Best UK beach cottages
Tired. Sick of working. Dreaming of the beach. Yup, it's time to book the Great British Coastal Escape and we've done all the hard work for you.
One of the big benefits of Muddy tottering its way into so many counties (er, 17 since you asked!) is that we have a raft of on-the-ground experts, squirrelling out the coolest, most useful stuff for the rest of us to plunder. Case in point – beach cottages. Thought about renting one this summer? Yeah me too. So allow me to lay before you a sandy smorgasbord from the Muddy regional editors – 14 beautiful beach properties for the bucket and spade brigade.
STAY IN… CORNWALL
The Old Bakery, Summerleaze Beach, Bude
A modern beach house with cool design accents, The Old Bakery is less than 350 metres from beautiful Summerleaze Beach and a short stroll to Bude’s restaurants, cafes and boutiques. A reverse layout makes the most of the gorgeous views across the dunes to the sea, which are even more impressive from the secluded roof terrace. The light-filled open plan living space is really stylish and sociable, which makes it great for groups or families. And there’s every mod con you could hope for… washing machine, tumble dryer, two fridges (plenty of space for vino), under-floor heating, log burner, Nespresso machine and a snug-style TV and games room.
Trethvor, Fistral Beach, Newquay
Perched above one of Cornwall’s most popular surf beaches and a walk (at low tide) from Crantock, another corker, Trethvor is perfectly placed for beach adventures. It’s a light and airy, villa-style property arranged over three floors, with a wrap-around terrace and spectacular sea views. The modern coastal interiors create a laidback feel and in addition to all the mod cons, there’s a telescope, so guests can even enjoy the view by night. Popular gastropub The Lewinnick Lodge is a walk away as is Rick Stein’s Restaurant, for some seriously good fish and chips.
STAY IN… DEVON
Webbery Barton Barn, Bideford
Not meaning to brag, but should we give you options in North or South Devon to choose from? Oh go on then, we’ll give you one from each coast! Kicking off in the north is Webbery Barton Barn. This handsome hunk of an oak-beamed barn is minutes from the dune-flanked beach at Saunton Sands, surfing fave Croyde Bay and Blue Flag Atlantic waters of Westward Ho. Very family and dog-friendly, its six bedrooms sleep 16-18 and there is oodles of living space for everyone to exist without being on top of each other. Huge gardens, a games room and a hot tub are really the icing on the cake. For the ultimate kick-back, you can even arrange for a ready-to-cook casserole to be dropped off and warmed up in the range.
The Wing at the Moult, Dartmouth
I had to do a double take when I discovered this one, it looks more southern Mediterranean than South Devon. But we are in Dartmouth, one of the most drooled-over spots in the entire country. So, what’s doing it for you at The Wing at the Moult? Is it the 22m heated swimming pool, or the private steps to the beach just minutes away? Maybe it’s the four acres of stunning gardens? If you’ve been to Dartmouth before, you’ll probably have seen this iconic pink palace-like pad on the coastline. Once home to the Earl of Devon, it comes with a thatched summer house, Victorian glasshouse, belvedere and walled vegetable garden. There are six bedrooms sleeping fourteen very comfortably, a cinema room and an all-singing kitchen, not that you’ll use much more than the wine fridge, since you are in a serious foodie spot here, with dining options aplenty. Warning: you may not find normal life quite cuts it any longer after a stay here.
STAY IN… HAMPSHIRE
Gins Barn, Beaulieu
On The New Forest’s edge, tucked in tight where the Beaulieu River joins the Solent, Gins Barn is all barefoot, up-river chic: ancient beams, roaring log burners, the deepest woollen rugs, sea access from the private jetty and a Yacht Club next door. The space is drenched in natural light, with a proper sound system, serious art plus a large, modern kitchen and sitting room . Outside, you’ll find migratory birds and fields of wild ponies all silhouetted at champagne-o’clock under big-sky sunsets and towering storms from the English Channel.
The Glass House, Cowes, The Isle of Wight
Gorge on natural light and sea views in this modern, open plan space surrounded by glass, balconies and endless water with yachts and ocean liners bobbing past. Come evening, mix a G&T on the roof terrace and gawp at the after-dark maritime lightshow. If you can tear yourself away, you must explore Cowes: it’s one of the world’s iconic yachting destinations and just down the road.
STAY IN… KENT
The Beach House, Sandgate
Slide open the doors on your curved, glass extension (built in the shape of a wave, see?) and sip your Sangria as you take in the seaview from the dining room or decking of this beachside beauty. The Beach House has four en suite luxe double bedrooms (which can be made into twins on request) and sleeps up to 8 adults and 3 children. Set right on the Sandgate Beach and 2 mins walk from Sandgate village (with a few cute little antique shops and tearooms) this cottage is located between the coastal towns of Hythe and Folkestone. It’s just a 10 minute drive to the Mark Sargeant restaurant, Rocksalt, (he’s Gordon Ramsay’s protégé). The food there is pretty darn good – with fish being the obvious speciality.
