Enjoy fabulous coastlines without leaving the country

Scarista House Isle of Harris

Scarista House Isle of Harris

If your idea of the perfect seaside break involves peace and solitude, you might be interested in this small hotel in the Western Isles. Scarista House, a listed Georgian Manse, was built in 1827. It is just 200 yards from a shell-sand beach and has spectacular views over the sea and heather-clad hills from its five bedrooms. Harris's Atlantic-facing coast is an almost unbroken chain of deserted beaches and is a great place to unwind. Visitors can go fishing, take a boat trip or play a round on the nine-hole golf course favoured by Nick Faldo. At certain times of the year it is possible to see the Northern Lights.

Scarista House, Isle of Harris, Scotland (01859 550238; www.scaristahouse.com). Rooms cost £65-£70 per person per night including breakfast

The Place Camber Sands

Formerly a functional motel, this 18-room residence owned by partners Matthew Wolfman and Mike Ashton is now a very hip place to stay. Before it opened in April last year, Camber Sands' main accommodation options were a caravan park or Pontins. The Place is a single-storey white-walled building decked out in muted colours that create a calming, stylish and informal atmosphere. The beach and dunes just across the road stretch for a couple of miles and are ideal for walking, horse-riding, kite-surfing and kite-buggying. In keeping with the owners' vision the food is simple and uses organic ingredients.

The Place, Camber Sands, East Sussex (01797 225057; www.theplacecambersands.co.uk). Double rooms cost £80 in summer, including breakfast

Tresanton St Mawes

Dating back to the 1940s and originally a yachtsman's club, the Tresanton is a picturesque cluster of houses that tumble down the hillside in St Mawes. It became one of the best-known Cornish hotels of the Fifties and Sixties and today has a relaxed yet elegant feel. Situated at the edge of the village, it has 29 rooms, each with breathtaking views to the sea. There is a small pebbly beach across the road, and you can take to the water in the hotel's 48ft racing yacht, which is available to take guests to nearby sandy coves or along the river Fal for a picnic lunch.

Hotel Tresanton, St Mawes, Cornwall (01326 270 055; www.tresanton.com). Rooms cost between £195-£265 per room per night including breakfast

Victoria Hotel Holkham

The Victoria Hotel is part of the Holkham Estate, home to the Earl of Leicester since the 1700s. Originally a run-down pub, it was transformed three years ago by Viscount Coke and his wife into a colonial-style hotel decked out with furniture from Rajasthan. It's a 10-minute walk from the seven-mile sweep of Holkham beach, the location for the last scene in Shakespeare in Love. When the tide is out, walk down to the beach and you can find yourself surrounded by nothing but sand and sea for miles. The hotel has 11 bedrooms, including one with disabled access, and several have views across the marshes of Holkham Nature Reserve with its many species of bird.

The Victoria Hotel, Park Road, Holkham, Norfolk (01328 711008; www.victoriaatholkham.co.uk). A double room costs £140 in summer including breakfast

Harbourmaster Hotel Aberaeron

Aberaeron is a quiet Georgian harbour town (inspired by John Nash), with a clutch of brightly painted buildings. As you come down the hill into town, the house that strikes you first is one painted deep cobalt blue. It is the oldest building in town (dating back to 1811) and occupies a prime position on the harbour side. The epitome of seaside chic, it has nine bedrooms, all of which feature crisp white cotton linen and either a harbour or a sea view. There are a couple of pebbly beaches within a few hundred yards, a sandy beach three miles away at Ceibach and some wonderful coastal walks. You can also take a boat trip to Cardigan Bay to see the famous bottle-nosed dolphins. Its bistro is renowned for its fresh Welsh produce, including Cardigan Bay crab, Welsh lamb, organic vegetables and fresh bread.

Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron, Cardigan Bay, Wales (01545 570755; www.harbour-master.com). Double rooms start at £95 per night including breakfast