UK beaches, Slapton Sands, Devon

How UK beaches are brilliant (despite what the Telegraph says)

Andrew Clarke

The beach is generally known as a fun and positive place to be - for a variety of reasons. And for everyone - whatever their walk of life, age or personality. 

An exciting place of egalitarian activity and all-round entertainment, if you will. 

Yet the Telegraph thinks the middle class have spoiled it with their rather negative outlook. We love our beach think not. And remain positive. For all 1,500 of the UK's brilliant beaches. (And those everywhere). 

In his article, on Tuesday 9th May, Ed Grenby (or should we say Grumpy?) wrote:

"20 ways the middle class has ruined the beach holiday"

"The humble beach holiday is now a hellscape of overpriced fish and chips, idiots with drones, yoga classes and miserable teenagers.

Check the sandcastles. Are those turrets or transepts? Portcullises or pulpits? Ramparts or, God help us, rood screens? Because if it’s the latter, that’s not a sandcastle… that’s a sand cathedral, and the first sign that your beach holiday has become dangerously middle-class (“Well Lottie and I just find sandcastles so militaristic, don’t we darling?”).

You see, no longer content to spend their vacation time in museums and art galleries and “fine examples of Baroque ecclesiastical architecture of the 17th century” like Baedeker told them they should, the middle classes are now ruining beach holidays just like they (OK, we) bodged the city break and the camping trip.

Don’t believe me? Well from the Maldives to Margate, here are 20 ways Lottie and pals have spoiled the seaside…".

We 'beach' to differ. And respond with rigour and vigour. The beach is a fun place to be, a place to be creative, rest and rejuvenate, enjoy the well-being benefits of the water and forge memories with the ones we love. Something to take forward for generations. We love our beach believe in our amor with the shore. 

Ed erroneously wrote:

1. Children

Ed Grumpy: "The upper classes send them off on school cricket tours of the Caribbean; the working classes let them roam wild with nobody but Siri to look after them. In fact it’s only the middle class who feel the need to keep their offspring around for ‘quality time’ on their beach holiday – which explains why the little rays of drizzle are so unhappy and unpleasant for the rest of us to share the sand with".

We love our beach see families with their kiddie winkle loved ones creating memories that will last forever with children of all ages, interests and dispositions. It's where they can be creative and play with unfettered fun - and meet other children doing the same - from all walks of life. We see their smiling faces all the time and developed these to raise a few more. 

2. Fish restaurants

Ed Grumpy: "Who was it that decided seafood was somehow more sophisticated than meat? Probably the same evil genius who worked out you can charge £34 for a few mouthfuls of tiny bones if you open a joint within 15 miles of the coast and announce that everything’s ‘locally caught’. Leave it to the octopus-botherers, we say, and enjoy your burger".

We love our beach just love the simplicity and soul food nature of fish and chips at the seaside. Who doesn't? And a shout out to our fine fisher folk who risk loss and lives to bring us fresh fish fayre everyday. We salute you. So in celebration of fish at the seaside we designed these to make you smile. And do think of the delicious (sophisticated) fish dishes from Japan (sushi) and Spain (paella). 

3. Boules  

Ed Grumpy: "Like beach cricket for pretentious people". 

We love our beach love Boules on the Beach. There is even a Boules tournament for charity in our home city. Brilliant for friends and family. AND we love beach cricket. Great for the whole beach! Who doesn't love a team game of mixed ability for outright fun? Middle and leg please. Howzat? Not to mention our love of a cool cafe - like France (and Boules!). Here's one of our favourites at Blackpool Sands, Devon. Great for a game of Boules. And we can report that they've recently refurbished (and sell Boule sets for the beach!!). We won't mention Fanny! 

4. Boutique hotels

Ed Grumpy: "Egyptian cotton sheets, superfast Wi-Fi, extensive cocktail list… but does all that really beat a personal welcome from the landlady at a cosy little B&B on the promenade? Well yes, clearly it does. But we still miss starched sheets, a breakfast fry-up that finishes unyieldingly at 9am and the thrill of finding a Walkers shortbread on the tea and coffee tray in your room".

We love our beach love all kinds of beach stays - it depends on our mood, our schedule and our budget. A boutique hotel (here, with a warm welcome), a B&B and self catering (this is one of our favourites in the South Hams, Devon). 

5. Yoga, mindfulness, wellbeing, meditation, self-actualisation…

Ed Grumpy: "…and (from ‘thalasso-’ to ‘eco-’) anything that ends with ‘-therapy’. Remember when we went on holiday to do the exact opposite of wellbeing? That was fun, wasn’t it?

We love our beach recommend you read: By the sea, The therapeutic benefits of being on, in or by the water, by Dr. Deborah Cracknell.  

