Stay close to the coast in 2021 for on-foot adventures, cool art trails and natural wonders

December 21, 2020 | England's Coast



Stay close to the coast in 2021 for on-foot adventures, cool art trails and natural wonders


UK holidaymakers planning a staycation in 2021 need look no further than our very own English shoreline, where there’s an abundance of space and fresh air and plenty to discover – or rediscover – from historic harbour towns and fascinating heritage sites, to world-class seafood and wonderful cultural experiences.

What’s more, booking a domestic holiday will help deliver a much-needed economic boost to businesses in English coastal regions.

“Many coastal tourism businesses have suffered significantly from the impact of Covid-19 – disproportionately, compared to some other sectors, due to their seasonal nature and the fact that so many are small, family-run operations,” says Samantha Richardson, National Coastal Tourism Academy Director, which delivers the Discover England-funded England’s Coast project.

“This year has seen a £8.27 bn loss in tourism spend in England, a cut in trips and day visits of 110million, and around 145,000 jobs sadly lost*.

“Booking a break to the coast when it’s safe will start to turn the tide for this industry and could help save the livelihoods of thousands of small and independent businesses,” she adds.

But, where to begin? To help you find family-friendly campsites in Chichester, the historical highlights of Whitby or best spots for stargazing on Exmoor, England’s Coast is the booking tool that helps you to map out your coastal trip to perfection. You can research a day trip or a longer break, build an itinerary, and easily book your accommodation, places to eat, attractions and transport, all year round, whatever the season (and whatever the weather!).

Here are just a few examples of places to explore, unearth and enjoy in 2021:

The world’s first Art GeoTour Trail
2021 will bring together UK art and travel in the shape of a brand-new experience, and a world-first. Seven new site-specific artworks by seven international contemporary artists – Andreas Angelidakis, Mariana Castillo Deball, Holly Hendry, Jasleen Kaur, Katrina Palmer, Pilar Quinteros and Michael Rakowitz – will connect the coastlines of Essex, Kent and East Sussex and the world-class arts organisations in these areas.

The world-first Art GeoTour uses Geocaching – GPS-enabled treasure trail technology – enabling visitors to find, unlock and log artworks, both physically and digitally, that have been created by local people living in each area, thus connecting them to the new art works created by leading UK and international artists. The tour takes place from April to November 2021.

The 200th anniversary of the death of John Keats – the poet with links to stylish seaside resort Margate
February 2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of John Keats. The lauded poet lived and wrote in seaside favourite Margate in 1816 and 1817, moving around to a new location every time he encountered writer’s block. Writing to fellow poet Leigh Hunt in 1817, Keats commented: “In a week or so, I became not over capable in my upper stories, and set off pell-mell for Margate, at least 150 miles, because, forsooth, I fancied that I should like my old lodging here, and could contrive to do without trees.” It is thought that Keats stayed with his younger brother, Tom, in lodgings overlooking Hawley Square in the centre of the town.
Book with England’s Coast: Should you wish to ‘set off pell-mell for Margate and contrive to do without trees’, stay at the Cliftonville Townhouse Boutique B&B, a contemporary bed & breakfast with character. Explore all that Margate has to offer – including the fabulous Turner Contemporary Gallery (reopens February 2021), the magical Margate Caves, and independent boutiques such as Haeckels – a natural skincare/fragrance company, plusday spa, which uses local seaweed and seawater.

Leopard Creek: New accommodation offering at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, Kent
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, the 600-acre reserve near Hythe, Kent, has announced the opening of Leopard Creek in April 2021. This new accommodation offering – comprising two cub huts for couples, three elegant cabins for families, and two luxury wigwams sleeping four adults apiece – will sit in the heart of the reserve amidst glorious gardens with jaw-dropping coastline views. Guests will even have up-close views of the resident wildlife – two rare Amur leopards and a pair of white rhinos!

