10 things you must experience on a seaside holiday

Beaches, Coastal, Family

Posted by Emma on 1st March 2021

beach activities

The seaside holiday has been a hit with families for over 100 years and there’s no sign of this trend disappearing. It's no wonder they're so popular; from bucket and spade days to water sports aplenty, there are so many things to do at the beach! We’ve put together a list of 10 beach activities you and your family must experience for the ultimate seaside holiday.

1. Prep for your day out

packing a bag for the beach

Before even thinking about your beach activities, the first thing to do on your beach holiday is to make sure that you’re prepared for the day ahead. Pack towels and blankets for resting on, a picnic of snacks for nibbles and lots of water to keep the family hydrated throughout the day. Essentials that must be packed include sun hats and sun cream to protect from the sun’s potentially harmful UV rays. 

Once you arrive at the beach, there’s the chance to hire deck chairs, windbreakers and even beach huts to make your stay on the sand as comfortable as possible. We thoroughly recommend hiring a beach hut, as not only is it a classic treat on a day at the seaside but it also protects you from the elements and gives you a base from which to explore.

2. Head to the pier

Central pier Blackpool

There are numerous iconic piers across the UK’s seaside towns and a visit to enjoy the amusements is one of the best things to do at the seaside. Many have undergone recent restorations, with lots of attractions that are great for keeping the family occupied, even on a rainy day. With amusements and fairground rides to food outlets and shops, a visit to the pier is sure to be fun-filled and a stroll across the promenade in the evenings will also provide a picturesque setting from which to admire the sea.

3. Jump in the sea!

bodyboarding on the beach

You may anticipate chilly waters but if you’re brave enough to take a dip in the sea it is often very refreshing. Whether you choose to paddle or fully submerge, the waves are sure to have you jumping about and will soon warm you up. The shallow waters where the sea meets the sand are super for infants as the mixture of textures provides great sensory play. For those of you that like the idea of surfing, many beaches have wetsuits and surfboards for hire, with some offering lessons for beginners.

4. Build a sandcastle

building a sandcastle on the beach

It's impossible to be stuck for what to do at the seaside when surrounded by so much sand! Get creative with the kids and enjoy a few hours of sandcastle building, with a bucket and spade as your trusty tools, and maybe a windmill for presentation. You could also build a moat, digging deep until the water rises up through the sand. 

Sandcastle competitions happen throughout the UK all summer long, so if you need any inspiration or want to be wowed by some sand sculpture masterpieces then make sure to visit one with the family. If you’re feeling extra brave, why not treat the kids and let them bury you in the sand? It’s sure to provide lots of laughs and photo opportunities!

5. Go rockpooling

beach activities - go rockpooling on the beach

Children will love to discover the creatures that live beside the sea, so a morning or afternoon spent exploring rock pools will be thoroughly enjoyed. One of the most nostalgic activities at the seaside, all you need is a bucket and a net, which will be readily available at one of the many shops on the seafront. You are sure to find shrimps, crabs and even some types of small fish, which you can closely examine from your bucket. However, make sure to wear shoes with substantial grip as the rock pools can sometimes be very slippery with seaweed, and be sure to return your catch to its home after you’ve finished exploring! Find out everything you need to know for a day out exploring these underwater worlds with our guide to rock pooling in the UK

Print out our beach treasure hunt before you go for extra fun!

Beach treasure hunt

Great British Coast

6. Get active on the beach

Beach activities - Cricket game on the beach

The beach provides plenty of space for getting active and playing some games and it’s a great way to warm up and dry off after a splash in the sea. Some of our favourite beach activities include frisbee, rounders and volleyball as they’re great for getting the whole family involved. Also, with a frisbee, even your four-legged friend can join in! On a windier day, why not take a colourful kite to the beach and watch with the children as it zigzags through the sky?

7. Enjoy a donkey ride

Beach activities - Donkey ride

Think back to holidays of old and it's likely that donkey rides will feature in your memories. One of the most enduringly popular things to do at the beach, plodding along the sand atop a faithful steed is the stuff of childhood dreams! 

A selection of seaside resorts across the UK still offer donkey rides and it is an experience that the children will treasure. Dressed in their vibrant harnesses, the donkeys will carry the children across the golden sands, whilst you can stroll alongside with the camera.

8. Hunt for souvenirs 

Beach activities - Souvenir hunting

There's never a question of what to do at the seaside if you go equipped with a bag or box to collect beach treasures! Get the little ones to look for seashells, driftwood and unusually shaped pebbles. These make lovely decorations for the house and will be a constant reminder of your wonderful family holiday. Also, write messages in the sand alongside your children’s footprints before capturing a photo - another great keepsake of your seaside break.

9. Write a postcard

Beach activities - Writing postcards

It might not be the first thing which springs to mind when you're thinking of things to do at the seaside, but where better to write your postcards home than sitting on the sand, gazing out at the twinkling sea? 

Part of the fun is in hunting for the perfect postcard to represent your holiday - spend a happy half hour perusing the coloured stalls and shops lining the seafront and pick out some you like. Choose postcards for the children to write and send home to grandparents and school friends, not forgetting to take home a stick or two of rock as gifts for those that didn’t come along. If you're into scrapbooking or like to keep mementoes of fun times on display, remember to pick up a few postcards as souvenirs for yourself!

10. Eat traditional seaside food

Beach activities - eating ice creams

Last but not least on our list of things to do at the beach is indulging in all of the traditional seaside foods. A holiday at the beach wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream - with all the different flavours to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice. A tasty option for the evening is to buy the family fish and chips to take away, before heading down to a secluded spot on the beach where you can devour the seaside classic against a stunning sunset backdrop.

More beach holiday inspiration

Stay at the seaside

Blue Beach House, Seasalter

Blue Beach House, Seasalter | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs 

We have a wonderful selection of coastal cottages across the UK - from stunning apartments overlooking Cornwall's glorious beaches to enticing romantic boltholes on Scotland's north coast. So, now you're equipped with your list of beach activities, why not have a browse of our seaside escapes and start planning your perfect getaway?

UK coastal cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.