Postcards from the Seaside

I know my beaches. I grew up in Sydney and had the advantage of swimming at the great urban beaches in this part of Australia’s east coast. Golden sand, the smell of coconut oil and hot chips, squealing children and days so long that they went on forever.

And as I grew older and began to travel I became a bit of a beach snob. New Zealand Bay of Islands got the big tick; Fijian Islands got a tick; northern Bali with the black sand and tepid surf, no: Greece’s pebbly shores no but the water yes; the warm China Sea off the coast on Saba, Malaysia, no. And swimming in the Red Sea was fun but it sure wasn’t Bondi!


Checking out the surf.

When I lived in England in the 80s some friends and I (two Kiwis) took a trip from London to Brighton in January. Sweet Geezus it was cold. The ice-chill breeze slowly making its way off the water would freeze eyeballs and I couldn’t believe my half-frozen eyes at what was happening on the pebble-strewn beach. With the tide out there was an enormous stretch of beach and all along it, what looked like people were sitting in deck chairs, rugged up against the wind, enjoying the fresh air and the diluted sunshine – it almost appeared as a work of cruel sculpture art – but no, they were real – the great English Stoics at play.


The long, long, long Victorian pier.

From then on I gained an appreciation for the beaches along the coast of England, wild waves coming in from The Atlantic, pounding water from the North Sea, gentle warm (not really) currents on the Cornwell coast and the lovely sweeping beaches of North East England. Each have their own charm and although I couldn’t cope with a swim, they are a delight to walk along and even paddle (briefly).


Saltburn-by-the-Sea in County Durham, North Yorkshire seen on a sunny day is a delight and edges towards being star of an old Ealing comedy movie.


The retro chic of Saltburn is enticing. The long, long Victorian pier juts into the sea and it’s here you’ll see many a surfer (wearing wetsuits) out on OK-size waves.

There’s a water-powered ‘cliff lift’, a peculiar funicular (above) that runs modestly between the upper and lower parts of town. Along the promenade of the beach there’s an ice-cream shop and sweet little ‘beach huts’ where the owners spend time out of the wind among their jauntily decorated tiny house.


So if you get the urge to explore more than the cities and green fields of England and have a desire to be beside the seaside, check out the east coast of England – you won’t be disappointed.

Author Bev Malzard did not have one swim here.

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10 responses to “Postcards from the Seaside”

  1. Saltburn is a beautiful beach and a lovely little town and like you say very quaint. English beaches have a real quality of their own and although often cold and windy a lot of them take some beating for character. We’re English born and bred so have obviously swum on pretty much every beach we’ve been to, part of growing up here. NZ beaches are on a different level though.


    1. Glad you enjoyed reading. Something special about walking on any beach eh?


      1. Oh yeah, any time of year. In fact I think I might prefer wrapping up and walking beaches in the winter.


  2. Lovely. And just perfect as we inch towards summer. This Queenslander, too, finally grew to appreciated northern hemisphere beaches for their wildness, but it took a while.


  3. For me, walking only, no swimming. I’m a sissy in cold water.


  4. Great read – remember the beaches in England, somehow never looked inviting enough to tempt the body into the water. Nothing better than a walk on a deserted beach with the wind and sea on the face.


    1. Beach gear = beanies and scarves.


  5. Reblogged this on Travelgal on the move and commented:

    Remembering a Christmas in England, and when on Boxing Day some friends went for a swim, in fact a very quick dip. Not me.


  6. Summer or winter, I’m with you – walking on the beach is the best. I used to swim, but not for a while now. If it’s not a wild surf beach, then yes…Just being beside the water is calming. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A blog of memories here! Drawing at Saltburn in the mid-60’s when I was at Art School and visiting a girlfriend who lived in the Victorian flats on the clifftop. A lovely post, thank you. Stay safe, John


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