With pastel-coloured houses staggered up the hill and winding streets full of little shops and contemporary cafés, Salcombe packs a lot of style into its small size. A pretty waterfront town, it’s one of the chicest places to be in high summer, and its new offerings of e-bike routes and foodie tours make it an even more desirable destination.
Try one of the new e-bike routes for yourself, including the Salcombe Estuary circular trail, which takes in the Salcombe to East Portlemouth ferry and shows off the area’s beaches, watering holes and most stunning scenery. Hire prices start at £50 per day through e-Xplore Devon. For foodies, the self-guided Salcombe Food & Drink Trail takes in 20 sampling and dining experiences, including the Salcombe Gin school and Salcombe Dairy Ice Cream, and is sure to whet your appetite. Find out more at Salcombeinformation.co.uk. Or, for active relaxation on the water, try stand-up paddleboarding with gear hired from North Sands Water Sports (Northsands.co.uk, 07838 394835), or surfing with help from Discovery Surf School (Discoverysurf.com, 01548 810535).
• Stay at Salcombe Harbour Hotel, a spa hotel with waterside bar and decked terrace, from £230 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis. To book, go to Harbourhotels.co.uk
This town is where classic seaside fun meets modern art. There are sandy beaches flanked with fish and chip shops and shore-side rides, but there’s plenty going on off the beach, too. Famous fans of the town have included artists JMW Turner and Tracey Emin, and there’s a strong artsy vibe here. The Turner Contemporary is an acclaimed art gallery that celebrates its tenth birthday this year, and a recent influx of creatives to the area has seen more galleries open. Margate’s iconic Dreamland – which itself enjoyed a temporary takeover by Banksy a few years ago – has been revamped and is now a riot of all things kitsch and colourful. With vintage rides, including the UK’s oldest wooden roller coaster, plus festival-style pop-up entertainment, live music, bars and restaurants, it’s one of the coolest theme parks around. Elsewhere, explore the regenerated Old Town and Harbour Arm, packed with hipster hangouts and retro shops, or sit and watch the sunset at the seafront.
• Stay at Cliftonville Townhouse Boutique B&B, a stylish and characterful bed and breakfast, from £99 per night. Visit Cliftonvilletownhouse.com
Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear
Eight miles out of Newcastle, Tynemouth boasts three white sandy beaches, overlooked by castle ruins and a working lighthouse, and a burgeoning hipster scene. The traditional high street is crammed with pubs and shops, but quirky bars, craft beer spots and artisan coffee roasteries – like Tynemouth Coffee Company – are popping up, too. The Green Ginger Arcade is a converted church full of boutiques and cafés, while Riley’s Fish Shack – a shipping container restaurant that serves up Insta-worthy seafood – is a must-visit (Rileysfishshack.com).
• Stay at the Grand Hotel Tynemouth, a classic seafront hotel, from £139 per room per night. Visit Booking.com
Located near Liverpool, Crosby is a classic English market town flanked with rolling sand dunes and boundless stretches of beaches. The main attraction here is “Another Place”, an installation of 100 life-size cast-iron figures dotted over a two-mile stretch of the beach by renowned sculptor Antony Gormley. As you grab a drink, watch them be revealed and submerged by the fast-changing tides, playing a game of hide-and-seek. Visitors can also walk along the beach and the coastal path to take in gorgeous views of the sea, the Wirral and North Wales. Further up the coast is Hightown beach, with its prehistoric submerged forest, and National Trust’s Formby coastal reserve, which is home to red squirrels and some surprisingly well-preserved Neolithic footprints.
• Stay at the Marlborough Hotel, which is just 15 minutes’ walk from the beach, where prices start at £70 per night. [Visit Expedia.co.uk ](http://Visit Expedia.co.uk )
St Ives, Cornwall
Dubbed “the dazzling jewel in Cornwall’s crown”, St Ives is a picturesque fishing harbour and seaside town that’s packed with charm, independent shops, top-rated restaurants and inspiring galleries. Transformed into a vibrant, influential art colony after the Second World War, it became the epicentre of the British Modernist movement. Today, it’s home to the Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden, the Bernard Leach Pottery & Museum and Tate St Ives, as well as many smaller galleries scattered around the town. If you’re looking to take some art home with you, check out the outdoor craft market, where you can buy a one-off, reasonably priced piece made by a local artist or craftsman. With plenty of bookstores, fashion boutiques, surf shops and gift outlets set on St Ives’ charming streets, shopping is a pleasure. With an enticing mix of delis, fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours, tea rooms, fudge shops, bars and restaurants to explore, there’s plenty to satisfy your appetite and tastebuds, too.
• Stay at Pedn-Olva, an elegant hotel overlooking St Ives Bay that has an outdoor pool and popular restaurant. Prices start at £175 per night. For more info, visit Booking.com
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