Ideas for last minute UK holiday?
July 10, 2019 2:21 AM   Subscribe

We are trying to get away from July 24th to the 28th! Our first choice was Whistable (or somewhere similar near the sea) but we can't find anything that's not booked up that would be suitable. Now we're also thinking Bath. Any other ideas or help?

Suddenly we find ourselves in need of a holiday. We are an extended family travelling with 6 adults and two kids -- so need either a large house or a hotel. I'd love to spend some time by the sea, but Cornwall/Devon are too far (no car either). We like Whistable, but can't see anything suitable on AirBnB or hotels -- help here? Perhaps Margate?

Also thinking Bath -- again, probably would have to be a hotel.

No particular preferences other than fairly kid-friendly but also stuff for grownups to enjoy. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!
posted by heavenknows to Travel & Transportation around England (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you based?

Maybe the Essex or Suffolk coast? Clacton is pretty kiss me quick. Frinton more genteel. Walton somewhere in between with fantastically family-friendly sandy beaches and loads of beach huts. You can go to the top of the Naze Tower and I think there are boat trips to see the seals out on the backwaters, and there’s a long, long pier. Probably not a huge amount of adult entertainment other than the beaches and piers, though. Frinton and Walton are fairly small towns.

Up in Suffolk, somewhere like Aldeburgh or nearby might have a more grown-up vibe and have non-beach things like Sutton Hoo or Minsmere bird reserve. Essex will be cheaper than Suffolk, and the three Essex resorts are all on the train from Liverpool Street if you’re in London.

Speaking from personal childhood experience, a caravan at Walton-on-the-Naze can’t be beaten! #rosetintedspecs.
posted by penguin pie at 2:43 AM on July 10

Ah thank you so much! Will definitely look at these. Problem is we're so late in booking! We are travelling from London.
posted by heavenknows at 4:21 AM on July 10

There are reasonably decent train links to the Norfolk coast from London - you can do Liverpool Street to Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft in 2hrs40-3hrs, changing at Norwich. I've only done day trips to these places, as I live within driving distance of them, but there's plenty to do at both for all the family. They definitely have a bit more of a seaside arcade & mini golf vibe, versus somewhere like Aldeburgh which I agree will have a more grown up vibe.
posted by terretu at 4:58 AM on July 10

Norfolk Broads - stay in a large cottage, take a day trip on a boat, hire canoes.
posted by Laura_J at 6:39 AM on July 10

If it’s sunny, the NE coast around Seahouses is stunning - mile after mile of sandy beaches. Plus you get to visit Lindisfarne & catch a boat around the Farne Islands!
posted by pharm at 7:56 AM on July 10

Ah yes, Northumberland around Seahouses is a great shout - amazing beaches, lots of castles and ruins, and a vast second hand bookshop with a model railway running round the ceiling above the bookshelves! Not as warm as East Anglia but depends how much you're hoping for heat.

Away back south, the Norfolk Broads is a good suggestion if you like boats; and the mention of canoes reminds me of an idyllic childhood afternoon in Suffolk spent hiring boats without our grown-ups on The Meare at Thorpeness. It's only 3ft deep so off we went exploring islands on our own and generally feeling Swallows and Amazons-y.
posted by penguin pie at 8:59 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

I haven't looked at hotel availability, but sticking with the Kent coast I'd maybe try Folkestone, Deal or Broadstairs - all eminently reachable by train from London, and when I take the Kent coast line round, everyone gets off at Whitstable or Margate, so I have the impression they're less busy. They're all three appealing towns. From Broadstairs you can walk along the coast to Botany Bay, a beach with fantastic rock formations; Deal has a castle *right there* and another just a couple of miles along the coastal path at Walmer, plus a shingle beach and a long and almost empty pier; Folkestone has quirky public art left over from its Triennales, a Martello tower (though I don't think you can go in), long promenades and dramatic cliffs.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:17 PM on July 10

These are brilliant -- thanks so much! Still struggling with availability, but finding some options in Kent and Norfolk. Also intrigued by Seahouses, which I'd never heard of -- thank you!
posted by heavenknows at 5:38 PM on July 10

How about Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, Wales? Beautiful coastline! Further away, but accessible by train from London (you could probably manage with just one change).
posted by wavelette at 5:45 AM on July 12

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