This article presents an alternative reading of the English seaside – one that centralizes race, specifically the effects of whiteness and racialized notions of belonging and exclusion. It addresses three main issues. First, it provides a theoretical discussion of the racialized production of social space and place, and outlines the implications for minority ethnic groups at the seaside. Second, it offers an examination of the manner in which discourses of whiteness and (neo-)colonial fantasy are reproduced through amusements and other elements of seaside popular culture. Third, it demonstrates the centrality of the seaside to analysing dominant, racialized interpretations of English national identity and demotic responses to contemporary immigration. The article argues that the seaside is an enlightening site for understanding contemporary constructions, manifestations and repercussions of whiteness, and thus provides an important insight into the cultural and spatial politics of race in 21st-century Britain.