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This is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – over 750 entries as of February 2020. Most entries have links for further information.
Marsden Bay is part of a stunning limestone cliff coastline between South Shields and Sunderland. It is a favoured nesting place for seabirds, particularly cormorants, fulmars and kittiwakes, much frequented by families and dog-walkers and admired by geologists. There is a famous and historic cave bar and diner, Marsden Grotto, attached to the cliff, which gets mixed reviews.
The dramatic ruined castle of Thomas of Lancaster, executed for treason in 1322, stands on a rocky headland jutting into the North Sea. The castle went on to witness fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, but now the predominant sound is the shrieking of seabirds. A short, sometimes bracing, walk from either Craster or Embleton.
One of Britain's largest colonies of common and grey seals is at Blakeney Pont, a 4 mile spit that sticks out into the North Sea. It is a national nature reserve, and a favourite spot for birds, native and foreign, as well as seals. Various companies run boat trips to see the seals. The trips last about an hour and tend to depart from Morston Quay.
The link below will take you to one operator - but there are others - no recommendation is implied.
In the Middle Ages, the small village of Blakeney was a thriving port handling exotic products like spices. Silting of the harbour changed its fortunes and it’s now an attractive tourist destination and a good base for exploring north Norfolk. It is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Norfolk Coastal Path passes through the village and the whole area is a magnet for walkers and wildlife lovers. The harbour and surrounding marshes are owned by the National Trust and is a nature reserve. Within the village are the remains of the medieval Blakeney Guildhall, the twin-towered medieval St Nicholas church as well as pubs and restaurants. The largest seal colony in England can be visited by boat to Blakeney Point, which (with restrictions to protect wildlife) can also be walked to from nearby Cley-next-the-Sea. Samphire is grown on the point and, as well as seals, ringed plovers, oystercatchers, brent geese and common teal can also be spotted.
Coastal stretch running along the B8008 road between Arisaig and Morar, part of the old Road to the Isles to Mallaig and famous for its stunning beaches. There are also wonderful views across to the Isles of Muck, Eigg and Rum. The Silver Sands of Morar were featured in the movie, Local Hero (1983).
The post code is for a local golf club.
The pretty Cornish village of Polperro has been a fishing port since at least medieval times and a magnet for visitors, including artists, for as long as anyone can remember. Narrow streets between quaint old flower-decked cottages mean that tourists are not able to drive their cars to the harbour, but there are carriages available – and boat trips too, when you get there. The village’s name probably derives from the old Cornish ‘porth’ for ‘harbour’ and means ‘harbour of a man called Pyra’, but what is certain is its notoriety for smuggling in the 18th and 19th centuries – which has contributed to a rich folklore and is illustrated in the Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing overlooking the harbour. Pilchards, apparently, were once a particular speciality for Polperro’s fishermen, while other members of the family were employed in processing them. It is still a working fishing port as well as a popular tourist destination. There is an annual Art Festival in June and the village has a renowned Fishermen’s Choir.
NB Don't rely on your Sat Nav - park outside the village and walk or take a carriage to the harbour.
Portsmouth was for generations the most heavily defended town in England. The city, unsurprisingly, developed round its port and naval facilities. Whilst the original harbour and military base was located around Portchester, where the Romans built a fort, by the medieval period the major settlement was at the harbour mouth, the area now known as ‘old Portsmouth’. Here, and at various points eastward along the seafront, are the scattered remains of fortifications, some of which were in use from the 14th century as defence against French attacks, right through the Tudor period, when Henry VIII built Southsea Castle, to the Second World War. Also along the sea front are many memorials that give hints of Portsmouth’s maritime heritage. There is free access to many of these fortifications, possibly best starting off near Portsmouth’s Broad Street, where the 15th century Round and Square Towers are situated. Under parts of the walls, where ammunition was once stored, are cafes and pop-up galleries. There are fine views of the harbour and sea traffic from the walls here - and the Round Tower is the place for front-row views of major ships entering or leaving port.
Ventnor developed as a seaside health resort in Victorian times and still retains some of that atmosphere. It was a favourite childhood place of Winston Churchill’s. The town is in a lovely location, built on a steep slope beneath St Boniface Down, has a good beach and, though a little flaky in parts, it also has a quirky character, some nice little shops, decent amenities and is deservedly popular. In the 19th century, Ventnor was referred to as the 'English Mediterranean' and its relatively sheltered location does actually create its own favourable microclimate, with more sunny days and fewer frosts than other places on the Island. It boasts its own botanic gardens on the site of the former Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest.
The Needles is an iconic image of the Isle of Wight, a set of jagged chalk pillars disappearing into the sea with a lighthouse at the western end of the island. And the easiest way to see them from the land is to visit the Needles Old Battery, a fascinating Victorian fort built in 1862 re-used during both World Wars. The nearby New Battery was used for secret rocket tests during the Cold War and contains an intriguing exhibition.
VERY limited parking nearby - best walk from the Alum Bay car park about a mile away. It can get very windy too.