The UK coastline has so much to offer in winter, from beach walks to cute fishing villages and charming seaside piers.

Visiting a seaside town in the cold winter months means that you’ll probably have the place to yourself. According to a recent ranking by Countryfile, the best winter beach in England is Cuckmere Haven, in East Sussex.

Cuckmere Haven is not only a stunning beach but also offers one of the most beautiful winter walks through Seven Sisters Country Park.

The travel experts recommended: “Starting from Seaford train station, head east past the pebble beach, oxbow lakes and vibrant, brackish marshes of Cuckmere Haven beach (mouth of the River Cuckmere), and on to your first climb, Haven Brow. On a serene winter’s day, the views across the bay are spectacular.”

Just 20 minutes away, visitors will find the small town of Alfriston, in the district of Wealden, East Sussex. Alfriston is a cute village with no tourists – not even in summer – and a “must-visit” during the cold winter months. The travel site Visitsoutheastengland explained: “There is much to admire – the medieval narrow, twisting High Street has a surprising wealth and variety of shops.”

Things to do in Alfriston

Visit St Andrew’s Church, also known as the “Cathedral of the South Downs”, and continue through the Alfriston Clergy House walk or the picturesque Cuckmere River walk.

For a cosy meal, head to The Star Inn, and enjoy an afternoon tea in the idyllic courtyard at Badgers Tea House. Rathfinny Wine Estate produces the best sparkling wines in Sussex and offers tours and wine tastings for those who want to dine, drink and even stay at the family-owned boutique hotel and estate.

The best walk is along the South Downs Way, where holidaymakers will enjoy the breathtaking views of the Seven Sisters white chalk cliffs and Cuckmere Haven beach. 

Where to eat: The Wingrove Restaurant & Terrace, Poco, The Dining Room at Deans Place Hotel, Ye Olde Smugglers Inne, The George Inn, The Star, Six Bells

Where to stay: Deans Place Country Hotel, Wingrove House, The Star, Flint Barns – Rathfinny Wine Estate, Ye Olde Smugglers Inne, Riverdale House

On Tripadvisor, visitors described Alfriston as a “lovely town”. Steve, from London, explained that the village “exceeded expectations”.

He recommended: “You have the picturesque and historic village of Alfriston itself and the Church of St Andrew on the Tye, both of which are worth strolling around. There are several restaurants and amazingly four pubs in the village.”

Others described the South Downs Way National Trail as a “great wintery walk”. One explained: “We walked the entirety of the SDW from Winchester to Eastbourne. It is a gorgeous walk and well-marked with signposts. The terrain and views are mixed but primarily well-developed paths and rolling bucolic landscapes. The last day is dramatic with the Seven Sisters, white cliffs.”