Dreaming of a summer of salty sea air and sand between your toes? You need my guide to planning and packing for coastal adventures on Britain’s shores, in collaboration with Lighthouse Clothing
My Lighthouse Clothing guide to coastal adventures
I must go down to the sea again – after writing this guide to my favourite places to eat, stay at and explore around Britain’s salty shores. Read on to plan your next escape to stay in charming campsites, eco hotels or quirky campervans, plus where to find the finest seaside feasts.
I’ve also listed all my must-pack items for a seaside stay, including my favourites from Lighthouse Clothing. Their breezy and beautiful clothing is designed to keep you dry, warm and happy on the coast, and includes everything you need to face mercurial weather, from classic yellow rubber raincoats to cosy woolly bobble hats.
WHERE TO STAY BY THE SEA
Troytown campsite, Isles of Scilly
This may be the the loveliest campsite in Cornwall, and that’s saying something. Camp a literal stone’s throw from the beach on the car-free island of St Agnes, in the Scilly Archipelago, and spend your days island-hopping and exploring flower farms and white sand beaches by foot or by bike. Don’t forget to try the farm’s famous homemade clotted cream ice cream.
Three Cliffs Bay campsite, Wales
The clue’s in the name – this campsite looks out on the three limestone peaks of this famous Welsh bay on the Gower Peninsula. You camp on high on a grassy cliffside but there’s a winding little path down to the beach, the perfect place to play on the sand or paddle in the water (but be careful swimming, as riptides have been reported here). The site also has beautiful bell tents if you fancy a spot of glamping.
The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
This grown-up, decadent eco hotel is a serious treat. Inside is all modern, sustainable design, and huge glass windows overlooking the ever-changing shores of Mawgan Porth beach. Outside is even better – dive into the the Scarlet’s seaweed-strewn natural outdoor pool or soak in one of the wooden hot tubs that look out to sea.
Borve campsite, Barra, Outer Hebrides
Fancy unzipping your tent to a view of white sand and clear blue ocean? No need to go camping in the Caribbean – Barra, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Borve campsite (the furthest westerly campsite in Britain) lets you pitch up next to the Atlantic. Keep your eyes peeled for seals.
The Druidstone hotel, Wales
Hotels don’t get more laid-back than the Druidstone, which feels more like staying at a friend’s house than a hotel – there are just ten bedrooms and the house is filled with art and warm colours. The hotel perches atop the sea above the white sands of St Brides Bay on the Pembrokeshire coast and makes the perfect place to escape the madding crowds.
Three Cliffs Bay campsite, Wales
The clue’s in the name – this campsite looks out on the three limestone peaks of this famous Welsh bay. You camp on high on a grassy cliffside but there’s a winding little path down to the beach, the perfect place to play on the sand or paddle in the water (but be careful swimming here, as riptides have been reported). The site also has beautiful bell tents if you fancy a spot of glamping.
VW campervan, Devon
Make a cosy seaside home wherever you fancy by renting a classic VW campervan for a coastal adventure. Coast to Coast offer weekend hire in and around Devon – I recommend heading to the lovely Secret Spot campsite, near Saunton Sands, where you can get the kettle on and watch the sun set from your cosy camper.
Where to eat on the coast
Hidden hut, Cornwall
The name of the Hidden Hut immediately gives you an inkling of how delightful this snack stand-turned-foodie destination is. The Hut may now be Cornwall’s worst kept secret, but for good reason – it serves up delicious eats above Porthcurnick beach on Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula. Pop in for lunch or book a ticket for one of their intimate feast events.
HIX, Lyme Regis
Heaven for seafood lovers. HIX does some of the finest fish I’ve ever sampled, and specialises in delectable oysters, which you can knock back whilst looking out at the Jurassic Coast through the restaurant’s huge picture windows.
Foraging walk, Dorset
Sing for your supper on a foraging and wild food day out with Hedgerow Harvesting, based near Weymouth. Their guides will teach you how to identify and collect seaweeds, wild plants, fungi and even crabs and lobsters on a three hour walk, then help you cook up a feast on the beach with all the goodies you collected.
Shells Cafe, Ireland
The small, much-loved Shells in Strandhill, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, is a mecca for surfers and seaside lovers alike, and the bakery and cafe serves up delights such as chili eggs, thai salads and smashing cakes just a few metres away from Strandhill’s famed waves.
HOW TO PACK FOR COASTAL ADVENTURES
Pack these cosy essentials for a trip to the shore, from the perfect waterproof to hard-working microtowels and organic sunscreen.
1, Lighthouse short Bowline jacket, £59.95
Okay, so you can’t guarantee balmy, sunshiney weather in Britain – but you can be prepared with the lovely rubberised Bowline rain jacket, which is lightweight but fully waterproof if storms are looming. Perfect for summer showers.
2. Lighthouse Shore Sweatshirt, £49.95
Look no further – this is your dream pullover. Lighthouse Clothing’s laid-back Shore sweat is cosy and warm but won’t weigh you down and is easy to chuck in your backpack for coast path walks, beach picnics or rockpooling adventures. I love the snuggly lining, and it has *drumroll* pockets!
3. Lighthouse Ocean Denim shirt, £19.95
This soft-as-anything button up cotton shirt is the perfect beside-the-sea cover up. Wear it under dresses, over swimsuits, with shorts… it’s great for travelling, as it doesn’t crease, and it’s breathable and cool even when the sun decides to shine.
4. Ruby Moon reversible bikini, £46
Pick a planet-friendly swimsuit made with recycled materials this summer. My guide to eco-friendly and sustainable swimwear lists plenty of eco-conscious brands – Ruby Moon’s reversible bikinis are made with recycled ocean plastics and are great for sea swimming.
5. Sink or Swim solid shampoo bar, £3 from Bonne Bombe
If a dip in the salty ocean tends to make your hair rather straw-like, swap your normal shampoo for this lovely, all-natural solid version. As well as being an eco-friendly, vegan way to wash your locks, its infusion of rosemary and lavender will naturally cleanse your hair.
6. Teva sandals, £35
Teva’s iconic sports sandals boast grippy soles and quick-dry straps, making them perfect for rockpooling, sea paddling and other adventures down on the shore.
7. Dock and Bay Micro towel, £15
Dock and Bay’s cheery striped delights dry quickly and take up little space in your rucksack but are still absorbent and large enough to use for sea swimming.
8. Badger organic sunscreen, £13.99 from So Organic
If you’re trying to pick beauty products based on natural ingredients you’ll love Badger’s range – they use the mineral zinc oxide, plus organic plant oils, aloe and beeswax, to concoct a formula that naturally protects your skin from rays.