The Unusual Nickname Rick Steves Has For British Beachgoers

Is anyone planning a beach vacation to the U.K. this year? We doubt many of you are. The U.K. is notorious for its wet and windy weather. Rick Steves, America's best-known European traveler, gives himself a buffer when filming in the U.K. to avoid the grey skies. (Though we would like to point out that Cornwall, one of Steves' favorite regions, is known for its warm and sunny weather, and sees fewer rainy days than his hometown of Edmonds, Washington.)

Rick Steves plans his shooting days in the U.K. to "dance around the rain," as he writes on his blog on However, British beachgoers don't seem to have the same desire to hide from the weather. They are, as Steves affectionately nicknames them, "armadillo tourists." If the weather turns bad while Brits are on the beach, they often don armadillo-style armor in the form of raincoats and beach towels rather than heading home. Then they wait it out until the storm passes and the sun appears again.

Enjoying the beach in the U.K.

Steves marvels that British people's "determination to enjoy the beach perseveres through almost any weather." On his blog, he has photos of Brits on the beach in the county of Cornwall, shrouded in towels and taking refuge under an umbrella. Armadillo tourists won't be scared off the beach by a little rain.

In the same article, Steves writes of how quickly the weather can change in the U.K., so for beachgoers, there's perhaps little point in packing up when it starts to rain as cloudless skies could soon be on their way. British weather is particularly changeable, so if you're going on vacation to the U.K. and planning a trip to the beach (you should!), you'll simply need to be prepared by bringing your own armadillo armor.

Bring a windbreaker, raincoat, and warm sweater that you can quickly put over the top of your shorts and T-shirt and wait out the showers. If you decide to scarper (that's British slang for run away) when the heavens open, we recommend heading off in search of an ice cream called a 99. This soft serve in a wafer cone with a Cadbury's flake stuck in the ice cream is a British classic.

Rick Steves' favorite beaches in Cornwall

We really believe you should factor in some time at some of the many beautiful and secluded beaches on your trip to the U.K. The Cornish coastline is packed with charming villages, so if you don't want to be an armadillo tourist, you can always duck into a shop or pub if it starts to rain. Rick Steves particularly loves Mousehole (pronounced "mow-zul"), a tiny fishing port with a huge tide, which retreats to reveal the beach. The town's quaint streets and picturesque views over the bay make Mousehole a wonderful place to stroll.

Steves also adores the sweeping sands of nearby Porthcurno, one of the few U.K. beaches that feels topical. In an episode of his show about Cornwall, he talks about this gorgeous beach that almost makes you feel like you're on the French Riviera (if only the water weren't so cold!). Mousehole and Portcurno are connected by the South West Coast Path, which Steves mentions in the same episode. This 630-mile path runs along the Cornish, Devon, and Somerset coasts.

If you continue east on the coastal path from Mousehole, you'll come to the gorgeous Lizard Peninsula, where you'll find Kynance Cove, one of our favorite beaches in the U.K. Rugged cliffs tower over the white sands, lapped by clear, warm waters. A trip to Britain's coastline is a must — just make sure you make it like the Brits and arrive prepared for any weather.