Beaches near Birmingham: the 5 best

2. Thurstaston, Wirral Peninsula

Driving time from Birmingham: two hours

Although a similar distance to travel, Thurstaston Beach on the Wirral Peninsula is a thousand miles from Weston. With peaceful views over the Dee Estuary to the misty North Wales coast, this long stretch of sand and pebbles is ideal for a soothing escape from the buzz of the city.

The peaceful shoreline is also overlooked by the Wirral Country Park, a lush green expanse that is home to a variety of wildlife. On a clear day, you may even be able to see the soaring cast iron form of Blackpool Tower in the distance. Take it all in with an ice cream from the cozy Flissy’s Coffee Shop. Stay at a cute Airbnb like this one with views of the River Mersey and a sun terrace.

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, WalesGetty Images

3. Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

Driving time from Birmingham: 2h45

With the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, Aberystwyth caught the eye of enthusiastic Victorian holidaymakers. It was even once optimistically presented as the Biarritz of Wales. Although that flattering nickname is long gone, the town still retains a faded grandeur – with its pastel-coloured terrace flanked by the imposing Constitution Hill to the north and the ruins of 13th-century Aberystwyth Castle to the south, the sands and Pebble North Beach is set in a cinematic, weather-worn landscape.

For wider views take the electric railway from Aberystwyth to the top of Constitution Hill – on a clear day a splendid coastal panorama stretches out with the rugged peaks of Snowdonia to the north. Or soak up the views from the Royal Pier where you’ll find seaside specialties such as ice cream or fish and chips. And Aberystwyth got its first Michelin-starred restaurant in 2022 – SY23, which also won the gong for opening the year. Go hungry – the only option at dinner is the 10-course tasting menu. Will stay The Captaincyhalf an hour’s drive to the coast in Aberaeron’s storybook.

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