Summer’s nearly here and this year it’s all about the staycation. Check out this list of the most beautiful seaside towns in England with a pier to inspire your next trip. 

This summer is all about exploring the best of what the UK has to offer. And, with the warmer months still ahead of us, we’re excited to book some staycations by the sea.

Author Kat French couldn’t agree more. Her book, A Summer Scandal, uses the British countryside and coastline as its setting, and follows protagonist Violet as she moves to Swallow Beach, inheriting a Victorian pier that she’s determined to make grand again.  

Here, French has cherry-picked the seaside towns with the prettiest piers around the country to create a list of perfect UK staycation spots, which is super handy while travelling abroad still feels uncertain.

Take a look through the five most beautiful seaside towns in England with a pier, and hear straight from French what makes each one so special.

 1. Bournemouth 

“Bournemouth Pier is a cracker! At more than 1,000ft long with high-adrenaline zip wires and climbing walls, it’s a must-do for thrill-seeking families and it sits on a glorious seven-mile sweep of coastland. 

“The beaches are particularly nice and the town is buzzing with life and culture; Bournemouth is certainly a long way from the retirement town it used to be portrayed as. Its proud Victorian heritage now sits side by side with vibrant modern life; there’s something for everyone at Bournemouth.”

2. Brighton 

“We can’t possibly talk about seaside piers and not mention Brighton Palace Pier. At a majestic 1,772ft long, it truly is a south coast icon. 

“Trampolines, thrill rides, and a gorgeous traditional carousel; it’s just about as good as British seaside fun gets. Throw in Brighton’s wonderful Royal Pavilion and the famous Lanes for boutique shopping, and you’ve pretty much ticked everyone’s box.”

3. Blackpool 

“Blackpool, fabulous Blackpool! Yes, it’s the home of slot machine arcades and the wind can whip up a storm along the front, but it holds its place in the hearts of the British public and rightfully so. It has so much to offer, from the tower at one end with its myriad of attractions packed inside (the glass viewing floor at the top is not for the faint hearted), to the Pleasure Beach at the other with rides for all ages. 

“A compact theme park that punches hugely above its weight in terms of world class rollercoasters – the Big One is indeed huge. I’ve ridden it once and am not sure I’ll ever be brave enough again, but never say never. The arrival of The Big Blue hotel wrapped around the Pleasure Beach means you can now be woken by the sight of a rollercoaster flying past your window, something my kids really enjoyed on our last visit.”

4. Hastings 

The newly restored Hastings Pier was completed in 2016 after the original pier was burnt down. It won the 2017 Stirling Prize for architecture.

“Hastings Pier is a marvel of modern architecture. Following a comprehensive rebuild in 2016, it was crowned Pier of the Year in 2017, and is now a truly modern affair. Huge viewing decks give it a wonderful sense of space and theatre, alongside the gorgeous Pavilion restaurant with far-reaching sea views. 

“It’s a wonderful space used for many festivals and events, and on the days when it’s quiet it’s a place to walk and recharge your batteries. I love how this one has risen from the ashes of a terrible fire to become something entirely different for a new generation.”

5. Weston-Super-Mare

“For pure magical nostalgia, I can’t miss out Weston-Super-Mare. I have so many happy childhood memories of bucket and spade days there as a young child, proper family deck chair and donkey ride holidays. 

“The sun rarely shone and you don’t often see the sea because it goes so far out, but there was always the (now sadly gone) freshwater paddling pool on the beach and a sand-filled cheese sandwich in the offing! The pier itself hasn’t had much luck over the years, having been devastated twice by fire. I’m so glad it’s always been re-built, Weston just wouldn’t be the same without it’s brightly lit star attraction. Long may it thrive.”

Feeling inspired to book a mini break? Check out the trending UK destinations for this year and ideas on places in Britain that feel like you’re abroad.

Kat French’s A Summer Scandal is available now. 


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