*More about our nominees

It really couldn’t be simpler. Just take a look at the following nominations and then vote online for your favourites!

Best Seaside Holiday Destination

St Davids, Pembrokeshire
A favourite with TV’s Ben Fogle, Britain’s smallest city has a historic cathedral at its heart and is close to outstanding coastal scenery. Beloved of walkers and surfers (stdavids.co.uk).


St Ives, Cornwall
Can St Ives hold onto its crown for 2012? Our judges describe it as a resort that’s ‘got everything’ – from beaches to high culture, plus great restaurants and places to stay (stives-cornwall.co.uk). 

Southwold, Suffolk
A quintessential seaside resort, Southwold is loved by our sponsors Joules for its family atmosphere. It also has beach huts, a pier and numerous good hotels and pubs (southwold.ws).

Whitby, North Yorkshire
Praised by judges for its eerie beauty, Whitby has a lot to offer: an active fishing fleet, cliff walks and fascinating architecture (whitby.co.uk).

Whitstable, Kent
Popular with our panel for its foodie scene and delicious oysters, this pretty North Kent resort has a wealth of independent shops and is easily accessible from the capital (seewhitstable.com). 

Best British Beach

Bamburgh, Northumberland
An award-winning sandy beach in an AONB, crowned by a medieval castle – the former seat of the kings of Northumbria (northumberland-coast.co.uk).

Camber Sands, East Sussex
Photogenic and wildlife-rich, Camber Sands is popular for water sports.
Listen for skylarks as you explore its eight-mile expanse. 

Gwithian, Cornwall
Chosen by our panel for its natural beauty and fantastic waves, Gwithian,
on St Ives Bay, is perfect for surfing and walking (gwithian.org.uk).

Holkham, Norfolk
This four-mile stretch of golden sand and dunes has bagged the ‘Best British Beach’ title for three years running. Will it win again? (holkham.co.uk)

Woolacombe, Devon
A family-friendly beach, with clean water and soft sand, Woolacombe is also great for surfing and close to village amenities (woolacombetourism.co.uk). 

Best Seaside Attraction

Brighton Pier, Brighton, East Sussex
Described by the judges as ‘classic British coastal fare’, Brighton Pier is a perennially uplifting place to be, with its funfair rides, panoramic views and free admission (brightonpier.co.uk).

Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, Lancashire
Nominated for its overhaul this year and new spruced-up look, which includes the Tower Eye – an observation deck with a glass-floored Sky Walk (theblackpooltower.com).

The Minack Theatre , Porthcurno, Cornwall
Carved out of a cliffside on the south-west Cornish coast, this open-air theatre wins praise from our panel for its events programme and uniqueness (minack.com). 

Southwold Pier, Southwold, Suffolk
A past winner whose original, satirical arcade games (courtesy of cartoonist/engineer Tim Hunkin), tasteful shops and restaurants are anything but mass market (southwoldpier.co.uk).

Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent
Judges admired the way this newly built, David Chipperfield-designed gallery has brought new life, culture and visitors to the town (turnercontemporary.org).

Best Coastal Camping or Caravan Site

Henry’s Campsite, The Lizard, Cornwall
Quirky and fun, this family-run site features secluded pitches, most of which have a sea view, along with local art and exotic plants. It also hosts an acoustic music festival (henryscampsite.co.uk).

Little Meadow Caravan & Camping Site, nr Ilfracombe, Devon
Terraces line a coastal hillside at this small site, located on a 100-acre organic farm, with dramatic views over Combe Martin Bay and the Bristol Channel (littlemeadow.co.uk).

Overstrand Campsite, nr Cromer, Norfolk
One for beautifully simple coastal camping. Small  but perfectly positioned, this campsite sits atop Norfolk cliffs with views across the sea and miles of sandy beach (gocampinguk.co.uk/overstrand).

Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, Gower
Amazing views of one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, with a public footpath leading down to the sand (a five-minute walk away), plus 52 acres of cliffland (threecliffsbay.com).

