Destination ideas and top tips for a seaside weekend break

When you've only got a couple of days of holiday to spare you've got to make them count, what could be more rejuvenating than a weekend soaking up the salty sea air? Here are some ideas on where to go, both in the UK and abroad, as well as ideas of what to do when you get there.

Weekend beach breaks in the UK

If you're looking for a seaside weekend break that's hassle free, head to one of the UK's many resort towns or coastal villages. Whether you're looking for peace and quiet or bright lights and seaside frolics, there's no shortage of options to whet your appetite.

Hit the coast in trendy Brighton

Sometimes referred to as 'London-on-Sea', Brighton is one of the most popular beach towns in the UK and it's easy to see why. As well as all of the traditional British seaside pleasures, such as a lively pier, a Regency seafront and plentiful fish and chip shops, Brighton has a bohemian spirit that makes it stand out from its seaside rivals. Holiday rentals in grand Georgian squares will keep you close to all the action, whether you want to stroll along the pebbly beach, sample the city's vibrant entertainment scene or grab an artisan coffee or vegan meal in one of the city's many hipster hangouts.

Soak up Whitstable's quirky charms

Quaint, quirky Whitstable - a small fishing and harbour town - is one of the most charming places in Kent. Harbour Street - the main street - is lined with antique shops, cute cafes and tiny galleries, and there's a pretty shingle beach backed by colourful weatherboard fishermen's cottages. Holiday rentals range from petite seafront cottages to larger country houses, set on the outskirts of town. Wherever you choose to stay though, you shouldn't miss out on the town's biggest food star. Harvested around these parts for thousand of years, oysters are at their best during the town's lively annual summer Oyster festival.

Surf and party in Newquay

If you want your short beach break to come with a side order of surf culture and nightlife, then Newquay could be a good bet. Set on a wide stretch of golden sand on the north coast of Cornwall, it offers a cluster of surf schools, and when you've had a hard day out on the waves, there's a wide range of pubs, bars and clubs in which to blow off steam. Bag an apartment rental in the town centre and you'll be well placed to enjoy the town's night-time hot spots, but if you fancy something a little quieter, then you'll find cottages near sleepy coves, a little way down the coast.

Weekend beach breaks abroad

It may seem like a hassle to head abroad for a short beach break, but with so many budget airlines plying the routes between the UK, Europe and North Africa there's no reason why you shouldn't take the plunge.

Enjoy shopping and swimming in chic Nice

Although it's only a short flight away from the UK, Nice's Mediterranean climate ensures that you'll be enjoying the warmth of sun on the French Riviera long after it has faded on British shores. Holiday rentals here usually come in the form of city centre apartments or villas in the hills. Both will allow you plenty of time to stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais, shop in the city's many designer boutiques or hang out in one of the stylish beach clubs that line the city's beachfront. And if you tire of city life, there are plenty of hidden coves and swimming spots a short drive up the coast towards Antibes.

Head for an exotic break in Essaouira

There's no need to stick to Europe for your weekend beach escape. Morocco's Atlantic shores are a mere 4 hour flight away, and the temperature remains warm well into the autumn, with things hotting up again in early spring. Essaouira's shores are of the wild and windswept variety so it's not the place for idle sunbathing, but active types will be kept happy with wind surfing, camel rides and off-road tours. What's more, there are plenty of shops and markets to peruse in the medina. Holiday rentals here are charming and range from traditional riads in the old centre to characterful stone villas set in palm groves on the outskirts of the town.