1. Swimming in Brighton
The East Sussex beach town has long been a favourite with open-water swimmers, but Brighton’s new 165ft open-air Sea Lanes pool will be a gamechanger for families who want better facilities and heated water for younger children. Opening in May, the baths back onto the beach at Madeira Drive and add to the area’s other family-friendly attractions, including Yellowave Beach Sports club and cafe, for activities such as volleyball and beach rugby; traditional rides and arcades on the Palace Pier; and the Brighton i360 moving observation tower.
2. Vintage fun in Margate
Reinvented for the 21st century, this north Kent seaside town is home to a blossoming cluster of indie boutiques and its retro theme park Dreamland continues to draw families. This year, a new Rock ’n’ Roller family coaster, crazy golf and a revamped Mirror Maze have added some more sparkle to Dreamland’s roster of attractions. Long-time favourites include the Scenic Railway, which is the UK’s oldest wooden coaster, and the roller disco. There’s also a busy calendar of events including gigs and concerts, outdoor screenings and pop-up art installations.
3. Entertainment in Blackpool
The Showtown museum of entertainment opening has been delayed until 2024, but families can still get a taster of what it will offer at this year’s Showtown Activity Hub. As the town is Strictly Come Dancing’s ballroom home, children can expect drop-in performances and ‘Showtots’ sessions, alongside activities such as seaside postcard-making. The Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse will also launch on Blackpool’s seafront this month. The multimillion-pound attraction will include soft play and 3D zones with characters from Julia Donaldson’s popular books.
4. Flying high in Rhyl
Close to the popular seaside resort of Llandudno, Rhyl will be the home of the new Zip World Rhyl Skyflyer — a blimp adventure that will take you 400ft into the air for panoramic views of North Wales, including Snowdonia on clear days. The Skyflyer is the latest of several adrenaline-fuelled Zipworld activities in the region, including zip-wires, quarry karting and an underground challenge course in a former slate mine. Rhyl is also home to a water park and there’s an award-winning air show with aerobatics from Red Arrow planes each August.
5. Walking & biodiversity in Dorset
Opening around the country in waves, the 2,700-mile England Coast Path will be the longest managed coastal path in the world when it’s completed in the next couple of years. This year, Natural England is hosting a number of celebratory events along the newest sections, with family-friendly outdoors fun. In the south west, the top pick is an event on 11 June at Nothe Gardens in Weymouth. Taking place on a promontory with a coastal fortress, it will cover marine habitat sessions along with storytelling, puppetry and free abseiling for kids, live music and guided walks. Elsewhere in the country, look out for coastal events such as ‘tramper tours’, fossil sessions, craft workshops and circus skills lessons.