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Britain’s 24 best seaside towns and villages: Property experts pick their favourites from the Devon hotspot where the average house price is £257,000 to celebrity-packed idylls

There is no such thing as the typical seaside town. Some are millionaires’ playgrounds, others centres of simple, olde-worlde charm. Some are loved by surfers, others best enjoyed from a deck chair, and while many are foodies’ delights, some traditional towns are all about candy floss and chips.

All of the towns and villages below are different. Yet each, in its own way, offers the ultimate coastal living. 

The Mail talked to property experts across the country who selected their favourite seaside hotspots – taking into account property prices, transport links, schools and amenities. 

We round up the places to be, so that you can find the perfect place to suit you, from North Wales to Norfolk. 

Whitstable, Kent

Joel Taylor and his partner Billy Ray McEvoy are delighted they moved to Whitstable in Kent from Canterbury seven weeks ago. ‘In the good weather we have had picnics on the beach,’ says Taylor, 31, who works for a law firm. ‘The place has a really good vibe, with fabulous seafood and great, olde-worlde pubs like the Neptune which is virtually on the beach.’ 

Increasingly popular, Whitstable is becoming ever more expensive, but the couple managed financially by taking a 75 per cent part-ownership deal on a £320,000 two-bed semi-detached. 

It is from here they also produce their podcast Tales from Wisteria Lane – chatty reviews of television programmes. There is a broad range of housing in Whitstable, from two-bedroom flats in a modern block to high-spec townhouses in Victorian streets. Scruffy a few years ago, many of these have been revamped with dormers and loft extensions. 

Similar part-ownership schemes are available at Whitstable Heights where homes start from £94,500 for a 30 per cent share of a two-bed house with a full market value of £320,000. The average price of a semi-detached on the open market last year was £416,000 ( 

Joy Lane, running parallel to the coast linking the suburb of Seasalter to the town, is one of the best addresses. Joel and Billy Ray are so taken with the walks in the area that they are going to buy a dog soon. Other attractions include the Windy Corner Stores and cafe which uses fresh produce from Kent, The Cheese Box on Harbour Street specialising in local cheeses and Grain and Hearth bakery, for which people queue before it opens in the morning. What’s not to like?

Average house price: £452,572

The Mail talked to property experts across the country who selected their favourite seaside hotspots - taking into account property prices, transport links, schools and amenities

The Mail talked to property experts across the country who selected their favourite seaside hotspots – taking into account property prices, transport links, schools and amenities

Abersoch, North Wales

If you think the strapline ‘Welsh Riviera’ is a contradiction in terms, you should pay a visit to Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula. A favourite with movers and shakers from the Midlands, this seaside village is a little parcel of the Med in the Land of My Fathers. 

It is home to Wales’ most expensive street, Benar Headland; the local caravan park, the Warren, even has a helipad, and last year a bog-standard beach hut sold for £250,000. 

Visit in high summer and the streets are filled with shoppers packed into FatFace and Jack Wills or spilling out of the Zinc Cafe and other fashionable restaurants. 

Not that it’s all about shopping and fine dining. The coast, which has Snowdonia as a backdrop, offers brilliant surfing at Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth) and for those who prefer to just stand and stare, there are frequent sightings of dolphins, seals and peregrine falcons. 

One huge plus point for anyone thinking of moving to Abersoch is that it doesn’t put up the shutters in winter. That is when the second home owners, who let their properties in high season, return. They may join the huge turnout for the annual New Year’s Day swim. 

Abersoch’s popularity, like the Med’s, shows no sign of being dimmed by the stagnation suffered in the broader housing market. Overall sold prices over the last year were 20 per cent up on the previous year.

Average house price in the past year according to Rightmove: £568,397

Newport, Pembrokeshire

Mention Pembrokeshire, and snapshots of the multi-coloured Victorian villas overlooking Tenby Harbour spring to mind. Newport is less well known – nearly anonymous. 

Perhaps that’s a good thing because it prevents the village from becoming overrun by tourists and hen parties. Its natural ‘tribe’ is outdoorsy families who enjoy sailing and other water sports and art. 

The Gallery yr Oriel is packed with fine art while Ffynnon is a trendy lifestyle store selling home interiors from its cute vintage shop. The Newport Collective gallery is run by local artists. Foodies are well catered for at award-winning restaurants such as Llys Meddyg which specialises in local artisan food and the Canteen, for pizzas. 

