drive from the main town of Broadstairs. It's a very popular beach with locals, especially families, and is an ideal place to let the kids burn off energy, enjoying the simple pleasures of being beside the seaside.

Botany Bay, Broadstairs
Botany Bay, Broadstairs

Margate Old Town and the Turner Contemporary.

Stopping off in Margate on-route to Broadstairs provides a good opportunity to visit The Turner Contemporary, a new gallery opened in April 2011, designed by architect David Chipperfield. It sits proudly east of Margate Main Beach, looking out over the sea. It's a popular gallery, having far exceeded its estimated visitors numbers in its opening months, and is an impressive space for enjoying the exhibitions, interactive events and cafe.

As an alternative to the gallery cafe, it’s worth trying out the growing number of cafes, delis and restaurants that are springing up in the nearby Old Town and harbour arm. Here you’ll also find unusual and intriguing boutique shops and galleries.

Tracy Emin, artist has strong links to Margate

Camber Sands
Camber Sands
Camber Sands
Camber Sands

Camber Sands

On the Sussex coast near to the border of Kent and not far from the historic town of Rye, Camber doesn’t have a train station but can be reached by an enjoyable drive through the surrounding marsh lands, about 75 miles from the centre of London.

I love this place for its wild feel. It’s all sand dunes and sea, with miles and miles of clean sand beach. It's a popular beach for kite surfers and, even if partaking in water sports is not your thing, watching these guys do their airborne acrobatic moves can be mesmerizing. There’s plenty of space for a game of beach football or cricket and building sand castles so take your bucket and spade or sports equipment and enjoy this wonderful beach.

Apart from a few cafes and small amusement arcades there’s not much here, but that’s its charm, it's a beach for enjoying nature's best. There are a couple of holiday parks in the area but the long beach itself has not been spoilt by over-development. Camber Sands is the ideal place for a low cost day out. Pack a picnic, towels and swimwear and spend a day enjoying the simple pleasures of sea, sand and sunshine.

Camber Sands
Camber Sands


These destinations, due to their proximity, are ideally suited for day trips from London. They have everything needed for an enjoyable and welcome break from the city, providing all the fun of the seaside. When London gets too much, hop on the train, jump in the car or take a bus, and within an hour or two, or even less, you can be experiencing some of the best of Britain's beaches and coastal destinations


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    • jasmith1 profile image

      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      Enjoy your holiday in the UK - we have been having a fair bit of sun recently so hopefully it's holding out for you. :)

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great article! I'm on vacation in UK now, but staying in the countryside. If I was staying in London, I would definitely be taking a trip to Broadstairs and Botany Bay. Thanks! Voted up and interesting.


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