The most beautiful coastal villages in the UK

The most beautiful coastal villages in the UK

most beautiful seaside villages in the uk prettiest england where to visit summer 2022 - Getty

most beautiful seaside villages in the uk prettiest england where to visit summer 2022 – Getty

Is there anything sweeter than strolling along the boardwalk of a British seaside town on a hot summer’s day, with the smell of fresh seafood in the air and the sound of waves lapping at the shore?

With a coastline stretching tens of thousands of kilometers, the UK has a quintessential catalog of villages to choose from – including some delightfully quieter corners.

And with British weather playing ball and flight chaos set to continue into the summer, Britain’s shores have never looked more attractive.

So grab your bucket and shovel, cover your face with factor 50, and start planning a trip to one of the UK’s prettiest seaside villages, chosen by our experts, below.

The most beautiful coastal villages in the UK

Polperro, Cornwall

Quite possibly one of the most idyllic seaside villages in the UK, Polperro in Cornwall is a postcard treasure found between Fowey and Looe. While traffic has been an issue in the past, residents have resolved the issue by having all visitors use a park-and-ride. It also has a popular fisherman’s choir that can be found playing select nights at Polperro Quay in the fall.

Staithes, North Yorkshire

This small village in North Yorkshire is one of the county’s biggest secrets. Once the home of Captain Cook, the small fishing village is steeped in history. It’s also a great spot for foodies, and you can eat freshly caught fish at Cleveland Corner or take a boat ride to catch your own with local captain Sean (

Hope Cove, Devon

Living up to its name, Hope Cove in Devon has everything you could want from a British seaside village. It’s actually two villages, Outer Hope and Inner Hope, and it sits on golden sandy beaches, amid thatched huts and the calm sound of the sea. It’s a great place for diving, with 30 wrecks nearby, and is known for its delicious crabs and lobsters – brought in daily by local fishermen. Hope Cove Weekend is an annual festival of live music, great food and family fun (during the August bank holiday this year).

Hope Cove -Michael Roberts/Getty

Hope Cove – Michael Roberts/Getty

Portmeirion, Gwynedd

While it may be the only village on the list with opening hours, Portmeirion in Wales has to be one of the most interesting. Built by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976, who wanted to show that it was possible to develop a naturally beautiful landscape without ruining it, the colorful tourist village offers free 20-minute tours between Easter and October, plus a courtesy rail tour of the surrounding forests of Gwyllt (

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

While this port village too small to be true may look like it belongs in Denmark, it’s actually on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. A short ferry ride from Oban, it was built in 1788 to a design by Thomas Telford and is home to the Tobermory Distillery, an art gallery, live music venue, theater and a Marine Visitors Center. You can also rent a kayak and head out to explore the surrounding waters.

Tobermory - Richard Kellett/Getty

Tobermory – Richard Kellett/Getty

Mousehole, Cornwall

Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) is one of Cornwall’s most picturesque harbor towns. Indeed, in 1930 Dylan Thomas described it as ‘the most beautiful village in England’, and it remains little changed today. Growing around its small fishing port between Penzance and Land’s End, the village is home to a small coastal beach, as well as small shops, galleries and restaurants.

Walberswick, Suffolk

The wooden bridge that connects the picturesque village of Walberswick to the beach is always full of children holding crab ropes and plastic buckets. Climb the dunes’ summit into the magical light of the Suffolk coast and you’ll understand why so many artists are drawn to painting this long, empty stretch of sandy beach.

Walberswick - iStock

Walberswick – iStock

Blakeney, Norfolk

One of the prettiest coastal villages in Norfolk, Blakeney’s alleys are dotted with small stone houses and a narrow, winding lane. The pier is a prime spot for crab (or gill) and children can regularly be seen swinging their legs to the side, catching crabs on locally purchased lines. The Blakeney Point Bird Sanctuary is a must-see and is home to common and gray seals, which lazily sprawl along the water’s edge.

portloe, cornwall

Encapsulated by the cliffs of the Roseland Peninsula, Portloe is yet another quintessentially perfect seaside village that can be found in Cornwall. Sir John Betjeman once called it ‘one of the least spoiled and most impressive fishing villages in Cornwall’ and it’s not hard to see why. Naturally sheltered (its name originates from the Cornish Porth Logh meaning ‘pool inlet’), Portloe grew, like many Cornish coastal villages, from a history of fishing and smuggling.

