Candid Caller: To be beside the seaside

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The Independent Online
OH, WE did like to be beside the seaside, but now we're not so sure. It depends on the state of the sea and the beach, as much as the weather. The week began with a damning report on the state of our coast (see page 44) and ends with the bank holiday weekend. This week the Candid Caller asked: what do you think of our beaches? Which ones are your favourites? And where might you make for this holiday?

Mrs Nelly Rock of Southend-on-Sea: 'I think the beaches have deteriorated. My favourite beaches are at Redcar, they're beautiful. We don't go away at Easter, our daughter from Dorset visits us instead.'

Mrs Iris Cliff of Grimsby: 'I don't think Cleethorpes is as good as it used to be. When we were children it was a big day out, but it doesn't seem as special now. I love the beaches in the South and like Falmouth best. I didn't care for Brighton because I don't like shingle beaches. I'll spend the bank holiday at home - I've just had two hip operations so I won't be going far.'

Mr Michael Holiday of Skegness: 'Although we live near the sea, we rarely go down to the front. Living on the coast, though, we tend to go inland for a break. I've been to Scarborough a few times and liked it, but I'm not fond of Blackpool. This weekend I'll stay at home, gardening probably.'

Mrs Hilda Cloud of Bridlington: 'I think our beaches are as good as ever. Friends of mine came to stay from Australia and they thought our beaches were marvellous. I liked Hood's Bay near Whitby. It's a nice little place but it's very cold. I thought Torquay was a bit of a disappointment, it's too small. I won't go far, I'll get stuck into a good book.'

Mr James MacKintosh of Brighton: 'I think the Brighton beaches are pretty unchanged. My childhood was spent at St Leonards-on-Sea and I've lived on the coast most of the time. Brighton has the most marvellous architecture, but some Swedish hitchhikers told me they found it the most inhospitable town in Britain. The buildings in Brighton and Hove are definitely better than the people. My sister lives in Somerset and her idea of a perfect holiday is to come to Brighton, and mine to go to Somerset - so we swap.'

Mrs Kay Castle of Barry: 'Our beaches aren't very clean, to be honest. I don't think they're worse than they ever were, they're just not very nice around here. I like Bournemouth - and loathe shingle beaches. I'd single out Woolacombe as my least favourite because it is too pebbly. I'm working this weekend, I'm a district nurse. If I wasn't working I'd probably be decorating.'

Mrs Kathleen Gull of Sheerness: 'I think our beaches are getting dirtier. There's more rubbish on them and less respect for them. I love Margate, it's a great beach. Now I never go to the beach and won't go away this weekend, either. I've got a parrot called Charlie and it's a full-time job trying to keep him quiet.'

Mr Brian Sands of Redcar: 'The beaches on the east coast are in a bad state. We're less than half a mile from the beach and some are in a poor condition. Litter has increased and even the colour of the water has changed. My favourite beach is at Bamburgh, in Northumberiand, a very extensive beach with loads of sand for the kids and the pools are even clean enough to see starfish. This weekend what we do will depend on the weather. If we do go away, we'll go inland to somewhere like the Lake District. The beauty of living on the coast is we're usually against the traffic there and back on bank holidays.'

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