Feeling the need for space has never been so common as it is now. Here, Sian Lewis rounds up some suitably quiet options for a UK holiday where you should easily be able to keep socially distanced from anyone else

Pack your wellies and your swimsuit and leave the madding crowd far behind with a socially distant seaside staycation. We’re all exploring closer to home and finding a new appreciation for the wildest corners of Britain these days – and after all, there’s never been any need to hop on a plane for a holiday when we have such a glorious coastline right here in the UK.

Choosing self-catering accommodation in remote coastal locations is the easiest way to follow social distancing rules on your next escape. Whether you’re dreaming of finding some much-needed space in a cosy oceanside cottage, on a real-life treasure island or on a deserted beach, you’ll definitely find the perfect bolthole somewhere along Britain’s 7,723 miles of sea-swept coast. Our favourite quirky escapes you can have all to yourself include a houseboat, a campervan and even a working lighthouse.

1 The Beach House, Kent
Dreaming of escaping to your own wood-clad cabin on a deserted beach? Believe it or not, the dreamy Beach House on Kent’s Isle of Sheppey is just an hour by car from London. Inside it’s very coastal chic, complete with wood stove, huge picture windows and even a swing in the sitting room. The outside deck is the perfect place for a fire and a sunset-toasting cocktail after a refreshing swim. This is proper off-grid living – you even need to bring your own drinking water – but it makes for a true escape from real life.
PRICES: From £150 per night, sleeps four (canopyandstars.co.uk).

2 Fermain Tower, Guernsey
Once a watchtower and a barracks for soldiers, lofty Fermain Tower is now a unique holiday home just a few steps from a sheltered bay – a wonderful spot for wild swimmers to escape to. A stay here is not for the faint-hearted, though – reaching each floor involves tackling some steep steps and even climbing a no-frills ladder if you want to visit the roof-top viewing deck, however, the reward is peace, privacy and magnificent vistas over the turquoise waters of Fermain Bay from every window.
PRICES: From £125 per night, sleeps two (visitguernsey.com).

3 Harbour Houseboat, Isle of Wight
Find a bolthole in the midst of a busy harbour aboard this smart, ship-shape floating home. The Harbour Houseboat is moored in Bembridge Harbour, and is rather Tardis-like in design – inside are four roomy bedrooms sleeping six in total, plus a beautiful living space complete with Rangemaster stove and a telescope for night sky-gazing. There’s also a large upper deck where you can sunbathe in peace. If you want to go exploring, Bembridge’s boutiques and beaches are just around the corner.
PRICES: From £175 per night, sleeps six (canopyandstars.co.uk).

4 Clavell Tower, Kimmeridge, Dorset
Watch over the Dorset coast from this lofty eyrie, built in 1830 and used for hundreds of years as a navigation mark by sailors and smugglers alike. The Landmark Trust cares for historical and unusual buildings and Clavell Tower has to be one of its quirkiest properties available to stay in. Each room is on a different level of this four-storey tower, which means negotiating a lot of stairs, but also gives a feeling of being in the midst of a fairy tale. The sea is always present, with never-ending views of Kimmeridge Bay from each window and the South West Coast Path right on your doorstep.
PRICES: From £127 per night, sleeps two (landmarktrust.org.uk).

5 Eilean Shona, Scotland
A wild, rocky, romantic island it is too,’ author JM Barrie wrote of Eilean Shona. ‘It almost taketh the breath away to find so perfectly appointed a retreat on these wild shores.’ This car-free isle off the west coast of Scotland was the inspiration for Neverland, and Barrie spent a summer here in the 1920s while writing Peter Pan. These days Eilean Shona is owned by the Branson family and nine holiday cottages are hidden in different corners of the island. Spend days hiking around the coast, spotting the resident seals, swimming off the rocks or kayaking from the jetty.
PRICES: From £107 per night, cottages sleep 2-8 (eileanshona.com).

Read next Wild Scotland: Roaming Free

6 Sally Port, St Anthony’s lighthouse, Cornwall
Petend to be the resident lighthouse keeper, just for a weekend, at this charming cottage perched next to St Anthony’s, still a functional lighthouse. There’s no chance of rubbing shoulders with any neighbours here – Sally Port Cottage is down its own 300m-long coastal track and is totally private with no public access, so you’ll get your very own little slice of the rocky Cornish coast to explore during your stay. Watch the tide roll in from the Observation Room, hike the glorious Roseland Peninsula or stop by nearby St Mawes to sample local seafood.
PRICES: From £132 per night, sleeps four (coolstays.com).

7 Northumberland coast by campervan
Explore a new corner of the coast every day – and make a cosy home wherever you park – by renting a campervan, your home from home on wheels. Quirky Campers offers vans ideal for couples and families, available to pick up all over the UK. If you’re wondering where to go travelling without the crowds, why not make a beeline for Northumberland, officially the least densely populated county in England? Explore dune-fringed beaches and fishing villages famous for seafood, hop over to the Farne Islands to meet resident puffins and spend each night in a different coastal campsite.
PRICES: Campervans for two from around £82 per night (quirkycampers.com/uk).

8 The Old Rectory, Rhossili, Wales
Rhossili on the Gower is one of Wales’ most iconic beaches, and rightly popular with surfers for its reliable swell. But there’s still a way to enjoy this sweep of coastline while social distancing – by staying at The Old Rectory, which sits in splendid isolation on the cliffs, looking out over three miles of sand. The only house on the entire beach, the roomy Rectory was a radar centre during WWII – now it’s looked after by the National Trust, and has been restored with style, with four airy bedrooms and a spacious living room.
PRICES: From £224, sleeps seven (nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays).

9 Kittiwake, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Modern life has barely touched this tiny cabin, tucked in the woods on the edge of the Isle of Mull and perfectly sized for two. This is real remote living – you transport your baggage to Kittiwake by wheelbarrow, there’s no mains electricity inside and the nearest loo and shower are a short walk away. What you do get is real tranquillity in this charming little roundhouse, which is built and run with the aim of being as eco-friendly as possible. And you’ll never forget that you’re right by the sea – Calgary Bay is visible from the windows and the roof is partly made from an old rowing boat.
PRICES: From £100 per night, sleeps two (calgary.co.uk).

National Trust Images

10 The Roundhouse at the Druidstone Hotel, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The laidback, art-filled Druidstone Hotel on the Pembrokeshire coast has been loved by holidaymakers for generations – and if you would rather a bit of space all to yourself you can book one of the quirky self-catering cottages and cabins in the hotel grounds. Our favourite is the small but perfectly formed Roundhouse, which looks straight out over St Brides Bay. Built with a ‘light touch on earth’, this tiny eco cottage is more glamping than luxury cottage – it has solar-powered electricity and water is heated by wood fire – but it has a view and an oceanside location that money can’t buy.
PRICES: From £97 per night, sleeps two (druidstone.co.uk).

For more travel inspiration, head to our Coastal Guides section, or pick up a copy of Coast!

For more travel inspiration, head to our Coastal Guides section, or pick up a copy of Coast!