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Need a seaside fix? Here’s 6 of the best

Feeling a little landlocked in Northants? Hurray for Muddy's best beach trips!

Beach Huts in Hunstanton Norfolk
Summer, summer, summertime! Well, actually it’s hammering it down with rain as I write – typical! – but let’s assume the sun will re-emerge at some point soon. And when it does, I’ll be heading somewhere sandy to build castles and scoff fish’n’chips. I love a seaside day trip and although living in Northamptonshire you basically couldn’t get further away from the coast, a one-day jaunt is still doable if you get an early start. We usually head out to the lovely Old Hunstanton but if you feel like a longer trip and stopover why not head south? All of the suggestions below are 3-4 hours in the car, depending of course which part of our ‘hood you’re from. So grab the wind-break and soggy sandwiches and let’s go!

West Wittering, West Sussex

With its wide, gently shelving golden sands, Blue Flag rating and ample parking, West Wittering is perfect for a family day out – even Kevin the Teenager couldn’t find fault with this one. Bring a picnic or BBQ, and loll on the grassy area behind the beach to take in views across to Chichester harbour.

Mudeford Quay, Dorset

This is our family favourite (garnering a rare thumbs up from my beach-obsessed Kiwi husband), with its pristine white sands, enclosed by rocks and backed by candy-coloured beach huts. There’s a fantastic cafe called The Beach House across the sandspit (you can get a little ferry there) and a Noddy train to keep little ones amused.

Brighton, East Sussex

You probably don’t need me to tell you about Brighton but don’t dismiss it as too far for a day trip – I can make it in two hours if I hammer it round the M25. It’s a pebbly beach of course but I don’t mind that when there’s so much else to do. All the cool kids live in Hove now, so head west for a slightly quieter beach and amazing pizza at Fatto A Mano on Church Street.

Barton-on-Sea, New Forest, Hampshire

I get so distracted by the gorgeous greenery and cute ponies in the New Forest, I forget it does beaches too. It can be windy in Barton – it’s a prime para-gliding spot – so don’t forget to pack your kite. Above the safe, sandy beach, you can stroll along the clifftops and stop off at The Beachcomber Cafe, with its grassy garden and brilliant, massive fry-ups.

Studland, Dorset

Fun fact to whip out if you get stuck in traffic: Coldplay’s famous one-take video for Yellow, where Chris Martin walks/sings along a beach was filmed at Studland. There are four miles of divine sandy beaches here – I like Middle Beach which is an easy stroll from boutique hotel/restaurant The Pig, aka the perfect spot for a chi-chi G&T at the end of a hard day’s sunbathing. Alternatively there’s plenty of watersports on offer at Knoll Beach, plus a 1km stretch for naturists, should you fancy letting it all hang out.

Bournemouth, Dorset

An obvious choice but you can’t beat Bournemouth. Miles of golden sands, a massive Harry Ramsden’s with views out across the water, tacky arcades to wow the kids (and must admit I myself have a long-term obsessions with 2p slot machines) and a little train that runs around the tropical gardens and up to Boscombe beach. Boom!

Have we missed off your daytrip beach of choice? Let us know in the comment box below.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire