Beach holidays in the UK are getting more and more popular for families with young children, and for good reason. We have some incredible beaches, and why pay for flights when you don’t have to. But as beach holidays get more and more popular, beaches get busier and busier. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your time at the seaside.
1) Get up early. If your family is anything like mine then being awake early is a given. Normally if we don’t have a deadline we like to have a leisurely morning, taking our time over breakfast and getting washed and dressed in our own time. However on our recent beach holiday we did things a little differently. We threw on whatever clothes we could find, and got down to the beach within ten minutes of the first one waking up. The beach was empty, the sun was shining, and to top it all there was a cafe serving decent coffee. We got a good hour before the kids started to get hungry. If we’d been organised and taken a breakfast picnic we’d have been set for the day.
2) Get wetsuits. When I was young wetsuits were a significant investment, you needed to spend well into three figures to get one worth having. A family with wetsuits for the kids was clearly a family with a lot more money than we have. But now things are different. For our recent holiday we picked up a pair of wetsuits for our kids from Tesco Direct for the grand sum of £15. It meant we could stay at the beach for longer, the kids could play in the water for longer, and a completely unforseen benefit was that they were much easier to spot when the beach was busier. Now of course I need to get myself one.
3) Get a pop-up tent. The person who first decided to take a small pop-up tent to the beach was a complete genius and everyone with kids owes them a massive debt of gratitude. They give you a place to put things out of the sun, the help keep the sand off things that you don’t want to get sandy, and they’re really easy to spot so you all know where your “base” on the beach is. They’re really light and easy to carry too.
4) Don’t worry about the weather. When the sun is beaming the beach is going to get full very quickly, but when it’s raining, or even overcast it’s a completely different story. But why? When you go to the beach you’re going to get wet anyway, a little bit of drizzle isn’t going to do you any harm, especially if you’ve got your pop up tent to put your belongings in. The sea tends to warm and cool very slowly, so as long as it’s been sunny for a few days, the water will still be pretty warm, and if the kids have wetsuits they won’t care anyway. You don’t have to worry so much about sun burn either!
5) Don’t always go for the obvious choice. The very best beaches tend to be very busy, but “best” is a completely subjective choice. We had a beautiful sandy beach within easy walking distance of our holiday home and had a lot of fun there. But one day we decided to drive to the next town down the coast and see what was there. The beach there was a lot emptier. The sand wasn’t as fine, but there was a lot more space, and as my kids are half fish they didn’t care about the sand anyway. We had just as much fun and we weren’t surrounded by crowds of people all trying to do exactly the same as us in the same space.