A Guide to Building the Perfect Sandcastle

July 20th, 2017

The Cornish coastline is one of the most celebrated in the country thanks to its long stretches of golden sand and clean, turquoise waters. No trip to the county would be complete without at least attempting to build one sandcastle and we believe our child friendly holidays in Falmouth would be the perfect location for you to get your hands sandy and attempt to build the best castle possible!

Here is a list of our top tips on how to make sure you’re not left with a pile of sandcastle ruins, and to impress everyone this summer.

The Location

Although you may think of building sandcastles as nothing more than a fun, family activity, there are scientists who have spent years trying to crack the code to the perfect creation! A team of people contemplated over which sand was the best, and also where the location should be on the beach.

After a long study of the sands, they came to the conclusion that the thicker the grain of sand, the more likely your sandcastle is to stand the test of time (or the tide!). This means that the sand you should aim to use is the closest to the high tide line. Probably the easiest way to find out where this is to look for where the seaweed has collected, as it will show where the water has washed up to!


The Sand

There are lots of ways to build your sandy sculpture, but remember that the longer you work the sand, the more water you need to add in order to make sure that your design is hydrated at all times. One of the ways in which you can do this is by digging a self-replenishing hole that isn’t too far from where you plan to start your big build. In order to build a hole deep enough so that water starts flooding in, you should scoop sand out using a long-handled spade, using the sand from out of the hole to form the mound that your castle will sit on.


The Tools

The most widely used method of creating a castle is by using a bucket, although for the gravity-defying towers that you may have seen, it is suggested to use your hands! Scientists recommend using hands as it allows the grains to sit closer together. If you’re planning to use this method, make sure to tightly pack the sand together, starting at the tallest element. It doesn’t matter as to whether or not it is neat to begin with, as you will carve the shape and details out later.

If you plan to use the more conventional method, whether it be for ease or maybe because a smaller castle is more your kind of thing, a bucket is probably the best option for you. Most gift shops and seaside stalls sell buckets, and there are often many different shapes, sizes and designs for you to choose from. Once you are satisfied with your bucket purchase, you are ready to begin forming your fortress!


The Method

Similar to the hand method, you need to make sure that the structure that you’re building is just as solid. To do this, try to pack as much of your sand and water mixture in as possible. Your aim is to try and fit the sand into every millimetre of the bucket, as not only will this showcase all of the design that is moulded into the bucket, but will also allow the structure to be firmer and hopefully last longer!

Once you feel that your castle is ready to be flipped out and onto the sand, then you’re good to go! It’s best to do this action in one swoop, as it will mean that the sand has less time to move from the position that you have pushed it into. Once placed on the sand, you need to find a way to remove the structure of the castle in one go. One of the best ways to do this is to tap the sides of the bucket a couple of times before pulling the plastic frame off from around the sand. What this does is make sure that everything you’ve put into the bucket will come out with ease!

Ta da! Your sandcastle should (hopefully) be out in one piece and looking good! If you’re wanting to take your sandcastle to the next level, why not try incorporating shells and flags onto your castle to make the envy of those who see it?!


Image credit:  William Cho