Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Home

No wonder Brits like to be beside the seaside. Almost everyone in the country lives within a few hour’s drive of the coast, meaning time at the beach is a tangible temptation for day trips and family holidays.

In fact, no place is in the country is further than 70 miles from the sea.

Coton in the Elms in Derbyshire is considered to be the furthest place in the United Kingdom from the sea, being 70 miles from both the Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire coasts.

While it’s amazing to visit the scenic hotspots of Cornwall, Pembrokeshire or the Scottish islands, these destinations involve very long car journeys for most people. For holidays a little closer to home, there are some fabulous coastal holiday destinations within easy driving distance for everyone.

To help people find holiday accommodation that is not too far away from home, we’ve introduced a handy new Max Driving Time search function that filters destinations by the number of hours they take to reach. This allows people to see holiday properties that are only one, two, three or however many hours drive they are away from their home postcodes.

To illustrate the usefulness of the tool, we’ve pinpointed some of the top seaside destinations within two hours of some of the UK’s key cities.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From London

Thorpe Bay Beach in Southend on Sea, Essex
Thorpe Bay Beach in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Only 47 miles from London

While it could be argued that London is a coastal city as it sits on the tidal River Thames, it does feel like it’s a long way from the beach. However, there are some spectacular seaside destinations within a few hours of the capital for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of London for a well-earned break.

One of the closest beaches to London can be found at Thorney Bay Beach in Canvey Island, while the coastal resort of Southend-on-Sea is only a short train ride away so it’s ideal for a day trip.

Those going away for a long weekend or a week’s holiday may choose to venture a little further and will find some beautiful beaches and seaside towns within a few hours of London.

The Essex coast is within easy reach and has some lovely places to stay, such as Frinton-on-Sea and Brightlingsea. While a whole stretch of the south coast is on offer from Kent through to Dorset, including popular holiday hotspots such as Broadstairs, Whitstable, Hastings, Brighton and Lymington.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Birmingham

Pier at Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
Pier at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Only 108 miles from Birmingham. Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash

As one of the most land-locked cities in the country, Birmingham can seem a world away from the seaside. But there are plenty of coastal destinations accessible within a few hours of Brum.

The closest access to the sea from Birmingham can be found on the upper banks of the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire. While it’s an interesting place to visit, most holidaymakers will bypass this spot en-route to the first proper seaside resort at Weston-super-Mare or a little further along the Somerset coast to Burnham-on-Sea.

Those heading to the coast for a nearby holiday could also search for self-catering properties in and around Cardiff in South Wales, Prestatyn in North Wales and Southport in Merseyside.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Leeds

Sea view over Scarborough in Yorkshire
Sea view over Scarborough in Yorkshire. Only 70 miles from Leeds

Leeds looks like it is right in the middle of northern England, yet it’s not too far to the coast of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

At 67 miles, Bridlington is the closest beach to Leeds. However, all of Yorkshire’s beautiful beaches and coastal towns are well within a two-hour drive of the city centre.

Holiday hotspots in Yorkshire, with plenty of self-catering properties to choose from, include the coastal towns of Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Scarborough.

Travellers from Leeds can also reach the southern Lake District, Morecombe Bay and the northeast coast of Wales with relative ease.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Edinburgh

Anstruther on the Fife coast in Scotland by Euan Cameron
Anstruther on the Fife coast in Scotland. Only 51 miles from Edinburgh. Photo by Euan Cameron on Unsplash

As a coastal city, Edinburgh residents are not too far away from the closest beach. Portobello and Cramond are popular local beaches which are only a short bus ride from the city centre.

However, those seeking a break from city life can head out on the road to some wonderful seaside destinations along the Scottish and Nothrthumberland coasts.

It’s an easy drive from Edinburgh to the charming fishing village of Anstruther or as far north as Montrose, which is in an area renowned for its wonderful sandy beaches. The Ayshire coast west of Glasgow is also easily accessible for a holiday not too far from home.

The picturesque Northumberland towns of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth and Amble are also within a two-hour drive, providing access to spectacular coastal scenery dotted with castles and glorious sandy beaches.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Manchester

Driving on the Orme in Llandudno, Wales
Driving on the Orme in Llandudno, Wales. Only 81 miles from Manchester. Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Manchester may be the largest city in Northern England but it’s an easy place to escape from for a trip to the seaside.

It’s only an hour’s hop from the city to the long golden sands of Formby or the lively seaside town of Blackpool.

But those heading away for a holiday may prefer a stay on the dramatic coasts of North Wales or Cumbria. Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria is a wonderful coastal destination and a gateway to the peaks of the Lake District.

While the Welsh seaside resorts of Colwyn Bay, Llandudno and Caernarfon are all within two hours, opening up holidays within reach of Snowdonia National Park and the isle of Anglesey.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Bristol

Seafront in Minehead
Seafront in Minehead. Only 62 miles from Bristol

As the gateway to the South West, people in Bristol are spoilt for choice when it comes to coastal holidays. Bristolians have easy access to the sensational Somerset seaside, the South Devon coast, parts of Dorset and a lot of South Wales.

Although Clevedon Beach and Weston-Super-Mare are practically on the doorstep, most people will continue down the M5 to holiday hotspots such as Minehead, Sidmouth and Lyme Regis.

Sea view holidays in these areas provide access to beautiful beaches, fine coastal scenery and breathtaking countryside in the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks.

Those heading west into Wales can easily travel as far as Swansea, Mumbles and the beautiful Gower Peninsula in around two hours.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Nottingham

Pier at Skegness in Lincolnshire
Pier at Skegness in Lincolnshire. Only 77 miles from Nottingham

Nottingham is another city located in the middle of the country, where trips to the seaside are generally limited to the annual week’s holiday. It’s actually only 60 miles to the coast east of Boston. However, the Victorian seaside resort of Skegness remains the main ‘nearby’ draw for people from Nottingham.

A little further up the Lincolnshire coast are the coastal towns of Mablethorpe and Cleethorpes, which both have long sandy beaches and plenty to entertain visitors.

The Norfolk coast takes a little longer than two hours away, yet it’s worth the extra half hour to reach the beautiful coastal towns of Hunstanton and Cromer which are ideal for short-break holidays.

Top Coastal Destinations Within Two Hours From Oxford

Compton on the Isle of Wight
Compton on the Isle of Wight. Only 91 miles from Oxford

It’s only 65 miles from the City of Spires to the City by the Sea at Southampton. The south coast port city has many sea-themed attractions, but most holidaymakers will choose to travel a little further to enjoy time at the beach.

The Hampshire hotspot of Lymington is only an hour-and-a-half away, while much of the Isle of Wight is accessible within three hours via a short ferry ride.

The entire Dorset coast is also easily accessible for people driving from Oxford with a plentiful choice of holiday homes available in key coastal destinations such as Bournemouth, Swanage, Weymouth and Lyme Regis.

Find Sea View Cottages Within a Certain Mileage of Your Own Home

Use the Max Driving Time filter on our search page to narrow down available properties within a given driving distance from your home and find some real gems for your time away by the sea.

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