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Like to be beside the seaside? Beside the sea? Start here

As the UK comes to what surely must nearly be the end of one of the hottest, driest spells on record, aren’t you just itching for some of that good old sun, sea and sand combination?

Ah, those ice creams on the beach, the penny-falls arcades, shops selling seashells from somewhere more exotic thousands of miles away, candyfloss, ‘kiss me quick’ hats, rolled-up trousers and paddling in the sea. All right, maybe not the hats, and maybe there aren’t so many rolled-up trousers these days, but you get the idea. 

Our sun-spoilt overseas readers may not quite get it, but a hot summer is about as unusual as the England football team (the men’s team, that is – the women’s is a different matter of course) making it through to the World Cup semi-finals. so it’s something to celebrate and you can start here with E&T’s summer special features, which look at everything seaside from coastal engineering to excavating shipwrecks. 

Starting close to shore, we take a look at the future of our piers, those curious follies of Victorian engineering with little practical point but plenty of romance. I’m glad to say, it’s not quite the end of the pier show yet. 

Amusement arcades are still to be found on piers but the games have changed. Rebecca Northfield runs down the top ten video arcade games of all time and why they were important for the development of today’s modern gaming industry. Which one was your favourite? 

Did you know there is a sand shortage? It’s pretty plentiful stuff, to be found everywhere from Scarborough to the Sahara, but there’s a problem. To be useful it has to be the right kind of sand. It’s in such short supply that there’s now even a sand mafia. 

The coast is at the cutting-edge of power engineering. Rebecca Pool asks what the future is for tidal power now the government has halted the Swansea Bay lagoon project, while Tim Fryer looks at the growing potential of tidal and wave energy for Scotland. 

Louise Murray dives for shipwrecks off a Greek island simply teaming with them and finds out how technology is helping us learn the secrets of the ancient mariners. Amy Spurling dives into the problems of the Great Barrier Reef and hauls up some possible solutions to the coral crisis. While Hilary Lamb goes even deeper in search of the elusive giant squid and the extraordinary plans to try to one day keep one alive in captivity. 

Finally, back above the waves, we look at the world’s flashiest superyachts in the world, who builds them, who owns them, and who’s hacking into them. 

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