Behind The Blue Door

Stylish Weekends | June 14, 2016 |

Smart weekends: Seaside festivals and coastal style



The British seaside: candyfloss clouds, windswept legs and all that bucket-and-spade nostalgia.

In fact, the UK’s seaside resorts come in many different flavours. Whether you have a taste for seafood, soul or shanties, there’s a coastal festival for you. What’s more, you can bring home a taste

Here are our favourites.


  1. Seven decades of British cool: Vintage by the Sea, Morecambe


Image source: Emma Sudall/ Vintage by the Sea / Flickr

Morecambe native Wayne Hemingway is at the helm of Vintage by the Sea – a retro feast of fashion, music, dance, film, art and design.

The art deco Midland Hotel on Morecambe seafront will be transformed into one big dressing-up box again this year, with a market, hair and beauty salons, workshops, and even a fabulous dinner dance at the Torch Club.

Whether you’re into swing, rockabilly, mod, soul, funk, disco or ska (or you’re simply a casual admirer of timeless style) this creative extravaganza is the most unique seaside affair.

Dates: Saturday 3 September – Sunday 4 September 2016

Price: Free


Take it home: The timeless details of Edme lend themselves to a relaxed, elegant lunch, reconnecting with simpler times. Morecambe Bay shrimps are the obvious lunch dish to evoke the sweeping sands of the west coast bay. Available to buy online, Furness Supplies prepares them to a secret traditional recipe, handed down through the generations. Even the butter is made from milk from local farms.




  1. Seaside soul: Margate Soul Festival, Margate


Image source: Margate Soul Festival

We couldn’t have a seaside list without featuring Margate. The resort has been transformed by the art crowd and is well on its way to becoming Britain’s hippest – with holidaymakers flocking to newly-restored Dreamland, plus chic eateries, art galleries and miles of sandy beaches.

This year, Margate Soul Festival will be transforming the harbour area – including the Turner Contemporary gallery site – into a soul-fuelled arena.

Headline acts include Shirley Jones, Kathy Sledge, Jean Carne, CeCe Peniston and Soul II Soul. Get your soul fix for just one day or glamp it up for the full three nights.

Dates: Friday 5 – Saturday 7 August 2016

Price: £35 – £170, although some events are free



Take it home: Artists have long been in love with the broad sands and evocative sunsets of Margate. The pared-back lines of Jasper Conran’s iconic White collection will let the ingredients do the talking.

Pile Kentish cherries and apples into a serving bowl and serve with that retro favourite from the south-eastern tip of the country, gypsy tart, now reclaimed from the school dinner table into a smart pud.


  1. Nature and new talent: Aldeburgh Festival, Aldeburgh, Suffolk


Image source: Aldeburgh Festival/ Twitter

Aldeburgh, on Suffolk’s unspoilt coast, is the former home of Benjamin Britten; the English composer founded Aldeburgh Festival in 1948 to celebrate talented musicians and today The Guardian considers it ‘arguably the best musical event in Britain’.

Discover something new each year – whether it’s the work of a young composer or a beach installation. This year’s highlight is Catalogue d’Oiseaux, a birdsong-inspired piano experience by Olivier Messiaen, re-crafted by festival artistic director Pierre-Laurent Aimard, which lulls you from sunrise to midnight against nature’s backdrop.

Dates: Thursday 23 June – Saturday 2 July 2016

Price: From free events to £35 for certain concerts


Take it home: What could be more appropriate than the contemporary meets classic design of the Intaglio range?



  1. Sing-song by the sea: Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival, Falmouth


Image source: Falmouth Sea Shanty

This summer will see the coastal town of Falmouth teeming with the voices of shanty songbirds and merry revellers from all over the world.

There’s a real sense of cheer in the air at Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival: a celebration of Cornish seafaring past and a brilliant fundraiser for the RNLI.

Soak up the true atmosphere of Falmouth’s maritime past by singing along with more than 50 shanty groups in the 20 coastline venues.

Dates: Friday 17 – Sunday 19 June 2016

Price: Free


Take it home: Don’t leave without picking up a supply of fresh pasties from The Cornish Bakery. These award-winners range from the traditional to the exotic – any of them will look fresh and delicious on the airy Blue Bird collection.


  1. Bivalve fun: Whitstable Oyster Festival, Kent


Image source: George Fisk/ Whitstable Oyster Festival/ Facebook

Welcoming more than 80,000 visitors from the UK and Europe, the wildly popular Whitstable Oyster Festival is the crème de la crème of seaside delights.

Live music, performance art, food and drink spans ten (hopefully) sunny days – and let’s not forget the traditional WOF events. Firm favourites are the Landing of the Oysters ceremony, the seafood-themed Oyster Parade, the legendary Mud Tug and the Oyster Eating Challenge. All topped off with a firework finale.

Dates: Thursday 21 – Sunday 31 July 2016

Price: Free

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 14.41.04

Take it home: What else to eat but oysters, piled onto the relaxed elegance of the Tisbury collection? The legendary natives are always on the menu at the beachfront Royal Native Oyster Stores, wander round to the harbour to buy them fresh from the boats or order online. Locals eat them with nothing but a squeeze of lemon and a dash of shell pink shallot vinegar.


From seaside to stately home: Discover our pick of the best festivals hosted by country estates.


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The Jasper Conran Tisbury collection offers a plethora of informal tableware and home accessories that allow you to mix the collection into your everyday living. The tailored shapes with renowned Jasper Conran precision combine with a resilient porcelain, glass and wood to withstand wear and tear of everyday use. Natural colour styles contribute to an effortless look and feel.

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