Top coastal locations to move to in Britain

Longing to live by the sea? Kate Patten picks the best cobblestoned coastal towns and traditional seaside villages for those who dream of a future by the shore. 

East Portlemouth Devon

1. St Ives, Cornwall

Voted Best seaside town in 2010 and 2011 by the British Travel awards, this lovely little fishing village is full of life. Uneven, winding streets and traditional Cornish architecture add bundles of character to this vibrant town. Keen walkers can explore the majestic views of Godrevy Head and gaze down on the town or across to the Lighthouse of Godrevy Island. Be on the lookout for the array of local wildlife, including grey seals and bottlenose dolphins. 



2. Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Home to the most picturesque harbour in Scotland, this seaside town was voted best quality of living in any Scottish coastal town in 2013. Nestled in the rugged scenery of the East Coast, it boasts a spectacular untamed setting. In the New Year, this town hosts a Fireballs Ceremony,  lighting up the streets in a celebration of nature’s greatest gift to man.

3. Barmouth, Gwynedd

A true Welsh gem, this seaside town is located on the coast of Snowdonia, making it a popular destination for walkers and cyclists. Make sure while you are there to visit ‘Old Barmouth’ a fascinating jumble of traditional streets and houses, and follow the route up to the open hillside to Dinas Oleus, a gorgeous National Trust property that looks over the town from above. 

4. Salcombe, Devon

Nestled in most southerly part of Devon, this stunning town lies within the South Devon area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. White sands and clear water make Salcombe popular for pleasure sailing and yachting. Find out more about the town in the Maritime and Local History museum or simply indulge in a spot of crabbing off the pier (hint: put some bacon on the end of your line!).


5. Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

Once a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the largest town on the outer Hebrides, and the town is the main transport hub for visitors to the Island of Lewis. If you’re aching to escape the ratrace without compromising on variety this is the dream – the town is home to delightful eateries, specialist shops and historical attractions. Grab your walking boots or bicycle and head out into the vast moorland of Lewis to see local lochs and stone circles. 


6. Cromer, Norfolk

The Victorian town of Cromer is home to the famous Cromer Crab, so loved that there is a Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster festival every May. Proud recipients of two blue flag beaches, the coast is glorious in autumn – walk along the sands and stop for fish and chips at the end of your stroll. 


7. Lyme Regis, Dorset

Fondly known as the Pearl of Dorset, Lyme Regis lies along the Jurassic Coast, home to prehistoric rock, fossils and miles of glorious coastal paths. Famous for its historic Cobb wall and harbour, Lyme Regis has been referenced as a location in many literary masterpieces including Jane Austin’s Persuasion and John Fowles’ The French Lieutenants’ Woman. 


8. Deal, Kent

Deal is ‘the real deal’ when it comes to traditional seaside town. Once a favourite smugglers haunt, the Georgian town is now busy with tourists and holiday makers coming to get a taste of the Great British seaside. Home to no less than three Tudor castles; it’s a veritable picnic of history.   

9. Whitby, North Yorkshire

Fan of fish and chips? You should live a stone’s throw from Fusco’s, deemed the best fish and chips in the world. Whitby’s charming port is also rife with history and literary achievements. Not only well known for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Abbey that inspired it, it was also home of Captain James Cook, and the Whalebone Arch commemorates his achievements. The Yorkshire Moors close by make this town a hit with outdoors lovers, too. 


10. Whitehaven, Cumbria

This large maritime town on the coast of Cumbria, in the Western Lake District, is listed as a ‘gem town’, and it’s easy to see why. Whitehaven is as bustling as it is picturesque, and there’s something to keep all of the family entertained, from the Beacon Museum to haunted Muncaster Castle.