This is an all-year-round place to live with thriving golf courses, longboat rowing, tennis and life-saving clubs and a full range of stores and amenities. The Parrog is the most sought-after area, with houses there going for over £1million, closely followed by Feidr Ganol Tremydon, where one place recently sold for £875,000. 

Small terraced houses are very reasonably priced but they should carry a financial health warning. Although they make ideal holiday lets, the Welsh government has imposed exorbitant council tax charges for second homes. ‘It’s ludicrous because these small terraced cottages with no parking aren’t the kind of homes the locals want,’ says Carol Peett of West Wales Property Search. ‘So they simply remain empty, which means the local economy suffers.’

Average house price: £463,654

Mumbles, Swansea

The days are long gone when Mumbles was a scruffy seaside suburb of Swansea, best known for its noisy student Saturday nights, when the youngsters attempted the Mumbles Mile, downing a drink in every pub. 

Now the former fishing village is one of the most desirable places to live in Wales, attracting the likes of Bonnie Tyler, who has an impressive house behind high hedges on the front, and Robert Pugh, who played Craster in Game of Thrones. 

Joanna Page, of Gavin and Stacey fame, has family there, as does Catherine Zeta-Jones. It’s easy to see what attracts them. On a sunny day, diners in the new Oyster Wharf spill out on to the terraces overlooking the bay; families drink coffee in Verdis, an enormous glass-fronted Italian cafe-cum-ice cream parlour while the fashionable and well-heeled sip in the wine bars that line the hillside. 

The White Rose and the Pilot are good old-school pubs. Swimming in the bay is not recommended but head slightly west and you have the glorious beaches of Gower. Langland is the nearest but for more solitude, you’ll prefer Three Cliffs. 

The nearest housing to it is found in Southgate or Pennard from where it is only a short walk to Pobbles Bay. A three-bed semi in Southgate will set you back £350,000. 

If you need a drink after that then drop into Southgate Social Club – also known as the ‘bucket of blood’ from the days when it was popular with trawler fishermen. Ask to see their picture of Michael Douglas pulling a pint when he was there with Ms Zeta-Jones. Mumbles has some of the best schools in the area, notably the comprehensives at Bishopston and Olchfa.

Average house price: £400,152

Solva, Pembrokeshire

There is an air of mystery about Solva. The former fishing village lies hidden between the hillsides until it suddenly opens out into the pretty sheltered harbour and St Bride’s Bay.

The housing is a mixture of more modern stock in Upper Solva and the old cottages found beside the river in the lower half of the village. It is well-served with shops and restaurants. Bayview Stores opens for 13 hours a day, selling everything from papers to take-aways and fresh crab. 

The Main Street has MamGu (in Welsh it means Granny) selling coffee and excellent Welsh cakes and Number 35, a cafe by day that transforms itself into a restaurant in the evening. 

This is a famously warm and welcoming community. Despite its small size (the population is only around 800), it manages to run the annual Solva Edge Festival, a weekend of cultural activities with choirs, poetry and bands raising money for charity. 

There is no lack of things to do here the year round, with football, rowing and sailing clubs all thriving. There are coffee mornings and community cinema once a month. 

For those who just want to gaze at the big skies and the bobbing boats there is the Harbour View pub which sells Brains on draught – a cult beer in the Principality. The Ship Inn serves good food and the Royal George has live music. 

Although schools in Wales come in for heavy criticism, Solva children go to Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi in St David’s, a ten-minute drive away, and it has received a glowing report from Estyn, the Welsh form of Ofsted. 

You don’t have to break the bank to live in this magical little village. ‘Solva is attracting buyers of all ages,’ says Carol Peett of West Wales Home Search. ‘Incomers often start small businesses or work remotely. The village has such a lovely, strong community spirit. And who can resist seafood from Mrs Will the Fish?’

Average house price: £441,636

Ilfracombe, Devon

A coastal town that sparkled in the 19th century and fell into a depression in the 20th, Ilfracombe’s time may have come again – a renaissance seemingly symbolised by Damien Hirst’s 66ft statue of a sword-wielding pregnant woman above the town. 

