One of the many – innumerable – joys about post-lockdown life, is cinemas reopening their doors. And it happily coincides with the release of Pedro Almodóvar’s first English-language film, The Human Voice. The iconic Spanish director’s latest stars Tilda Swinton, the beating heart and sole actor of the film. For the best part of thirty minutes, Swinton and her dog are the only forces that appear on screen, both attempting to cope with the end of a relationship.
With soft and smooth sandy dunes, this beach looks like it’s been airbrushed, its driftwood fences making you feel like you could, at a stretch, be in Cape Cod. Head west for quieter stretches, where you can lay out and watch the windsurfers. When the heavens open, seek refuge in the culinary queen The Galivant, which serves predictably excellent seafood. A short walk away are the cobbled streets of Rye, where along Strand Quay you'll find tonnes of bric-a-brac shops, and in the centre, a treasure trove of antique shops. The Mint in Rye is particularly good for decorative pieces, and you can even stay there too.
Travel: 1 hour 43 minutes by train from St Pancras to Rye
You almost didn’t need us to tell you about this one, did you? On the north coast of Kent, its shingle, hut-lined beach is the subject of many wholesome weekend Instagram posts. The famous, salmon pink-fronted Wes Anderson-y Wheelers Oyster Bar, part of a well-constructed carousel. Despite earning the name “Islington-on-Sea,” thanks to a steady stream of second-homers, there the plenty of reassuringly nostalgic, ungentrified pockets of Whitstable. Devour a platter of fruits de mer platter at The Lobster Shack, or go for a beer at The Old Neptune, which protruding onto the beach, is the best place to watch the sunset that isn’t Hampstead Heath.
Travel: 1 hour 14 minutes by train from St Pancras to Whitstable
On clear days, from Deal's pebble-swamped beach you can sometimes see France. Set slightly back is a maze of winding cobblestone streets lined with Georgian townhouses and fishermen’s cottages. For a slice of the city that you sought to escape but miss the spoils of already, head to the The Rose, an old boozer, that's been turned into an eight-bedroom, riotously colourful boutique hotel, that teems with DFL'ers (Down From Londoners). With Nuno Mendes of Chiltern Firehouse fame looking after the kitchen, the food – signature squidgy crab donuts and all – is lip smacking, especially when washed down with an apricot negroni.
Travel: 1 hour 39 minute train from London St Pancras.
During the summer months there are lifeguards on patrol here, which means it’s a safe and scenic spot for a dip. Determined sun-seekers will enjoy the almost tropically sandy beach, and there's Drift-In Cafe, which decked in, yes, driftwood, is a seaside-y as you like. The ice-cream-coloured huts that line the beach are available to rent, should you want some privacy or respite from the rain. If you fancy catching – or crashing – some waves, rent a board from the adjoining surf shop, or for a stopover, The Crab & Lobster, a pub with rooms, comes highly recommended.
Travel: 1.5 hours by train from London Victoria to Chichester.
With its Regency-style buildings, Royal Pavilion and Indian-inspired palace, it’s a wonder Brighton was ever considered a bit, well, crap. It took a bit of colour and a few quirky cafes to lure London’s design elite here, who are now a part of the weekend furniture. Take a walk down the lengthy Pier, where you’ll find sugary sweets, saccharine lights and funfair rides. The pebbled shores of the beach are never not busy, buzzing with rum cocktail fuelled chatter (there’s a great bar Caribbean called Riki Tik on the Seafront - head there on an evening of reggae and live DJs).
Travel: 1 hour by train from London Bridge or Victoria to Brighton.
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