Britain’s top 20 coastal towns

1 Deal, Kent


There’s a Fifties vibe to this shingly seaside location. “It’s a destination
town. You only come to Deal to come to Deal,’’ says Nigel Colebrook of
Bright and Bright. “It’s still relatively unchanged, unspoilt.” The area
attracts a cosmopolitan mix of writers, musicians and business people. In
the sought-after Conservation Area, Georgian cottages go for £300,000 to
£400,000. Further out, old miners’ homes start at £150,000. Deal or no deal?

On the market: Three-bedroom modernised period house in the Conservation Area
for £485,000. with Bright and Bright. (01304 374071;

2 Whitby, North Yorkshire

“It is a most noble ruin, of immense size, and full of beautiful and romantic
bits,’’ so goes the description of Whitby Abbey in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Beneath this atmospheric backdrop, there are cobbled streets, sandy beaches
and properties cloaked in history. Harbour views are valued and St Hilda’s
Terrace commands a premium, while the White Oaks area is best avoided.

On the market: Four-bedroom end of terrace period home on Esk Terrace for
£325,000 with Astin’s. (01947 821122;

3 Salcombe, Devon

On the Kingsbridge estuary, Salcombe is surrounded by idyllic sandy beaches
and rugged cliffs. This exclusive south Devon haven attracts a
designer-heeled nautical crowd and some of the highest property prices
outside London. The average house is worth £600,000, while £3 million will
get you a glass fortress with far reaching views. Many properties are second

On the market: Sark cottage, a traditional four-bedroom semi-detached, close
to the town centre. £850,000 with Charles Head. (01548 843952;

4 Beaumaris, Anglesey

You can’t fail to be impressed by the views from Beaumaris, which stretch over
the Menai Strait to Snowdonia. And it’s less touristy than other Welsh
seaside towns. Waterside properties attract the usual premium, selling for
£400,000 plus. Further back, you can get a terrace for as little as

On the market: Six-bedroom Grade II listed Victorian residence on the seafront
for £695,000 with Fine and Country. (01248 711999;

5 Dornoch, Sutherland


Looking for somewhere off the bucket-and-spade trail where you can still get
broadband and play golf? “It’s a quaint wee town, just before the wilderness
with a super white sandy beach that just runs and runs,” says Joanne
Stennett of Bell Ingram. Coastal living doesn’t get much more beautiful or
laid-back than this. The peaceful lanes are lined by sandstone cottages and
town houses.

On the market: Detached three-bedroom cottage for offers over £180,000 with
Arthur and Carmichael. (01862 810202;

6 Ilfracombe, Devon

It has rock pools, magical tunnel beaches and now a 66ft sculpture of a
pregnant, sword-wielding woman, courtesy of Damien Hirst. This is a relaxed
north Devon seaside resort trying to keep up with the Padsteins, only
cheaper. “Ilfracombe properties are very competitively priced. The local
market has been very active this year, with a vast majority of buyers coming
from outside of the area,’’ says Karl Seeley of Bond Oxborough Phillips. In
sought-after Torrs Park, a Victorian town house will set you back around
£385,000. Closer to town, you can find a four-bedroom family home for

On the market: Two-bedroom cottage a pebble’s throw from the High Street for
£124,950 with Bond Oxborough Phillips. (01271 866699;

7 Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Tenby is ridiculously picturesque. With its pastel cottages and golden sand
cocooned within the town walls, it’s like something out of a fairytale. “If
you want to avoid the bustle, The Norton has glorious views and is much
quieter than the town centre, but still within easy walking distance,’’
explains Carol Peett of County Homesearch. Lexden Terrace is prized, but
pricey. Outside the revered walls, £190,000 will get you a three-bedroom

On the market: Detached four-bedroom home in sought-after North Cliffe for
£650,000 with Chandler Rogers. (01834 849090;

8 Lymington, Hampshire

“You’ve got the New Forest, unspoilt coastline, it’s a sailing hub and you can
still get to London easily,’’ says George Wade of Property Vision. A pretty
Georgian coastal town, Lymington benefits from good schools, boutique
shops and Britain’s oldest Lido. A wealthy area, you can expect to pay even
more close to the sea or yacht club.

On the market: Four-bedroom Grade II listed detached house on the High Street
for £1,295,000 with Hayward Fox. (01590 675424;

9 The Witterings, West Sussex

“The beaches are fantastic and you have got The South Downs and Chichester
nearby,’’ says Philip Harvey of Property Vision. Relative proximity to
London, gastropubs and a Blue Flag, mean congealed roads when temperatures
rise. It’s an affluent area, especially West Wittering. Houses are 50 per
cent cheaper in East Wittering.

On the market: Detached four-bedroom Victorian house for £995,000
with Humberts. (01243 756956;

10 Hunstanton, Norfolk

If the perfect English seaside exists, it may be hiding in Norfolk. The
beaches are idyllic, but never too far from civilisation. “Hunstanton is a
lovely Victorian seaside resort with stately Victorian squares and two-tone
cliffs of chalk and carstone,’’ says Ben Marchbank of Bedfords. So, the
coast is clear for you to start a new life by the sea.

