These quarantine/ lock down/ isolation days are a funny old business. I don’t even know what to call them. I know here in the UK aren’t quite at lock down stage, although I think it might happen. Let’s just call them strange times.

It’s ironic that living through a time with such restrictions has actually given us all more time to think, day dream and reflect on where we’d like to go and what we’d like to do. Imagine if we were gifted this amount of free time in free-er times. That daydream has become my daily game; where would I like to be today if things were different?

Today’s daydream destination? The beach.

The Beaches with Memories & Magic…

I grew up close to the coast with plenty of pretty North Eastern seaside towns on my doorstep. And  boy did I take it for granted. When I make a rare visit back home, a trip to the coast is always on the cards. I have happy memories of pottering about at St Mary’s Island when I was little, and I love taking my kids to do the same. It’s a tidal island, so the causeway that to it is submerged when the tide comes in. I think there’s something a little bit magical about that, even as an adult. As a child, I also genuinely thought it was the lighthouse from Fraggle Rock. If you’re under 35, you might have to google that one.

Things Helen Loves, image of family on rocks in front of lighthouse

The not-so-well-known…

Germany is renowned for many things, but beaches generally isn’t one of them. There is actually some beautiful German coastline and some very nice beaches. As with most things, the Germans have beach life well organised. You can’t go wrong though as there will invariably be plenty of signs telling you what you can- and more importantly, can’t- do.Not a lover of  the rules, but I’d love to bring a bit German seaside home and have a traditional strandkorb beach chair in the garden.

Things Helen Loves, image of beach chairs on sand with blue skies and blue sea.

From Far Flung Islands…

We are all being asked to adopt social distancing at the moment, and no where would this be easier than on the far flung beaches of Mainland, Orkney Islands. Yes, the main island is called mainland. Not to be confused with the actual mainland. That would be Scotland.

Things Helen Loves image of black dog on sea shore
Rocky, first holiday, Orkney Islands.

Geography aside, we spent a week in Mainland, Orkney and the beaches are amazing. Clean, rugged, undeveloped. Home to ship wrecks and wildlife and little else. How I’d love to be running the dog around up there today. I’d make sure I dressed for it though, the beaches of Orkney can blow you away, literally. No such thing as the wrong weather?

Things Helen Loves, rocky sea shore under blue skies
Mainland, Orkney.

To Foodie Islands…

Whats better than an island bursting with lovely beaches? One that’s also bursting with plenty of  foodie treats. Terschelling belongs to the Dutch Frisian Islands, sitting in the Wadden sea. This is an island made up of miles of dunes and broad beaches, connected by cycle paths and country lanes. Which you’ll need to use to burn off the calories. The local delicacy here is Cranberry cake, usually served with whipped cream.

If you’ve room, pay a visit to the Dutch pancake cafe, artisan cheese shop and ice cream parlour. You don’t have to do it all in one day, but I tell you from experience, it can be done. Long, long walk through the dunes to the shore after, not compulsory but highly recommended.

Seaside Towns…

Like North Berwick and Portobello, our go-to beaches when we lived in Edinburgh last year. These houses with  wooden steps straight onto the sand gave me serious property envy.

Things Helen loves, houses with wooden steps to the beach in North Berwick

We only lived in the city for a year, but I’m not a city girl so the beach made the perfect escape. And almost always ended with us stopping off  for coffee and cake. Or fish and chips. Or both.

Things Helen Loves pathway through the dunes to sandy beach
To the beach, North Berwick.

With Stories to Tell…

Eyemouth. A small Scottish fishing village near the English border. In 1881, the village lost 129 of its men in a fierce storm. Those left behind are commemorated in a bronze sculpture on the seafront. Each tiny figure represents a real widow or child, it’s very touching. Walk one way along the promenade, meet the resident seals in the harbour and then back along the beach to the rock pools. Perfect.

Things Helen Loves, bronze statue featuring women and children
Widows & Bairns sculpture, Eyemouth.

