The British coast is one of its greatest holiday traditions. Sunnier climes may have white sands and crystal waters, but the variety of beaches, breath taking walks, wildlife and seaside town traditions that grace the British Isles are known for impressing visitors from far and wide.

Forging lifelong family memories and spectacular backdrops for happy holidays, here the Good Hotel Guide recommends 10 of their top hotels by the coast (

The Nare, Cornwall

On the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, The Nare is a hotel with traditional values and contemporary details. Its location is spectacular, looking out over Gerrans Bay and with carefully tended gardens that run to the water’s edge, but this is a hotel that also offers plenty to do, from chartering their yacht to driving their elegant motor launch or classic Morgan sports car. Their Carne Bay Spa and leisure facilities are also favourite features.  There are indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, and croquet, while rest and relaxation is found with the help of a range of readily available Dermalogica spa treatments.

Trefeddian Hotel, Wales

With sweeping views over Cardigan Bay from the foothills of Snowdonia National Park, Trefeddian Hotel is a family-friendly retreat half a mile from the sea. The Cave-Browne-Cave family have kept their low key and welcoming retreat in the hillside since the days of silent film, when men wore bowler hats to the beach. Remaining an iconic feature on the landscape, the unmistakable white hotel is perfect for families seeking refuge from the busy world, encouraging seaside traditions like flying kites and building sandcastles, staying in understated hotel rooms or one of two five-star self-catering properties.

Scarista House, Isle of Harris

On the west coast of Harris, Scarista House is surrounded by natural beauty, not least the mesmerising views of the Atlantic Ocean, heather-clad mountains and a pristine, sandy beach. In a unique location on the Isle of Harris, bracing walks along the sand are the order of the day, along with wildlife spotting and breathing in the fresh air. Inside, the whitewashed Georgian hotel is small, traditional and welcoming. Rooms all have special details, such as a bookshelf bedhead stocked with Penguin classics – it’s like stepping into a different world – one that’s quieter, slower and that gives you space to breathe easy. 

The Seaside Boarding House, Dorset

Light and airy, The Seaside Boarding House invites you to wake to views over Lyme Bay and Chesil Beach within the spectacular beauty of the Jurassic Coast. White-painted, it’s fresh and breezy, a tonic for the soul as well as a treat for foodies. Wooden floors, large windows and nautical themed art set the scene, while a snug library is a welcome space to while away your time and rest after a walk in the fresh air. This is a place that’s all about celebrating simplicity, an ideology very much extends to their food, which is served under the mantra  ‘local when it’s best, British when it’s right, international when it’s called for’.

Porth Tocyn Hotel, Wales

An enchanting, family-friendly country house by the sea, with peerless views to Snowdonia across Cardigan Bay, Porth Tocyn Hotel in Abersoch has been run by the Fletcher-Brewer family since opening in 1948. Those who visit remain unswervingly loyal to the multi-award-winning retreat, which is beloved by families, couples, friends and solo travellers. All bucket-and-spade holidays and G&Ts on the terrace, stay in the main building, a shepherd’s hut or a self-catering cottage, enjoy superb food, and splash about in the swimming pool. It’s the kind of place that people return to for generations – one visitor, staying on their thirtieth visit, simply described it as ‘outstanding as always’ .

The Henley, Devon

Boasting a most impressive view of south Devon’s iconic Burgh Island, The Henley is an unpretentious getaway in the glorious Bigbury-on-Sea. The beach is famous because the sea comes in from both sides, and the tidal island was a favourite destination for Devon’s own detective novelist, Agatha Christie. The Henley invites guests in with a jovial welcome and the promise of lots of tasty, inventive dishes throughout the day. Take full advantage of the views courtesy of readily available binoculars, and enjoy waking to the sound of the waves lapping the shore.

Looking for more top hotels by the coast? Try our selection of the 10 best island hotels

The Ship Inn, Elie

The Ship Inn at Elie offers understated elegance and is unequivocally coastal from name to location and style. Guests wake to views of the sandy bay on the Firth of Forth, where the inn famously plays cricket and has its own team. Every feature conforms to modern standards but it’s also wonderfully eccentric, extolling all the best virtues of a classic inn. There are six bedrooms, all named with maritime references and each with its own style. Dogs are welcome in some rooms and each is equipped with bathroom products from Laura Thomas, Nespresso machines and a beautiful tea selection from The Tea Lovers’ Company.

The Gallivant, Sussex

A restaurant with rooms in East Sussex, The Gallivant is a hideaway for grown-ups. Moments from the dunes and the sandy beach beyond, it is just over an hour from London, making it ideal for a weekend mini break. Once here you will find beautifully furnished rooms in contemporary coastal style, each with its own character, whether you stay in one of the Original Garden Rooms or the Snug Cabin rooms with their own stocked larders and fridges. There’s daily yoga and a mini Bamford Spa for extra feel-good-factor, and the food is something that has to be experienced to be truly understood.

Hell Bay Hotel, Isles of Scilly

On a secluded cove on Bryher’s rugged west-facing coast, Hell Bay Hotel is one of the Isles of Scilly’s top hotels by the coast, with a pretty, blue-and-white weatherboarded farmhouse-turned-hotel. The views and the experience are enough to make you fall in love, spending a weekend or a week enjoying the New England style and breezy atmosphere. The location is very much the star of the show, taking in the wild seascape that is Bryher’s rugged west coast, from every corner of the hotel. However, food served in the trip-rosette awarded restaurant is also exceptional. They serve a daily-changing menu focusing on local and Cornish products, including dishes such as gin-cured salmon, locally caught John Dory, and samphire fricassée. When it’s seasonal, you will get fresh crab, scallops and mussels, and in the summer months it’s hard to beat washing it all down with a sundowner on the aptly-named Sunset Deck.

Blue Hayes, St. Ives

Set slightly back from the buzzy seaside town of St. Ives, whilst holding it in full view, Blue Hayes is a dreamy cliff top hotel surrounded by established sub-tropical gardens. Start your day in airy rooms and suites characterised by coastal interiors. Stroll down the South West Coast Path to Porthminster Beach, enjoy a cream tea with views across the bay to Godrevy Lighthouse, and spend afternoons serenely sipping cocktails on the verandah. Meals are a feast of local fare, from seafood platters to Cornish gammon and Trelawny cheese. It’s a delicious combination of contemporary and classic.