Vintage Vacations, nr Ryde, Isle of Wight
Offers the chance to stay in vintage American Airstream caravans, plus some midcentury UK and French models, all fitted out in authentic retro style (vintagevacations.co.uk). 

Best Hotel by the Sea

'Despite having a mainland coastline of some 11,000 miles, graced by some of the country’s most elegant Regency and Victorian architecture, we still do not have one coastal hotel brand (let alone a whole clutch of them) that is synonymous with seaside holiday style. No name we can equate with guaranteed quality and enjoyment in beachside locations from north to south. Perhaps this is a good thing. It means that it is still down to independent hoteliers and B&B owners to create their own interpretation of what staying by the sea should feel like, their modern riposte to what once meant an endurance of lumpy beds, cracked paintwork and the disheartening whiff of overcooked cabbage in the hallway. My nominations for the Coast Awards this year – in the Best Hotel By The Sea category – are in celebration of the independents who bring creativity and innovation to the parts of Britain, which the big brands often (thankfully) seem to have overlooked.'
Sally Shalam is a hotel critic, travel journalist and motivational speaker to the UK holiday industry. For more, see her blog at sallyshalamsbritain.co.uk.

Black Rock House, Hastings, East Sussex
Everything the B&B’s two female owners do is to hotel standard, from the cakes at afternoon tea to the refreshingly different breakfast options and delightful bedrooms (black-rock-hastings.co.uk).

Isle of Eriska, Benderloch, Argyll
A family-owned hotel on its own private island, the Isle of Eriska offers five-star accommodation and an award-winning restaurant in an idyllic coastal setting (eriska-hotel.co.uk).

St Bride’s Hotel & Spa, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire
A past Coast Awards winner, the spa, with its infinity pool, is still a destination in its own right, and the hotel has helped to put Saundersfoot firmly on the tourist map (stbridesspahotel.com).

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
A newly built, eco-friendly retreat, which won this category in 2010. Our panel continues to be impressed by its luxurious rooms, locally sourced food and spectacular views (scarlethotel.co.uk).

Woodlands, Sandsend, North Yorkshire
Woodlands and its young chef Alex Perkins are a welcome addition to this beautiful area. Just five rooms, and Alex’s divine food at a separate café-bar a short stroll away (thewoodlands-sandsend.com).

Best Beach Cafe

East Beach Café, Littlehampton, East Sussex
Last year’s winner continues to wow our expert panel with its sculptural architecture, seafront location and local, seasonal food (eastbeachcafe.co.uk). 

Harbour Lights, Coverack, Cornwall
Nominated for its focus on great local produce, such as meat from the neighbouring village, artisan bread and seafood landed on Coverack's sandy beach (harbourlightscoverack.co.uk).

Hive Beach Café, Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Well-loved seafood café with indoor/outdoor seating on beautiful Lyme Bay. Specialities include seafood platters, locally caught crab sandwiches and homemade cakes (hivebeachcafe.co.uk).

Godrevy Beach Café, Gwithian, Cornwall
This little timber hut in the National Trust car park serves delicious cakes, coffee, breakfasts and lunches. Includes a sandpit out front and a veranda overlooking the surf (godrevycafe.co.uk).

Ocean Beach, Southend, Essex
A new family-friendly restaurant and bar on Thorpe Bay, with a deck overlooking the Thames Estuary. On the site of the old public toilets, its facilities remain open to all (ocean-beach.co.uk).

Best Seaside Restaurant

The Company Shed, West Mersea, Essex
A favourite with our judges for fresh, delicious seafood (such as local oysters and grilled mussels) served simply in unpretentious surroundings. BYO bread and drink (the-company-shed.co.uk).

Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay, Cornwall
Last year’s winner celebrated its fifth birthday in 2011 and what’s not to love about its apprenticeship scheme, predominantly Cornish-sourced menu and beach location (fifteencornwall.co.uk)?

