11 of the most unusual surf stays in the UK 2024

From a Lord of the Rings-style hobbit house to an off-grid spaceship-like hideout, here’s our pick of the best one-of-a-kind coastal sleeps

Jade Bremner
Friday 05 April 2024 14:35 BST
The Viking Garth Hideaways are all about merging indoor living with the outside world
The Viking Garth Hideaways are all about merging indoor living with the outside world (Viking Garth Hideaways)

Surf holidays don’t have to mean noisy backpacker lodges and sticky floors. Those craving the regenerative benefits of sand and sea can book some truly unique British surf stays to rival anything abroad. Near world-class waves and areas of outstanding natural beauty abound right here in the UK, and with those come accommodation close to – or even right on – the water’s edge.

Surfing has long been used as a form of therapy for mental and physical ailments, with surfers the world over claiming it has rehabilitative and restorative effects. Studies have suggested surfing releases stress, relieves anxiety and even helps to treat PTSD. So, planning a trip could offer the ideal outdoor wellbeing boost.

Once you’ve enjoyed riding the waves, bed up in one of these quirky, strange and extraordinary stays. From island getaways in Cornwall and cottages in the Outer Hebrides to bubble domes in Northern Ireland and sleeper carriages in Wales, we’ve got all corners of the UK covered. And with inland surfing opportunities in Bristol, you don’t always have to drive to the coast to catch a wave. Keep scrolling and get your unique surf stay booked straightaway.

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Kudhva cabins, Trebarwith, England

The small but cleverly designed pods are made 100 per cent sustainably (Kudhva)

Raised above the ground on wooden stilts, these off-grid spaceship-like hideouts have 180-degree views of the surrounding wild willow forests and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. The small but cleverly designed pods are made 100 per cent sustainably – inside are raised natural wood beds and floor to ceiling windows for sunrise watching.

There’s a wood-fired hot tub on-site for relaxing post-surf, plus a 40-foot waterfall and a 43-acre slate quarry to explore. Intermediate to advanced surfing beach Trebawith Strand is one mile away. Try the Kudhva cocktail, made from local hand-picked botanicals: wild strawberries, gorse flowers, spotted orchids, cotton grass, honeysuckle, king ferns, wood violets and water mint.

Sleeps two, from £123 per night.

Book now

The House on The Island, Newquay, England

The island is accessed via a suspension bridge (Boutique Retreats)

Situated atop a chunk of cliff separated from the mainland, and accessed via a suspension bridge, this island is completely isolated and surrounded by water at high tide. Once on the island, you can relax outside in a hammock and enjoy the sea air, or cosy up with a cuppa in the conservatory. The sheltered Towan beach below is the place to learn how to ride waves. Currently undergoing refurbishment, it’s scheduled to open late in 2024.

Starts from £1,233 for a three-night weekend or four-night mid-week break.

 Book now

Viking Garth Hideaways, Bridlington, England

(Viking Garth Hideaways)

Cayton Bay, near Bridlington in East Riding, has some of the most dependable surf on the North East coast, as well as a surf school and equipment hire. It’s a 15-minute drive from the Viking Garth glamping pods, which have a kitchen area, a living area with TV and cosy beds.

Pods are spread over tree-lined grounds, with plenty of picnic tables about where you can admire the view or tuck into an al fresco meal (or both). Campfires are allowed in designated spots, so you can enjoy a peaceful evening dining under the stars before retreating into the pod for bed.

Sleeps four, from £190 per night

Book now

Blue Reef Cottages, Isle of Harris, Scotland

Turf houses blend into their landscape (Stay Hebrides)

Turf houses are not just for hobbits in The Lord of the Rings; folks in the northern hemisphere have been building turf houses since 4,000BC. Blending into their landscape, these clever insulated roofs keep the houses naturally warm and cosy – ideal after a bracing North Atlantic surf. These cottages also attract wildlife, and have “machair” flowers growing on them in the summer months. For extra warmth, there’s under-floor heating and fuel-burning stoves.

A long curved bay window offers unobstructed views of the beaches (which have some of the cleanest water on the planet). And stay guilt free – a wind turbine 300 metres away provides all the power to these eco-abodes. Thoughtful touches include 100 per cent organic body wash and shampoo, made of hand-harvested local seaweed (supposedly its natural anti-oxidants have anti-ageing properties).

Sleeps two, from £600 for two nights.

Book now

The Camp at The Wave, Bristol, England

Guaranteed perfect waves at The Wave (The Wave)

Miles from the beach, surrounded by farmland on the outskirts of the city, The Camp at The Wave is minutes from an artificial surf break producing 1,000 perfect waves of varying sizes and shapes an hour (some up to two metres high). “The Camp at The Wave is located metres from the most consistent surf break in the country,” says founder Nick Hounsfield.

