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Best Seaside Arcades in the UK

Friday 15 September 2023

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Whether it’s spending your ‘millions’ on 2p machines or patiently attempting to grab that cuddly toy with the claw machine, seaside amusements conjure up great memories for so many of us. They remind us of our childhoods spent at stunning British beaches when your only worry was running out of rusty coins.

With staycations on the rise and the traditional seaside arcade still going strong, now’s the perfect time to rekindle our love for amusements. So, if you’re looking for somewhere fun to take the kids or just want to relive your old holidays, these are the best seaside arcades in the UK. Just don’t spend too many pennies.

Happyland Amusements, Bournemouth West Beach

Situated along the West Cliff side of Bournemouth beach is Happyland, the largest seaside amusement on this list. You won’t miss it; just look for the huge, bright white building standing alone in the middle of the beach with a flock of people outside. Happyland is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. Because of its size, the arcade has every machine you can imagine for all age groups, from coin machines and whack-a-mole machines to shooting games and pool tables.

How to get there: It’s a 30-minute walk from Bournemouth station, or you can take the bus for a 10-minute journey.

Coney Island, Scarborough

You might be more familiar with Coney Island in New York, but first and foremost it is a classic British amusement arcade in the heart of one of the UK’s most popular seaside towns. It’s had a major makeover in recent years, now combining modernised pizzazz with 1950s nostalgia. Some arcades can be dark, dingy, and run down, but not Coney Island: it’s bright and dazzling, and makes you want to spend all the 2ps you saved for the occasion. If you’re unsure whether to change that last £1 coin into pennies, just ask the famous tarot card reader what your chances of winning are like.

How to get there: It’s just a 5-minute walk from Scarborough station.

Coney Beach, Porthcawl

More of an amusement park than an arcade, Coney Beach in Porthcawl is absolutely one of the best amusement parks in the UK.  If you manage to find it in and amongst the chaos of slides, fun houses, and dodgems, you’ll be treated to a more modern arcade experience, with new machines including some of the best shoot ‘em ups and driving games. Coney Beach sits on Sandy Bay in the heart of the historic town, making it perfect if you’re looking for a full day of fun.

How to get there: If you’re travelling from the nearest major city, Cardiff, take a 20-minute train from Cardiff Central station to Bridgend and then a short bus to Porthcawl. 

Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

Forget about nostalgia, sometimes the best arcade experience comes from high-tech games and bright lights, for a really exciting afternoon of gaming! Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has it all – old-fashioned coin machines and Space Invaders, as well as virtual reality experiences, Jet Pong, and Axe Master! Bring the whole family and get a tournament going – loser buys fish & chips! 

How to get there: Grand Pier is a 15-minute walk from Weston-super-Mare station, or a bus journey of a similar length.

Merrivale Old Penny Arcade, Great Yarmouth

Merrivale Old Penny Arcade will be unlike any other you’ve visited. While the local Gold Rush Amusement Arcade reminds some people of their holidays growing up, Merrivale will take you back even further. Part of the Great Yarmouth model village, it features arcade machines from before most visitors were born, all contained in wooden cabinets with 1950s drawn-on backgrounds. The coolest thing about the arcade is that all fifty machines only take old pennies, which were much larger than the current type. If it proves anything, it’s that you don’t need high-tech games and gadgets to have fun.

How to get there: It’s just a 10-minute walk from Great Yarmouth station.

Grand Casino Amusements, Penzance

Offering entertainment for all the family, you can’t beat a visit to Grand Casino Amusements when visiting Penzance. Keeping the legacy of seaside adventures alive, Grand Casino was built in the early 1900s as the Pavilion and has a great history of hosting music, plays, and more. Now it is the home to an arcade and amusement park, with penny machines, dance games, car racers, and carnival classics for all to enjoy! If you fancy a bigger game, make sure to try their bowling alley too.

How to get there: Grand Casino is a 15-minute walk from Penzance station.

If you’re planning a visit to the best seaside arcades in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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