We do like to be beside...the UK's prettiest Victorian seaside towns

·3 min read
A gull's eye view of Cromer (Getty Images)
A gull's eye view of Cromer (Getty Images)

What did the Victorians ever do for us? They left us with some beautiful seaside towns, for starters. With the news that Skegness pier is to be restored to its 19th century glory, here's where to find a little slice of traditional seaside heaven this summer. 

Cromer

This charming town is famous for crab, a carnival which occasionally gets very out of hand and a wonderful Grade II-listed pier which featured heavily in both Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and a 2018 BBC Christmas advert. 

Take a visit to the Henry Blogg museum, which tells the story of the brave local man who worked for over half a century on the Cromer lifeboats. 

Skegness

A dramatic sunset in Skegness
A dramatic sunset in Skegness

Linconshire's North Sea resort town was hugely popular in the Victorian era and beyond, and boasted the first ever Butlins resort in 1936. 

Read more: The best UK seaside holidays to book right now

However, the town later fell on hard times. A massive 1978 storm caused major damage to the pier, part of which later caught fire. Nevertheless, there are major regeneration plans afoot to restore the town to its former glory, including a huge proposed restoration for the pier. In the meantime, there's always the long strip of white sandy beach to marvel at, and the amusement arcades to keep you busy. 

Blackpool

The Blackpool Tower and lights at at night (Getty Images)
The Blackpool Tower and lights at at night (Getty Images)

Blackpool became a massively popular destination in the Victorian era after a railway connected it to Northern towns. The modern-day promenade can be heaving, but it has a certain 'kiss me quick' kind of charm. 

Watch this: Golden sunset behind Blackpool Tower

You can't miss the 1894 tower, originally modelled on Paris's Eiffel Tower, and the annual illuminations - still billed as the greatest free light show on earth - are shimmeringly pretty.

Llandudno

The seafront at Llandudno, north Wales, with dramatic landscape in the background (Getty Images)
The seafront at Llandudno, north Wales, with dramatic landscape in the background (Getty Images)

With its pastel-coloured seafront buildings and long white beach - all framed by the twin limestone hummocks of the Great and Little Orme - Llandudno still feels a lot like the genteel resort it was in the Victorian era. 

Enjoy the elegant architecture along the waterfront promenade, then take the air on the pier (the longest in Wales). 

Saltburn-by-the-Sea

The view from the funicular in Saltburn by the Sea (Getty Images)
The view from the funicular in Saltburn by the Sea (Getty Images)

No trip to this quaint Yorkshire town, designed by Victorian philanthropist Henry Pease, is complete without a trip on the candy cane-coloured funicular train that scales the steep cliffs that lead down to the seafront. 

Read more: Which the Great British seaside will always appeal

There's also a well-preserved, tat-free pier and a clutch of independent shops to take in on your constitutional. 

Rothesay

Buildings at Rothesay port reflected in clear water (Getty Images)
Buildings at Rothesay port reflected in clear water (Getty Images)

Rothesay old town, centred around the 13th century Rothesay Castle, has been around for many centuries - but the settlement on the Isle of Bute developed into a major destination for Glaswegians going "doon the watter" for a seaside holiday during the Victorian Era. 

It's no longer quite as grand as it once was, but it's still a charming place with stunning, panoramic views across the bay to the Cowal hills. Don't miss the Victorian toilets - yes, really, the toilets - near the ferry terminal, featuring fancy ceramic tiles, marble sinks and mosaic floors. 

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