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Finest vs worst UK seaside resort: The Mail packs its bucket and spade and places top-ranked Bamburgh face to face with bottom-rated Skegness

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For 3 years in a row, Bamburgh has been named the UK’s greatest seaside city in an annual rating by Which? – with the Northumberland village scoring a powerful 88 per cent on this 12 months’s survey.

The Lincolnshire seaside resort of Skegness, in the meantime, has floundered on the backside of the desk for the previous 4 years working, this 12 months tying for final place with Clacton-on-Sea with a dismal rating of 48 per cent.

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However what’s the distinction between the most effective and the worst? And is the worst actually that unhealthy? I am holidaying in each Bamburgh and Skegness, together with a buddy, to seek out out. 

Within the former, there are ‘magical’ views and a ‘knockout’ seaside, however some surprisingly excessive costs. Whereas within the latter, there are pictures of Jagermeister within the morning, littered cigarette butts – however a powerful bounty of amusements. Learn on for extra…

SKEGNESS

For three years in a row, Bamburgh has been named the UK's best seaside town in an annual ranking by Which? - while Skegness (above) has ranked bottom for four years running

For 3 years in a row, Bamburgh has been named the UK’s greatest seaside city in an annual rating by Which? – whereas Skegness (above) has ranked backside for 4 years working

Ailbhe MacMahon holidays in both Skegness (above) and Bamburgh to find out what the difference is between the best and the worst seaside resorts - and whether the worst is really that bad

Ailbhe MacMahon on Skegness's Blue Flag beach

Ailbhe MacMahon holidays in each Skegness and Bamburgh to seek out out what the distinction is between the most effective and the worst seaside resorts – and whether or not the worst is de facto that unhealthy. She’s pictured above on Skegness’s Blue Flag seaside

BEACHES AND SEAFRONT

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Skegness’ Blue Flag seaside is large, sandy and a transparent hit with households, who’ve heaps of room to unfold out and throw down their picnics, buckets and spades. We see a pair of detectorists scouring the sand, a paraglider floating overhead and kids bodyboarding within the sea. Some empty cups and crushed McDonald’s packaging are littered right here and there on the sand on Saturday afternoon, however by Sunday morning it is cleaned up and the seaside is spotless.

The pier itself – which dates again to 1881 – is fairly, festooned with fairy lights and with old-timey writing spelling out ‘Skegness’. And it is about to get an bold makeover. A noticeboard unveils plans to show it into ‘an thrilling and academic customer attraction’ with ‘fashionable glass dome shelters’ and pockets of greenery.

FOOD AND DRINK

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Ailbhe has an 'excellent' Italian dinner at Tarantino Restaurant in Skegness. It's pictured above at the end of the night

Ailbhe has an ‘glorious’ Italian dinner at Tarantino Restaurant in Skegness. It is pictured above on the finish of the night time 

A handful of stalls, such as Charlie's Shellfish and Coffee Bar, sell fresh shellfish

Dressed crab and tubs of mussels are priced at just a few quid at the seafront stalls

A handful of stalls, akin to Charlie’s Shellfish and Espresso Bar, promote contemporary shellfish. Dressed crab and tubs of mussels are priced at only a few quid 

Across the seafront there’s stall upon stall promoting doughnuts, ice lotions and booze-infused slushies, whereas the odor of fish and chips wafts from the cafes. On first impressions, the whole lot appears sugar-coated or deep-fried, however a handful of stalls promote contemporary shellfish too – dressed crab and tubs of mussels for only a few quid.

And a star flip comes within the type of Tarantino Restaurant, the city’s Italian eatery. It is packed on Saturday night, however we handle to get a desk and have a superb dinner – truffle arancini (£5.90) and calamari (£8.90) to share, with tricolore salad (£7.90) for mains and a beautiful bottle of Sicilian Miral Nero d’Avola (£22.50).

ACCOMMODATION

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Ailbhe spends £99 on a 'clean and comfortable' room at the Savoy hotel near the seafront

Ailbhe spends £99 on a ‘clear and cozy’ room at the Savoy resort close to the seafront 

Our berths are on the Savoy resort on North Parade, a useful spot a couple of minutes from the seafront. It prices £99 to guide by Reserving.com. 