The town certainly has natural beauty. To one side there is a towering headland guarding a little rocky bay overlooked by a 13th-century chapel. In the middle is a sheltered harbour and to the west there is another green headland. 

A bathing beach is the only thing that’s missing but that’s made up for in its famous Tunnels. Welsh miners, in the 19th century, were drafted in to hack a series of tunnels in the cliffs to Crewhorne Cove. Here they built three tidal pools – two for ladies and one for gentlemen. These are still popular today, both with swimmers and couples getting married. The pools provide a dramatic backdrop to thousands of wedding day snaps. 

There is an air of slightly shabby quirkiness about the town itself. As for housing, hotspots include Tors Park Road, near the seafront, where Hirst bought a property, and Crofts Lea Park with its large Victorian detached villas. Elan Homes is selling brand new homes in its Seascape development for £259,000. The town is a major attraction for retirees and second home owners who fuel the property market.

Average house price: £257,296

Appledore, Devon

You often hear it said that Appledore has all the charm of St Ives without being so remote. There is something in that. With its cobbled streets full of colourful fishermen’s cottages, it has the essence of its Cornish counterpart. 

There are plenty of art galleries as well as lovely pubs such as The Seagate and The Beaver. To feed the body as well as the spirit there is John’s, an award-winning deli. 

‘One of Appledore’s biggest draws is that there is plenty to do all year round, which gives it a stronger sense of community than its more touristy neighbours,’ says Tom Folland of Strutt and Parker, Exeter. ‘It has its own literary festival, a world championship crabbing contest and its own regatta.’ 

The surfing beaches of Croyde and Woolacombe are just along the coast and communications are good enough to make once-a-week commuting a possibility. There is a train station at Barnstable which gets you into Exeter in just over an hour. Buying into the Appledore lifestyle does not, however, come cheap.

Average house price: £403,581

Harlyn, Cornwall

The Cornish village was looking a little sad until recently. ‘Then the famous Pig hotel arrived and Harlyn came to life again,’ says Josephine Ashby of John Bray Estates. ‘It was followed by the arrival of Beach Box, a trendy beach bar which attracts young people.’ 

Harlyn has always been the classic bucket and spade family beach, with its rock pools, perfect sand for sandcastles and safe bathing. Now it also has a touch of surfer chic which is reflected in the house prices. 

A six-bed house with sea views sold for £4million last year and you won’t find much for sale under £550,000. In Karrek, a new block of shiny white apartments being built overlooking the beach, a two-storey apartment is for sale for £995,000 ( 

If you move a mile inland to St Merryn you will buy far more house for your pound. Prices are down 17 per cent since 2020 and an attractive cottage can be found for under £300,000. The village itself is on a busy crossroads with a bakers, a grocer and the superb Rafferty’s bistro, whose owner trained under Rick Stein.

Average house price: £750,000

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

Nowhere else has changed, socially, so dramatically and so quickly as Mawgan Porth has in the last 30 years. At the turn of the century, it was just another slightly tired looking beach resort with a resident population of 300. 

Then, one by one, the A-Listers turned up. Actress and writer Imogen Stubbs was one of the first to arrive when she bought her beachfront house in 1995. Since then Jason Statham has bought here, as have, reportedly, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Jamie Dornan of Fifty Shades of Grey fame. 

In 2010 the Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett bought two modest properties with a view of turning them into something very special. That’s not to mention a whole host of more anonymous city boys. 

So what is it about dear old Mawgan Porth that suddenly has the super rich desperate to buy there? ‘There’s the brilliant surf at Watergate Bay, the Scarlet Hotel and the fact that it doesn’t get as packed as places like Polzeath and Rock,’ says Josephine Ashby of John Bray estate agents. ‘But above all, it’s just five minutes from Newquay Airport. They like the idea of being able to jump on a plane and be in the waves a few hours later.’ 

Prices are predictably high in Mawgan Porth nowadays – there are several places for sale at over £3million. Yet there is a way to join Blanchett, Statham and the others in the queue for groceries in Cornish Fresh, the local shop. Lovat is selling luxury lodges for £200,000, with annual site fees of £5,500 ( And very comfortable they are too.

Average house price: £1,337,500

Fowey, Cornwall

Make your way along Fore Street, the main street in Fowey, and it’s difficult not to break into a piratical swagger. Tiered on the hillside above the deep water harbour, this is Long John Silver country. 

