A once-popular resort that was once branded “Costa del Dole” has been ranked as the worst in the country in a new league table of seaside towns.
Rhyl, in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, came bottom of the pile in The Telegraph’s Seaside Gentrification Index, which takes a look at how 20 well-known UK resorts have changed over the decades.
Rhyl has long been the butt of jokes about its demise. About 20 years ago, a magazine article described it as being like “Blackpool after a neutron bomb”, and claimed its only visitors were drunks, the down-at-heel and drug addicts.
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In its heyday, Rhyl was a more affordable option than Blackpool and was a popular place for family holidays.
But the town – like so many other UK seaside resorts – began to fall into disrepair when cheap foreign holidays soared in popularity. Businesses closed, shops fell empty and there was a general air of demise about the place.
The pier – the oldest in north Wales – was demolished in 1973 and the Pavilion Theatre was bulldozed the following year.
Over the next few years, projects to improve the town – including a museum and library complex and a shopping centre – failed. Later, the Ocean Beach funfair and a Sky Tower ride were shut down.
The Telegraph scathingly said: “No past, no arts or entertainment, no fun: gentrification is not suited to all seaside towns but Rhyl – once unfortunately dubbed the ‘Costa del Dole’ and, on one occasion, ‘Blackpool after a neutron bomb’ – is how not to do things.”
Contributors to online review sites seem to agree.
One review posted on iLiveHere said Rhyl was “Manchester-on-Sea” and called it “one of the most disgusting seaside towns on Earth”.
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And TripAdvisor doesn’t paint Rhyl in a much better light. One review said: “We thought this might be a nostalgic day out, with all the thrills a seaside town has to offer. We were very wrong."
Southwold in Suffolk and St Ives in Cornwall topped the poll, but South Shields and Weston-super-Mare joined Rhyl towards the bottom.
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