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When you think of the North, you probably don’t picture sparkling and sandy havens, but have a butcher’s at these brilliant beaches. Between them, they offer sunken forests, fields of asparagus, sophisticated Georgian splendour and enough candy floss to becalm a cruise ship – and they are all easily accessible by train.
10-minute walk from Seaton Carew station
Seaton Carew is a little gem of a beach. It’s easy to get to directly by train, or you could go to Hartlepool and take the 45-minute walk from the Hartlepool Marina. On a lovely sunny day this longer route is well worth taking; if the tide is out, you’ll see the Hartlepool Submerged Forest, a 7,000-year-old Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here, the bones of various animals and human tools have been found, dating back to when there was a land bridge between the UK and Europe.
If you want your fun to be more rooted in the present do not worry: Seaton Carew offers donkey rides! For £2.50 you can have your little ones chortling along this wonderful bit of seafront. After all the equine escapades and the sand castle construction, there’s a fish and chip shop for some much needed salty sustenance.
15-minute walk from Seaham Station
20-minute walk from Freshfield Station
20-minute taxi ride from Edinburgh Waverley Station
Portobello is a beautiful beach in the elegant south-eastern suburbs of Edinburgh. As well as a being a great place to laze in the sun, this 2-mile stretch of sand is a hard working haven. It hosts the annual Big Beach Busk, triathlons and volleyball competitions, there’s a kayak club and a coastal rowing club. Portobello Beach is the place to head when you want to swap your sophisticated city tour with a sophisticated beach ramble. It’s a charming strip of sand and is bounded by a beautiful suburb bustling with indie restaurants and shops.
19-minute walk from Blackpool South Station to Blackpool Pleasure Beach