The welcoming workers allow us to examine in early and whereas the room itself has no frills, it is clear and cozy.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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Ailbhe says that Skegness is 'chock-a-block with attractions'. Image three shows the 'Upside Down House' amusement

Ailbhe says that Skegness is ‘chock-a-block with sights’. Picture three exhibits the ‘Upside Down Home’ amusement 

A map within the centre of city is meant to stipulate the city’s highlights, nevertheless it’s been partially torn away – though an indication as a substitute assures {that a} ‘new map is coming quickly’.

It does not matter, as it is simple to see that Skegness – or Skeg Vegas because it’s nicknamed – is chock-a-block with sights, beginning with the countless arcades and bingo halls. There’s an ‘Upside Down Home’, a number of mini golf programs, pedalos for rent and the Altitude44 climbing course, which payments itself as ‘the UK’s tallest city ropes course’. On the coronary heart of the seafront is the Skegness Pleasure Seashore theme park, residence to candy-coloured dodgems, a Ferris wheel, a ghost practice, and extra. It is a sort of paradise for teenagers.

Our go to coincides with the annual SO Pageant, which sees open-air performs hosted in Tower Gardens and performers taking to the streets.

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A handful of historic websites take you again to Skegness’s Victorian heyday, from the neo-Gothic clocktower to the fountain topped by the city’s ‘Jolly Fisherman’ mascot, who had a starring function in a 1908 advert with the now-iconic slogan ‘Skegness is SO bracing’.

The usual of night leisure is extra of a gray space. I ask a bartender if she has any suggestions for the place to go on a Saturday night time within the city, and she or he recommends a bar known as ‘Busters’. After I ask her if it is any good, she shrugs and replies that ‘it’s what it’s, it is Skeggie’.

SCENERY

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Skegness Beach is at its most scenic when you wander south, away from the ruckus of the fairground rides towards the quiet of the Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve

Skegness Seashore is at its most scenic whenever you wander south, away from the ruckus of the fairground rides in direction of the quiet of the Gibraltar Level Nationwide Nature Reserve

The city is a peculiar mishmash of Victorian heritage and rainbow-coloured outlets promoting bucket hats and vapes. It is not the prettiest however there is a kitschy attraction to it.

Sitting on the seaside, the principle view is of the Lincs Offshore Wind Farm 8km (5 miles) off the coast. Some might discover the wind generators an eyesore however they’re spectacular – signage on the seaside informs bathers that they’ll ‘meet the annual electrical energy wants of greater than 300,000 households’.

The seaside is at its most scenic whenever you wander south, away from the ruckus of the fairground rides in direction of the quiet of the Gibraltar Level Nationwide Nature Reserve, the place skylarks, waders and brent geese might be noticed, relying on the season.

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SHOPPING

In the event you’re in search of a discount, there is a bundle of charity outlets and stalls promoting trinkets and seaside staples. In a single store, I am tempted by a feather-trimmed cowboy hat, whereas one other has some unusual hyper-realistic dolls on show, which appear to cease passersby of their tracks.

PEACE AND QUIET

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'While it's busy in the daytime, it's quieter than expected on a Saturday night, and actually quite peaceful and empty on Sunday morning,' says Ailbhe

‘Whereas it is busy within the daytime, it is quieter than anticipated on a Saturday night time, and really fairly peaceable and empty on Sunday morning,’ says Ailbhe 

There is a stag celebration doing pictures of Jagermeister on our practice at 9.30 within the morning. When a hen do boards they persuade the bride-to-be to do a shot with them. They then announce that everybody ought to keep away from the practice bathroom as a result of considered one of their group ‘dropped his guts’ in there. It looks as if a foul omen for the remainder of the journey.

However after we get to the city, the hen and stag events trickle off into the bars, and holidaying households and pensioners are those that fill the streets. Whereas it is busy within the daytime, it is quieter than anticipated on a Saturday night time, and really fairly peaceable and empty on Sunday morning.

