In more resent times the meaning of the term has also extended to include accommodations that are also known as self-catering establishments. Typically bed and breakfasts are private homes with fewer than 10 bedrooms available for commercial use. Often B&B’s are a cheaper alternative to renting a hotel room.
So has the classic British music hall song goes: Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, Oh, I do like to be beside the sea, oh, I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom, Where the brass bands play Tidily-om-pom-pom. The term B&B in this posting refers to Beaches and Bars. Popular seaside towns and cities throughout the UK include: Aberystwyth, Barmouth, Blackpool, Brighton, Clacton, Dover, Exmouth, Great Yarmouth, LLandudno, Margate, New Quay, Rhyl, St. Ives, Skegness, Swansea, Torquay and Weston Super Mare.
So here I have chosen for your enjoyment my favorite top ten seaside locations and pubs in my chosen location. Please feel free to let me know if you have visited any of my choices or have a favorite location that you would like to share with us.
1. Barmouth, Gwynedd, North West Wales – A favorite location of mine ever since I was five years of age. For me this location was my second home. My family had a holiday home located right close to the beach. I have very fond memories of this place. Consisting of over 50 miles of coastline, Barmouth remains one of the most popular tourist locations in North Wales. Fantastic views of mount Snowdon make this location truly magnificent. The 1930’s movie Ghost Train was filmed here, so was the 1980’s movie First Knight. Poet William Wordsworth, a visitor to Barmouth in the 19th century, described it as: “With a fine sea view in front, the mountains behind, the glorious estuary running eight miles inland, and Cadair Idris within compass of a day’s walk, Barmouth can always hold its own against any rival.”
Murray’s Cafe Bar, King Edward Street, would be my chosen drinking establishment if I were to visit today. Murray’s, are a family run cafe with a focus on homemade and home cooked meals, cakes and sandwiches. Murray’s motto is Eat, Drink and Relax.
2. Weston Super Mare, Somerset, England – One of the most favorite locations for tourists for over the past hundred years. Owing to the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel the low tide mark on Weston’s beach is about a mile from the seafront. Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the nickname Weston Super Mud. Today the town hosts attractions like long sandy beaches, the Helicopter Museum, Weston Super Mare Historical Museum, the Grand Pier, the Sea Aquarium, the Bike Nights, which are motorcycle meetings on the Promenade each Thursday during the summer, they are organized by The Royal British Legion and the seasonal donkey rides on the beach.
In 2009 a survey by Visit England placed the pier amongst the top ten free attractions in the country. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to drinking establishments. The Claremont Vaults, 3 Birnbeck Road, known for being a friendly English/Irish pub with stunning views over Weston Bay, the Bristol Channel and the South East coast of Wales is one good reason why I have known to have spent many hours of drinking at this location.
3: Scarborough, Yorkshire, England – Many a great day at the beach can be found here. Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. The most striking feature of the town’s geography is a high rocky promontory pointing eastward into the North Sea. The promontory supports the 11th-century ruins of Scarborough Castle and separates the sea front into two bays, to the north and south. The double beach is something that you must see. The South Bay was the site of the original early medieval settlement and the harbor area remains the main tourist area, with a sandy beach, cafés, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. With abundance of pubs and bars to choose from I plumped for, The Duchess Pub, 152 Hovingham Drive. The three of the local ales to die for are: Burton Bitter, Hob Goblin and the Mansfield Creamy Smooth.
4: The Mumbles, Glamorgan, South Wales – Located three miles west of Swansea city center (Wales’s second largest city). Great views across Swansea Bay make this one of the favorite places to visit in the whole of South Wales. Featured in the movie Twin Town, the Mumbles was said to be one of Dylan Thomas’s best location for inspiration. Thomas once quoted the Mumbles as being “an ugly, lovely town, crawling, sprawling by the side of a long and splendid curving shore. This sea-town was my world” Other attractions include a Lighthouse built in 1974, and a Victorian Pier. Oystermouth Castle is also well worth a visit, sitting on a hilltop with fabulous views overlooking the sea. Welsh Bitter is on tap at The George, Mumbles Road, here you will get a fantastic view over Swansea Bay and is a fantastic place to eat and drink.
5. Blackpool, Lancashire, England – Known by the locals as the Las Vegas of England. Blackpool hosts the golden mile located between the North and South piers, here many casinos and slot machines can either make you rich or broke, mainly broke. Blackpool Tower opened to the public on 14 May 1894, and is inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, it rises to 518 feet. The tower is a Grade I listed building. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park and resort and is the most visited tourist attraction in the United Kingdom and one of the top twenty most visited amusement parks in the world. Blackpool rock is a type of hard stick shaped boiled sugar confectionery most usually flavored with peppermint or spearmint.
Over the years I have spent many a few hours supping ale in, The Manchester Stores, located on the promenade situated between the South and Central piers. Still going strong after decades The Manchester still remains one of the most renowned pubs on the Blackpool Promenade. Today it caters for all types of clientele from families to large parties of stags and hens (Stags and Hens are British terms for a bachelors and bachelorettes).
