From a jazz festival in Lancashire to an art trail in East Sussex, there are plenty of events around the coast that won’t blow the budget this summer
Words Alice Westgate
1. Busy in NORTH Berwick
WHERE? North Berwick, East Lothian.
WHAT’S ON? This seaside town is abuzz with activities that won’t break the bank. Fringe By the Sea runs from 5-14 August and includes 10 days of music, literature, film, comedy and film for all the family. On 6 August it’s the 25th anniversary of North Berwick’s International Highland Games, a spectacle involving Highland dancing, tossing the caber and an international pipe band contest.
COST? Fringe by the Sea, free and ticketed events. Highland Games, adults £10; children under 16 £15; family ticket £25.
MORE INFO: fringebythesea.com and northberwickhighlandgames.org.
BUDGET STAY: The Dolphin Inn, Dunbar. A family room for four in this retro-style hostel near East Beach is priced from around £80 in August (dolphindunbar.com).
2. Spot the birdie
WHERE? RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk.
WHAT’S ON? This coastal nature reserve, which this year celebrates its 75th birthday, is perfect for families as it has a golden beach, more than 6,000 species of wildlife and several play areas. The Wild Zone has fun activities including a play tree and child-sized nests; the Wild Wood offers den-building; and the Wildlife Lookout is a great place from which to spot some of Minsmere’s special birds.
COST? Adults £9, children £5, free for RSPB members and under-5s.
MORE INFO: rspb.org.uk.
BUDGET STAY: YHA Blaxhall. A quadruple room costs from £75.05 per night in August (yha.org.uk).
3. Curious about the coast
WHERE? Whitby, North Yorkshire.
WHAT’S ON? Curious About Whitby is a series of guided walks with a treasure-hunt theme that you follow on your mobile phone or via a printed booklet. Directed by a detailed map and a selection of hints and clues (plus answers if needed), the two walks last one hour and 1.5hrs and will take you to well-known landmarks and lesser-known haunts. The walks are suitable for children aged six and up, and routes are available at 80 locations including nearby Scarborough.
COST? £7.49 per download or £7.99 plus postage for a printed booklet. Quote ‘Coast20’ to get a 20% discount.
MORE INFO: curiousabout.co.uk.
BUDGET STAY: YHA Whitby. A quadruple room costs from £129 per night in August (yha.org.uk).
4. All that jazz
WHERE? Fylde, Lancashire.
WHAT’S ON? Immerse yourselves in a live jazz festival from 26-29 August at The Venue on the seafront at Cleveleys, just a few miles north of Blackpool. Once the music has stopped, there is still plenty to entertain the whole family, including a wide promenade, a café, a water play area and a public art trail on the beach. The latter includes Mary’s Shell, a huge metal sculpture that gets partially submerged at high tide.
MORE INFO: visitcleveleys.co.uk.
BUDGET STAY: Melville Hotel, Blackpool. An en-suite family room sleeping five starts from £145 per night in August (themelvilleblackpool.co.uk).
5. Seaside art trail
WHERE? Hastings to Bexhill, East Sussex.
WHAT’S ON? Follow that Duck is a live art trail made up of 30 huge rubber ducks that have been decorated by local artists and installed all along the coast between Hastings Old Town and Bexhill-on-Sea. Run by Wild in Art to support St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards-on-Sea, the trail encourages wellbeing and is manageable in one day on foot or via public transport. The installations will be in place until 5 September.
MORE INFO: visit1066country.com and followthatduck.co.uk.
BUDGET STAY: Dunselma guest house, Bexhill-on-Sea. A family room costs £120 per night in August, based on four people sharing (dunselma.com).
6. Become a coastal explorer
WHERE? Margate and Broadstairs, Kent
WHAT’S ON? Get the most from the coast by hiring a Coastal Explorers kit bag containing equipment such as fishing net, magnifying glass, wildlife identification guides, compass and binoculars, plus suggested activities, challenges and games, all of which will give you hours of fun on and around the beach.
COST? £5, plus proof of ID.
MORE INFO: visitthanet.co.uk.
BUDGET STAY: Puddledock Woods, Chislet. Wild camping pitches cost £12.50 per night for adults and £3.50 per night for children in August (puddledockwoods.com).
7. On the rocks
WHERE? West Bay, Dorset.
WHAT’S ON? Buried in Time is a pop-up exhibition at the multi award-winning West Bay Discovery Centre on the Jurassic Coast. Run by a local charity in a former Methodist Chapel, it celebrates the geology of the area and its famous fossil finds. There are hands-on activities and interactive displays designed for children aged eight and above, plus specimens loaned by local fossil hunters. Open Tuesday to Sunday until 31 October.
MORE INFO: westbaydiscoverycentre.org.uk.
BUDGET STAY: Coppet Hill, Dorset. Spacious camping pitches, which fit two large tents and have a compost loo, picnic bench, fire-pit and water supply,
are priced at £60 per night in August (coppethill.co.uk).
8. Fun on the pier
WHERE? Skegness, Lincolnshire.
WHAT’S ON? Buying an unlimited activity wristband will give you a great day out at Skegness Pier. Then get back to nature, with a circular walking trail from Chapel St Leonards north of Skegness, taking in stunning beaches, nature reserves and the North Sea Observatory.
COST? One-Day Unlimited Activity pass, £27. Walking trail and Observatory, free.
MORE INFO: skegnesspier.co.uk and visitlincolnshire.com.
BUDGET STAY: The Bell Hotel, Skegness. A family room costs £115 per night for B&B in August (bateman.co.uk/locations/bell-hotel/).
9. Take to the water
WHERE? Shaldon, Devon.
WHAT’S ON? The 200-year-old Shaldon Regatta returns this summer from 21-29 August and includes 130 family-friendly events on and around the beach. Everyone is encouraged to take part and equipment is provided for rowing, sailing and kayaking.
COST? Mostly free to adults, free to children.
MORE INFO: shaldonregatta.com.
BUDGET STAY: Devon Valley Holiday Park, Shaldon. A chalet sleeping up to four costs from £85 per night in August (devonvalleyholidays.co.uk).
10. Welsh wonderland
LlandudnoWHERE? Llandudno, Conwy.
WHAT’S ON? Explore this Victorian seaside town as you seek out a series
of statues and figures representing characters from Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland. Back in 1861, the real Alice Liddell used to holiday in Llandudno and today you can rekindle the spirit of the book as you walk the promenade, play on the beach and challenge each other to a game of croquet.
COST? Free, but a useful map (£2.99) is available from the town’s Tourist Information Centre.
MORE INFO: visitwales.com.
BUDGET STAY: Llandudno Hostel, Llandudno. A four-bed bunk room
costs from around £100 in August (llandudnohostel.co.uk)