Few places can symbolise the re-emergence of the UK seaside town better than Whitstable in northeast Kent. The town is part of the city of Canterbury, with long historical and literary connections. For lovers of lesbian romance it was the home town of narrator Nancy in Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet.
For red-blooded romantics looking for aphrodisiac inspiration, Whitstable is home to the Whitstable Oyster Festival, a modern annual event that re-creating ancient traditions honouring the town’s unique oyster harvest. The festival includes a symbolic landing and blessing of the oyster catch and fishing fleet, followed by a lively procession through the town, dancing, eating, and merrymaking.
Apart from the fact that it is the millennium city of Brighton & Hove, Brighton is arguably unique among UK seaside towns in that it has never really lost its position as a naughty but nice destination of choice for those in the know.
Its reputation stems from the time of the British regency in the 1700s when the young Prince Regent, keen to escape much of the pomp of a stifling royal court, established a holiday home in the town decorated in the romantic tradition of the East.
The Brighton Pavilion still stands today, welcoming visitors and giving them a romantic taste of decadent high life. Click here for Brighton hotel deals.
If you prefer your romance tinged with a little melancholy then Southport on Merseyside is the classic 1980s ‘seaside town that they forgot to close down’ about which Morrissey sang Every Day is Like Sunday.
This seaside town, which by some quirk of tides and drifting sands is now about a mile away from the water, boasts a bleak, wind-swept pier stretching into the sand flats of the Irish Sea and the largest independent flower show in Europe, from where you can get your gladioli.
If you thought Alexandria was a seaside city on the northern coast of Egypt then you would be wrong. Alexandria is a small resort town on the Western coast of Scotland. Admittedly, it is just a few miles inland along the estuary of the river Barton, but in arguably the most romantic stretch of the country, where the coastline is laced with bonny lochs, who is arguing?
Take your pick of romantic destinations on the lush Welsh coast, but Aberystwyth wins its place here for it combination of remote countryside and cliff-top walks and its proud position at the heart of Welsh culture. The city is home to the National Library of Wales, or Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, to put it properly.
Whitstable Oyster Festival - The town’s romantic tradition revived.
The Smiths - Old romantics from the 1980s.
The National Library of Wales - Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.