The best UK seaside activities for every month of the year from FREE festivals to sailing trips

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COSTS have soared this year, but holidays need not be put on hold – thanks to great seaside staycations.

With 2023 hailed Year Of The Coast, and the South West Coast Path celebrating its 50th anniversary, there’s lots of free festivals and other affordable fun to be enjoyed. 

Sophie Swietochowski picks out the best seaside activities this year, from comedy shows, to stargazing and fabulous seafood.

January

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Hampshire harbour town Emsworth has its first food festival of the year next SaturdayCredit: Getty

A BEACH may not be your first idea for a January day trip – but the food can be fabulous.

Hampshire harbour town Emsworth has its first food festival of the year next Saturday, with great meat, cheese and wine.

If near Southsea, hit the stalls for cake, chutney and pickles.

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February

The Dark Skies Festival, February 10-26, has stargazing safaris, ghost walks and starlight runs

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The Dark Skies Festival, February 10-26, has stargazing safaris, ghost walks and starlight runsCredit: Getty

THE seaside may not be too inviting for a dip in the water – but the night skies can be majestic. 

Head to North York Moors Park, home to some of the darkest in the UK, to see the stars sparkle.

Its Dark Skies Festival, February 10-26, has stargazing safaris, ghost walks and starlight runs. 

See darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk.

March

Head to Dover between March 5 and 10 and you can enjoy its film festival - and white cliffs

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Head to Dover between March 5 and 10 and you can enjoy its film festival – and white cliffsCredit: Alamy

DOVER’S chalky white cliffs, sung about by Forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, are a sight to behold at any time of year.

But head to the town between March 5 and 10 and you can enjoy its film festival, too. 

Buy your movie tickets from £3 per child and £6 per adult by searching “film festival” at whitecliffscountry.org.uk.

April

Blackpool's 'Walk The . . ' .experiences (£100pp) include a climb up the track of famed rollercoaster The Big One

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Blackpool’s ‘Walk The . . ’ .experiences (£100pp) include a climb up the track of famed rollercoaster The Big OneCredit: Supplied

THRILLSEEKERS should head to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, above. Its “Walk The . . .” experiences (£100pp) include a climb up the track of famed rollercoaster The Big One, to take in the views.

April is also perfect for a sailing trip, and the waters of Morecambe Bay – also close to the Lake District National Park – are just the spot to try it. 

May

A super 29-mile stretch of the England Coastal Path in Kent, from Ramsgate to Whitstable, opens this month

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A super 29-mile stretch of the England Coastal Path in Kent, from Ramsgate to Whitstable, opens this monthCredit: Shutterstock

THERE is loads going on, from FREE walking trails, to fun-packed festivals.

A super 29-mile stretch of the England Coastal Path in Kent, from Ramsgate to Whitstable, opens this month.

Meanwhile comedy fans should hit Brighton from May 5 to June 4 to check out up-and-coming comics at the Fringe Festival.

June

Visit the Fish Festival in the Dorset town of Swanage from June 17-18

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Visit the Fish Festival in the Dorset town of Swanage from June 17-18Credit: Shutterstock

SEAFOOD fan? Visit the Fish Festival in the Dorset town of Swanage from June 17-18, for cockles, oysters and, of course, fantastic fish.

You can also learn to fillet fish, and prepare shellfish.

Oop north, check out the Durham Regatta from June 10-11, with boat races, live music and market stalls.

See durham-regatta.org.uk.

July

The beautiful South West Coast Path as it passes near Plymouth

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The beautiful South West Coast Path as it passes near PlymouthCredit: Getty

THE South West Coast Path is one of the most beautiful seaside walking trails in the whole of the UK and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. 

July is a beautiful time of year to experience it and if you are near Plymouth, above, you can visit the Photographer of the Year exhibition at Ocean Studios to marvel at inspirational images.

August

This year Cowes week takes place from July 29 to August 4

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This year Cowes week takes place from July 29 to August 4Credit: Getty

COWES Week in the Isle of Wight is one of the oldest and biggest sailing regattas in the world. 

This year it takes place from July 29 to August 4 and you will be able to spend a whole day there, with races, food stalls, live music and open-air bars to keep you occupied. There is no entry fee and many activities are free.(see cowesweek.co.uk).

September

The Plymouth Seafood and Harbour Festival has something for everyone

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The Plymouth Seafood and Harbour Festival has something for everyoneCredit: Alamy

PLYMOUTH’s Seafood and Harbour Festival, above, is so much more than tempting grub – although there is plenty of that, from big-pan paellas to fresh fish baps.

Kids can get stuck into scallop-shell painting, hook-a-duck games and walking treasure hunts to find sealife illustrations.

There truly is fun for the whole family to enjoy. 

October

The Autumn Daze festival at Peasholm Park, has free activities from storytelling and marshmallow toasting to fire-starting lessons and scavenger hunts

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The Autumn Daze festival at Peasholm Park, has free activities from storytelling and marshmallow toasting to fire-starting lessons and scavenger huntsCredit: Alamy

THE sun may fade in autumn but the beachside fun does not – and on October 26 the coastal regions and woodlands of East Yorkshire come alive with bushcraft experiences. 

The Autumn Daze festival at Peasholm Park, above, has free activities from storytelling and marshmallow toasting to fire-starting lessons and scavenger hunts.

November

Enjoy a night walk from Southend-on-Sea to Wallasea Island, above, and you will get to admire startling stars

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Enjoy a night walk from Southend-on-Sea to Wallasea Island, above, and you will get to admire startling starsCredit: Alamy

THE marshlands and lagoons of Essex are blanketed by very dark skies in winter, and on a night walk from Southend-on-Sea to Wallasea Island, above, you will get to admire startling stars.

Some of the paths on this route are newly opened, and great for spotting rare wildlife.

Remember to wrap up warm for your stroll.

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December

Enjoy festive markets at the likes of Bournemouth, Bridlington and Portsmouth

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Enjoy festive markets at the likes of Bournemouth, Bridlington and PortsmouthCredit: Shutterstock

CHRISTMAS is in full swing at Bournemouth, Bridlington and Portsmouth, where you can explore some cracking festive markets.

At these Bavarian-style events, you will find stalls selling themed trinkets and delicious goodies, perfect for some festive shopping. Warm up with a tipple or two at apres ski-inspired bars.





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