Today, instead of rollicking Admiral Benbow pubs, you’ll find more civilised hostelries such as Fifty, a wine bar and the Old Quay House Hotel. There is a full range of shops, including a cafe selling homemade cake, an old-school butchers and a deli – everything to attract incomers down from London (DFLs). 

It is four hours and 19 minutes by train from Paddington to nearby Par. To complete the scene, across the estuary are Bodinnick, where the novelist Daphne du Maurier bought a summer house in 1927, and the ancient fishing village of Polruan. 

The prime addresses in Fowey are the Esplanade and St Fimbarrus Road. Houses with a sea view there are selling for over £2million. A two-bed apartment, without a sea view, will cost around £250,000. 

There has been a fair amount of ill-feeling over homeowners from ‘up-country’ treating the Fowey property market as a cash cow recently. As an example, before selling his Grade II listed townhouse for £2.75million, the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay used to let it for a cool £4,700 a week. In an attempt to ensure they aren’t priced out of town, locals have voted to ban the sale of newly built homes to second home owners.

Average house price: £604,217

Exmouth, Devon

Exmouth is all things to all men. Fundamentally, it is a proper, year-round town, not a summer drop-in. 

It has a three-screen cinema, football, rugby, a seafront cricket pitch and a full range of independent shops. The schools are very good with the local Colyton Grammar highly ranked in various league tables. Foodies are spoilt for choice between the Italian Ristorante Sapori; the smart seafood chain Rockfish at the harbour and the Italian Store, a brilliant deli/cafe. Celebrity chef Michael Caines runs Mickey’s Beach Bar with regular live music nights. 

It is, too, a Mecca for water sports. Edge Watersports provides lessons in everything from power kiting to paddle-boarding. Being on the estuary, the water is usually quite calm. Take a pre-breakfast walk and you are likely to catch folk singer Steve Knightley and his crew taking a dip, even in darkest winter. 

Exmouth is, finally, a pensioners’ paradise. The manor gardens are very relaxing, the Pavilion theatre on the front puts on interesting shows and quiz nights and, crucially, the promenade is straight and dead flat, enabling wheelchairs to trundle along easily. As for property, the Avenues area sells detached homes for over £1million.

Average house price: £374,365

Dartmouth, Devon

Why should yachties buy in Dartmouth when glorious Salcombe is just along the coast? 

‘Dartmouth is open all year round, unlike Salcombe,’ says Tara Pitten of Marchand Petit estate agents. ‘The bars, restaurants and shops don’t close down in winter which gives an added dimension to the town.’ 

The Dart Marina opened its new bar and restaurant last month so now you can moor your boat, have a drink outside by the riverfront at Cloud 9, then head off for dinner at the Marina Hotel. 

However, Dartmouth is not all about boats. The Flavel Arts Centre is a community hub that puts on films, plays and concerts. There is a rugby club and a good swimming pool and for the shopper, there is a wide range of delis, bakeries and hardware stores as well as the ubiquitous M&S and Sainsbury’s. 

The town has several good restaurants, including the upmarket Seahorse and The Angel. If you fancy a change of scenery then head around the bay for a meal at the new beach bar at the blue-flagged Blackpool sands. 

If you are moving the entire family to the area, the schools are uniformly good, according to Ofsted, and if someone needs to get back to city life, it is two hours and 46 minutes from Exeter to London Paddington.

Average house price: £466,690

 Mudeford Spit, Dorset

The famous beach huts at Mudeford spit, where owners, who can live here between April and October, speak movingly of waking up to the sound of the sea lapping close by

The famous beach huts at Mudeford spit, where owners, who can live here between April and October, speak movingly of waking up to the sound of the sea lapping close by

Highcliffe and Mudeford, which are situated between Bournemouth and Lymington, were favourite destinations during Covid when people moved from the city in search of sea air and the great outdoors. 

It is easy to see why. The panoramic view from the cliff top at Highcliffe over to the Isle of Wight to the east and Purbecks to the west gives a blast of natural beauty that guarantees all is going to be well with the world. 

The area is enormously popular with retirees: in nearby Christchurch 30 per cent of the residents are retired. There are great golf courses nearby and for sailors, there are well-regarded clubs at Lymington and Poole Harbour. 

What really sets this area apart, however, are the beach huts at Mudeford Spit. This half-mile spit of sand is wrapped protectively around Christchurch Harbour. With the Hengistbury marshlands at the back and the Channel out front, a little toy Noddy train takes you to the huts. 

Every year journalists run articles ridiculing their prices – one recently sold this year for £480,000. Yet they miss the point. You can sleep six in these huts and some have designer interiors that are a match for any luxury caravan. Most have an upper mezzanine sleeping floor, marble worktops, double glazing, solar panels to power LED lights, fridges and hot water. 

Owners, who can live here between April and October, speak movingly of waking up to the sound of the sea lapping close by, sharing an experience of soporific relaxation that no amount of lifestyle counselling could match. 

If you prefer a more traditional home, the average sold price of a house in Highcliffe last year was £464,000 – 19 per cent up on 2021. If a Mudeford beach hut is beyond your budget then a front-line beach hut at Friars Cliff, with views to the Isle of Wight, is for sale for £115,000. Annual licence £1,200 with Overnight stays strictly forbidden.

Average house price: £503,798

Pett Level, East Sussex


If you are looking for solitude on the south coast then head for Pett Level between Hastings and Rye. This is where David Bowie filmed the video for Ashes to Ashes and, although you’ll find a few archaeology boffins studying the fossilised tree trunks of a prehistoric forest which emerges at low tide and the odd wild swimmer, the beaches are usually devoid of visitors. 

Only the wealthy seem to be in the know Pett Level and above the shoreline you will see some expensive, modernist timber-clad constructions. The late manager of the Pet Shop Boys, Tom Watkins built a Bauhaus-inspired home, The Big White House, here in 2003 and filled it with art by, amongst others, Eric Gill, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. 

Even more impressive was the Second World War look-out post which the artist and bon viveur, Michael B White, converted into a studio on the cliff-side above the beach at Cliff End. White also installed an enormous ship’s bell and when courting couples on the deserted beach below arrived at a certain moment of intimacy he would ring it, causing many a heart to flutter. 

Sadly White’s masterpiece has been knocked down now to be replaced by a neat, minimalist Japanese-inspired structure. When you have had your fill of being alone you can walk inland to Pett’s best pub, The Two Sawyers, or drop into the family-run butchers. Solitude, however, does not come cheap.

Average house price: £579,741

Bembridge, Isle of Wight

It’s often said that the Isle of Wight gives you the sensation of going abroad, without leaving the UK. Certainly, its natural beauty has the flavour of another country. Coastal paths, cycle routes and bridleways cover the island, revealing wildflower-topped chalk cliffs, forest trails and, of course, the splendid beaches. 

There has been an influx of incomers over the past decade. Places like Yarmouth, Cowes and Ryde appeal because they are close to the ferry crossings for commuting. Bembridge, on the eastern side of the island, has its own airport, harbour and three beaches. 

It also has some of the wealthiest residents, several of whom keep a house here purely for Cowes Week. The village is charming, with independent shops – including a greengrocer, bakery and butcher, several eateries and a library. 

A highlight of village life is the Fort Walk in August when you can explore one of Palmerston’s follies. Residents swear by the quality of life here, even taking into account the cost and hassle of getting a ferry to the mainland.

Average house price: £574,461

Bosham, West Sussex

There is something distinctly Midsummer Murders about Bosham. Perhaps it’s the eerie quiet of this picturesque harbourside village three miles west of Chichester. 

The story goes that it is where King Canute came a cropper against the tide. The church is stitched into the Bayeux Tapestry. Sailing underpins the culture here. The sailing club boasts the largest fleet of day boats in the country and holds a junior sailing week every summer. It also has an arts and crafts centre, two shops, a gallery and a cafe. 

The water’s edge is sometimes busy with day-trippers and if they park on the front, unaware that the tide surges in, their cars can get submerged. Photographs of stranded cars go up in the Anchor Bleu pub. 

If you tire of the quiet in Bosham, nearby Chichester has excellent shopping, not to mention The Festival Theatre which puts on plays, many of which are destined for the West End. There is modern art at the Pallant House Gallery. You need serious money to move to Bosham. However, you may be able to pick up a 1970s semi-detached on the outskirts of the village for £390,000.

