I go on holiday tomorrow. Two weeks of staycation encompassing some far-flung, and varied, parts of Britain: Cornwall, East Lothian, Manchester and Oxfordshire. It’s the first time for many years that I’ve not gone abroad for my summer holiday, and I'm rather excited about the fact that I’m setting off down the A303 rather than heading to Terminal 5. I have the right currency and I don’t need to worry about having liquids in my hand luggage.
I don’t have a fear of flying; I have a fear of all that flying entails. I find the whole airport experience dispiriting, from the queues at security to the teeming retail hell. By the time I get to my seat in the aircraft, nursing a brooding irritation at what some people consider hand luggage, I’m definitely ready for a holiday.
For many people, going away is a stressful business, and a survey of 2,000 holiday makers commissioned by Nationwide this week confirmed the fact. Up to 40 per cent of those questioned said they arrived at the airport worried about something, such as forgetting to pack a specific item or whether they’re covered by insurance should anything go wrong. They didn’t record the number of people who are convulsed with anxiety about whether they left the iron on or if they remembered to put the car alarm on.
But if going on holiday is stressful in itself, actually being on holiday is a passport to a whole new world of worries. According to the poll, almost a quarter of people return home more stressed than when they left.
I’m sure this shocking figure is the expression of a relatively new phenomenon: the difficulty most of us have these days in switching off – literally, and metaphorically. Look around any beach on the Med and most people won’t be reading books or idly day-dreaming, but will instead be staring at, or talking into, their mobile phones.
I am old enough to remember what it was like to return after an overseas holiday and not to have a clue what had been going on for the previous two weeks. It took hours of going through old newspapers to discover the football scores, or to find out who’s died, got married or been disgraced. And then, a few days after you’d come home, your postcards would start arriving. Now, we’re only a Google alert away from hearing about everything.
13 best beachside hotels in the UK
13 best beachside hotels in the UK
1/13 Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall
Set above one of Cornwall’s finest surfing beaches, this family-friendly hotel offers seaside chic, with dreamy views and light and airy bedrooms. There’s an indoor infinity pool, with bifold doors onto a spacious terrace, although our favourite spot is the Ocean Room, with its huge windows overlooking the sea. Check out the hotel’s grass-roofed eco-lodges too – incredible beach pads if you want to throw a bit of self-catering into your holiday too. Rooms from £145 B&B www.watergatebay.co.uk
2/13 The Little Gloster, Gurnard, Isle of Wight
Just west of Cowes, overlooking the Solent, this has only been open five years, but has quickly gained a great reputation, largely thanks to the fun and buzzy restaurant that serves excellent seafood and which many now consider to be the best on the island. We also love the three chic Scandinavian-inspired rooms, one of which has a balcony, and all of which overlook the waterfront. Rooms from £110 B&B www.thelittlegloster.com
3/13 Raithwaite Estate, Whitby, North Yorkshire
There has been a lot of excitement about this being the UK’s first hotel resort to have a dog spa, complete with Thalasso therapy, aromatic massages and Dead Sea mud baths on offer for the lucky canines. But humans do also very well at this 45-bedroomed, 19th-century manor house hotel on Whitby’s coastline, thanks to the magnificent rooms, fabulous restaurant, family-friendly facilities and lovely staff. Rooms from £125 B&B www.raithwaiteestate.com
4/13 The Gallivant, Camber Sands, East Sussex
Expect plenty of bleached driftwood and white-washed walls, with tasteful nautical touches, in this shabby chic coastal hideaway that’s tucked away opposite the golden dunes of Camber Sands. Once a motel, it still has the same L-shaped layout and it’s both affordable and casual, but with no compromise on service and comfort. Don’t miss the seafood at the sunlit bistro, which is consistently delicious. Rooms from £95 B&B www.thegallivant.co.uk
5/13 The Midland Hotel, Morecombe, Lancashire
Splash out on a room with a sea-view (there are 28 of them among the total 44) if you can – the views across Morecombe Bay and to the Lakeland hills from this magnificent Art Deco hotel are to die for. A recent multimillion pound restoration project means you can expect plenty of glamour here, with a great restaurant that is only two tables deep so that all can enjoy the views, which are spectacular even when it’s stormy. Rooms from £116 B&B http://englishlakes.co.uk/hotels/lancashire-hotels/the-midland-hotel-morecambe/
6/13 The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
