The Victorians were firm believers in the health benefits of the tranquillity and fresh air of the seaside, an ethos that has echoed down the ages to the modern day. After all, who doesn’t feel reinvigorated after a day in the bracing air in Cromer or Skegness.
A study conducted in 2012 showed that indeed, the closer people live to the sea, the healthier they are. This may not be totally down to the sea air but there’s no denying a trip to the seaside does raise the spirits (as well as flatten the hair!)
If you’re thinking of planning day trips or a short break that will be suitable for elderly relatives or clients, our top 3 recommendations are:
As above, Cromer is a lovely place to visit year around. As with all UK seaside towns, the weather can be inclement at times, but don’t let this put you off. There are plenty of indoor attractions for all ages that keep people coming back.
Cromer has been a resort town since the early 19th century, with the present-day pier first taking shape in 1822 (although it has been rebuilt since). The roots of the town lie in fishing, primarily crab, and ‘Cromer crabbing’ is a favourite pastime of many who visit (in fact, the bars on the pier have to be repainted on a regular basis as the lines cast over by so many enthusiastic crabbers wear the paint away).
Recent modernisation work carried out on the promenade has made the pier easily accessible for disabled visitors, with a full ramp onto the pier and easy access into the shops and restaurants. The lifeboat station, located at the end of the pier, is free to visit but cannot offer disabled access to the viewing gallery as the station is still operational. The Lifeboat Café, found slightly further down the front, has full disabled facilities and a lift up to the top of the cliff.
Fish and chip lovers will be queuing up at either of the two shops available – Mary Janes in the centre, or No1 on the outskirts – this also has a full restaurant, so may be preferable in the cooler months. If you’d rather have a nice meal then there are pubs, restaurants and cafes galore, both on the front and in the town.
Many people enjoy the shopping in Cromer along the high street with some bigger brand stores such as Superdrug and Mountain Warehouse alongside the smaller gift shops and boutiques. The church is a great spot for a pitstop with benches surrounding the perimeter and within the church grounds.
Cromer has certainly made a mark on the map and long may many continue to visit!
Another Victorian favourite, Ilfracombe has been a settlement since the Iron Ages. The locals still like to celebrate the love shown to the town with their yearly Victorian Celebration. Usually this is in June and includes a visit from Queen Victoria, fireworks and a tea duelling competition. Seen to be believed….
Ilfracombe is a bustling harbour town and has many attractions including an aquarium, museum, leisure park and even a haunted house. Golfers can spend the day on the Ilfracombe & Woolacombe golf range, keen riders at the nearly riding stables, or how about a game of ten pin bowling at Golden Bowls bowling alley.
If you’re more of a sea and sand kind of person, then Ilfracombe has award winning beaches and secluded coves, with golden sand aplenty and tidal pools. Nothing beats sitting in a deckchair on a fine day watching the waves lap the shore, and Ilfracombe can give you that experience without a doubt.
There are plenty of hotels and guesthouses in the town if you want to stay, as well as eateries, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Overall, Ilfracombe is perfect for those who want a quiet day out or holiday, with as little or as many activities as you want to fit in. Because it is situated on the hills of the North Devon Coast, there are some areas where accessibility is limited, but the Esplanade around the Landmark theatre, Capstone Hill and the harbour are level and suitable for wheelchairs.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Scarborough. Home to the Royal Hotel (often confused for the fictional St Aiden’s Royal Free Hospital from ITV drama, The Royal), Scarborough is dear to many who have enjoyed its charm and sandy beaches for generations. In fact, it was England’s very first seaside resort, as many believed the waters of Scarborough Spa had medicinal and healing properties.
Scarborough seafront looks out onto its golden, Blue Flag beach, which draws in families and couples in their droves. Ramps lead down onto the hard-packed sand from the tarmac path in the South Bay, so accessibility to the beach is not a problem here, with lots of benches along the way for tired legs.
The town itself has always been focused on fishing, although the industry is now smaller. It still boasts a working harbour with a market for buying your fresh catch of the day. The town centre is home to a wide range of shops from little boutiques to big chains, some of which are housed in the Brunswick shopping centre.
You won’t need to worry here about being cut off from the world, either. Scarborough is home to the UK’s first free Wi-Fi seafront and harbour area with up to 100MB browsing speeds. Given our increasingly reliance on the internet for basic communications, this is good to know.
Whether it’s a day at the beach, some shopping therapy or just simple downtime and relaxation, Scarborough will not disappoint.