PRECIOUS PLACES: Coast with the most, the England Coast Path
From striking cliffs rising out of the sea to sandy coves and quaint fishing villages, England’s coastline offers a tranquil escape for those dreaming of the great outdoors. The nation’s coastal and marine environments are connected via the England Coast Path, which will be the longest signposted trail in the world at 4,345 km when it opens in its entirety in 2021.
However, vast sections of the England Coast Path are already open, enabling visitors to pass some of England’s most breathtaking scenery and tranquil spots, explore historic castles, tuck into delicious fish and chips at local shops and gastro pubs, and find fossils in ancient cliffs.
Here are just some a few of the top sites to discover:
The Kent Coast
Separating the ‘garden of England’ from the sea, Kent is home to 565 km of picture-perfect coastline (banner photo) featuring grand chalk and sandstone cliffs and more Blue Flag sandy beaches than anywhere else in the country. Visitors can gaze upon chalk stacks at Botany Bay or stroll beneath the famous White Cliffs at St Margaret’s at Cliffe. Foodies can savour sampling cuisine from top chefs in Whitstable, while animal fans can spot wild birds around Romney Marsh and the bird reserve at Dungeness.
Prepare to be inspired by the ruins of Tintagel Castle on Cornwall’s north coast, perched high on a rugged rocky outcrop and linked for the first time in more than 500 years thanks to a ground-breaking bridge project by English Heritage. Fans of Britain’s rich ancient history and folklore can explore the area’s connection to the legend of King Arthur and a coastline that has sparked the imagination for centuries.
With its imposing castles and offshore islands that are teeming with wildlife, the Northumberland coast offers beauty and history in equal measure. Highlights include the imposing walls of Bamburgh Castle, which overlook this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, spying rare puffins and seals from the Farne Islands, and exploring the historic Holy Island of Lindisfarne when the tide is low.
North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast
Running the length of where the North York Moors National Park meets the North Sea, the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast mixes dramatic clifftops with picturesque fishing villages and towns. If you’re a foodie, you can add the catch of the day from the seaside harbour of Whitby to your taste of Britain wish list. Adventurers can explore the haunting ruins of its abbey, while history buffs can get inspired by learning more about the history of Robin Hood’s Bay and the region’s rich mining past.
Located to the north of Liverpool, Cosby Beach offers miles of sandy coastline and a unique art installation, best enjoyed at low tide. Internationally acclaimed sculptor Antony Gormley’s Another Place, a collection of 100 life-size iron figures overlooking the sands, covers a stretch of coastline of nearly 3.2 km, with viewing especially rewarding at sunset.
Durham Heritage Coast
A designated stretch of historic coastline, Durham’s wild cliffs and sweeping dunes are home to an abundance of wildflowers, insects and other wildlife. While the flowers bloom in spring and summer, the striking coastal rock formations, the Magnesian Limestone Coastal Grasslands and rugged clifftops are beautiful all year round.
A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 50 years, the Norfolk Coast contains everything from the sweeping sand dunes and salt marshes of Holkham National Nature Reserve to the magnificence of Holkham Hall stately home. If you’re a lover of the coast you can search for fossils against a backdrop of dramatic colours at Hunstanton Cliffs and building sandcastles on vast sandy beaches. And culture lovers can explore a host of traditional seaside resorts, including taking in a show at the Grade II-listed Pavilion on Cromer Pier – Europe’s last end-of-pier theatre.
With miles of undisturbed coastline, and in close proximity to the renowned beauty of the Lake District, the Cumbrian coast has a number of treats to discover. There are a host of inimitable experiences, from exploring the striking red sandstone cliffs of St Bees Head Heritage Coast or visiting the maritime port of Whitehaven to enjoying a scenic ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, on a route that comes peppered with historic castles and ancient ruins.
Once the haunt of smugglers, South Devon’s Coast Path is home to miles of clifftop pathways, rocky headlands, hidden coves and sandy beaches for hikers to explore, providing exceptional views and an abundance of instagrammable shots. Sitting in the heart of the South Devon Area of Outstanding National Beauty, the small harbour town of Salcombe and its waters have helped shape the area’s history – from the Salcombe Sand Bar that inspired poet Alfred Lord Tennyson to the ruins of Salcombe Castle, dating back to the reign of Henry VIII.
The Jurassic Coast
Stretching 150 km from Devon to Dorset, the UNESCO World Heritage coastline showcases 185 million years of history and the incredible power of the natural world. With stunning scenes around every corner, spy the natural limestone arch at Durdle Door, or rock pooling on the white pebbles of Lulworth Cove – part of a diverse landscape that is a feast for the senses. Lyme Regis, with its rich fossil hunting heritage, historic harbour and cobbled streets, is steeped in mysticism, while Undercliff, one of the first National Trust Reserves, was created over time via a series of landslips.
First published at Travel Industry Today