Porthgwidden Beach Café, St Ives, Cornwall
The little sister of a past winner (St Ives’ Porthminster Café) is nominated this year for its intimate setting, reasonable pricing and great local seafood menu (porthgwiddencafe.co.uk).

Rocksalt, Folkestone, Kent
Our panel applauds chef Mark Sargeant’s bold effort to revive this coastal resort through a new, contemporary restaurant with rooms plus a chippie right on the harbour (rocksaltfolkestone.co.uk).

The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent
This award-winning restaurant has become a destination in its own right owing to its excellent food, including home-churned butter and homemade sea salt (thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk).

Best Coastal Path

The Cleveland Way
After leading through the North York Moors, the coastal stretch of this 109-mile trail, from Saltburn to Filey, takes in Whitby, Staithes Harbour and Captain Cook’s monument (nationaltrail.co.uk/clevelandway).

Norfolk Coast Path
Last year’s winner is still a firm favourite on account of its gentle terrain and exquisite natural beauty, including marshes, pebble beaches and fantastic birdwatching (nationaltrail.co.uk/PeddarsWay).

Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail
Another past winner, Pembrokeshire delivers 186 miles of varied coastal scenery – from rugged clifftops to sheltered coves – and works hard to maintain accessibility (nt.pcnpa.org.uk).

South Downs Way
This 100-mile route snakes inland from the chalk cliffs of Eastbourne, past the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, and is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders (nationaltrail.co.uk/southdowns).


South West Coast Path
An epic 630-mile odyssey encompassing one National Park, five AONBs and two World Heritage Sites – the Jurassic Coast and Cornish Mining (southwestcoastpath.com).

Best Water Sports Provider

'Water sports are all the rage, but sometimes those in the industry can be a little too cool for school. Not so those short-listed in our Best Water-Sports Provider category. We've selected five businesses that put a premium on being welcoming and accessible. Each has instructors at the top of their game, but they're down to earth and friendly into the bargain. Better yet, they're on hand to get you in the sea and active whenever the urge takes you.'
Alex Wade is a writer and journalist. He is currently writing a collection of surfing short stories, due out in November 2012.

Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, Cornwall
Experience a wide range of adrenaline sports – from traction kiting to waveskiing – on a two-mile, sandy beach, home to Polo on the Beach and Fifteen Cornwall (watergatebay.co.uk).

Joss Bay Surf School, Broadstairs, Kent
Nominated by our panel for its commitment to the local community, this school provides surfing courses and events for every age and ability (jossbay.co.uk).

SailLaser, Weymouth, Dorset
Located at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue, SailLaser offers sailing courses at all levels, from beginners to race training, with an emphasis on local involvement (sail-laser.com).

Sennen Surfing Centre, Sennen Cove, Cornwall
Run by likeable, helpful Dave Muir on an impossibly beautiful beach, this surf school eschews ‘cool’ in favour of getting people up and riding (sennensurfingcentre.com).

TYF Adventure, St Davids, Pembrokeshire
Coasteering pioneers and Europe’s first carbon-neutral adventure business, TYF’s courses include kayaking and rock climbing, plus adventure days for schools and businesses (tyf.com).

the most for our coast?

Nicholas Crane
A past winner, Nicholas Crane presents the BBC’s Coast and is credited with bolstering a resurgent interest in the UK’s shoreline. 

Tracey Emin
Nominated for her support of Margate during the year of the Turner Contemporary opening, she’s helped the resort to become part of the British contemporary art scene. 

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Short-listed this year for his pioneering work on discards through the Fish Fight campaign, and for encouraging us all to eat more sustainable fish.

Kate Humble
Our panel admired the wildlife presenter’s campaigning work in support of marine reserves and her commitment to charities such as the MCS.

Chris Packham
The Autumnwatch presenter was chosen for his wildlife evangelism, conservation work and clear broadcasting clearly on complex, scientific subjects.

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