What’s not to like about Candida Lycett Green’s Seaside Resorts (Oldie Publications, £14.99)? Lovely colour photographs of over 100 of England’s prettiest seaside towns, accompanied by spry, architecturally informed little essays that give the reader the gist of each place: if there’s a better book to give for Christmas published this autumn, I’d like to see it.
Lycett Green has written about front gardens and cottages, books full of interesting facts about history and buildings, conveyed in a pleasantly informal, even chatty, style. She also writes a column on unspoiled market towns and villages, which has already spawned one book, Unwrecked England.
The present volume is along the same lines. This is a land where Pevsner and Enid Blyton might meet over cream buns and lardy cake to discuss Regency terraces and jolly japes in the dunes.
If you’re looking for an anthropological enquiry into the fate of resort towns in the early 21st century, this is not for you. If, on the other hand, you’re a member of the National Trust or someone who enjoys pottering or paddling, you will find a great deal to enjoy here.
As a greedy traveller, I’d like it if future editions made more mention of restaurants, since the sea breezes always bring on an appetite. In Whitby Lycett Green visits a teashop to rival Betty’s of Harrogate, as well as the Magpie Café, purveyor of ‘the best fish and chips in the world’. What about Rockfish of Dartmouth, or the Tailend in Edingburgh? If a café inspector is needed, I’m applying for the job.