Seaside Resorts, which followed the bestselling Unwrecked England, was a celebration of the British seaside resort, and saw Candida Lycett Green travel to fifty of the best across England and Wales – from Broadstairs to Bridlington, Southwold to Swanage, Torquay to Tenby. In the spirit of her father, Sir John Betjeman, she captured their essence and revealed the physical beauty, bright and breezy architecture – and humour.


Click here to view an index of all “Seaside Resorts” posts

“Candida Lycett Green’s Seaside Resorts is a celebration of her 50 British favourites and a perfect Christmas present to suit man, woman or child. Who better to be a judge of coastal quality? … Somehow the essence of each resort is conjured so vividly you wish you were there. Architectural highlights and literary connections for each resort are noted but learning is worn lightly and comic insights abound.”

Mary KillenThe Lady, 11 November 2011.

“What a wonderful book … It’s impossible to flip the pages of this lavish top 50 selection of recreational gems without being tempted towards the closest railway station.”

Nicholas Crane, five star review in Countryfile magazine. December 2011.



Southwold’s 1900 pier, which by the end of the century was all but lost, was restored in 2001. It houses the wonderful “Under the Pier Show”, an arcade created by Tim Hunkin which includes the “Autofrisk”, a device to simulate the feeling of being frisked by inflatable rubber gloves.

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The sea in Salcombe is aquamarine in January, while on the opposite bank the woods around Mill Bay, with its tiny golden beach, grow down to the water’s edge. Even though they are leafless there is a luxuriant tropical softness about them.

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Approaching via the quiet residential suburbs, nothing warns you of the sudden splendour of Newquay’s cliffs and beaches. This is the North Cornish coast at its best…

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Lynton and Lynmouth

Lynmouth is picturesque, with its Rhenish Tower and funicular railway up to the resort of Lynton, 500 feet above. As you travel up the precipitous slope to reach that higher world you could easily be in Switzerland. There are fir trees in the hanging woods and some of Lynton’s boarding houses sport the chalet style, with deep overhanging eaves and wooden balconies.

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Fowey is all romance. The town’s face and its heroic history as one of Cornwall’s principal ports was, and is, its fortune. There are steep twisting streets of whitewashed cottages, their pattern unchanged since medieval times; a triple-aisled church at its heart, stuffed with monuments to the Rashleighs of Menabilly and the Treffrys, whose ancient pile “Place”, with its battlemented walls and turrets, overshadows the churchyard.

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The commercial success of nearly every resort in Britain depended on the railway. In Dawlish’s case, Brunel’s original “atmospheric” railway not only came, it devoured one of the town’s major assets, the beautiful red-sand beach, by marching across it on the lowest of viaducts.

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When you first arrive in Clevedon from wooded gorges and the shadow of hills, you have no sense of the sea, and it’s a shock to suddenly find yourself out on the blustery front, where the little bandstand look as though it will take off and the Scots pines in the public gardens are bent horizontal by the wind.

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Alnmouth faces away from the sea and into the sheltering crook of its beautiful river estuary. Its harbour was its fortune from neolithic times, and by the end of the eighteenth century it was a prosperous grain port which, when Wesley made a brief stop there, was “rife with smuggling and famous for all types of wickedness”.

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Brighton has always been exciting. In 1782 Fanny Burney described plunging into the sea here at 6am on a November morning “by the pale blink of the moon”, and two years later when “Prinny” (who later became the Prince Regent) first came to stay here with his fast-living uncle, the Duke of Cumberland (who ran a gaming house and started Brighton Races) he was smitten.

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Although it has grown into one of Cornwall’s largest towns, Falmouth still has all the stirring romance of a Patrick O’Brian novel. In the old heart of it there are sudden glimpses of water and the noise of clinking masts. For two hundred years it was the last stopping place for ships sailing west across the Atlantic, and the first port of call for those homeward-bound.

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