UK seaside spots with a tale to tell

As we are experiencing such a glorious summer, why travel abroad for your annual dose of sun, sea and sand? Our island boasts a wonderfully varied coastline, from rugged coastal paths to seaside promenades, from charming fishing villages to vibrant cities. And there’s usually some storytelling inspiration to be found along the way…

North Coast from Whitby

1. Whitby: In 1890, Bram Stoker was exploring Whitby as a potential family holiday location and found himself inspired by the Yorkshire town’s ambience, with its red roofs, the beautiful and romantic ruins of Whitby Abbey – and the bats that flew around the many churches. The town provides an atmospheric backdrop to Dracula, with the eponymous antihero being shipwrecked off the coast, coming to shore in the guise of a black dog.

2. Torquay: While Whitby set Stoker’s creative juices flowing, Torquay has worked the same magic on many authors, most notably Agatha Christie who was born here and who set many of her novels in a thinly disguised version of the town. A hugely popular holiday resort during the nineteenth century with anybody who was anybody in Victorian society – royalty, politicians, authors, scientists – it continues to be a delightful place to stay.

3. Tintagel: Reputedly the birthplace of King Arthur, the majestic ruins of Tintagel Castle stand high on a beautiful stretch of the rugged North Cornwall coast, with dramatic sea views – and a fantastic events programme. Whether you want to stretch your legs in a beautiful setting, take in a bit of history, have something delicious to eat or even watch some fighting knights, Tintagel has something to offer the whole family.

With its variety, drama and charm, the British coast has long been a draw for writers. Follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and take yourself to Broadstairs, or Jane Austen to Lyme Regis, or Ian McEwan to Chesil Beach – and see what flights of fancy they inspire in you.

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