VALUE FOR MONEY

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Lunch deals on display at Ocean Cafe near the seafront. Kids' meals, in some restaurants, are priced at as little as £2.30, Ailbhe finds

Lunch offers on show at Ocean Cafe close to the seafront. Youngsters’ meals, in some eating places, are priced at as little as £2.30, Ailbhe finds 

Ailbhe writes: 'Skegness is a good shout for a budget beach break'

Ailbhe writes: ‘Skegness is an effective shout for a price range seaside break’

Skegness is an effective shout for a price range seaside break. I see uber-cheap pints for £3.50. You may simply get lunch for beneath a fiver – there are locations promoting haddock and chips for £4.50 and egg baps for £2.20. For dessert, you can get a 99 ice cream with all of the trimmings for round £2.

And the pricing takes under consideration the number of holidaymakers who love Skegness. One place advertises a ‘senior citizen particular’ – cod or haddock with chips, bread and butter, and a cup of tea for £6.99. Youngsters’ meals, in some eating places, are priced at as little as £2.30.

TRANSPORT

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It is no trouble to get there by practice. LNER takes us from London’s King’s Cross station to the city of Grantham, earlier than we alter on to one of many comparatively frequent East Midlands Railway trains to Skegness. The view from the window seat is picturesque as you close to the coast, slicing previous a sprawl of inexperienced Lincolnshire fields and the chocolate-box Heckington Windmill.

OVERALL VERDICT

A local tells Ailbhe that 'lots of people knock [Skegness]' but that it can be 'lovely'

A neighborhood tells Ailbhe that ‘a number of individuals knock [Skegness]’ however that it may be ‘beautiful’ 

The flashy sights and sugar-loaded snacks at each flip make the place a sensory overload, however that is a part of its attraction. It isn’t for everybody nevertheless it’s a successful recipe for a lot of, with Skegness welcoming 2.3million guests a 12 months. The holidaymakers I see there appear to be having a blast.

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A waitress at a restaurant within the city tells me that ‘a number of individuals knock [Skegness]’ however that it may be ‘beautiful’ when it is quiet. ‘Everybody is de facto pleasant,’ she provides.

There appears to be an issue with littering and components of the city look a little bit run down. I see a number of cigarette butts scattered alongside the streets, for example. If a little bit TLC was injected into the city – and guests took extra care to select up their garbage – Skegness may very well be restored to its glory days. Maybe the restoration of the pier will herald a turning level.

Whereas ready for a desk at Tarantino Restaurant, I get talking to a different first-time customer in Skegness. I ask her what she thinks of the city, and she or he describes it as a ‘unusual little place’. In her phrases, it is ‘weird and glorious on the similar time’. I second that.

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SCORES OUT OF FIVE: Seashores and seafront – 3. Foods and drinks – 3. Lodging – 3. Vacationer sights and leisure – 5. Surroundings – 2. Procuring – 3. Peace and quiet – 2. Worth for cash – 4. Transport – 5. Total rating – 66 per cent.

BAMBURGH

Northumberland village Bamburgh scored an impressive 88 per cent in this year's Which? survey

Northumberland village Bamburgh scored a powerful 88 per cent on this 12 months’s Which? survey

Ailbhe on Bamburgh's beach. Bamburgh Castle - described by one local as the 'best sandcastle in England' - is in the background

Bamburgh's beach gets five stars in this year's Which? survey

Pictured left is Ailbhe on Bamburgh’s seaside. Bamburgh Fortress – described by one native because the ‘greatest sandcastle in England’ – is within the background. The seaside will get 5 stars on this 12 months’s Which? survey

BEACHES AND SEAFRONT

I am not stunned Bamburgh’s seaside will get 5 stars within the Which? survey – it is a knockout. There is not any litter. The sand is pale gold and smooth underfoot – virtually tropical. The water is obvious and a shade of blue that you simply hardly ever see within the UK. A barista within the village tells me that she believes it is the world’s water high quality that makes Bamburgh (pronounced ‘bam buh ruh’) so standard.

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I see clusters of households paddling within the sea and constructing sandcastles, however the seaside is so huge and lengthy that it might by no means really feel crowded.

