Continuing our series on the glorious British coastline, it's time to think ahead to summer and book your seaside escape. As we've mentioned already, 2023 is the Year of the Coast, and being island dwellers, we can't think of a better excuse to spend some by the water. Read on for a selection of our very best seaside stays, both self-catering cottages and B&Bs...
A few miles south of Helston on the west coast of the Lizard Peninsula is this stylishly decorated Porthleven fisherman's cottage that comfortably sleeps six across three bedrooms. With incredible sea views, a cosy vibe and a location right in the heart of town yet close to excellent beaches, it's the perfect spot for a salty, Cornish adventure!
This striking Cornish seaside property sleeps up to 16 guests in six en-suite bedrooms, and has breathtaking views out to the water, plus access to a secluded private beach. It's also just a short walk from Widemouth Bay, with its pubs, cafés and miles of glorious sandy coastline and surf spots. Renovated to the highest standard, this holiday home offers pure luxury.
These properties are found in the country estate of the Budock Vean Hotel on the banks of Cornwall's River Helford, where the pace of life ebbs and flows with the tide. The range and quality of self-catering accommodation is superb, including traditional cottages and contemporary houses. Plus, you get all the benefits of staying at a four-star establishment, including a pool, golf course, restaurants and more.
This fabulously restored converted windmill is enviably positioned right on the edge of Cley Marshes, perfectly placed for the delights of the scenic North Norfolk coastline. Choose from nine individually designed country-chic rooms – six in the windmill itself, where the upper ones in particular have spectacular views. The others are housed in various outbuildings, and there's also Dovecote, a charming two-bedroom cottage.
This bright and modern cottage sits in the heart of Sheringham, just two minutes from the beach and the Norfolk Coast Path. Sleeping four people, it's a delightful place to stay, and has an authentic seaside feel throughout – sunny, light and airy, with marine charts and fishing images dotting the crisp white walls. Beyond the comfortable living room's sliding doors, there's a sunlit courtyard garden to relax in.
These 10 deluxe wooden cabins in North Devon's Bideford offer close proximity to the countryside and coastline alike, and are the perfect base for exploring the rugged Hartland Peninsula, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Set just a mile or so from the South West Coast Path, half the units have a king-sized bed and the others are big enough to accommodate a family of four.
This trio of luxurious and dog-friendly Welsh stone cottages sleep from 2–10 people, and each has a classic feel. Located on Sloeberry Farm in Ceredigion, the gloriously rural location is close to Cardigan Bay and Aberporth Beach. Owners Shaun and Jo are the best kind of hosts: keen to share their passion for the area with others, but equally happy to leave guests to themselves.
A beautifully secluded eco retreat for two in Cardigan with your very own private meadow and a no-frills lifestyle is about as good as it gets if you're a couple looking for a peaceful place to stay. The Wales Coastal Path passes right through, so guests at this hand-built off-grid cabin are within easy and scenic reach of all manner of seaside attractions, such as Mwnt Beach and Poppit Sands.
These amazing treehouses are tucked away in South Devon close to Dartmouth, and have a magical air to them. This is real 'Grand Designs' territory – hugely spacious roundhouses in the sky with wood-fired cedar hot tubs. There are also shepherds huts and a vintage Airstream for couples. Out and about, riverside cafés, beaches, old smugglers' pubs, coastal walks and seafood restaurants are within easy reach.
This gorgeous B&B on the northwest coast of Anglesey has six plush rooms (plus a self-catering lodge), and is just moments from the sea. Each space is bright and contemporary, with a New England look and feel. The location is truly idyllic, in the heart of the village of Rhosneigr and a stone's throw from two huge sandy beaches – both are among the best in Wales.
One of two high-end and elegant holiday homes at Greyfriars (the other is Herons Wood), this Grade II-listed mansion is close to the East Sussex coast. The two-bedroom space features marble bathrooms, underfloor heating and wood burners, plus an enclosed garden with a hot tub. Must-visit Winchelsea Beach is just a mile away, while Camber Sands isn't much further.
