As an island nation, we often forget just how beautiful, dynamic and stunning our native coastline can be. Throw in a cute little fishing town, with trawlers of all colours, shapes, and sizes hugging the shoreline and you have a pretty holiday destination in the making. British harbours are not only quaint and idyllic to look at, but they are also often the central hub of local fishing industries, supplying lobsters to local restaurants, samphire to little cafes and oysters to high-end hotels. If you find yourself travelling to the good old British seaside anytime soon, consider taking a little detour to one of these beautiful unspoiled harbours.
Running effortlessly into the small village of Lynton, Lynmouth looks the same today as it did in the Victorian days. With a funicular railway, a scattering of pasty shops and a sparse shoreline, Lynmouth is the perfect harbour to retreat to if you want some peace and quiet. There are some great bird watching opportunities with cormorants and shags often spotted just off the bay. If you fancy venturing slightly further afield, a three-minute drive will see you up at the Valley of the Rocks – the perfect place to wander around a rugged hillside to take in the magnificent Bristol Channel vista.
The colourful harbour town of Tenby in Wales is known as the jewel in Pembrokeshire’s crown, and for good reason. Pastel-hued buildings of pink, blue and mint green provide the perfect backdrop to this medieval walled harbour. With a small enclosed sandy beach and a variety of large modern yachts, working trawlers, and catamarans, this harbour is nestled perfectly beneath Tenby Castle. If you fancied a trip out to sea, you can even take a trip via boat to Caldey Island and explore the abbey that’s still inhabited by Cistercian monks.
Venturing further north into bonnie Scotland and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to unspoiled and beautiful harbours. Head to the east coastline of Scotland, and you may stumble across Crail, famous for its unusually clear waters. A tiny fishing industry is still flourishing here. If you’re an early bird, you can head down to the harbour and observe the trawlers bringing back their plentiful lobster pots. The picturesque backdrop is frequented with red-roofed and whitewashed homes that enclose the tiny bay.
Staithes, North Yorkshire
Eee-bye-gum, you can’t get a much more quaint harbour than that of Staithes in God’s own county. Sandwiched between two domineering cliffs, sits the bay in which the odd fishing boat or two gently bobs away. Once a thriving fishing port back when Captain Cook was a resident of the village, there is now only one working trawler that brings home the daily catch. With a host of artist studios, galleries and creative types adorning the village, this harbour has a relaxed and calm vibe to it.
Next time you consider heading to the coast to catch the lingering rays of the summer sun, don’t forget to venture down to the harbours you may come across. If you don’t, you may be missing out on some of the most unspoiled and idyllic shorelines that the UK has to offer.