Discover some easily do-able outings within reach of UK cities – from seabird colonies to artists’ enclaves – and enjoy the soul-soothing benefits of a day by the sea. Words Alex Reece

1. Cardiff to Tenby, Pembrokeshire 
Why here? Well worth the trip is this picture-postcard seaside town with three sandy beaches, candy-coloured houses and boat trips to nearby Caldey Island. Tenby also has direct access to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. 
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 53 mins.
What to do? Join the coast path and walk to Saundersfoot for uplifting views (you can take the bus back to Tenby). Or, catch one of the regular boats to Caldey Island, where you can buy chocolate, fudge and perfume made by the resident monks. 
Where to refuel? The Mooring specialises in local, seasonal food (01834 842502, 
Don’t miss: Tenby Arts Festival, 22-29 September ( 
2. Liverpool to Conwy, Gwynedd
Why here? Travel back in time as you explore Conwy and its ancient waterfront castle. Walk along the town walls and drink in the views of the mountains and sea.
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 17 mins.
What to do? Visit the castle, plus Elizabethan mansion Plas Mawr ( There's also Aberconwy House (
Where to refuel? L’s Coffee and Books (01492 596661, does delicious lunches.
Don’t miss: The Quay House, at 10ft by 6ft, is held to be Britain’s smallest house ( 
3. Belfast to Portstewart Strand, Derry/Londonderry
Why here? On Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, this two-mile long, National Trust beach fringed by ancient dunes is ideal for swimming and watersports.
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 15 mins.
What to do? Embark on a dune walk, let kids go dune jumping, or hire a bodyboard ( 
Where to refuel? Beachside Harry’s Shack – try local lobster, mussels or fish and chips (028 7083 1783, 
Don’t miss: The guided Butterfly Safaris run by the National Trust (
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4. Birmingham to Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
Why here? Providing traditional seaside fun within striking distance of the UK’s second city, Weston-super-Mare has a pleasure pier and a vast, sandy beach. 
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 57 mins.
What to do? The Grand Pier ( offers everything from soft play and go-karts to roller-coasters and F1 Simulators. There's also adventure play at Puxton Park ( 
Where to refuel? Tiffany’s Restaurant at the end of the Pier serves traditional favourites (01934 646158, 
Don’t miss… The Pizza & Prosecco Festival at Tropicana, 8 September ( 
5. London to Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk
Why here? This tiny fishing hamlet boasts a sand/shingle beach, Fifties-style diner, 15th-century pub, and a foot-and-bicycle ferry across the River Deben.
Fastest journey time: By train: 1 hour 54 mins from London Liverpool Street to Felixstowe; taxi to Felixstowe Ferry: 5 minutes. 
What to do? Take the foot ferry to Bawdsey, or walk to Felixstowe along the seafront. 
Where to refuel? The Ferry Café, established in 1946, has the retro feel of an American diner (01394 276305). 
Don’t miss: Ferry Fest, a feast of live music and theatre, 24-27 August ( 
6. Manchester to Thurstanton, Wirral
Why here? This sandy beach on the Wirral Peninsula is edged by sandstone cliffs and has views across the Dee Estuary to the Welsh hills. 
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 13 mins.
What to do? Walk or hire a bike ( for a pootle along the Wirral Way, a former railway line turned coastal path.
Where to refuel? GJ’s Coffee Shop is dog-friendly (01516 484959, 
Don’t miss: Shore Cottage Studio, a working artists' studio on the beach, as featured in coast, is open for creative courses all year round ( 
7. Glasgow to Isle of Bute
Why here? Just 33 miles from Glasgow, the Isle of Bute offers a varied day trip with walks, wildlife and historic buildings.
Fastest journey time: By train and ferry (from Glasgow Central to Rothesay Ferry Terminal): 1 hour 35 mins.
What to do? Visit the Gothic-style mansion of Mount Stuart and its 300-acre grounds ( Walk some of the West Island Way ( for views across the Firth of Clyde.
Where to refuel? The Musicker Café in Rothesay also sells musical instruments and books (01700 502287,
Don’t miss: The wildlife – seals, porpoises, basking sharks, ospreys and eagles. 
8. Newcastle to Lindisfarne, Northumberland
Why here? A soulful retreat, Lindisfarne or Holy Island – accessed by a causeway at low tide – has Priory ruins, a hilltop castle and abundant wildlife to discover.
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 12 mins. Always check tide times first (
What to do? Visit the Priory ruins and museum ( The 16th-century castle has recently re-opened to visitors following a £3m restoration (
Where to refuel? Pilgrims Coffee House (01289 389109,
Don’t miss: Lindisfarne Castle’s Gertrude Jekyll-designed garden is at its best now.
9. Leeds to Flamborough & Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire
Why here? Flamborough and Bempton Cliffs form a seabird city. In summer you’ll see thousands of breeding auks, gannets and gulls, then migration in autumn. 
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 45 mins. 
What to do? Head to the Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve (, where the chalk cliff faces will be swirling with birdlife. Bempton Cliffs Reserve ( is just up the coast.
Where to refuel? North Beach in Bridlington does fantastic, sustainable fish and chips (
Don’t miss: Seabird cruises run by the RSPB (
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10. Edinburgh to Pittenweem, Fife
Why here? This pretty fishing village and artists’ enclave has a busy harbour lined by traditional Fife-style buildings with red pantiled roofs and crow-step gables.
Fastest journey time: By car: 1 hour 23 mins.
What to do? Watch the waterfront activity (the port has a daily fish market), or visit Kellie Castle for its Arts & Crafts garden, woodland walks and adventure playground (
Where to refuel? The Pittenweem Chocolate Company & Cocoa Tree Café is the place to go (01333 311495, 
Don’t miss: Pittenweem’s Arts Festival, 4-12 August, across galleries and home studios (