Portloe, Cornwall - Mike Blakey/iStock

Portloe, Cornwall – Mike Blakey/iStock

West Lulworth, Dorset

This quaint little village in Dorset lives on the shores. Here, the great British countryside blends with the coast, creating a stunning scene – 400-year-old thatched houses stand next to former coast guard houses and a beautiful mill pond nestles at its heart. Close to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, the village’s proximity to the Jurassic Coast only adds to its allure.

Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire

Old stone walls, red sandstone cliffs and the fresh smell of salty sea air characterize this pretty Scottish village on the Aberdeenshire coast, overlooking the Moray Firth. With a pod of resident dolphins in the estuary, keep your eyes peeled as you walk ahead. There are many walks to enjoy in the area where you can observe the abundant local wildlife, as well as a selection of galleries and workshops.

Gardenstown Village - Getty

Gardenstown Village – Getty

Bamburgh, Northumberland

The undisputed highlight of the village of Bamburgh is that it has an impressive 18th century castle in the middle of it – something many British villages cannot lay claim to. It also has a dune beach whose sands would not be out of place in the Mediterranean and is one of the best surf spots in the Northeast. There are plenty of English tearooms to take a break from and a museum dedicated to Grace Darling (famous for taking part in rescuing survivors from the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838).

Portree, Isle of Skye

On the east side of bonnie Skye, Portree may just be a village, but it is the capital of the island of the Inner Hebrides. With Ben Tianavaig to the south, Suidh Fhinn to the west and Ben Chrachaig to the north, the village is surrounded by hills and has everything you could hope for – there’s even a swimming pool between the colorful houses.

Clovelly, Devon

Spread across a hillside and clinging to a 400-foot cliff overlooking Bideford Bay, Clovelly must be one of Devon’s most famous villages. While donkeys used to be the main mode of transport, now they are only used for children’s rides, so be prepared for a hike if you want to walk to the waterfront and back. If you fancy trying some of the freshly caught fish, head to Red Lion Harbor Restaurant (

Cromarty, Highlands

Found at the tip of the Black Isle (which, confusingly, is a peninsula rather than an island), Cromarty has the sea on two sides – Moray Firth to the south and Cromarty Firth to the north. Established as a port for the importation of materials needed to power local fabric, rope and ironwork factories, Cromarty has a more interesting than average history as a coastal fishing village, with small houses crammed amid larger buildings.

Cromarty Firth and Cromarty's Village - Getty

Cromarty Firth and Cromarty’s Village – Getty

Carnlough, Co. antrim

With the stunning scenery of Glencloy, one of the Nine Valleys of Antrim at the northern end of Carnlough Bay between Garron Point and Park Head, Carnloy has a rich history with the settlement believed to date back to 6,000 BC. The entire harbor has undergone a makeover and is popular for those who love nothing more than a fishing spot.

Beer, Devon

There are few coastal views in the UK as impressive as the Jurassic Coast. Surrounded by the iconic white cliffs at Lyme Bay, Beer is one of the lucky villages that has this sensational world heritage site on its doorstep. Colorful fishing boats bring in loads of fresh crab, fish and mackerel, while the village’s history includes its use as a base by notorious smuggler Jack Rattenbury. The village hosts an annual regatta each summer.

Beer, Devon - James Barrett/Alamy

Beer, Devon – James Barrett/Alamy

Crail, FIFA

With charming cobbled streets flanked by fishing houses leading down to a small harbour, Crail is without a doubt one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. Situated in Fife’s East Neuk, getting here offers some stunning views if you’re heading out of Edinburgh (90 minutes by car). The harbor front is a great place to enjoy a summer ice cream and watch the fishing boats return with their catch. There are also plenty of tea rooms to enjoy, galleries to explore and even a historic center to explore.

Llangrannog, Ceredigion

As the River Hawen descends into Cardigan Bay, it passes through this pretty village. While you can enjoy the main beach which is popular with surfers for most of the day, if you wait until low tide you can walk to a second one (which you can also walk down the cliff path when the waves come in). You can enjoy traditional pub food, homemade ice cream and a quick bite to eat at one of the cafes. There is also a charming circular walk to enjoy around the headlands of Ynys Lochtyn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.