With the future still uncertain regarding overseas air travel Malcolm Ginsberg, Jewish Weekly Travel Editor, looks at Britain’s regional coastlines with the help of the National Coastal Tourism Academy. There are some extraordinary outdoors places to see and explore. www.englandscoast.com
The North West Coast
A new 40-mile trail called “Cumbria’s Hidden Coast” hopefully opens this year and link Millom to Whitehaven (part of the England Coast Path) via the Duddon Estuary, Silecroft, and Ravenglass, featuring a new arts trail, Deep Time.
The coastal Lake District doesn’t get as much attention as its better-known inland areas, but is one of the most scenic coastal areas in Britain. Choose your base in the Park’s only coastal village, medieval Ravenglass, and explore the famous Eskdale narrow gauge railway, 13th century Muncaster Castle, and stunning St Bees beach, all nearby.
Blackpool was one hundred years ago the mill workers paradise where they took their two week’s holiday and watched the music hall stars of the times. The town, with its Tower and wonderful beach still attracts the personalities as they perform at The Grand, the national theatre of variety. In Morecambe, the iconic Midland Hotel is a wonderfully-restored 4-star Art Deco hotel with gorgeous bay views – once the haunt of Coco Chanel and Noel Coward.
Liverpool is heart of the North West and in history was the gateway to North America. Plenty of heritage to see and also journey back to the origins of a local band made good taking in the award-winning Beatles Story permanent exhibition, and world-class contemporary art, restaurants and museums at the city’s vibrant waterfront.
The North East Coast
The Lumière Light Festival returns to Durham, 18-21 November 2021. The festival invites local and international artists to design illuminations which will transform the city’s urban spaces and familiar public buildings. Newcastle is vibrant and Whitby is a very busy fishing port with connections to Dracula! Plenty of B&B’s and camping opportunities
Enjoy the wide sandy beach and scenic views towards Hartlepool and the Cleveland Hills, along with the colony of breeding little terns migrating from West Africa each summer.
There is so much to explore at Castle Eden Dene, one of the most important areas of woodland in the North of England and an example of the ‘wildwood’ that once covered most of Britain. This ancient deep gorge is home to an extraordinary variety of birds, more than 450 species of plants, and mammals such as roe deer and fox.
The East Coast
At Sutton Hoo visit site of the new Netflix period drama, The Dig. This new drama – starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes – tells the story of Sutton Hoo, the 245-acre estate near Woodbridge, Suffolk, that was home to one of England’s most important archaeological discoveries, where 18 burial sites dating from the 7th century AD were found. Visitors can marvel at the full-size sculpture of the 27-metre long burial ship and explore the burial grounds and a new exhibition.
Who says you need to go inside a gallery or a museum to get your culture fix, when you can take in public art outside in the fresh coastal air? On 22 May, artist Katrina Palmer’s Hello and Retreat installation in partnership with Metal will be launched in Southend-on Sea.
On Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk, local artist Maggi Hambling created the iconic Scallop sculpture in 2003, and the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout is a tiny art temple by the sea which has become an international art destination, with regular new artists in residence. Structures on the Edge, Lincolnshire, is a series of coastal art installations along a 10-mile stretch from Chapel St Leonards to Mablethorpe.
The South Coast
Recently the sixth region in the UK to be named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, nature thrives on the idyllic Isle of Wight. Look to the wildlife of the past as you comb beaches for signs of prehistoric life – it has more dinosaur remains than anywhere in northern Europe. In August 2020, dinosaur remains found on Compton Bay by the University of Southampton were discovered to belong to a new species of dinosaur – the Vectaerovenator inopinatus – from the same family as the infamous T Rex. Join Felicity the Fossil Guide on Brook Beach on a two-hour expert-guided fossil hunt.
2021 is expected to see the launch of the Creative Coast, a new cultural experience fusing art and landscape, and the world’s first art Geo-tour, from May-November. Margate celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Turner Gallery with new exhibitions from Steve McQueen and Barbara Walker, the bicentennial of Keats’ death, 10-year extension of Antony Gormley’s “Another Time” sculpture, and the opening of a new Crab Museum. Broadstairs, meanwhile, sees the launch of a Dickens-themed holiday cottage, Fagin’s Cottage.
A warm welcome to walkers in White Cliffs Country: Taking its name from Dover’s iconic chalk coastline, a walk-through White Cliffs Country will be a tonic to enjoy post-lockdown, with its huge variety of coastal and countryside routes with stunning panoramic views. From 26-31 August 2021, it hosts the White Cliffs Walking Festival.
The South West
Recently named Britain’s Happiest Place to Live, the beautiful Cornish town of St Ives is famous for its Blue Flag beaches, surfing scene and artistic community. In June, world leaders – including new US President Joe Biden – will gather nearby at Carbis Bay for the G7 Summit, with Visit Cornwall estimating it could provide Cornwall with a £50m economic boost. You can fly from Glasgow, Heathrow and Manchester airports and hire a car for a tour. But don’t go in August. Cornwall is one big traffic jam.
The longest National Trail in the UK, the 630-mile-long South West Coast Path begins at Minehead in Somerset and runs along the coastline of Exmoor, North Devon, Cornwall, South Devon and Dorset, ending at Poole Harbour. On average, it takes 7-8 weeks to complete, although some have done it much faster – the current record is just over 10 days.
Find peace and tranquillity on Exmoor National Park, with its 26 sq miles of moorland, woodland, valleys, high sea cliffs and farmland, features an amazing array of open landscapes and coastal views, with the chance to spot wild red deer, be amazed by Dark Skies, and explore villages full of character.
This short review of English coastal holiday places must finish with Bournemouth, just over 100 miles from north west London, and through trains from the north. It has wonderful beaches, quality entertainment and plenty of places to visit in the New Forest. Sad to say that the Normandie and Water Garden are now the only fully kosher hotels left.
Read through the travel planner. There is plenty of choice.