Sure, it’s no longer summer, but you never know, you may get lucky on an autumnal visit to the UK capital – the sun may come out, the temperatures may get warmer and the place may experience an ‘Indian summer’ (as the Brits call very good weather in the fall). In which case, there’s nothing like doing as the Londoners do and upping sticks for the day and heading to the seaside.
Really, you may ask? There are actually seaside resorts within easy reach of London and so, say, within easy reach of hotels near Royal Albert Hall London? Why, yes – and here are the four nearest and, arguably, best of them…
Brighton (East Sussex)
Long considered one of the country’s poshest resorts, Brighton is nowadays one of the most colourful, coolest and most cosmopolitan. For that reason, it’s very popular among London’s hippest – or maybe Brighton’s the way it is because so many hip Londoners visit it and many have chosen to settle there? Either way, you won’t be disappointed if you’re after sleek gelato bars and awesome nightlife.
Yet, don’t be deceived, Brighton does the conventional bucket-and-spade kids’ stuff, too, what with its acres of sands, all its seagulls and a wonderfully restored Victorian pier. Don’t miss the renowned Lanes, though, for here you’ll find all alt shops and boutiques vending boho bits and bobs, in addition to coffee shops serving up delicious macchiatos and vegan treats (definitely worth the trip then, all the way from hotels near Madame Tussauds London).
Distance from London? About an hour by train from London Victoria/ London Bridge stations
Camber Sands (East Sussex)
Feeling like a million miles away from London Town when you get here, this beach idyll is to be found where the River Rother meets the sea and is something of a standout for beaches in East Sussex – Camber Sands is genuinely, well, sandy. Featuring dunes and a wonderfully long and empty feel when it’s high tide, there’s a genuinely get-away-from-it all rustic coastal feel to this place. It does get properly windy, though – great news if you bring a kite with you from your Bayswater accommodation!
Distance from London? About an hour by train from St Pancras International station (to Rye)
Arguably a jewel in the crown of Kent, the ‘Home County’ that, more or less, lies directly due south-east of London, Margate is one of those classic English seaside towns. Fish and chip cafés, stalls selling naughty postcards, amusement arcades, ‘kiss-me-quick’ hats and lots of pensioners on their hols? This place has got the lot. It’s also blessed with its fair share of chic cafés and retro outlets, too – so, a little bit like Brighton, then.
Perhaps Margate’s biggest 21st Century claim to fame, though, is that it’s home to the Turner Contemporary Gallery, as well as Dreamland, an unquestionably hipster-ish, ironic amusement park with rides and, best of all, a roller disco – try and find one of *them* within walking distance of the Park Avenue Bayswater hotel!
Distance from London? About one-and-a-half hours by train from St Pancras International station
Finally, no list like this would be complete without the (ahem) traditional playground of Cockney East Enders, Essex’s South-on-Sea. In fact, the area of this county in which this (like Margate) classic seaside resorts lies became so popular with peeps from East London that many of them have moved out here – the Cockney accent’s practically all you seem to hear in Southend! The rail service that connects the place with London (used by thousands of commuters daily) is second to none and, having recently been bestowed with city status, it’s also now undertaking a number of high-profile regeneration projects.
The biggest deal with Southend, though, aside from its 11km of beach, is the fact it boasts the longest pleasure pier in the world. No joke, the thing’s so long it has its own shuttle train!
Distance from London? About an hour by train from London Fenchurch Street/ Liverpool Street stations