6. ‘Discovering’ South Wales

You didn’t ‘discover’ it, Jemima; it’s been there for literally aeons. What you mean is the rising cost of holidays finally tore your lazy, London-centric gaze from the same trendy Cornish hotspot your idiot friends have frequented every year, like homing pigeons crossed with sheep, since you all went with ‘Mummy and Daddy’ (up until you were 26). 

We love our beach celebrate all coastal locations. We are blessed as a union of (nearly) 4 island nations with such bio diversity. And what a place to take the family or choose to live there, as many do. This is a great UK beach guide. 

7. Trying your languages

Ed Grumpy: You’ve got a GCSE in French. We get it. Now voulez-vous shut it please – you’re holding the whole queue up while you struggle to recall the word for organic, and your accent is worse than René from ’Allo ’Allo.

Surely languages are good for us. They develop the brain. Not to mention perspective. And it's always better to try and say a few words than not. And patience is a virtue, non?  We love our beach were lucky enough to have learned French on the Côte d'Azur. It developed our childhood love of the beach (and blue skies, not to mention bouillabaisse!). So we say 'Oui' to the sea and beach with family and friends. As opposed to hi dee hi! La plage nous offre un grand plasir. 'La vie est une plage' as we show here! Organic in French is bio by the way! Pronounced bee eau! Which is ironic really. 

8. Photography as a competitive sport

Drones are a must-have for the competitive photographer. From the horsepower of his drone, to the size of her Instagram following, via the peculiarly petit-bourgeois reverse-boast of how many weeks they both fasted for to ensure “we didn’t look simply hideous in our holiday pics ha ha”, you’d think Snappy Snaps dished out Olympic medals. 

We love our beach love creativity (it's one of our values) so why shouldn't photographers get a higher perspective? And Instagram is a great platform for sharing. Here's ours @weloveourbeachclub

9. Buffet night

We may not have liked the food at the resort’s all-you-can-eat joint (we didn’t even like ourselves, after the sixth, self-discipline-sapping trip up there). But by God, we made sure we got our money’s worth – and you don’t get that at the chic little “fusion dining experience” that’s replaced it.

We love our beach think we probably all eat too much anyway, so an 'eat less, better' (more fish?) approach is better for the nation's waistline (not to mention cholestorel levels and heart rate). And you'll look good on the board and in the waves! See our new surf designs here. Wicked Waves and Toes to the Nose.

10. Book club

All you want is an hour or two on a lounger with Len Deighton or Jackie Collins – but it’s Book Club night the week you get home, and that copy of The Midnight Library is glowering at you, its spine accusingly uncracked. God, it’s like A-Levels all over again, isn’t it?

We love our beach recommend The Salt Path, by the renowned Raynor Wynn. A seminal read for the seaside about courage at the coast. 

Or enjoy one of our Nigel Hicks books about the southwest and its beaches and coastal treasures.

11. Being friendly to foreigners

Ed Grumpy: "Passive-aggressively battling the French, Italians and (sometimes aggressive-aggressively) Germans, used to be a key part of any European foray for us. But since they currently win on everything the middle classes hold dear (food, wine, culture, some semblance of fiscal and political competence), we have to make nice, non?"

We love our beach are always amazed at how characatures live on, isn't it? Japan has the most Michelin stars and London is second only to Paris in Europe. With UK counties inland and at the coast boasting more Michelin than you can shake a Mousse or Moet at! And the world acclaimed English sparking wine, Nyetimber has won countless awards, as recently as 2022. And, lest we forget, we are a part of Europe, just separated by 22 miles, Cornish pasties, cream teas (Jam first?) and cricket on the beach). 

12. Suncare

Ed Grumpy: "Tan-lines used to be part of the fun, but tutting Tims and Tillies now make it very clear that pale is the new pink. Hell, there’s even a class system at work in UVA protection these days (“Oh, mine’s rated five-star apparently!”) – which will be news to those old enough to remember when ‘UVA’ stood for something to be avoided in Northern Ireland".

We love your beach also know that Northern Ireland has some amazing beaches one, of which, Malligan Strand (from the German for beach), can be seen here. It's a 7-mile stretch of sand backed by one of the largest dune systems in the UK. Popular with surfers, swimmers and walkers, the beach forms part of a local Nature Reserve. You might need one of these Organic Cotton Hoodies to keep those gusty squalls at bay though.

13. Beach chic

Ed Grumpy: :White Stuff, Joules, Seasalt, Crew Clothing, Jack Wills, Boden, Fat Face, Oliver Bonas and the rest. ‘Lifestyle boutiques’ are all very well – but try asking for haddock and large chips and see how far you get".

