Sea Views/Villages close to London??

Hi all! We're going to be in London this August and will have the use of a car. We would like to drive out to the coast for the day and see beautiful cliffs, nice villages or farmland near the ocean. Can anyone recommend a place that isn't too far from London that looks similar to the area where Doc Martin is filmed? I know where that is filmed but I think it's a bit far for a day trip? Any suggestions would be most welcome! Thanks so much in advance!

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1262 posts

Lyme Regis, Dorset has sea cliffs and pretty views. You are correct, Port Isaac in Cornwall is too far for a day trip. You might also enjoy Hastings, easily reached by train as well as car.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Lyme Regis is lovely, as is most of the Dorset coast, but it's over 150 miles from London and will take at least 3 hours of driving to get there. I haven't heard of Doc Martin (which I assume is a play on the name 'Doc Marten', the famous 'airwear' boots beloved by generations of young Britons), but I think the problem is that you won't find anywhere quite like the Cornish coast in the south eastern corner of England near London. The coast nearest the capital is low, estuarine and muddy, not grand and rocky. The highest cliffs in the south east are at Beachy Head, near Worthing: That's only 70 miles from London, say 2 hours driving.

Posted by D.D.
375 posts

Perhaps you'd enjoy Dover? About 1.5 to 2 hours or so.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1058 posts

As had been mentioned, I think Hastings and/or Dover could be good destinations - not like Cornwall, but very pretty.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Elle, now that I know it stars Martin Clunes, I think I recall a poster at a railway station or Tube station, with him wearing a tweed jacket, but ITV isn't a channel I watch. As I said to someone else who PM'ed yesterday, for people like me who grew up in the '60s and '70s the name Doc Martin chiefly brings to mind Doc Marten's Airwear boots, which were virtually part of the uniform for many popular music subcultures here in the UK.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
687 posts

My wife and just returned from England yesterday (!) and had a car for a little less than a week of our two week trip. One thing I learned (and which I should have remembered from our 2000 trip) is that unless you are on the "M" motorways, expect it to take longer than you expect it to take to get anywhere. Take what you see on Google maps in terms of travel time and multiply by 1.5. So, you should probably stick to the southeast in terms of day trip driving distance from London. Dover does have dramatic coastline but may not be anything like the TV show you mention. I would go out of my way to avoid driving anywhere close to central London, but it sounds as if you are quite a bit more adventurous than I am. Oddly for a country with so much coastline, relatively little of the best of England seems to be on the coast. Not sure why that is. It's much in contrast to Ireland where the best parts tend to be on the coast. The Cornwall coast is said to be the exception, also Jurassic Coast looked intriguing to me in our recent planning, though we did not make it there. Maybe it's just that the interior parts are so great that the coast does not get its due.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
895 posts

It's no Cornwall, but Whitstable is a pleasant place and as well as the harbour has plenty of seafood options (especially local oysters), and it has a pretend castle. You don't need a car to get there - in fact it would be quicker by rail - but if you had one as well as Whitstable you could also drive west to Elmley Marshes. I've never watched Doc Martin either - though I had heard of it.

Posted by david
837 posts

Take a train down to Brighton. Look around Brighton and the beach. Tour the Palace. Rent a car and drive east through Seahaven and Seaford to Beachy Head. Get out for a look at the cliffs and either continue on to Eastbourne and back, or directly back the way you came. If you prefer a castle with your beach, train to Dover, tour Dover Castle.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1351 posts

Thank you so much everyone for your fantastic suggestions! Lots to research now! I appreciate the insight and help. Cheers!