The England Coast Path nears completion
Recently voted in the National Geographic Best of the World list as one of the most unforgettable journeys for 2021 and beyond, the England Coast Path is nearing completion. It will be the world’s longest sign-posted walking route, stretching 2,800 miles in length and offering access to hidden-away beaches, cliff-tops and coastal habitats as well as historically significant maritime areas.
Book with England’s Coast: Nature lovers can enjoy the rugged coastline of Northumberland, the reserves of the Farne Islands, Coquet Island or Druridge Bay, plus 30 miles of beaches and their fishing communities. Visit Bamburgh Castle, once home to the kings of ancient Northumbria and one of Northumberland’s iconic buildings, offering fantastic coastal views.

Wake up to wild swimming
Along with the endorphin rush and mental health benefits, cold water swimming may also protect the brain from degenerative diseases such as dementia**. The coastal waters around England’s coast are mostly clean, navigable and amazingly varied. Head to Cumbria to enjoy some of England’s best scenic spots for swimming, including the Tongue Pot at Eskdale in the Lake District, a long series of dramatic pools beneath a mountain packhorse bridge. A pebble beach shelves down on one side of the pool into the crystal-clear water.
Book with England’s Coast: Visit Muncaster Castle near Eskdale, a historic haunted castle with a fascinating history and still a lived-in family home after nine centuries. Set in 77 acres of woodland and gardens against the backdrop of the Western Lake District fells, these idyllic surroundings provide memorable days out for visitors of all ages.

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is now in an elite group, being only the sixth region in the UK to be designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This accolade is awarded to areas in which people and the natural environment coexist in harmony – an indication that nature continues to thrive on this idyllic Island, where dramatic coastline, clean beaches, dense woodland and glorious wildlife abound year-round.
Book with England’s Coast: Off The Rails, an award-winning, dog-friendly restaurant set along the old railway line in Yarmouth’s former train station, the restaurant overlooks the outstanding natural beauty of the Yarmouth Marshes and Mill Copse. This unique setting is the perfect pitstop for walkers, cyclists and those visiting the Isle of Wight, as the restaurant is just a five-minute stroll from the Yarmouth Wightlink Ferry terminal.


*Forecast by the National Coastal Tourism Academy (www.nationalcoastaltourismacademy.co.uk) using its Covid-19 business tracker and national GBTS, GBDVS and IPS data

** According to the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Centre at the University of Cambridge

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Press: For further information, high-res images or to discuss a commissioned press trip, please contact Lizzie Cooper or Jackie Franklin at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or l.cooper@travelpr.co.uk / j.franklin@travelpr.co.uk.

For more information on England’s Coast visit www.englandscoast.com/en or contact Sheron Crossman, National Coastal Tourism Academy Marketing & Communications: Sheron.crossman@coastaltourismacademy.co.uk.

England’s Coast advises visitors to adhere to local travel restrictions and regional tiers, which can be found on the Gov UK website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area.

Notes to editors: The England’s Coast project is delivered by the National Coastal Tourism Academy, whose partners include: The Yorkshire Coast, Visit Scarborough, The North York Moors National Park Authority, Visit East Yorkshire, Visit Lancashire,  Visit Cumbria, This is Durham, Visit Northumberland, Visit Essex, Visit Thanet, Dover/White Cliffs Country, Creative Coast Kent, Visit Brighton, Experience West Sussex, Visit Portsmouth, Discover Gosport, Visit Isle of Wight, Coast with the Most -Bournemouth/Christchurch/Poole, Somerset and Exmoor National Park – The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership, P&O Ferries, Hornblower City Cruises Poole.

About the Discover England Fund:

  • In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund aims to deliver world-class bookable tourism products joined up across geographies and/or themes, including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
  • The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
  • The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches.

In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund supported:

  • A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two-year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers
  • A smaller funding pot for new one-year pilot projects (in year two), and
  • Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).

In Year four (2019/20) an extended period was granted for delivery of the large-scale projects to ensure delivery and/or amplification.

In year five (2020/21) additional funding allocated by HM Treasury includes grant funding to existing projects, marketing and distribution activity led by VisitBritain/VisitEngland and evaluation and research.