We love our beach make a point of not criticising the competition. They're full of hard working people. What we would say is that we support #circularfashion rather than #fastfashion (which tends to end up in landfill and the plastics the clothing contains end up in the sea and our food chain). After garment life use, we offer recycling when returned for recycling. Like the tide, we believe in returning. And our clothes contain no plastic, like our packaging. Join the Happy Tides beach club and enjoy 10% OFF the first purchase. 

14. False Nostalgia Syndrome

Ed Grumpy: "You might think you enjoyed it when your parents forced you to go fossil-hunting, rock-pooling, crabbing and shelling as a child… but you didn’t. And neither do all those poor Tobys and Lolas miserably following their folks around with plastic buckets today – it’s just another symptom of that distinctly middle-class myopia that makes everything from their own childhoods seem superior". 

We love our beach are astonished. Name a child that DIDN'T love rock pooling, crabbing and making sandcastles (remember the discover and creative bits above?). The kiddie winkles would be amazed at these soft, sustainable beach play items (buckets, spades and more to you and us). They're light, foldable and easy to pack and carry to any beach. 

15. Rosé, prosecco and craft beers

Ed Grumpy: Can we just have a piña colada like we used to before you decided they were naff please?

We love our beach know there are an increasing number of distilleries and breweries around the UK coast. St Austell (of the famous Gem Bath Ale fame) and Sharp's (Doom Bar named after the sandbank) Breweries from Cornwall and Salcombe Gin to name but a few. So cheers for afficionados of beer and let's champion our home grown 'cin cins' (pronounced Chin Chin!) for cocktails. 

16. Guitars

Ed Grumpy: "Hell is other people playing the guitar in public. As welcome at the beach as a great white shark. There’s a time and a place for your Bob Marley tribute act, pal, and it’s alone in your bedroom, 15 years ago".

We love our beach agree that we should be mindful of others as beaches can get a little crowded. Yet there are an amazing number of festivals around the UK - from Boardmasters in Cornwall to Fringe by the Sea, in North Berwick and Broadstairs Folk Week in Kent (near France!). There are hundreds by the way. 

17. Evening entertainment

Ed Grumpy: "Mozart, Beethoven, Sabrina, Aqua, The Cheeky Girls… Europe has given us some true musical talents, and one of the great pleasures of a continental beach break used to be discovating to fromagey Europop as DJ Mullet-man did his stuff. Now, sadly, it’s all…

18. Cultural enrichment programmes

Ed Grumpy: No, I don’t want to learn how to hand weave an authentic local basket, thanks. (I’d rather just throw up in yours.)"

We love our beach continue to be amazed at the UK's creativity, ingenuity and innovation eg The Eden Project, the Minack Theatre, Bamburgh Castle or the history of the Mines or Britain's sea defences scattered around our 1,100 kms of coastline. Or more simply, we'll be watching the boats bob in the bay and listening to the flags flutter rhythmically, dancing in the sea breeze and reflect on our marine heritage. 

19. Ice cream

Ed Grumpy: "Now dairy-free, gluten-free, Cadbury’s-flake-free and fun-free. Keep your small-batch, hand-made, artisanal-yak’s-milk monstrosity; we’ll have a Cornetto, ta."

As a small, enthusiastic startup SME, We love your beach will favour and savour the local seaside produce any day. Ice ice baby. Or Cornish pasty maybe? And we have, like many, family members with intolerances for modern food. So, like looking after the sea and the marine protected areas to sustain our marine life, keep it natural, we say. More skate, less Monosudium Glutamate. That's why we give 10% of profits to beach and marine conservation. 'Sea' here and wear the message with pride. 

20. Rental prices

Ed Grumpy: "With their infuriating willingness to pay whatever absurd premium asked of them – and their traditional ancestral cry of “Oh it’s sooooo cheap compared with London!” – the semi-posh have priced great swathes of the population out of the simple pleasures of the seaside holiday. You’d think we’d be relieved we don’t have to go anymore (see the damage wreaked in nos. 1-19, above). But, somehow, it turns out the middle classes haven’t quite ruined beach holidays enough to put us off going on them. See you in White Stuff!"  

We love our beach are torn here with the gap between the wealthy and the less so growing unacceptably. London has always attracted talent and the young have been going there in search of a career. Yet recent initiatives may change that - levelling up, hybrid working, cost of living crisis, etc. Second homes, arguably bring in investment and help local businesses and services. And with the impending Second Home Council Tax changes the local Councils will have more to spend on residents' services.  And there are always those that choose to live near the coast for all its lifestyle benefits and serve locals and visitors alike.

Finally Ed, in his grumpiness, forgot to mention watersports such as sailing, boating, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, wake boarding, windsurfing and surfing - enjoyed by all. Sea' here for our Watersports Collection this summer. 

Off to the beach. To paddle, rockpool and divert a stream or two. 

Seas the day. 

Yours, Gusty Squalls. 





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