These 12 contemporary self-catering cottages on the Isles of Scilly each sleep 6–10 in great comfort. Situated in Tresco, the New England-style beach homes are kitted out to suit the most discerning guests, with open-plan living and big windows offering those all-important ocean views. There's also a handsomely designed spa featuring indoor and outdoor pools, a jacuzzi and a gym.
Situated within Devon's beautiful South Hams is this spectacular seaside holiday property in Dartmouth. Sleeping up to eight, there are luxury facilities galore, from a plunge pool with coastal views to a master with its own sitting area. Blackpool Sands Beach is within ambling distance, and excellent walking opportunities can be found along the South West Coastal Path and the Dart Valley Trail.
Head to the southern Cornwall tourist hotspot of Mevagissey and choose from a spacious three-bedroom apartment with a balcony or Seafarers, a former coastguard's cottage on the other side of the harbour. The same people also own Tall Ships, in the neighbouring town of Charlestown – a Georgian end-of-terrace house that sleeps six. All offer close proximity to the sea and boutique-style interiors.
This five-star boutique property in Cornwall's Mevagissey sleeps up to four in comfort and style. Enjoying lovely sea views, the property was renovated with an eye for detail. It boasts a large sitting room and water-facing terraces to enjoy those fabulous vistas from, plus a wood-burning stove and a master with a super king. The house is close to the South West Coast Path and not far from the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.
Directly overlooking Devon's Woolacombe Beach is this impressive property that sleeps up to seven. It's a super-elegant period house with well-proportioned, high-ceilinged rooms and a wraparound terrace that's ideal for taking in the fantastic views. There's a contemporary kitchen and a minimally furnished living area with big bay windows that let the light flood in – much like the two master bedrooms above.
A short stroll from Mawgan Porth Beach and the North Cornwall coast are these extremely comfy two-bedroom eco cottages. Watergate Bay and Newquay are nearby, as are wonderful countryside and woodland walks. Each property has its own private garden, wood-burning stove and underfloor heating; they're all child- and baby-friendly and dogs are welcome (except in the summer holidays).
Set in a superb North Northumberland location in the charming small town of Belford is this deluxe B&B, close to the coast and within easy reach of the national park. Ranked one of the top 15 bed and breakfasts in the county, there are three en-suite guest rooms – Berwick, Coquet and Longstone. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a short drive away, as is the magnificently sited Bamburgh Castle.
Just footsteps from Falmouth's renowned Gyllyngvase Beach is St Michaels Resort, a tranquil Cornish hotel with multiple facilities, from a pool and tennis courts to a health club and spa. The added bonus is a selection of self-catering apartments. Sleeping 2–8 people, they boast floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious water-facing balconies, and overlook Blue Flag Gylly Beach – well-known for its clear, almost Mediterranean waters.
Just a few miles north of Land's End is this extraordinary eco-friendly coastal house in Sennen, with elevated views and a desirable position for exploring Cornwall. Housing 4–10, the sociable open-plan living space offers beautiful views and underfloor heating, and leads out to a capacious terrace with your very own hot tub. It's one of a pair that also includes neighbouring and equally high-end Sea Eden.
This idyllic pair of luxury Cornish cottages have plush and well-equipped interiors and sleep 6–8 people. Right next to Portreath's sandy bay – midway between St Ives and Newquay – the properties perch just above the waves at the southern end of the beach. Highlights range from a uniquely spacious terrace overlooking the sea that's ideal for al fresco meals to outdoor showers.
The holiday villas at Trewhiddle are tucked in a woodland valley near St Austell and the definition of a 'hideaway'. There's a secluded country feel, yet you're only a few minutes from the picturesque southern Cornish coast. The properties sleep 4–9 and come with private sun decks, underfloor heating and open-plan living areas. Meanwhile, the beaches of Porthpean and Pentewan are just a five-minute hop away by car.