Unmissable sea views
‘As the westering sun drops over the cliffs the shadows of night start to play on the darkening water. Sail boats drift slowly up to their moorings after a lazy afternoon bobbing about in the bay, fishing boats chug up the harbour and fishermen tie up their lines and row ashore with their catch of mackerel and crabs.’
- Deborah O’Brien describes Porthclais Harbour, St David’s Peninsula
Living on an island, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to sea views; from blustery, wild cliffs to tranquil beaches. There are thousands of beautiful places to sit and relax, walk or even run with a sea view. So we decided to collate ten of the finest seascapes – as nominated by you and our coastal rangers. Of course, there are far more than just these ten. Take a look at our sea views Pinterest board for more inspiration.
‘I stumbled across this secluded beach whilst walking in the nature reserve. It’s so peaceful and has great views of the Seven Sisters, which we walked the day before. This place has everything I love - isolation, the coast, and amazing views. Perfect.’
- Claire T, writing on our Special Places app about the beach at Hope Gap
There are a lot of incredible sea views along the South Downs, not to mention the view you get from the top of the Seven Sisters themselves. You can access Hope Gap beach via foot from the South Downs Way.
* Many thanks to Claire T for her photo of the Seven Sisters
‘I discovered this place by accident - growing up in an industrial town meant I'd missed out on fresh air and the glittering sea. An ill friend passed their holiday onto me, and I can't stay away now. England at its best: fresh, clean and beautiful.’
- Sinead D at the Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site, littered with both fossils and beautiful sea views. Kate Sheard, a ranger in Devon, shares her favourite coastal walk:
‘The Jurassic Coast covers over 90 miles of stunning coastline. In the East Devon section alone there is such an amazing variety of different landscapes.
My favourite way to enjoy the views is to walk from Branscombe to Beer. I normally walk there along the top of the cliff line and walk back via the under cliff. This route goes through the short shrubby areas of the cliff and you can glimpse the sea, peaking between the trees.’
* Discover more coastal walks in this area on the East Devon Ranger’s blog
Here are two sea view recommendations from those who know the area best - our coastal rangers.
‘We have the best sea views ever along the Yorkshire Coast. On the north cheek of Robin Hood’s Bay we have an old Coastguard Lookout building where you can see for miles out to sea and there are lots of passing birds, sea mammals and many ships.’
- Zoe Frank, ranger
‘Climb to the top of Souter Lighthouse for unbeatable sea views of the North Sea. You can even see a sea stack called ‘Jack Rock’ that’s covered in nesting cormorants.’
- Mick Simpson, ranger
‘Worms Head is a tidal island at the end of Rhossili Bay. It’s accessible only two and a half hours either side of low tide. Once you’re at the tip of Worms Head you have a 360° view of Rhossili Bay, the South Gower coast and across to Devon.
Rhossili Bay has won many awards over the years, including being named by Trip Advisor as the No 1 Best Beach in the UK. You can enjoy views across the beach from our holiday cottages; Coastguard Cottage or The Old Rectory.’
- Kim Boland, staff member, Gower
* The very outer part of Worms Head is not accessible between March and mid-August due to nesting birds. The views from the inner head are still breathtaking though.
* Pembrokeshire is also a great area for sea and seabird spotting
‘The light around this area is really something special. It reflects off the chalk cliffs creating a very unusual brightness and the chalk underneath the water means that we get lovely light, transparent turquoise waters.
Tennyson Down is a wonderful place for cliff-top walks. There is a great view of the Needles from the west end of the ridge. Here, in spring and early summer there are beautiful displays of flowers such as primroses, cowslips and sheets of scented yellow vetches. You can also see peregrine, raven, cormorants and gulls gliding on the updraft.’
- Robin Lang, head ranger
After exploring Tennyson Down reward yourself with a cream tea at the Needles Old Battery tea-room (as featured in the BBC Good Food Magazine). The view from the tea-rooms is hard to beat and you can even borrow some binoculars whilst you're there.
‘This stretch of coast is a great spot for watching surfers and enjoying the views of St Ives Bay. When you walk away from Gwithian Beach, around Godrevy headland, you get to a very wild portion of coast. This gives you another, very different, sea view.’
- Rose Roberts, ranger
This seascape is dominated by Godrevy Lighthouse - the landmark that inspired Virginia Woolf’s famous novel ‘To the Lighthouse’. Not far away is Chapel Porth, another beautiful beach and viewing point. In September don’t miss the World Bellyboarding Championships, which are held here.
* For more info about the World Bellyboard Championships call 01872 552412
From the muddy depths of the Irish Sea, a rocky coast emerges. Towering red sandstone cliffs dominate the scene offering fantastic vantage points in all directions.
‘Whitehaven Coast is often known as the ‘colourful coast’ and I can say first-hand it definitely is at this time of the year. During July and early August Whitehaven’s coast is covered in wildflowers. From the cliff tops you can see the Solway Estuary, Irish Sea and Scotland. Locals say on a clear day you can even see Northern Ireland.’
- Justin Holt, staff member
‘My special place is Giant's Causeway. This interesting and beautiful place is where I said ‘Yes' in July 2012 when my husband to be asked me to be his wife. With such a fantastic backdrop and awesome story who could say no?’
- Sarah G on our Special Places app
Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean on one side and a landscape of dramatic cliffs on the other, for centuries Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it.
Inquiring minds have marvelled at the regularity of the stones’ shape and the vastness of their number. Some say that the causeway is the remains of a giant’s bridge that once linked Ireland to Scotland. Others prefer to look to science for the answers. Either way it’s a view well worth seeing.
‘Dunwich Heath is where the heather meets the sea. Crumbling cliffs cloaked with gorse and heather gently descend onto the shingle beach, where clumps of Sea Pea and Sea Kale grow. The crashing waves have inspired writers and composers alike. In the summer the cliffs are home to dozens of Sand Martins who sweep and wheel acrobatically.
Look north you can see Dunwich, forever known for its lost city, and further along is the historic town of Southwold. The views south are strangely contrasting, with beautiful reed-beds and shallow lagoons backed by Sizewell power stations.’
- Richard Gilbert, ranger
‘Blakeney has fantastic sea views and dramatic skies. You can enjoy both from the top of the Observation Tower at Morston Information Centre. Alternatively you can walk along Blakeney Point or get a boat from Morston. It can be quite a challenge, walking across four miles of shingle.
As well as sea views, the Point is a good place for spotting wildlife. At this time of the year (July and August) we have lots of terns. People also enjoy seeing grey and common seals.’
- Ajay Tegala, coastal ranger, Blakeney
Many thanks to Chris T for sharing his memories of Blakeney Point: ‘Nothing like a little trip out on the boat from Morston to Blakeney Point for a picnic watched over by the seals and terns...magical.’
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