Yes, we would all love to be making our way down a white sandy beach with the warm breeze in our hair, the turquoise waves lapping at our feet and a Pina colada in our hand. Unfortunately for most of us we are not. We are here in England, half term is coming and instead of days of endless Sun, Sea and Sambuca its probably more realistic to think drizzle, bored kids and well… the Sambuca can stay, you’ll no doubt need it.
In the middle of the week when your sat in the corner rocking backwards and forwards, hands covering your ears (but you can still hear B I N G O and BINGO was his NAMEO ringing loud and clear from your child’s mouth) You’ve endured the hot, sticky, sweaty soft play nightmare from hell, your child has been bouncing off the walls since Sunday night after all the Easter egg hunts you’ve sent them on, your sick of looking at your bank statement and feeling a little dead inside.
Then you have an idea, the beach! Let them run, be loud, be free, no having to tell them to slow down, watch out, don’t fall, look where your going, be quiet. Let them loose at the beach while you gather back some sanity to get through another week! (Yes I hate to be the one to tell you, there is 2 weeks Easter holidays!!! And then real soon there is the dare I say it…6 weeks holiday!!)
If you are fortunate enough to live anywhere near the East Coast or happen to be in the area, here are a few of the beaches you should really check out.
My favourite seaside village… ever!
Staithes is a small fishing village that looks like something out of the history books, set down a steep (very very steep, don’t wear heels attempting to walk down, and go careful with a pram too!) hill, with rows of weird and wonderful cottages.
I was very fortunate as a child to grow up in Staithes and I am very lucky that Oscar and Nalah have the same opportunity to enjoy everything that is on offer. Oscar is already fascinated by the place, here a just a few things he loves to do:
- Rock pooling and fossiling amoungst the cliffs. We never really find anything but Oscar is fasinated by the shells and stones he can collect, then we get a bit silly and usually ends in a seaweed fight.
- Walking along the pier. Two large breakwaters have been reinstated and made bigger and better than ever to keep the pesky sea away from harbour. After a few disastrous storms these breakwaters do a brillaint job of protecting the little village. They are great to walk out on to and get a whole different perspective of Staithes. Just careful to keep hold of of little hands up there because its a long drop into the open sea!
- Crabbing, buy a cheap crabline, bucket and bacon as bait and you have hours of fun pulling in your crab line waiting see what has climbled on to the end. Of course we always throw them back in the sea where they belong. But it definitely brings a lot of smiles to this little boys face counting up how many he has managed to catch and listening to stories of me doing the same when I was little and grandad when he was a boy.
- Visiting the lifeboat station – you can read about all the amazing rescues and call out that have taken place over the years, take a close up look at the life saving boat and equipment, donate money for an amazing charity and for the kids there is a ride on lifeboat fully equpped woth a helmet and life jacket to make the experience that bit more exciting.
- The beach – set in the harbour is a small sandy beach ideal for the kids to run around, skim stones, build sandcastles, bury themselves and even have a paddle in the sea. The beach is pretty sheltered and in low season is fairly quiet so the kids can cause havoc running, skipping and jumping till their hearts are content. Better here than in your living room eh?
- Walking across the stepping stones to find another secret little beach and once there paddling in the beck at low tide.
These are just a few that Oscar talks about the most, and best of all they’re free.
There are plenty more things you can do in Staithes, like exploring the amazing art galleries, Staithes studios a dainty gallery built over three floors, right on the front of the harbour is filled with loads of intresting delights. Visiting the Captain cook museum and teaching the little ones a little bit of history, having fresh fish and chips and the local pubs, enjoying a mouth watering cinder toffee ice cream from the ice cream van.
Visit Staithes art and heritage festival (9th and 10th Sept this year) and the best day of the year (in my opinion) Lifeboat day (18th-20th August this year), when you can get involved in the daft raft race, fancy dress competition, I came 2nd place one year when I was 10 – dressed up as fish and chips! It was brilliant, we didn’t have anything in the way of fancy dress, resources or a shop so my mum worked with what we did have (loads of newspaper for the fire) and just wrapped me and my friend up! There is a nightie parade where the whole village is out in force dressed in their nightwear walking up the hill, a rubber duck race down the beck and you can watch the brilliant rescue displays from the local and neighbouring lifeboats and helicopter and in the evening a fantastic firework display over the harbour and most importantly of all raise money for this amazing charity.
Claim to Fame –
Earn extra mummy points – Old Jacks boat from Cbeebies is filmed here and there are loads of places where you can buy Old Jacks postcards and you can even walk past Old Jack’s House!
Earn extra points with the teachers at school and teach them some history too.
Captain James Cook (the fella who discovered loads of the South Pacific) lived here when he was 16.
There are so many other great beaches in the local area to visit too.
If you want vast space and endless running area Saltburn is the place to be. Along with the amazing beach Saltburn has a miniature railway, a woodland walk which has a few fun kids play equipment including a water pump alongside the river and for a more relaxing stroll there is the Italian gardens you can walk through.
Bridlington Beach is a lovely open space and also has the added bonus with the kiddies of amusements, arcades, rides and plenty of ice cream shops.
Scarborough Beach, one of the busiest and most popular beaches is known for its donkey rides, fair, amusement arcades, castle and surfing. There nothing you cannot do at Scarborough beach and although this is more of a penny spending day out it is really worth the trip.
And finally Runswick Bay, 3 miles from Staithes is another steep hill to an amazing little village and beach. This beach is a long stretch of sand and really is great to just take a picnic, a swimming costume (or wetsuit if your not so brave) though as a child was known to be swimming in there in November brr, and spend a full day. It really is a sun trap so don’t forget the cream if we get lucky this spring to see some sunshine finally.
And Finally Flamborough beach, surrounded by white cliffs is a small quaint beach, fabulous for rock and shell hunting. Famous for bird watching Flamborough’s white cliffs home gannets, gulls and even puffins.
So while yes, we all might rather be in the Bahamas, England is still pretty amazing and a damn sight cheaper. Have a brilliant Easter Holidays and please share your photos of you enjoying the East Coast as much as I have.