6. Brighton, Sussex, England – Ahh! The beach with no sand. Here you will find tiny pebbles in place of sand, quite unique so well worth a visit. Brighton is often known as the gay capital of England, due to its large amount of lesbian and gay population. The 1979 movie Quadrophenia was filmed there, re-creating the mods vs rockers battle of the 1960’s. On the 12th of October 1984, at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the subject of an assassination attempt. A planned bomb attack went off, although Mrs. Thatcher narrowly escaped injury, five people were killed, including two members of the Conservative Party and 31 other hotel guests were injured. Brighton is also the home of Britain’s oldest pier built in 1891. My chosen pub location would have to be, The Black Lion, located on Black Lion Street. The Black Lion is a lively late night venue with a cavern like feel. The best DJs in Brighton spin rare vinyl spanning from ’60s Motown and Northern Soul, Funk, Ska, Mod Revival, ’80s Anthems, Hip Hop, Breaks, Electronica, Punk, Rock and classic and modern Indie.
7. St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland – Named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. There has been an important church in St Andrews since at least the 8th century. The home of golf, this is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. West Sands Beach served as the set for the opening scene in the movie Chariots of Fire, while the beach was also featured in the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. Sand dunes on the beach are themselves in danger of eroding away and are the subject of a restoration project.
The best watering holes can be located along either North or South Street. An old favorite of mine is, Rascals Bar and Grill, 199 North Street. Built around the television show Man vs Food the Rascal is currently offering burger challenges to its customers. Their biggest challenge, the Poppa’s Revenge burger consists of five 12oz patties, 8 slices of bacon, cheese and pulled pork on a bun and served with fries, salad, liquid magma chicken wings and a giant milkshake. Try it if you dare, if you lose you pay the house $30.
8. Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland – This seaside resort is located 13 miles east of Belfast, the largest city in Northern Ireland. One of this towns claim to fame is that in 2007, it was voted by Ulster Television viewers as the most desirable place to live in Northern Ireland. The town is twinned with Bregenz in Austria and Virginia Beach in the United States of America. Live music is an important part of the town’s social scene. So has you can imagine there are lots of bars and taverns to be found here, all serving local Irish ale together with the world famous Guinness.
If you ever find yourself in this lovely location may I recommend that you spend a few hours at, Donegan’s, situated on High Street in downtown Bangor. The minute that you set your foot in the establishment you are immediately taken back in time due to the vast amount of items of the past found in the first floor lounge. The pub itself is divided into three sections giving it a unique feeling combined with a cozy atmosphere in the evenings making it a perfect recipe for the ultimate experience.
9. Margate, Kent, England – This town can be found in history books dating back to 1246. For at least 250 years Margate has been a leading seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its beach by the millions every year. There are two notable theatres; The Theatre Royal is the second oldest theatre in the country while the Tom Thumb Theatre is known to be the second smallest in the country. Poet T.S. Elliott while recuperating after a mental breakdown in 1921, wrote The Waste Land Part III, The Fire Sermon, while visiting Margate Beach. Former great train robber Ronnie Biggs was very fond of Margate and he was known to have spent the majority of his summer holidays in this town. On the few occasions that I visited Margate I often drank at the Promenade Inn, situated on Station Road, just a hop, step and a jump away from Margate train station, the main train line into London.
10. Exmouth, Devon, England – One of Britain’s largest fishing towns which consists of over 35 miles of coastline with some of the most magnificent beaches in the country. Many legendary strong ales and cider have been brewed and drunk here over the years. Sir Walter Raleigh sailed on many of his voyages from Exmouth harbor. The Holy Trinity Church was said to be built in 1412. Britain’s first lifeboat rescue service was established in 1803.
The Beach Pub, Victoria Road, is one location worth visiting. Local food and beer is served daily. The Beach is your typical traditional pub, situated on the Marina and a few minutes’ walk from the town center and the seafront. Friendly locals, beamed ceilings and excellent food are just a few reasons why The Beach is a great place to enjoy your evenings. Don’t just take my word for it. Drop in, if you are ever in this part of the West Country.
So if you are looking for destinations with sun, sand, sea, eating and drinking, then please feel free to visit any of my recommendations. Just remember the locations I have mentioned are my personal favorites only. I would love to hear your comments of other recommendations that you may have or if you have any comments on my chosen lists of ten. So happy sun seeking and please do travel safely. Always remember to drink responsibly. And finally one word of warning, whatever you do, never drink and drive, because you may spill some (hahaha, an oldie but goodie).
Trevor Morris is a British expat living in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Born in Birmingham, England, He enjoys sharing what he admires about his hometown and is a huge Aston Villa fan. He is well travelled to many locations across England & Wales and is happy to share his personal experiences with anyone who cares to read. Married with two daughters, his hobbies include travel, sports & family time. He is currently studying Criminal Justice at Marian University.