All 37 rooms in this eco-luxury, adults-only, clifftop hideway have views of the romantic Mawgan Porth beach below. In fact, there’s plenty of glass walls throughout this stunning and utterly relaxing hotel. We particularly love the Ayurvedic spa, complete with hanging ‘pods’ for relaxation, and the outstanding restaurant with locally source produce cooked by head chef Tom Hunter. The ultimate place to unwind. Rooms from £210 B&B www.scarlethotel.co.uk
7/13 Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, Wales
This is a traditional hotel, set in Southern Snowdonia National Park, with panoramic views across Cardigan Bay and its miles of golden sandy beaches. Family owned and managed for over 100 years, it’s popular with older visitors out of season, but as family friendly as they come the rest of the year. Facilities include an indoor pool, games room, putting green and family friendly lounge. Rooms from £176 Dinner, B&B www.trefwales.com
8/13 Isle of Eriska, Argyll
The only connection between this private island and the mainland is a small bridge, making it a truly magical retreat in a beautiful part of the west coast of Scotland. The amazing sea views include otters, seals and more, and there’s a brand new deck restaurant in the newly refurbished spa, while the main restaurant is Michelin Star. There’s a nine hole golf course. Suitable for all ages, including kids. Rooms from £315 B&B www.eriska-hotel.co.uk
9/13 The Cary Arms, Babbacombe, South Devon
Set at the bottom of a cliff near Torquay, this eight-bedroomed, dog-friendly, boutique hotel (along with four fisherman’s cottages) has a nautical style décor and bright and airy feel, as well as breathtaking sea views. The stone-walled restaurant is great, particularly for freshly caught fish and shellfish, which chef Ben Kingdon works his magic on. Welcomes all ages and offers relaxing Yon-Ka spa treatments. Rooms from £195 B&B www.caryarms.co.uk
10/13 Bailiffscourt Hotel, Climping, West Sussex
This 39-bedroomed hotel consists of a quirky set of buildings, many with thatched roofs, which were built in the 1930s using 13th century materials. Rooms can feel on the cramped side, with rooms jam-packed with dark furniture, tapestries and the like, but it’s all part of the old-world charm and there’s a lovely airy spa with both indoor and outdoor pools. Superb locally sourced food and the beach has pebbles at high tide and a lovely expanse of sand at low tide. Rooms from £259 B&B www.prideofbritainhotels.com
11/13 The White Horse, Brancaster Straithe, Norfolk
There’s no shortage of great hotels on the Norfolk coast, but this one, which has 15 bedrooms (five of which can take families) has direct access to the coastal path and tridal marsh. There’s a village pub vibe and the relaxed conservatory restaurant is a great place to have long lunches or dinners with splendid views. As you’d expect for this area, it’s a favourite among bird watchers. Food is delicious, especially their Brancaster Straithe oysters and pan roasted sea bream signature dish. From £100 B&B www.whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk/
12/13 The Brudnell, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Overlooking Suffolk’s heritage coast at Aldeburgh, this privately owned, four-star, 44 bedroom hotel is a few steps away from the shingle beach. Expect vibrant coastal colours and contemporary decor throughout, and plenty of spaces to relax. Food in the Seafood & Grill is spot on, with plenty of sharing platters on offer. Get a sea facing room if you can, although rear facing rooms still have nice views over to the river Alde. Plenty of family friendly rooms. Rooms from £115 B&B www.brudenellhotel.co.uk
13/13 The Henley, Bigbury-on-Sea, Devon
Overlooking the Avon estuary all the way round to the famous Burgh Island, this offers one of the best sea and estuary views in the country. And that’s not all this award-winning Edwardian hotel has going for it. The small hotel, run by Martyn Scarterfield and Petra Lampe is incredibly relaxed, with country-style rooms and wonderfully fresh dinners, using local ingredients. A path leads directly onto the Blue Flag beach. The binoculars, which are provided in all bedrooms, are a nice touch. Rooms from £120.00 B&B www.thehenleyhotel.co.uk/
I’ve been in the position recently when, from a remote island in the Caribbean, I was able to relay breaking news to friends back at home. This is clearly bonkers. We go away to be away: to discover other cultures, to withdraw into a calmer interior landscape, to be unclouded by the pressures of our daily lives. That just isn’t possible if we’re umbilically connected to a mobile phone.
It’s a factor of the fear of missing out, and of the pleasure of posting a picture on Instagram to illustrate just how fabulous we are.
Paradoxically, I might feel more cut off in Cornwall. It takes longer to get there than virtually any Mediterranean island, and you can rarely get a phone signal there anyway.
What joy! It’s like a foreign country.Reuse content