Beach holidays in South East England

Grab your towel and head to England’s finest seaside resorts

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Southeast England beachNot so far away from the urban chaos of London (that is to say the constant streams of traffic, militant shoppers patrolling Oxford Street and ceaseless noise!) lies another world entirely. As fine a city as the capital undoubtedly is, residents love nothing more than to disperse to the nearby coastlines to get away from it all, be it for a week or just a couple days’ respite. With some beautiful, yet largely unheralded, beaches scattered around the surrounding area, it’s clear to see why they’re popular among locals; but the wider world is as yet relatively unaware. 

The main beauty of such retreats is that, by and large throughout the years, they have managed to maintain a quintessentially English disposition. The Brits have never been ones to miss an opportunity where the weather is concerned, so the slightest hint of sun instantly makes donkey rides, ice cream cones and Kiss Me Quick hats the order of the day.


Top five beach resorts in South East England


Beach holidays in Margate Beach holidays in Margate

The archetypal seaside resort to end them all, and a fine example of glorious traditions that have been at the forefront of such tourism for over a century. Everything is represented in Margate, from the typical quantity of amusement arcades and bingo halls to the winsome eccentricity of the Mad Hatter's Tearoom. The beach itself is something of a revelation, with a sweeping stretch of soft golden sand fit to grace the shores of any popular Spanish retreat.

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Beach holidays in Brighton Beach holidays in Brighton

Stealing – or certainly poaching – the crown from Margate in more recent years, Brighton has become the seaside port of choice for most holidaymakers in the south of England. The beach is pebbly but pleasant and atmospheric, and a quick stroll down the Palace Pier will yield a whole batch of commodities for all ages to enjoy. Whether you want to grab an ice cream, hop on a fairground ride or visit the world’s oldest functional aquarium, you can’t go wrong here. Those feeling brave enough, meanwhile, have the option to set it all free on the nearby nudist beach. 

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Beach holidays in Southend-on-Sea Beach holidays in Southend-on-Sea

No good seaside resort is complete without a good old pleasure pier – and in Southend-on-Sea they proudly boast the longest in the world! As well as the usual suspects, the pier is home to an intriguing museum and cultural centre, as well as the annual Thames Barge March and fireworks display. Aside from the beach, the historic Kursaal building is the town’s one-stop shop for entertainment, incorporating a number of rides, bars and a futuristic bowling alley. 

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Beach holidays in Lowestoft Beach holidays in Lowestoft

You won’t find the Suffolk town in many holiday brochures. You certainly won’t hear your friends or colleagues raving about the wonderful week they spent there last summer. Rest assured this is no bad thing; it simply contributes to Lowestoft being one of southeast England’s best-kept secrets. The plush beaches here are of Blue Flag quality, regularly claiming awards for their beauty yet still managing to avoid being overcrowded. The area north of Claremont Pier is generally the most vibrant, with just the right blend of hubbub and tranquillity. 

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Beach holidays in Eastbourne Beach holidays in Eastbourne

Vera Lynn may have entertained troops in the ’40s with ditties about the White Cliffs of Dover, but she neglected to mention that the famous old landmarks are also a staple of Eastbourne. Instead, the south coast port has settled on being renowned for preserving its proud beachfront heritage, shunning the glitz and glamour of other resorts in favour of its scarcely changed Victorian frontage. The mesmerisingly colourful Carpet Gardens along the promenade are worthy of a visit, as is the towering Beachy Head chalk cliff.

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South East England Holiday Homes

Lapwing Cottage - a coastal that sleeps 4 guests in 2 bedrooms

Lapwing Cottage is an idyllic seaside holiday cottage located in a quiet and pretty street of York Road in Walmer. It has been extensively modernised to provide a delightful retreat for romantic weekends, short breaks or family holidays. The cotta...

Seagull Cottage is a very pretty 2 bedroom seaside cottage seconds from the beach.

Seagull Cottage is a very pretty seaside cottage seconds from the beach. The owners have renovated it beautifully to make it a really comfortable seaside retreat all year round. It is in the heart of the conservation area in Farrier Street, minute...

Tides Reach - a very pretty 2 bedroom coastal cottage

Tides Reach is a beautifully finished 2 bedroom property in the heart of the Conservation area in the popular seaside town of Deal. Located in Exchange Street and only seconds from the beach Tides Reach is also well located for all local amenities...

A pretty coastal fisherman's cottage in the pretty village of Kingsdown

Myrtle Cottage is a lovely cosy holiday home, located in the heart of Kingsdown village and walking distance from the beach. The moment you walk through the white picket fence your perfect holiday begins...whether you are looking for a romantic br...

Samphire Cottage - a coastal that sleeps 6 guests in 3 bedrooms

Samphire Cottage is a very pretty seaside property, less than 100m from the seafront , located on the edge of the Conservation Area. This comfortable, well-presented cottage sleeps six with a dining room, downstairs cloakroom and kitchen diner wh...
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