The faded English seaside getaways you never thought you’d visit
Just 15 minutes from Harwich via the Harwich Port ferry, Felixstowe (one of Europe’s largest container ports) has an appeal that may not be immediately obvious – but the Suffolk town has some charm by loading the bucket.
Arriving at Landguard Fort, dating back to 1621 when it was built to protect against the threat of Dutch invasion, the journey into town is almost like traveling back in time through Britain’s maritime past – a living monument of the British coast. Via the Martello Tower, a 19th century defense against Napoleon, and a disused Victorian railway station, a row of amusement and fish and chip rooms stand parallel to the original period structures, where the two ages of English holidays meet on along the waterfront. An architectural feast for the eyes, Gothic and Art Deco influences are well represented along this magnificent promenade.
Stay: The Orwell Hotel (01394 285511; theorwellhotel.co.uk) offers classic or modern style double/twin rooms from £56 a night.
Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
A stone’s throw from ever-popular Brighton, nestled on the edge of the South Downs and the banks of the River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea is well worth a visit.
Its natural beauties, including a picturesque beach, make it ideal for invigorating walks, paddleboarding and more, but connoisseurs also appreciate the town of West Sussex for its art. Just off the Adur, a towpath known as the Riverbank is home to some 40 eclectic and artistic barges, in a Mad Max-esque enclave, including a barge reimagined as a WWII bomber, military vehicles disused and a vintage fire truck. Local stores such as Neighborhood Store and Tarmount Studios Emporium offer vintage and upcycled art, fashion, homewares and furniture among other items, while local charity store SOLD is known for its elaborate and eye-catching window displays.
Stay: The eccentric Houseboat Dodge, formed from a fire truck mounted in an upturned lifeboat, is listed on vacation rental websites (airbnb.com). From £86 per night for up to five people.