The Best Seaside Towns Close to London
If there’s one thing that Londoners have in common, it’s our love of a day at the seaside. From sweeping sandy beaches to quaint Victorian seaside towns, and historic fishing villages to resorts with piers, arcades and souvenir shops, we do like to be beside the seaside! These are some of the best seaside towns close to London.
Margate is perhaps the archetype of seaside towns, with a sandy beach, fish n chips and Dreamland Amusement Park, but there’s more to this unassuming coastal town. There aren’t many seaside towns with their own modern art gallery, but Margate boasts the Turner Contemporary on the seafront. Soul fans will rhapsodise about Margate Soul Festival and the Funk & Soul Weekender – both of which take place in the town! There’s plenty of parking in Margate, getting there by car from London is easy with a Zipcar!
Distance from London by car: 76 miles
When it comes to popular seaside resorts, there’s something for everyone at beautiful Broadstairs. With no less than seven sandy beaches along its coastline, a visit to Broadstairs could feature beach huts and sandcastles at Viking Bay, stunning chalk stacks at Botany Bay, surfing at Joss Bay or a clifftop walk to a more secluded bay at Dumpton Gap. Broadstairs Folk Week in August is always a popular event for music lovers. Even in the off season there’s plenty to do, with Broadstairs Food Festival taking place in October.
Distance from London by car: 79 miles
If you love historic sights, make a beeline for Hastings. Forever stamped into the history books by the battle with the name which took place on the outskirts of the town, Hastings has everything you could want out of a seaside town and more. You’ll find a pebbly beach overlooked by a crumbling castle, insta-worthy beach huts stretching onto the pier, a funicular to take you high onto the clifftops, and brightly coloured chocolate box homes jostling for space around the seafront. Plus, Hastings has plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs to suit all occasions, from Teddy’s Beach Diner for fish and chips to Remy’s Kulinarya for the very best in angloasian comfort food!
Distance from London by car: 67 miles
This historic seaside town in Kent oozes seaside charm. Deal has a vast pebbly beach flanked by traditional pastel-painted Georgian town houses and a promenade, a popular pier marching out into the sea, an ice cream beach hut, an impressive 16th century castle and a bustling town centre with plenty of independent shops, restaurants, and bars. As far as famous seaside resorts go, Deal is a bit of a hidden gem where you can get away from the crowds - who usually make a beeline for the sandy beaches nearby!
Distance from London by car: 82 miles
Sandwiched between the South Downs National Park and the South Coast, Worthing is a seaside town well worth a visit. Complete with a pebble beach, fair ground rides, a pier, a long promenade dotted with palm trees, a beachside lido, a bowling alley and a Museum and Art Gallery – Worthing has seaside charm in spades. There are plenty of festivals to keep you entertained too: Worthing Food and Drink Festival, Worthing Light Festival and Worthing Music and Arts Festival to name but a few.
Distance from London by car: 59 miles
If you’re looking for vintage seaside charm, you won’t be disappointed by Herne Bay. From beach huts and seaside arcades to a pier with carnival games and a helter skelter, not to mention plenty of fish n chip shops and ice cream stalls, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There’s even a Seaside Museum chock full of curios from the local area, from fossils and bones to world war remnants. Herne Bay Festival takes place throughout August, with a great range of events, from live music to exhibitions.
Distance from London by car: 65 miles
With a long stretch of beach lined with seemingly endless brightly coloured beach huts, Tankerton Slopes nature reserve, several art galleries including Chappell Contemporary and Fishlabs Gallery, Whitstable makes for a great day out at the seaside. Whitstable is famous for oysters, which is the reason for its glut of oyster bars and even an Oyster Festival. If you’re an oyster-lover, you’re sure to feel right at home in Whitstable!
Distance from London by car: 65 miles
Ok, so this one isn’t strictly a seaside destination, but Ruislip Lido is the next best thing – and it’s much closer to London than the real coast too! You’ll find a vast sandy beach, water to splash and swim, two cafés serving everything from breakfasts to pizzas and even ice cream sundaes, not to mention Ruislip Railway, Britain’s longest 12-inch gauge railway! The incredibly vintage experience with a seaside-vibe takes you on a scenic journey all the way around the lake.
Distance from London by car: 20 miles