Wonderfully eccentric, our resorts are fringed with pearls
Brimming with Victorian piers, ornate shelters and bandstands, our resorts also boast cool new arrivals too
Worthing, West Sussex, is a quintessential English seaside resort, a genteel Georgian town complete with galleries and beautiful gardens, yes, but also a very modern heritage hot spot. Stroll along the Art Deco pier past Creative Waves’ changing art exhibitions to its fabulous Perch on the Pier restaurant, set beside local fisherman selling their daily catch.
Nearby Selsey is awash with historic treasure and fisherman’s tales. ‘Secrets of Selsey’ brings it to life in a series of walks. Explore the town’s Art Trail, follow the family-friendly Bucket and Spade Parade or Sea Life Treasure Hunt.
Charles Dickens is just one of the creatives drawn to the Isle of Thanet, 2023 marks its 50th anniversary. Visit the only harbour to warrant ‘Royal’ status, Royal Harbour Ramsgate and then explore Ramsgate Tunnels, a hidden city that housed hundreds of families in WWII.
The heritage rides at Dreamland include the UK’s oldest wooden roller coaster, this year it also features a pinball section. Less well known attractions include the Micro Museum (go for vintage computers and retro games) and the Powell-Cotton Museum housing dioramas of African and Asian animals, Quex House and Gardens, a Grade II listed house with 10 acres of woodland and gardens.
White Cliffs Country sits on Kent’s Heritage Coast, and bristles with history. Take your pick from three exceptional castles – Dover, Deal and Walmer – three forts - Richborough Roman, Burgoyne and Drop Redoubt as well as fascinating self-guided heritage trails tours, perfect for a mix of immersive history and nature. Head to Dover Museum to see the Bronze Age boat in its gallery and explore the Channel Crossings Exhibition, hosted to May 2024.
Further west, Gosport’s rich royal naval heritage is impossible to miss, through listed buildings, award-winning museums, ramparts, forts and historic trails. Find out what lurks beneath the waves at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, take a tour onboard HMS Alliance with ex-submariners who have great stories to tell.
At Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower, be blown away by the vast collection of naval weapons. The Museum of Diving showcases the best range of military, commercial and recreational diving equipment in Europe (perhaps the World!), whilst at the nearby Hovercraft Museum more than 50 hovercraft are on show, including those in James Bond movies. Wander through Little Woodham 1642 Living History Village to meet ‘villagers’ dressed in historic period costumes demonstrating the skills of the blacksmith, potter, lace-makers and weavers set rural woodland location.
With millions of years of history oozing from its Jurassic cliffs, Dorset could be forgiven if it rested easy in its heritage pedigree, but far from it! Its coastal history has been unearthed in a new art trail along the King Charles III Coast Path. Sixteen impressive artworks mark heritage landmarks, from a beautiful wooden gate featuring Viking ships near Charmouth, where the alleged Viking landings took place, to a striking new artwork of Mackerel boats at the Bridport to Burton Bradstock boundary, celebrating the fishermen who used to shout, “Mackerel straying!”
From its naval legacy to its connection with the Mayflower voyage, Plymouth merges history and culture with arresting natural beauty. Visit the Plymouth Naval Heritage Centre to track Sir Francis Drake’s historic sailing and the city’s contributions throughout history, including its role in World Wars.
Follow the footsteps of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower Trail, stand on the iconic Mayflower Steps and track the story at the Mayflower Museum. The former dockyards at Sutton Harbour and Royal William Yard blend seamlessly the past with the present, they’re now thriving shopping and restaurant hubs and cool, must-visit examples of regeneration.