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A beachy blog! Things to do at the seaside

To the beach! We wouldn’t be so crass as to croon that we do like to be beside the seaside (our beach song of choice is Metallica’s Enter Sandman), but we do get slightly tuneful at the prospect of a day at the beach. Or tuneless: it’s quite hard to hum a guitar solo.

Our activities of choice are varied: examining critters in rockpools, getting competitive with sandcastles, eating very much all the chips and lying in the sun refusing to move are probably the most common. Sometimes we might go for a walk.

Whether you’re a relaxed nature spotter or a hyped up hiker, a solitary sand sort or there with the kids, Grandma and the two dogs, you’ll find something to suit in our seaside things to do guide and roundup of all things Pitchup and beach:

Family beach activities

Have a look at our top ten free and cheap family beach activities for splashingly good things to do at the seaside for all ages, from showing the kids how sandcastles are properly made to our particular favourite, bucket relay. More inspiration here:

Beach Games and Activities from Activity Village

Top Ten Beach Games for your Family

Best Beach Games

Look for critters on the beach

Rockpooling, crabbing or just poking in the sand at low tide yields all sorts of seashore critters that even the smallest or sulkiest small person should show a flicker of interest at (and what a good time to teach them how to be careful around critters with claws).

Crab had Don’t just dash out with bucket and magnifying glass if you want to spy into rockpools: brush up beforehand on how and where is best to look and how to recognise sneaky manoeuvres from hidden rockpool inhabitants (crabs, for example, will lurk under rocks but you can often Poirot-like detect them by the small bubbles floating up to the surface). This beginner’s guide to rockpooling covers this and where to find specimens, what equipment to bring and rockpooling top tips.

Crabbing is totes simpler, as all you need is a bucket, a net and some bait, which can be those bits of bacon left over from brekkie.Crab at rockpools or from piers: Crabby Days has tips on crabbing as well as some of the best places to go. And if you stay at Waterside Holiday Park on the edge of St Lawrence Bay in Essex , you can go crabbing right at the bottom of the park.

Look for bigger critters in the sea

Spy with binoculars from a cliff path or take a boat trip from many parts of the UK coast to see our varied menagerie of marine mammals:

  • Minke whales around Scotland 's Orkney Islands, sperm whales around the Hebrides and orca whales around the Shetlands

One orca. Pic by Minette Layne.

Our complete guide to coastal critters – where to sea marine mammals in the UK has fathoms more details, coastal campsites, codes of conduct and links to marine charities and sightings.

See also:

Bird’s eye view: our guide to UK birdwatching including seabird spotting

Go a-foraging

If you have particularly sensitive small fry, they may not want to take part in this form of beach activity, which mainly consists of ‘identify beach critters – and eat them’. All sorts of tasty tasty specimens can be found around the shore: mussels and whelks on rocks, razor clams in the sand and brown and spider crabs in rock pools: details of ten foragey foods and how to find them here . (If you have particularly sensitive small fry, you may want to direct them to the ‘seaweed’ section.)

Add white wine Fry your haul up on the beach in butter (kids) or white wine (adults), or take them back to base if you’re at a campsite with campfires allowed .

Go fossil hunting

Particularly witty children can liken this to ‘looking for Granddad’, but as you will point out while trying not to laugh, fossils can be found all over the UK and not just gently snoozing in an armchair under a newspaper after lunch.

We’d be here for aeons if we tried to summarise where, what type and how to look for, so we’ll nudge you towards our Jurassic Coast blog with info on fossil hunting in Lulworth Cove and other highlighted hotspots, and to these resources for mini fossil enthusiasts:

UK Fossils : heaps of info on all things ancient, including where to buy fossils if you’re unlucky in your hunt/want to bury one in the sand for the kids

Fossil locations of Great Britain

Fossil hunting guide from the Natural History Museum

We also suggest…

Going to a festival

Festival + sand = best. Probably the best known beach festival is Cornwall’s Relentless Boardmasters each August, but keep an eye out next year for Electric Beach Festival , also in Cornwall, and Eurockeennes , on a natural peninsula in eastern France in July.

Making the holiday pier-less

Southend-on-Sea has the longest pleasure on the planet, but dozens of other seaside towns have plenty to promenade along; find a list here . (And incidentally, boo to this .)

Having a big dip

Rollercoasters, dodgems or at the very least amusements and one-armed bandits should be found at any seaside town worth its salt. If the kids laugh in your very face as you offer them 10p for an antiquated slot machine, bigger delights can be found all around the coastline such as Fantasy Island at Skegness or the Pleasure Beach/es at Great Yarmouth and Blackpool .

Having a pasty…or other seaside fare

We recommend Cornish pasties in Hayle/anywhere , fish and chips in Whitby , kippers in Craster, cockles at Leigh-on-Sea, oysters in Argyl l and Pembrokeshire , and whatever other seaside munches we can get our mitts on. Yes, we’re on the seafood diet…

Cardigan Island Ten seaside campsites and holiday parks

Click the county links to see more sites in the area:

Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park , Ceredigion : overlooking the nature reserve of Cardigan Island. Tent pitches from £15.80.

Tayview Caravan and Camping Park , Angus : less than five minutes’ walk from the sandy beach at Monifieth Bay. Glamping cabins sleeping four from £46; pitches from £15.

Eype House Caravan Park , Dorset : 200 yards from Eypemouth beach and five miles from fossil hunting at Charmouth. One-bedroom holiday home sleeping up to four from £275 for seven nights.

Surfers Paradise Campsite , Devon : 60 seconds from the surf at Croyde Bay. Tent pitches from £24.

La Vallée du Paradis , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur : 600 metres from Agay beach. Two-bedroom holiday home from £505.58 for seven nights, from 30 August.

Bude Holiday Resort , Cornwall : half a mile from Bude Crooklets beach and less than a mile from the sands of Summerleaze. Two and three-bedroom holiday homes from £68 – 140 for four nights, sleeping six to eight; pitches from £10. 30% off the Kingfisher caravan over the weekend of the August bank holiday, 22 – 25 August .

Camping El Pinar Platja , Barcelona : right by Santa Susanna beach on the Costa Maresme. Pitches from £42.78.

Camping du Port, Bretagne : direct access to a Côtes d'Armor beach and with views of the Pink Granite Coast . Two-bedroom lodge sleeping up to five from £185.66 for seven nights.

Pitch by la mer at Camping du Port Callanish Camping , Isle of Lewis: insulated and carpeted camping pods by the sea in the Scottish Hebrides. From £35.

Grange Farm , Isle of Wight : a working farm – with alpacas and water buffaloes – a couple of minutes’ walk from the coast at Newport. Dog-friendly camping pods from £31.25 and pitches from £15.75; minimum three-night stay.

To find other sites near the seaside, browse our hundreds of campsites and holiday parks within 15 miles of a beach , and look under ‘Local attractions’ to see nearby bathing waters and their water quality ratings since 2009.

See also:

Campsites with watersports on site

Campsites with watersports nearby

Campsites with a surf school nearby

Campsites with sailing nearby