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The best UK beach cottages

Forget schlepping to the beach – wake up with the sea and sand on your doorstep

Kate Hilpern
Wednesday 14 April 2021 16:30 BST
Crantock Beach on the Cornish coast
Crantock Beach on the Cornish coast

If you’re desperate for a holiday this summer but feel reluctant to venture too far, find inspiration in this collection of beautiful beach cottages around the UK. With sea and sand views as standard, there’s plenty to restore your faith in the humble staycation.

There’s nowhere quite like a British beach: whether it’s an old-school kiss-me-quick style pier town like Brighton or Blackpool, or an empty crescent of golden sand in south Wales. The weather might not be cooperative, but there will always be charm in spades.

Domestic travel in England and Wales opened up from12 April, when self-contained accommodation was allowed to welcome guests (provided they’re from the same household or support bubble). Scotland follows on 26 April. Now’s the time to book a Great British getaway.

The Spyglass, Gorran Haven, Cornwall

The Spy Glass has an impressive history

Thought to date from the late 18th century, this two-bedroom house is built on the site of an original fort, created to defend the coast during Napoleonic times. After serving as two fishermen’s cottages, it became a single holiday home in the 1930s, though nowhere near as sumptuously decorated as it is now – all with vintage coastal touches. We love the quirky sloping floors and furniture including an antique bass drum coffee table. Everything is high end – White Company bedding, Farrow & Ball painted walls, for example – while the views of the rugged coastline are to die for. No dogs. Sleeps four.

Three nights from £1,095 in April

Vause at Sea, Walmer, Kent

"Five-star beach-front living"

You get all the mod-cons with this contemporary beachfront home – underfloor heating, Sonos sound system in every room complete with Spotify account, electronic blinds and even a cinema room with surround sound. It’s located right on the coastal path and one of our favourite pubs, The Zetland Arms, is just a short stroll away, while beautiful Deal is a pleasant 40-minute walk along the coast. Sleeping 10, over four floors and with seemingly infinite bathrooms, this is five star beach-front living. Two dogs welcome.

Four nights from £3,678 in April

Pitts Deep, Lymington, Hampshire

Visitors to Pitts Deep can enjoy the forest and the sea

Located where the New Forest meets the Solent, guests can enjoy the best of both worlds – woodland and beach. The garden blends into the dunes of a semi-private beach which is hard for the public to access by foot or car, keeping it nice and quiet. Inside, it’s cosy, yet stylish, with a real sense of home – lots of character, quirky features and sea views from all five bedrooms. In the 18th century, this was an old smugglers’ inn and was one of the only places on the Hampshire and Dorset south coast where boats could dock and unload their contraband. Two dogs welcome. Sleeps nine (up to six adults and three children).

Four nights from £3,230

Skyfall, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex

Skyfall enjoys a hot tub with sea views

Originally a hotel, this sun-drenched five-bedroom, four-bathroom house is perched on the cliffs above St Leonards-on-Sea, and offers magnificent sea views, especially from the well-maintained sundeck complete with hot tub. Decor is modern and the vibe is homely, but be warned that it’s road parking only on a first come, first served basis. If that doesn’t bother you, this three-story home is a gem for larger get-togethers. No dogs. Sleeps 11 – or 13 if you also rent the one-bedroom apartment on the same road.

Seven nights from £2,843 in May

Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

Wake up next to the world's first electric lighthouse

This bijou 19th century two-bedroom cottage, once home of the lighthouse keeper and his family, is bang next door to the iconic candy striped Souter Lighthouse, the first in the world to be powered by electricity. Climb its 76 steps to explore the view from the top and learn more about the life of a lighthouse keeper and ghosts of industry past. You get two and a half miles of the Leas on your door-step, including wave-cut magnesian limestone cliffs and coastal grassland. Inside is comfortable and homely, with a garden and sea views. Newcastle is just 15 miles away, but you’d never know it. Two dogs welcome. Sleeps four.

Three nights in April from £883

Boatman’s Loft, Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire

The Boatman's Loft is situated six miles up the coast from Whitby

You’ll find this old coastguard station in one of Yorkshire’s most charming seaside villages and it’s close enough to the sea that you can hear the waves lapping against the sea wall when the tide’s in. The one-bedroom holiday home takes up the second floor and while decor couldn’t be described as deluxe, it’s perfectly adequate and provides fabulous views – just the ticket for a couple seeking a break by the sea. The fishing village forms part of the beautiful Heritage Coast of the North Moors National Park and dates back to the 17th century, while Whitby is a six-mile coastal walk away. No dogs. Sleeps two.

Three nights from £679 in July or August

Old School House, Ravenglass, Cumbria

Twitchers will appreciate the bird-watching opportunities at the Old School House

If you’re after golden sands that stretch for miles, you’re in the wrong spot; the beach here is a mix of sand, shingle and mud, backed by a grassy bank. But this pretty, non-touristy northern coastal village boasts plenty of birdlife and spectacular sunsets over the estuary, not to mention a glorious mountainous backdrop. Small sailing boats are often moored in front of the restored red brick Victorian cottage, which is just a few steps to the shoreline. No dogs. Sleeps three adults or two adults and two small children.

From £510 for a week in May

The Headland Cottages, Newquay, Cornwall

The Headland's five-star self-catering cottages

There are 39 of these charming cottages perched on the cliff top just a short stroll down to the famous Fistral Beach and South West Coast Path. Available with one, two or three bedrooms, they are cosy and dog friendly, plus you get to enjoy all the hotel’s five star facilities, of which we recommend Samphire restaurant and the spa treatments (there’s also a swanky new aqua club opening this summer). Bag one with a sea view if you can – only 40 per cent have them. Dogs welcome.

Seven nights from £2,805 (based on a one-bedroom cottage)

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