Here’s one of my favourite facts: nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles from the coast. I don’t know about you, but to me 70 miles seems like a relatively short jaunt – a ‘let’s just grab a few things, hop in the car and get going, shall we?’ type distance.
Obviously not all of the coast is the kind sung about in the music hall classic, ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’. Some of it’s rocky and dramatic (Bedruthan Steps, I’m thinking about you now), some of it is all complex tides and estuaries (The Solent, oh how you’ve stranded me!) and some of it is just as much history and geography lesson as it is sunny days and ice cream (Jurassic Coast, I’m thinking of you here). But its base level is probably ‘beautiful’, rising to ‘spectacular’, and even ‘world wonder’ in some spots. So it’s probably not a bad idea to try and see a bit more of it, especially now that summer is officially here – whether the weather knows it or not – and it’s only 70 miles away…
Oh I do like to sleep beside the seaside! If you want to make more than a day of your ozone filled experience, you could do worse than check out these wonderful places to stay. There are some truly excellent seaside hotels and B&Bs along the coast, so there’s no need to make do, even if you have a limited budget. The British coastline is always going to be a desirable summer destination – the weather and economic climate will probably be unpredictable, but it’s still a really good idea to book your accommodation early.
Ah, my favourite, St Mawes. The writer, Adam Edwards, described this unspoiled, postcard-perfect Cornish seaside village as ‘…St. Ives without the charabancs, Padstow without Rick Stein, Rock without the Hoorays.’ Plus it’s where they film Poldark. In St. Mawes, stay at the Hotel Tresanton, a fine, warm-feeling hotel with just a touch of New England about its decor. The food is very good and the public spaces are welcoming and useful. For example there’s a screening room, a children’s playroom, a peaceful sitting room and sunny terraces. There’s also a private yacht and motorboats to take you out for beach picnics. Rooms start from around £260 per night, but Hotel Guru has an exclusive one night stay offer where you can stay for closer to £220.
If you’re looking for a smart, simple place in a great seaside spot for under £100 per night, then B+B Weymouth – part of the new B+B concept chain of modern design B&Bs – is perfect. There’s quality where it matters – in the linen and the delicious Dorset breakfasts – but everything else is kept simple. The breakfast room is bright, the large sitting room is tastefully furnished and many of the rooms have sea views. Really excellent value for £85 per night.
If you’d prefer a home from home, Trevalsa Court, an Arts and Crafts boutique ‘home’ right on the blowy Cornish cliffs, just along from Mevagissey, might be your dream place to stay. The 1930s decor, with its oak panelling, Gothic fireplaces and Designer’s Guild Wallpaper, is charming and comfortable, the food is excellent and the coastal path runs across the bottom of the garden. There are 15 rooms starting from £140 per night.
Relish windswept clifftop walks? Then The Gurnard’s Head is my recommendation to you. This traditional, welcoming Cornish inn is surrounded by breathtaking countryside. Its informal gastropub serves up the best local ingredients, cooked to perfection. The seven rooms are simple, characterful and homely.
For something a little bit outside the obvious, how about the Osborne House Hotel? It’s a Victorian townhouse turned five star boutique hotel on the seafront at Llandudno. The building is listed and the six suites are just gorgeous. They all have sea views and beautiful antiques, and splendid marble bathrooms with roll top baths. Then there are glamorous public spaces and a casual, but decent, cafe. Rooms start from £125 per night.