And Even Coastal Memorials…

As lovely as it is to spend time on the beaches and in the sea, it’s also important to remember that those who go to sea don’t always make it home. The coastline around Kiel and Laboe in Germany was great to explore, but the Laboe Memorial Naval memorial stands as a tribute to all sailors of all nationalities who were lost at sea. The climb to the top is a work out in itself, but the views make it worth it.

Things Helen Loves, Laboe naval memorial, Germany

And A Hideaway in the Dunes.

So that’s me, and that’s where I’d like to be. I’m not one to lie on the beach for days on end, but I love being near the coast. The stories and the history, the beach combing and sea swimming. Messing about in the dunes and just being.

Things Helen Loves image of white wooden beach house
Beach hut by the Baltic sea…take me back.

A few years ago we stayed in a little house in the dunes on the Baltic coast in Germany. Apart from a handful of neighbours, there was nothing there. Just the beach and the Baltic. You could walk up to the old inner border crossing, now a nature reserve , and back to light the BBQ on the patio or the log burner in the lounge, depending on the weather. I’ve been thinking about that little house a lot over the past few days, I think it would be the perfect place to see out these strange days of social distancing !

I hope everyone is well and healthy, and managing to fill the days with positive things. If you have a favourite beach or coastal destination please do drop me a picture or link to a blog post in the comments. I’d love to read it and I’m sure others would too. Lets stick together and stay positive!

Helen x

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy…

Orkney Day 4: Reasons to Love Stromness

Beaches & Baltic, Germany.

U-955 & The Laboe Memorial

Sand Dunes & Day Dreams- Terschelling




18 thoughts

  1. I grew up at the beach too; on a sailboat in Southern California with many, many weekends spent on Catalina Island. The beach is definitely my happy place. My Dad’s side of the family is German but I haven’t been to Germany . . . some day. Here in CA (the northern part of the state now), they had to close all of our beaches because so many people went when the “shelter in place” order was issued and no one was paying any attention to social distancing. And . . . I LOVE Orkney!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. Here in the UK they are trying to close off as many parks, beaches and public areas as they can but the message isn’t really hitting home with some people. Stay safe and healthy, hopefully we’ll all be back to enjoying a full and free life soon ( with the kids back at school, best place for ’em!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was brought up on Lancashire’s west coast and always enjoy a stroll beside the sea. We live inland now and are fortunate to have some delightful moorland and riverside walks on our doorstep. We now go up the steep footpath just around the corner from our home each day to take our exercise and I’ll never take its beauty for granted any more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we are all finding a new sense of gratitude for, well, everything! We are lucky to live on the edge of Salisbury Plain, so we are getting out daily. I have a new appreciation of my local area, but boy will I enjoy that first trip when we are free to travel again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I will look forward to that post! We used to enjoy a drive to St Abbs if we were in the area and I’m sure there was a memorial there, I think it also for the ‘Black Friday’ disaster. I’m a believer that these stories from small places should be remembered, especially for the women and children who are often underrepresented in the history books. But I won’t start ranting about that one…well maybe a little!


  3. Okney looks lovely! There was a seaside town south of Whitby that we used to love, years ago, when we lived in Yorkshire. (About 12 years ago–I’m blanking out of the name.) I grew up on the balmy beaches of the Carolinas, in the US, so the North Sea is a shock to my system. But I do love the ruggedness of the shore there. I remember some nice trips to Lindesfarne too. We never made it up to the Scottish Isles, but I hear Mull is lovely. Some day. . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha, yes the North Sea is bracing, even in the height of Summer. The Northern half of the UK has some amazing coastline. It’s all going to mean so much more when we can get back to enjoying it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely would it be to spend the day on the beach right now? Those times will soon be back though as long as everyone follows the advice. We love those Scottish beaches and have visited a few Northern Germany ones too which have a real character all of their own. Cold water! Loads of lovely German beaches on the southern lakes too which are wonderful in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow your beach game is amazing! It really looks like you’ve been to some incredible beaches. I loved your first picture with St. Mary’s, beautiful! It would be so nice to be on a beach right now rather than stuck indoors. Soon we will return to the sand!

    Liked by 2 people

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