Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Head seawards on safari

Living Seas safari (c) Kirsten Carter

If you spend all year dreaming about your seaside holiday – now’s the time to make the most of our coast and enjoy the sea and its wildlife.

Learn to love jellyfish, embrace the plaice and we defy you not to lose your heart to a basking shark!

Childhood memories of Summer days spent paddling, shrimping or dressing up in seaweed, rain or shine, can fuel us with an affinity for the sea for the rest of our lives.  

Heading out for a seaside safari may already be in your diary – so we’ve decided to make this one a bit different to the others.

It’s all about putting you in touch with the huge variety of seaside experiences: snorkelling safaris, whales, dolphins, cliff-top birds and more – try something a bit different this summer!  We host a huge number of seaside activities, particularly during National Marine Week and care for many coastal wild havens and islands .  

As well as the ideas listed below, you’ll find more ideas on our page listing great places to go rockpooling and our events pages.

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below...Step inside The Wildlife Trusts’ 360 images of the coastline we care for – explore those beaches and hear the sea from your laptop…Check out our Living Seas pages to find out more about our marine conservation work - enjoy the winning art of our Undersea Art Award!

Special spots

Cornwall

Go grey seal spotting off Looe Island. Since 2000, Cornwall Wildlife Trust has been monitoring seal numbers around their beautiful Looe Island nature reserve . Individual seals are identified by patterns on their fur. Visitors to Looe Island are almost guaranteed to see the seals and help the wardens spot and record individual seals such as Looe Seal, Duchess, Pawprint and Boomerang! Visit between Easter and September.

Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and don’t mind getting wet, why not go snorkelling in Durgan’s mysterious eel grass beds ? In the summer months, as the water temperature rises, you can snorkel through the mysterious eel grass beds off Durgan and Greeb beach in the waters of the stunning Helford Passage. Cornwall Wildlife Trust regularly run snorkel safari events here where their marine experts can get you up close to wonderful marine life such as pipe fish, bass, plaice, large hermit crabs and the incredibly rare black-faced blenny.

Devon

Wembury offers some of the best rockpooling in the UK. The popular tourist beach has a rocky shore which hides hundreds of rockpool creatures from velvet swimming crabs to tompot blennies. Every spring and summer the Trust runs regular guided rockpool safaris using trained staff to reveal the secrets of the pools.

Dorset

Kimmeridge Bay ( Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve ) is one of the best spots for rockpooling, snorkelling and kayaking in Dorset. The ‘sea safari’ snorkelling trail offers crystal-clear water, with no strong currents to worry about. There’s also a waterproof guide to help you identify the more common species you may encounter such as sand eels, tompot blennies and kelp seaweed. Families can take the ‘Seashore Explorers’ pack out with them, which includes a eco-friendly crabbing kit, seashore ID guides and magnifying bug pots will help children and adults make the most of the marine wildlife along the coast at Kimmeridge. We also have a Kayak Safari, complete with goggle viewers and glass bottoms – perfect to see what marine wildlife is lurking around beneath!

Essex

The Naze , at Walton, is famous for its wildlife, geology, heritage, erosion, coastal community/history and beach. At low tide, the beach is a superb place for rock-pooling, birdwatching and fossil hunting – with a little patience, fossilised shark’s teeth can be found. 

Isles of Scilly

The summer season sees the return of thousands of seabirds, including special species such as Manx shearwater, European storm petrels (of which Scilly hosts internationally important breeding populations), lesser black-backed gull and puffin. Throughout the summer, dependent on marine conditions, you may also be lucky enough to spot basking shark, common and Risso’s dolphins and harbour porpoise. Read more about the Trust’s seabird recovery project and the work being done to protect these important seabird breeding colonies.
Seals are possible to see all year round, although the summer is a good time to see them from a tourist boat. For a peaceful experience, go island hopping and ask a local which bay to walk to at high tide to spot these wonderfully inquisitive creatures. Sit still and wait for one of those watchful heads to pop up and stare!

Kent

The internationally important wetland reserve at Kent Wildlife Trust’s Oare Marshes , near Faversham, is a must to visit in spring and autumn for its great flocks of wildfowl and waders - in particular black-tailed godwits in their hundreds. Also look out for marsh harriers, merlin, short-eared owls, snipe and bearded tits amongst the panoply of species. From here, the antics of a colony of common seals can also be observed at Horse Sands in the Swale Estuary.

Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire’s long sandy beaches are great for scavenger hunts for shells, sea urchins, mermaid’s purses and other washed-up treasures. There’s also the chance of seeing harbour porpoise, grey and common seals and a variety of coastal birds. The best sites to try are Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Gibraltar Point and the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park. Events at Gibraltar Point include sea dipping – the sandy coast version of pond dipping – when all sorts of sea life can be seen.

The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a fantastic place to watch marine megafauna - it’s a hot spot for basking sharks in the summer, with an occasional leatherback turtle or sun fish. The main species regularly seen are minke whale, harbour porpoise, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, and Risso’s dolphin. Occasionally humpback and killer whales make an appearance. There’s also a year-round population of grey seals and a few common seals.

In summer, basking sharks can be spotted all round the Isle of Man, though the best area for seeing them is the south west coast of the Island from Peel down to the Calf of Man - they can be seen from land or a boat and often come close in to the shore. Dolphins and whales can be seen all year in our Manx waters, with different species seen at different times. Again a coastal walk with a pair of binoculars will give great views or an organised boat trip may give the opportunity to get closer if you are lucky enough. Manx Wildlife Trust has set up 5 marine scene stations around the island where you are likely to see marine mega fauna. The stations consist of information boards about the species you are likely to see as well as a pair of binoculars to enable you to see the animals clearly. The stations are at Bradda Head in Port Erin, Callow Point in Port St Mary, Marine Drive in Douglas, Niarbyl and Peel breakwater in Peel. There will be another station going in at Castletown too. There are also plans afoot to put two more in once funding is available.

Tees Valley

In June, park at Saltburn and walk along the base of some of the highest cliffs in England, looking up to the Trust’s nature reserve Hunt Cliff . Your senses will be bombarded by the cry of kittiwakes which, having spent the winter months at sea, return to the productive waters around the North Sea to breed. The cliff face is of regional importance for nesting kittiwakes and other seabirds such as fulmar and cormorant. These can be spotted from the beach at Saltburn, or watched from the cliff top as they soar on thermals or return to their nests with food for their young. The kittiwakes can be distinguished from other gulls by their ink-dipped black wing-tips.
The cliffs are also of interest for their house martin colony – a rare example of this bird nesting in its original, natural habitat. Later in summer, the cliff top provides a splash of colour as many wildflowers begin to show on the coastal grasslands, including the scarce dyer’s greenweed, three species of orchid, and other plants such as spiny restharrow, sea plantain and wild carrot.

Scotland

Dive into Scotland's first snorkel trail ! The self-led North West Highlands Snorkel Trail features nine beaches and bays on the coast of Wester Ross and Sutherland, where beginner and advanced snorkellers can dive down to see the impressive variety of Scotland’s marine life. Highlighted locations include Tanera Mor in the Summer Isles, Camusnagaul and Achmelvich Bay (four are featured at the end of the release). Marine life that can be seen at the locations includes dogfish, barrel jellyfish and sea urchins.

South and West Wales

You can see seals all around Pembrokeshire's rocky and twisted coastline. But only on Skomer Island will you hear them sing. Their melancholic siren songs travel far in the evening breeze. Get up close to the Cardigan Bay ‘big three’ for an adventure you’ll never forget! This fantastic marine wildlife experience will be guaranteed to wet your appetite. Go on a journey with Dolphin Survey Boat Trips to see the heavenly Welsh coastline and fantastic wildlife in action. Witness dolphins, harbour porpoise and grey seal in their natural environment playing and posing for the camera. On land, the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is manned by a team of dedicated volunteers who also help monitor the local marine wildlife, and will be delighted to answer your marine wildlife questions and show you around the centre.

Yorkshire

Visit the Living Seas Centre at Flamborough. Join Living Seas Officers for a Seashore Safari, come along for an evening talk, create a marine-themed masterpiece or learn about Yorkshire's valuable shellfish! This is a fascinating place for all ages. Discover the weird and wonderful creatures to be found hidden below the waves; learn how the upwelling of the Flamborough Front supports such a huge variety of life; watch locally-shot video of undersea kelp forests and chalk reefs; embark on a storyboard trail around Flamborough Cliffs, and find out how we can all do our bit for marine wildlife all whilst enjoying a cup of tea or an ice cream.

Basking shark © Andrew Pearson

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