The Coastguard Lookout, Dungeness
If you’re in the market for some visual drama, this alternative and atmospheric accommodation in Dungeness could be just the thing. Built originally as a HM Coastguard radar monitoring station for shipping in the Channel, The Coastguard Lookout tower cuts a striking figure against the wild, stretching seaside landscape. The building was converted by renowned interior architecture firm Johnson Naylor and now includes underfloor heating, beautiful lime stone floors, Wifi, and a log burner in the sitting room. Perfect if you’re after an escape destination with a difference. It sleeps five, has two bedrooms and one bathroom.
STAY IN… NORFOLK
Lark Cottage, Titchwell
If location is the holy grail of a great holiday, then Lark Cottage should be smiling all the way to the bank – a grand, three-storey flint house located as near as you could get from the caramel sands of Titchwell Beach without falling into the sea. Sleeping up to 10 people in four large bedrooms, the house oozes whimsical cottage charm, with a family bathroom, two en-suites and – the pièce de résistance – an open-plan diner-cum-garden with French doors leading to an immaculate garden and beyond to the beach. Head to upstairs to the master bedroom and take a closer look through the telescope. Dogs welcome.
Stones Throw Cottage, Mundesley
The name says it all: a stone’s throw from idyllic Mundesley Beach – with its large stretch of pristine sand and colourful wooden beach huts – Stones Throw Cottage is a stylish Victorian house sleeping up to five guests in three bedrooms. Boasting stripped wood floors, an oh-so-trendy wet room, a spacious lounge with warming log-burner (logs provided) and Scandi-style furniture (think slate greys and mustard yellows), the property also has a pretty south-facing courtyard with BBQ and chimenea, and off-road parking – you couldn’t wish for more. Toast your toes by the fire after a walk on the beach, cook up a storm in the well-equipped kitchen, enjoy a glass of wine in the evening sunshine or walk into the quaint village of Mundesley, with its cafes and country pub – whatever you do, a great stay is guaranteed.
STAY IN… SOMERSET
The Quantocks Hide, Quantocks
With red deer and wild ponies roaming the moorland behind and nestled 650 feet up on a country estate in the Quantocks, the Quantock Hide feels a little like a (luxury) hunting lodge but it’s only a mile and a half away from Kilve Beach. Somerset’s own Jurassic coast is perfect for spotting ammonites and ichthyosaur remains, exploring rock pools and making huge sandcastles at low tide on some beaches. The cottage sleeps four in two double bedrooms with super king beds that can be split to make twins, a roll top bath, shower, fluffy towels and even fluffier bathrobes. Squashy sofas, a day bed, a wood-burner and flat screen TV in the large open plan living area will help you unwind. The kitchen is high tech (no stripped pine here). And did I mention the terraced gardens planted with exotic tropicals, the views out to sea and the private hot tub? Oh, and please, please bring your dog (the bickies are waiting).
West Lynch, Allerford
It’s been in the same family for three hundred years but could be home to your family (or maybe two families, a group of friends, whoever – it sleeps 12 in six bedrooms) for just a week or two. West Lynch is in Allerford (famous for its packhorse bridge), near Porlock in north Somerset, with the pebble beach of Bossington just a few minutes’ stroll away and others a short drive. The Exmoor National Park for riding and walking – bring your dog – is on the doorstep. With antique beds, cosy sitting rooms, inglenook fireplaces and open fires, flagstone floors, an Aga, a barbeque on the terrace and croquet on the lawn, it’s your archetypal English country cottage – albeit with some funky white leather sofas and art. They can organise a professional chef if you can’t be bothered to cook.
STAY IN… SUSSEX
Wave Crest, Pevensey Bay
This light-filled Scandinavian-style house at Pevensey Bay has direct beach access. Contemporary white walls and a modern kitchen, designed for entertaining, contrast with well-chosen pieces of rustic furniture. Perfect for a break with family or friends, it has five bedrooms sleeping up to 10. The master bedroom boasts sea views from a large bay window. Take a day trip to nearby Pevensey Castle, Eastbourne or Hastings, then dine alfresco using the BBQ in the private garden, or at the bistro-style table on a sea view balcony.
Lumiere, West Wittering
West Wittering is Sussex’s answer to the Hamptons and here is a stunner of a property to rent just two minutes from the beach and not far from the glorious sandy stretch. With three bedrooms, this weather-boarded home sleeps up to seven. Bag the master suite which occupies the entire top floor and has a king size antique French bed and a roll top bath! Other highlights include Tempur mattresses in the bedrooms, an Aga in the kitchen and a secluded south facing garden with waterfall. Plus, there are no fewer than three TVs and DVDs and free wifi to keep everyone happy!