The cherry on prime is the sight of Bamburgh Fortress – constructed atop a mammoth heft of rock – looming over the seaside. I chat with one native girl who describes it because the ‘greatest sandcastle in England’.

FOOD AND DRINK

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Ailbhe goes for dinner in The Castle Inn (above two images) as its menu has the cheapest prices for dinner in the village

Ailbhe goes for dinner in The Fortress Inn (above two pictures) as its menu has the most affordable costs for dinner within the village

Above is R Carter and Sons butchers, where you can get 'three bangers in a bap' for a bargain £3

R Carter and Sons' sausages have been voted the finest in Northumberland, the butchers proudly notes

Above is R Carter and Sons butchers, the place you will get ‘three bangers in a bap’ for a discount £3. Their sausages have been voted the best in Northumberland, it proudly notes

It is surprisingly costly to go for dinner in Bamburgh – most eating places have important dishes across the £20 to £30 mark. The place to go is Michelin Information-recommended fish restaurant The Potted Lobster, nevertheless it’s absolutely booked on Saturday night time. I find yourself going for a pub dinner in The Fortress Inn as its menu has the most affordable costs, however remorse it when my underwhelming veggie burger (£14.95) arrives on the desk. It has an inviting beer backyard, nevertheless.

Lunch choices are higher. The signal for the ‘Butcher, Baker, Sausage Roll Maker’ marks the doorway to R Carter and Sons butchers, the place you will get ‘three bangers in a bap’ for a discount £3. Their sausages have been voted the best in Northumberland, it proudly notes. Plus, the enterprise is a chunk of Bamburgh’s historical past – because the signal hanging exterior says, ‘it has been carnivore heaven since 1887’.

ACCOMMODATION

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Ailbhe stays in the 'sweet' Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast right in the village (above three images), where friendly owner Malcolm and his son go the extra mile for guests

Ailbhe stays within the ‘candy’ Hillcrest Home Mattress & Breakfast proper within the village (above three pictures), the place pleasant proprietor Malcolm and his son go the additional mile for visitors

I pay £125 for an evening in Hillcrest Home Mattress & Breakfast proper within the village. It is a candy little place if considerably dated. 

Pleasant proprietor Malcolm and his son appear to go the additional mile for visitors – two cyclists seated close to me at breakfast are introduced with the kippers they’ve requested, although they don’t seem to be on the breakfast menu.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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'Bamburgh is a honey pot for history enthusiasts,' says Ailbhe. Above are actors in Anglo-Saxon dress at Bamburgh Castle

‘Bamburgh is a honey pot for historical past fanatics,’ says Ailbhe. Above are actors in Anglo-Saxon costume at Bamburgh Fortress 

The village's fascinating St Aidan's Church (above two images), which dates back to 635AD

The village’s fascinating St Aidan’s Church (above two pictures), which dates again to 635AD 

Bamburgh is a honey pot for historical past fanatics. The massive attraction, naturally, is Bamburgh Fortress, which not too long ago doubled as a Nazi stronghold within the new Indiana Jones blockbuster. A day ticket is £15.50 for adults and a household ticket is £41. You get mesmerising views of the ocean from the canon-lined ramparts. Youngsters appear transfixed by the haunting dungeons within the stomach of the fort, that are full of model prisoners.

Free-to-enter, in the meantime, is the fascinating St Aidan’s Church, which dates again to 635AD. A must-see is the eerie church crypt, whereby lies a row of ossuary containers containing the bones of seventh and Eighth-century locals.

The graveyard holds an ornate monument to Grace Darling, an area lighthouse keeper’s daughter who rose to fame when she helped to rescue survivors from an 1838 shipwreck. There’s additionally a museum devoted to her, although it is closed throughout our go to.

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A poster within the village advertises an upcoming sandcastle constructing contest (the theme is ‘sea creature’) and there is a playground, a golf course and cricket matches on the pavilion – full with indicators warning to ‘watch out for flying cricket balls’. It is all very endearing, however you’d run out of issues to do after a day or two if you did not have a automobile.

