Get the most from Britain's coast at one of these sophisticated waterside retreats.

The Harbour Master's House, Northumberland

Formerly a salt and fish store for the renowned nearby smokery, this stone cottage overlooks the harbour of Craster village and the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Original features including wooden beams, exposed stone work, open fires and slate flooring, which sit alongside contemporary design and artwork. Ships' wheels and model sailboats add to the nautical atmosphere while harbour views can be enjoyed from the decked terrace.

The Harbour Master's House, Haven Hill, Craster, Alnwick, Northumberland. Contact Coastal Retreats for further information (0191 285 1272; Rental starts at £550 per week; sleeps four.

Scottish Hideaway, Argyll

This retreat is perched on Scotland's rugged western coastline overlooking the islands of Islay, Jura and Gigha. Set on a hill with sweeping sea views, it features flagstone flooring, neutral décor, contemporary wooden furnishings, roll-top baths and a piano. There is no television at the property; instead, guests can stride out on coastal walks around Kilberry Castle and there's an honesty bar to retreat to.

Scottish Hideaway, Argyll, Scotland (01637 881 942; Rental starts at £3,000 per week; sleeps 11.

The Albion Deal, Kent

Built as a sail-maker's house in 1760, this Grade II-listed house is set in the quaint Georgian town of Deal. The Albion is chic, with whitewashed walls, books and stylish fittings. It overlooks a shingle beach and is ideally located to explore the local heritage, including smugglers' lanes, a castle and pub; both Sandwich and Canterbury are also nearby.

The Albion at Deal, 167 Beach Street, Deal, Kent (01437 562 058; Rental starts at £625 per week; sleeps six.

The Flying Boat Club, Isles of Scilly

Named after the sea planes which were stationed in this spot during the First World War, the Flying Boat Club is a collection of 12 luxurious beach-front cottages. Each comes with spectacular views and steps down to the sandy beach. Included in the rental is use of the adjacent club's facilities.

The Flying Boat Club, Tresco Estate, Isles of Scilly (01720 422 849; Rental starts at £1,375 per week. Cottages sleep six to 10.

The Boathouse, Anglesey

This charming house overlooking the Menai Strait, which separates Anglesey from the mainland, and has boat mooring for guests. The Boathouse salutes its past without foregoing modern conveniences: stone walls, beams and salvaged ship timbers are complemented by a hot tub and DVD player. From the dining room, doors open out on to a veranda for al fresco meals with views down the strait to Caernarfon and across to Snowdonia.

The Boathouse and Mooring, Foel Ferry, Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, Wales (01248 717 135; Rental starts at £550 per week; sleeps seven.