A salty breeze, fish and chips, and rogue grains of sand: the sights and smells of the seaside are a nostalgic treat. It’s hard to get bored of such a classic day out, especially when things like donkey rides and chilly dips in the sea are involved! Add to this alternative beach activities, and your trip to the seaside gets even better…
Alternative beach activities are popping up all over the UK coast. Some are exciting, some are even a little daring, but they’re all a whole lot of fun. Why not plan around one of these suggestions next time you fancy a trip to a beach?
When the wind blows, take to the sea! Kite surfing is an adrenaline-pumping alternative to traditional surfing. As the wind catches your kite you’ll be pulled across the water, using your legs to steer your board and your hands to hold on tight. It’s a full-body workout, so you’ll need good core control to keep your balance.
Seals aren’t the only sea life that can be seen gracing our coasts. Did you know that you could spot dolphins in our seas, too? Places like Wales, Scotland and Cornwall have their very own populations of dolphins, as well as opportunities to spot them leaping through the water. On some occasions you could be lucky enough to see their acrobatics from the shore, or even while you’re out surfing. The best way to see these characterful mammals, however, is by boat. There are plenty of excursions available around coastal dolphin hotspots.
Talk about exhilarating! Coasteering is just about the most exciting beach activity you can do in the UK. You’ll jump, scramble and climb along the rocky outcrops and islands bordering the sea, before jumping right into the thick of it for a refreshing swim! Coasteering is the perfect way to experience the coast from a whole new angle.
All around the coast lie atmospheric caves and hidden grottos just waiting to be discovered. While some are only accessible by boat or kayak, others can be reached from the beach, or with at least a little scramble. One of the best includes Smoo Cave, a dramatic sea cave in Scotland, accessible by a path from the cliff car park. Another gem includes Holywell Cave in Cornwall, a beautiful spot filled with captivating pools and accessible at low tide.
Exploring beach caves is a wonderful way to ignite your sense of adventure, but always remember to be safe! Check the tides and keep an eye on the time.
Foraging is fun for all the family – that excitement when you finally spot what you’re looking for is infectious. And this doesn’t just apply to traditional beach treasures like shells and fossils. Why not try foraging for seaweed?
They might look weird and slimy, but certain types of seaweeds and coastal plants can contribute to seriously delicious dishes! Bladder wrack, that creepy-looking seaweed with air-filled lumps, is one of the tastiest, especially when picked during spring. Then there’s sea lettuce (the common seaweed found at tide marks, with lettuce shaped fronds), and marsh samphire, growing in coastal salt marshes and best picked in July. They all go perfectly with fresh fish for a true taste of the coast!
Imagine trotting across a beach on a valiant steed, with the waves gliding into shore and the breeze in your hair. This is the thrilling experience of horse riding on a UK beach. A great way to get back to nature, have fun with your loved ones and make friends with a gentle giant, horse-riding is one of the most magical alternatives to traditional beach activities. That beats a donkey ride, any day!
Whether you’re tackling choppy waves or paddling through peaceful water, sea kayaking is a great alternative to things like surfing or a traditional boat ride. Slow-paced and peaceful, it’s an unobtrusive way of exploring the UK’s wild coasts.
You might come across curious seals, hidden coves and even caves. After all, the beauty of a kayak is that it’s nice and petite. Able to manoeuvre around areas you’d otherwise never see, sea kayaking is a lovely way to experience more of your chosen coastal haven.
It might look like something out of a science fiction film, but flyboarding is a beach activity that’s starting to take the UK by storm. Already popular in places like the UAE and America, it’s now arriving in seaside favourites like Bournemouth and Dorset. Simply strap your feet onto the board, take to the sea accompanied by a jet ski-riding instructor, and get ready for the water jet connected to the vehicle to send you up into the air for a gull’s eye view.
Would you prefer to stay on dry land? Try your hand at landyachting!
This alternative beach activity turns windsurfing on its head by adding a pair of wheels. Simple in theory, but endless fun!
Landyachts are more manoeuvrable than you think, and with the right gust of wind, can reach speeds that might even make your eyes water. Pit yourselves against one another – the loser buys the winner a cone of chips!
You don’t need to travel halfway across the world to go scuba diving – you can do it right here in the UK. Diving, or even just snorkelling, is a great alternative to your usual beach paddle, especially when there’s such a wealth of sea life beneath the waves.
Places like Scotland, Wales and Cornwall are home to shipwrecks, reefs and seaweed forests, where a whole variety of species thrive. Just some of the animals you could be lucky enough to see are seals, jellyfish, dolphins and seahorses.
Exploring the coastline by boat is one thing, but by jet ski is quite another. This exhilarating beach activity isn’t just associated with stag parties – it’s a fabulous way of exploring the seas. Hop aboard and discover hidden coves, sea caves and even inquisitive wildlife. But beware… they say that once the jet skiing bug has bitten you, you’re under its spell forever.