Average house price: £938,464

Deal, Kent

Very few places have changed as dramatically as Deal in Kent this century. Twenty-five years ago the closure of the coalfields and the Royal Marines barracks had left it looking very forlorn. 

Then, with the launch of the high-speed service into London St Pancras in 2015, the 70-mile journey that had previously taken two and a half hours was cut to 90 minutes. The town filled with weekend down-from-Londoners, some of whom turned into full-time residents. 

There was much here to please them, from walks along the two-mile pebble beach or along the Grade II Listed pier. Today you can enjoy the dozens of coffee shops, delis and restaurants or sip a few in Le Pinardier wine bar or in the magnificently battered but welcoming Royal Hotel, overlooking the sea, where Nelson and Lady Hamilton once stayed. 

There is golf at the nearby Royal St George at Sandwich, fine countryside and it’s an easy hop across the Channel for lunch in France. As for property, the incomers favour tasteful renovations of the houses in the conservation area – the three roads in from the seafront linking to Beach Street and Middle Street.

Average house price: £375,380

Cromer, Norfolk

The town was once a bi-word for faded grandeur but that was then, this is now. Little by little, gentrification has come to the North Norfolk town. Freelancers and other work from home types have moved here from London and fine delis and restaurants have sprung up alongside the traditional chippies. 

Art is very popular here: in places like the Gunton Arms, a pub with rooms, the walls display works by Tracey Emin and Lucian Freud. A public art gallery opened on the seafront in 2022. 

The twin beaches are gems of soft, sheltered sand and to top it all there is the famous pier. Measuring 152m in length and completed in 1901, the Cromer lifeboat launches off its end, creating quite a spectacle. 

The main attraction though is the 510-seat Pavilion Theatre, home of the world’s last remaining full-season end-of-the-pier show. Today it specialises in tribute acts and vintage 1960s rockers like the Manfreds and Fairport Convention.

Average house price: £290,238

Orford, Suffolk

The last place in the world you’d expect to find a trendy up-market village is tucked behind Orford Ness, a long, shingle spit at the mouth of the River Ore which was for many years used for hush hush military testing. Red-bricked Orford has the foodie revolution to thank for its sudden popularity. 

Gourmands love the Saturday country market and rave about Pinney’s on the quayside where they buy freshly landed fish and Pump Street Bakery where the doughnuts are to die for. 

To get rid of the calories there’s a little light crabbing on the quay, dinghy sailing up the Ore and the Alde and walks along footpaths and on the dyke opposite Orford Ness. In terms of more cerebral pursuits, there is a beautiful church – much admired by Benjamin Britten film nights, concerts and singing in the Jolly Sailor. 

Add to all this its teeming bird life, being a National Nature Reserve, and it’s little wonder that the BBC’s Nick Robinson and the writer Anthony Horowitz live there.

Average house price: £479,325

Wells-next-the Sea, Norfolk

North Norfolk has joined Cornwall in recent years as a happy stamping ground for Down From Londoners (DFLs) buying second homes. Wells-next-the-Sea is DFL central. Nestled between Holkham Beach and the bird sanctuary at Blakeney Point, it is the classic 1950s Famous Five beach. 

Families play cricket on the expanse of sand, made even more immense when the sea retreats, and to complete the scene there are the famous, brightly coloured beach huts on stilts. If you fancy one of these, be prepared to fork out around £95,000. To simply hire one costs £65 a day, which usually includes all the trappings for a day on the beach – coffee, hot chocolate, deck chairs, a little gas stove, windbreaks etc. 

Other pursuits are equally wholesome. There is cycle hire and seal-spotting boat trips from the quay and the Wells and Walsingham light railway. The town itself is unremarkable but pretty, with a leafy Georgian square and a good selection of shops and eateries. 

Yet to buy a six-bedroom townhouse here costs nearly £2million. A realistic alternative is Sheringham, a town with a similarly old-fashioned feel, or Hunstanton, another seaside classic, with tennis and golf clubs.

Average house price: £495,472

Whitby, North Yorkshire

Whitby is one for the goths, its old streets and ruined abbey being the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yet it is more than that. 

The beaches are superb and the locals have the North York Moors on their doorstep. The town itself is a picturesque mix of medieval and 19th-century buildings built in the shadow of Whitby Abbey which you reach by a cliff-side climb of 199 steps. 

