Our coastal poem

Dr John Cooper Clarke has created a coastal poem for the nation to help us celebrate all that's special about the sea. Clarke created the first verses of the poem and over the summer you helped him finish it by sharing your memories and love of the coast.

Be inspired to plan your next trip to the coast by reading the Nation's Ode to the Coast.

Nation's Ode to the Coast

Dr John Cooper Clarke
A big fat sky and a thousand shrieks
The tide arrives and the timber creaks
A world away from the working week
Où est la vie nautique?
That’s where the sea comes in…
Dishevelled shells and shovelled sands,
Architecture all unplanned
A spade ‘n’ bucket wonderland 
A golden space, a Frisbee and
The kids and dogs can run and run
And not run in to anyone
Way out! Real gone!
That’s where the sea comes in…
Impervious to human speech, idle time and tidal reach
Some memories you can’t impeach
That’s where the sea comes in
A nice cuppa splosh and a round of toast
A cursory glance at the morning post
A pointless walk along the coast
That’s what floats my boat the most
That’s where the sea comes in…
Now, voyager - once resigned
Go forth to seek and find
The hazy days you left behind
Right there in the back of your mind
Where lucid dreams begin
With rolling dunes and rattling shale
The shoreline then a swollen sail
Picked out by a shimmering halo
That’s where the sea comes in…
Could this be luck by chance?
Eternity in a second glance
A universe beyond romance
That’s where the sea comes in…
Yeah, that’s where the sea comes in…

Top 10 things to do on the beach

Here are just a few of our favourite activities to inspire you on your day out at the beach.

Visitors enjoying the view over the Northumberland Coast

Help us protect the coastline you love 

With more than 778 miles of coastline in our care, we know how much British beaches matter. Help us safeguard these special places for future generations.

Searching for sea creatures amongst the limestone rocks on the beach at White Park Bay, County Antrim

Coast & beaches 

As an island nation, we all feel a strong connection to the coast. Plan your visit now.

A boy rock pooling with a starfish in a net Yorkshire Coast

Top 50 things to do at the beach 

Catch a crab, fly a kite, skim a stone. Our '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾' activities list has inspiring ways to help your children get close to nature on the beach.