SCENERY

'The sight of the castle soaring over the village is spectacular,' writes Ailbhe

‘The sight of the fort hovering over the village is spectacular,’ writes Ailbhe 

Ailbhe says that 'the beach is so vast and long that it could never feel crowded'

Ailbhe says that ‘the seaside is so huge and lengthy that it might by no means really feel crowded’ 

This hill beside Bamburgh Castle was once voted 'one of the UK's top 10 lunch spots', a plaque reveals

This hill beside Bamburgh Fortress was as soon as voted ‘one of many UK’s prime 10 lunch spots’, a plaque reveals

Bamburgh Castle as the sun goes down. Ailbhe describes the view as 'magical'

Bamburgh Fortress because the solar goes down. Ailbhe describes the view as ‘magical’ 

The sight of the fort hovering over the village is spectacular. As for the village itself, it seems like a filming location for Midsomer Murders, with flowers clinging to the partitions and {couples} taking part in croquet on the pavilion.

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When the solar begins to set, we stand atop a hill beside the fort – a perch as soon as voted ‘one of many UK’s prime 10 lunch spots’ – and admire the surroundings. The view, with the Farne Islands archipelago fading into the horizon, is nothing wanting magical. There is not any doubt Bamburgh deserves the total 5 stars it was awarded for surroundings within the Which? rating.

SHOPPING

There’s not a lot in the best way of purchasing, however that is right down to the village’s measurement. The primary store is a teeny deli known as The Pantry that sells native produce akin to Northumberland cheeses and preserves. For souvenirs, you’ll be able to decide up prints and postcards within the Bamburgh Fortress present store.

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PEACE AND QUIET

'It seems the majority of visitors in Bamburgh are daytrippers,' Ailbhe writes

‘It appears the vast majority of guests in Bamburgh are daytrippers,’ Ailbhe writes 

Bamburgh’s reputation and its tiny measurement are at odds with each other – it could possibly get jampacked within the daytime. We won’t get a seat at The Copper Kettle Tea Rooms at lunchtime because it’s full up. A whopper queue of households and canine walkers kinds on the principle road, stemming from the Wyndenwell café – the city’s purveyor of ice lotions. Nevertheless it appears the vast majority of guests are daytrippers, as as soon as nightfall falls, it is sleepy and silent.

VALUE FOR MONEY

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I am shocked by the restaurant costs within the village – even coming from London. A number of travellers can be priced out of a go to. The price of lodging, alternatively, is commonplace. Usually, nevertheless, it does not compete with Skegness’s low-cost and cheerful costs.

TRANSPORT

LNER takes travellers to Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is a bus ride away from Bamburgh. Pictured above is an LNER Azuma train zipping along the Northumberland coast

LNER takes travellers to Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is a bus journey away from Bamburgh. Pictured above is an LNER Azuma practice zipping alongside the Northumberland coast 

We catch an LNER Azuma practice from London King’s Cross to Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost city in England, dashing previous the isle of Lindisfarne and its Sixteenth-century fort because the practice traces the Northumberland coast. From the city, the X81 bus to Alnwick – which runs just a few instances a day – takes us straight to Bamburgh.

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OVERALL VERDICT

I can see why Bamburgh ranks in first place time and time once more. It gives a fascinating cocktail of gorgeous surroundings and sumptuous historic websites. A neighborhood girl tells me that travellers usually overlook Northumberland in favour of Devon or Cornwall, however ‘as soon as they’ve come and seen what it is like, they preserve telling their buddies and coming again’. The steep restaurant costs are off-putting, nevertheless. I would advocate renting self-catering lodging or eating in close by village Seahouses, the place costs are extra affordable.

All in all, Skegness and Bamburgh are worlds aside, however they every have a singular attraction – and appear to be luring holidaymakers of their droves.

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SCORES OUT OF FIVE: Seashores and seafront – 5. Foods and drinks – 3. Lodging – 4. Vacationer sights and leisure – 5. Surroundings – 5. Procuring – 2. Peace and quiet – 4. Worth for cash – 3. Transport – 5. Total rating – 80 per cent.

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