Estate agents claim that 50 per cent of their house sales go to second home owners looking for the kind of quaint fishermen’s cottages found off Flowergate or Henrietta Street. 

There is a shortage of properties for sale, however, and it may pay to look in villages such as Ruswarp and Sleights. Sandsends, to the north, once a retreat for Edwardian families, is very pleasant, as is Robin Hood’s Bay, just to the south of Whitby. The oldest part of this village, right by the sea, is the most desirable. 

You don’t come to Whitby for the arts scene but The Pavilion puts on regular events, including tea dances. Significantly, the University of the Third Age (U3A) is thriving. Although it is a five-hour journey by car from London and 90 minutes by train to Middlesbrough, Whitby’s breathtaking scenery continues to attract incomers to this North Yorkshire town.

Average house price: £259,207

Alnmouth, Northumberland

Few places match the needs of the modern work from home executive as fully as Alnmouth. The bracing sea air should quell the executive stress, there’s a golf course to maintain the fitness levels and a deli to help cater for the dinner parties. 

The Northumberland village offers a fast train service to Newcastle, York, Edinburgh or London so a quick dash back to the office in times of crisis is a possibility. Apart from its wild and windy sandy beach, Alnmouth itself has an upmarket, brightly painted high street and an outstanding Ofsted-rated primary school. 

So there is no danger of disadvantaging the children with a move to this remote part of the coast. In fact, they are likely to be spellbound by the seat of the Percy family in the attractive market town of Alnwick, only four miles away. This was, as all children know, where the first Harry Potter film was shot. House prices are enticing to southerners’ eyes, though comparatively high for the North East.

Average house price: £404,833

Bamburgh, Northumberland

Bamburgh is not for softies. Dominated by the mighty Norman castle perched on a rocky outcrop, when the wind blows across its one-and-a-half mile white sand beach it has the look of a Siberian wilderness. 

Yet the holiday let owners are doing well as ever more tourists appreciate Bamburgh’s rugged beauty. A report out last week – The 2024 Holiday Letting Outlook from Sykes Holiday Cottages – put Bamburgh in the top ten for largest income increase for holiday lets in the space of a year. Bamburgh owners made an average annual income of £30,100 in 2023, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year. 

Bamburgh itself is a pretty little village with a few good shops, including Carter’s the butchers and convenience store and The Pantry deli. It has several pubs and The Potted Lobster specialises in seafood. 

Lack of housing stock is a problem. There are only three places on the market at the time of writing, one being 22 Ingram Road, a three-bed bungalow with views towards the castle. Price: £900,000 ( 

‘Properties don’t come on the market very often,’ says Ryan Eve of Finest Properties. ‘When they do they sell very fast and it’s the owners running holiday lets who are driving up prices.’ One solution could be to look in Seahouses, a little to the south. It has a beautiful beach and it is known for its view of the Farne Islands, a big attraction for boat trippers.

Average house price: £613,750

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

Whitley Bay has for generations been loved by the locals in Tyne and Wear and now it has had a magnificent make-over. 

The Spanish City is its flagship. This grand Edwardian venue on the waterfront has a champagne bar, tearoom and wedding venue following a £10million renovation project. It is part of the town’s seafront master plan that includes High Point View, 14 townhouses on the site of an abandoned old hotel, as well as new railings, lighting, seats and shelters. 

This regeneration is far from merely cosmetic. Whitley Bay High School – rated ‘outstanding’ in its most recent Ofsted report – is in the process of getting an upgrade, with a new football pitch, new halls and a landscaped central zone. (Incidentally, Valley Gardens Middle School is also judged outstanding, as are several of the primary schools.) 

The best addresses include Holywell Avenue with its mock Tudor and Arts and Crafts homes and Marine Avenue with its Victorian semi-detacheds. Prices here hit £1million. You will find 1960s villas close to the golf club for around £500,000. Park View, with its fashionable cafes and lifestyle stores, is worth a visit. 

There are six blue-flag beaches along this part of the coast and getting there could hardly be easier, the journey on the Metro from St James in Newcastle city centre taking only 24 minutes. Rail services connect to London and Scotland. All of which explains why Whitley Bay today is such a canny place.

Average house price: £306,605

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