On the market: Camoys Lodge, a six-bedroom wing of a Grade I listed moated
mansion for £975,000 with Bedfords. (01328 730500;

11. Southwold, Suffolk


‘’There’s the harbour, pier, sailing clubs, golf clubs, everything people want
really,’’ says Adrian Smith of Jennie Jones. A prestigious town with a
limited number of properties, expect to pay over £700,000 for a prime spot
by the sea – unless it’s a beach hut – and even they go for £100,000 plus.
Over the bridge in Reyden, properties are up to 40 percent cheaper and still
within walking distance of Southwold.

On the market: Five-bedroom Edwardian house for £845,000 with Jennie Jones.
(01502 722065;

12. Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex

Not to be confused with the less appealing Burnham-on-Sea, Burnham-on-Crouch
is a delightful, self-contained small seaside town with everything going for
it: schools, supermarkets, a sailing club and a cinema. ‘’It’s slightly
undiscovered and away from the madding crowd so prices are more
affordable,’’ says Chris White from independent estate agent, Zoe Napier.
Best areas are the quay front and conservation area.

On the market: Three-bedroom detached cottage on Church Green for £450,000
with Zoe Napier. (01621 840333;

13. Poole, Dorset


‘’It’s a combination of the beautiful, fine sandy beach and the second largest
natural harbour in the world after Sydney,’’ says Keith Fensome of Savills.
Famous as a millionaire’s playground, you’ll need to be one if you want a
spot on Sandbanks, Branksome Park or Canford Cliffs. Elsewhere, mortals
might be able to find a two-bedroom apartment for £350,000.

On the market: Luxury beachfront superhome with swimming pool and cinema for a
guide price of £5,000,000 with Savills. (01202 492 502;

14. Looe, Cornwall

Manana, manana. There’s a relaxed pace of life and a fighting community spirit
in this fishing town. Residents reacted angrily to claims by the AA Guide to
Cornwall that it was ‘brash.’ Pasty shops and craft shops mingle comfortably
on the narrow streets. There’s no supermarket – locals fought that one off
too – the nearest is eight (winding) miles away. Desirable areas include
Hannafore Point on the East side and the Barbican on the West.

On the market: Detached three-bedroomed house with harbour views for £325,000
with Ocean and Country. (01503 266980;

15. Whitehaven, Cumbria

‘’It’s a beautiful Georgian coastal town, close to the Lake District National
Park but without Lakes’ prices,’’ says Angelina Chapple of Lillingtons.
Affordability is a big plus here, the average three-bedroom semi is a modest
£160,000 while £80,000 will get you an old style terrace with a garden.
Great if you want to relocate and cash in at the same time.

On the market: Seven-bedroom Georgian end of terrace for £349,950 with
Lillingtons. (01946 590412)

16. Tobermory, Isle of Mull

If you’re related to a preschooler you may know Mull’s colourful main town by
its alter ego: Balamory on Cbeebies. (Go on, sing the theme tune!) For
grown-ups, Tobermory is a vibrant place with good amenities, a revamped
pontoon and a yachting community which welcomes the finale of the West
Highland Yachting Week in August.

On the market: Modern four-bedroom detached home in Upper Tobermory for
£260,000 with Bell Ingram ( 01631 566 122;

17. Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan

About as ruggedly close to bright lights as you can get. Set on the
breathtaking Heritage Coast, Llantwit Major is just 30 minutes outside
Cardiff, where you’ll find culture in bucketfuls. And IKEA. Properties in
the historical western area fetch up to £1 million. Elsewhere, £120,000 will
get you a two-bedroom starter pad, or £250,000 a modern four-bedroom family

On the market: Five-bedroom detached house just off the beach road for
£299,950 with Anthony Brown Ltd. (01446 792723;

18. Bamburgh, Northumberland


Bamburgh is a beautiful village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
‘’The great appeal is the sophisticated boutique shops, restaurants and
miles and miles of sandy beaches with next to nobody on them,’’ says Sam
Gibson of Strutt Parker. There’s also a golf course, cricket pitch and
spectacular castle. Houses sell well with properties achieving significant

On the market: Two-bedroom apartment with castle views for a guide price of
£400,000 with Strutt and Parker. (01670 516 123;

19. Southport, Merseyside

If you want to move to the sea but still feel connected to a city, Southport
offers the best of both worlds. Sand dunes and coastal views all within easy
reach of the Liverpool arts scene and shops. Property varies from megabuck
mansions near the golf course, to family homes for under £250,000 on the
other side of town.

On the market: Three-bedroom character semi close to the town centre for
£229,950 with Chris Tinsley. (01704 512121;

20 St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

Looking for a complete change of lifestyle? Want to live the island dream?
‘’It’s like Britain 50 years ago. People don’t lock their houses or chain
their bikes,’’ says Miranda Pearce of Clive Pearce. Then there’s the warm
climate, white sandy beaches, turquoise water and amazing wildlife.
Properties are more expensive than on the Cornish mainland, but not
extortionate and the community is welcoming.

On the market: Semi-detached character cottage with three bedrooms for
£385,000 with Clive Pearce. (01872 272622;

Which one of these is Britain’s best coastal town?

Think we’ve missed a great coastal town? Let us know in the comments box
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