Unlike other surf destinations, “you can book your trip for whenever suits you and be guaranteed perfect waves,” he says. These stilted safari-style tents have wooden floorboards, a wood-burning stove, proper beds and a kitchen. There’s also a cafe on site.

Bubble Domes, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland

Bubble domes offer 360-degree views (Finnlough)

Completely see-through, these blob-shaped rooms offer 360-degree views. It’s eerie at first to think you are completely on view to the outside world, but being an accidental exhibitionist has many advantages: gazing at the clear night sky from your four-poster bed, and working at a desk fully immersed in nature.

These domes are a way to fully “disconnect from the everyday noises of life and reconnect with the simple pleasures of nature”, says co-owner Gillian Beare. Deluxe bubbles are surrounded by trees for privacy and come with a retro radio and record player, plus designer chairs. Of course, those sensitive to light can forget a lie in, as sunlight streams through the walls. And this also means the domes heat up fast during the day – so plan on being out surfing at Bundoran, a 30-minute drive from the bubbles. The area has a number of world-class breaks.

Sleeps two, from £295 per night.

Book now

Carnish Cabin, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The cosy Carnish Cabin is designed in the shape of a wave (Unique Cottages)

Right on the wild and pristine Uig Bay, where white sand is offset by deep green hills and piercing blue water, you can fall asleep to the sound of the surf inside a cosy Carnish cabin, designed in the shape of a wave. It’s possible to see otters, seals, dolphins and harmless basking sharks in the waters, plus wild deer roaming around the coastline.

Look overhead for diving gannets, eagles and piercing stars of an evening – it’s occasionally possible to see the northern lights. The nearby Cliff Bay and Mangursta Bay are excellent breaks for experienced surfers (watch out for rip currents).

Sleeps two, from £595 for seven nights.

Book now

The Edge Beach Hut, Whitsand Bay, England

This chic beach hut feels like it’s at the edge of the world (Unique Homestays)

High above the Cornish coast, this chic cedar-clad beach hut feels like it’s at the edge of the world. Far from the dilapidated deckchair-filled sheds on the beach, this hut is glam, with plush linens and designer furniture. It’s got bird’s eye views of the dramatic surf and the four-mile stretch of sand below – after a session, you can wash off your salty skin in the alfresco shower and soak in the outdoor hot tub. Tip: Runners bring your trainers – there’s a rugged cliff track right next to the cabin.

Sleeps two, from £1,295 per short break.

Book now

The Aberporth Express, Ceredigion, Wales

This Edwardian original sleeper carriage is the last of its type in existence (Under the Thatch)

The last of its type in existence, this Edwardian original sleeper carriage was built in 1905 for the London and South Western Railway. It used to form part of the Plymouth-Waterloo “boat train”, before it was retired from service in 1931 and transported to this unlikely location on an Aberporth cliffside.

Original details remain throughout, including the narrow corridor and century-old wood panelling. There’s a comfy main cabin with a wood-burner, but the best bit is the view out to sea – keep your eyes peeled for dolphins off the coastline. Excellent waves can be found down the coastal path at Tresaith beach.

Sleeps five, from £455 for three nights.

Book now 

Atlantic Surf Pods, Bude, England

Quirky cave-like glamping huts are about merging indoor living with the outside world (Verity Westcott Photography)

Built with biophilia in mind, these quirky cave-like glamping huts are all about merging indoor living with the outside world. In a sheltered spot surrounded by Cornish farms, and minutes from the UK’s best waves, they are surprisingly spacious – with comfy king-size memory foam beds, underfloor heating and external wet rooms for showering off after the beach. Of an evening, use the private barbecue and relax on the deck overlooking lush lawns.

Pods sleep two adults and two children, from £89 per night.

Book now

St Bede Beach Hut, Alnmouth, Northumberland

(Shoreside Huts)

St Bede Beach Hut is a rustic home away from home, situated in a well hidden spot on the Northumberland coast. It’s a ten-minute walk from nearby picturesque village Alnmouth, which boasts The Old School Gallery with its own pizza van for an easy dinner, plus lovely local deli Scott’s of Alnmouth. Interior details include pretty coastal-coloured tiles, and a practical wood burner. The kitchen comes stocked with key essentials, so your breakfast will be sorted before heading out to hit the waves in nearby surfing spots such as Bamburgh, Beadnell and Amble Links. It’s dog-friendly too, should your surf buddy be a four-legged one.

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