This week… boats, barnacles and beachcombing

As long as I can remember The Great British Seaside has been a staple in my travel life. Despite lounging on many wonderful beaches in Croatia, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Turkey and elsewhere, there’s nowhere quite like home for being beside the sea. The English coast is often symbolised by fish’n’chips and buckets and spades but there’s so much more with wide open sandy beaches to walk, sand dunes to explore and wildlife and flora. It’s been my go-to place during the past 18 months as I explored in all weathers. Here’s a retrospective album of snapshots by way of appreciation for British beach life.

Beside the sea

Walk miles along the beach when the tide is out, and you encounter dog walkers, often riders exercising their horses, windsurfers and a jogger or two. Although there is plenty of outdoor space it’s very much a shared experience. Everyone is drawn to the power of the sea and the fresh breezes, or sometimes gusting winds. Either way a spell on the beach is sure to blow away the cobwebs and revitalise. Blue skies and sunshine are a bonus but not a given, even in summer in the UK. But that’s okay. In winter the sea is ferocious and powerful which is just as thrilling.

A super red MG sparkling in the sunshine.

Not Cannes! Sailing boats at Langstone Harbour on the south coast of England.

Cloudy skies simply add to the drama of a British beach.


I’m always fascinated by what the tide has washed up on the beach. There’s always something to see, colourful seaweeds, pretty shells and once a barnacled speed limit buoy. It had disappeared on my next visit so someone must have claimed it.

Washed ashore. 10 knots only, please!

Having a marine biologist in the family helps when trying to identify varieties of seashells and plants. Clockwise from above left: a Buccinum undatum (large whelk) worn thin by the constant to-ing and fro-ing of the tides and some non-native slipper limpets or Crepidul; clam shells; numerous slipper limpets; an angel’s wing or ‘piddock’; and another whelk. By the way, a pile of loose shells, like those shown here, might be called a ‘shell bank’. If they’re buried and the result of human consumption (say oyster or mussel shells) archaeologists would call it a ‘midden’ and, lastly, if the shells were buried and lithified (fossils) they would be called a ‘shell bed’.

A houseboat with a view!

Of course, there’s ferry boats and fish and chips too!

Blue wooden boat moored at Emsworth quay.

I hope you enjoyed my seaside photo album. If you would like to use any of the images please get in touch via the contact page. Have a good week and stay safe and well wherever you are in the world.

As always please check the for the latest on domestic and international travel guidelines.

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