For a much-needed family get-together, book a stay where there’s a room for everyone at one of these stunning self-catering seaside retreats. Words: Jessica Johnson
MAWGAN PORTH, NORTH CORNWALL
WHY HERE? This stunning cliff-top retreat blends stylish design with all the practical touches needed for a sandy family get-together. Check out the morning’s waves from the south-facing glass façade, then leap down to Mawgan Porth Beach for some lessons with Kingsurf surf school. Kids can rinse off in Panorama’s handy outdoor shower and then play all day in the secluded garden and open-plan living areas, which feature a games room, snuggly sofas and Freeview TV. Six spacious bedrooms can sleep up to 12 guests.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01637 861005 or visit beachretreats.co.uk.
2. MOULT HILL BARN
SALCOMBE, SOUTH DEVON
WHY HERE? South Sands’ Blue Flag Beach is a 10-minute walk from this barn conversion, where six luxury rooms are split over two floors. After a morning’s rockpooling, take the foot ferry to the quayside for crabbing or use free visitor passes to Pennywell Farm where kids can meet chicks, feed lambs and cuddle a micropig before letting off steam on the South West Coast Path.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01548 843773 or visit coastandcountry.co.uk.
3. POYNZTFIELD HOUSE
BLACK ISLE, SCOTLAND
WHY HERE? For magic and make believe. A giant trampoline, six swings, heated outdoor swimming pool and an ancient secret garden speaks to the Peter Pan in all of us. Chilly evenings offer a perfect excuse to light the roaring log fires of this regal old family house that sleeps 16, plus four extra children on camp and sofa beds. From nearby Cromarty, jump on an EcoVenture boat trip for dolphin-spotting, mountain bike the Learnie Red Rock Trails or take a short drive to one of the surrounding sandy beaches.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01381 610496 or visit lhhscotland.com.
4. THE SEA TERRACE
SHANKLIN, ISLE OF WIGHT
WHY HERE? For buckets and spades. This cheerful cottage is about as close to the golden sands of Shanklin Beach as you can get. Sleeping six guests plus a baby in three bedrooms, the house offers unrivalled sea views from every main room and is close to all the fun of the esplanade; think crazy golf, slot machines and ice cream-filled beach cafés. For a more serene take on quality time, drop into a family yoga morning at Ventnor Botanic Gardens before taking a tour of its kaleidoscopic landscape of subtropical plant life.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01929 48155 or visit islandcottageholidays.com.
5. POURQUOI PAS
WHY HERE? On this car-free island, Pourquoi Pas is a four-bed, cliff-top log cabin set in four acres with a communal swimming pool – perfect for lazy, splashy afternoons. Caragh Chocolates shares the same grounds; kids can enjoy a sweet treat, while teenage kicks from archery to kayaking are on offer at Adventure Sark.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01481 832345 or visit sark.co.uk.
6. PENNSYLVANIA CASTLE
ISLE OF PORTLAND, DORSET
WHY HERE? For little kings and queens. Take over a 19th century neo-Gothic island castle for a holiday to remember. Pennsylvania Castle sits pretty on the tiny Isle of Portland and boasts nine opulent en-suite bedrooms that can sleep 20, breathtaking views of the famous Jurassic Coast and a concierge service to make your jaw drop. Charter a power boat or yacht with all the family, mess around in the heated swimming pool or make the most of the nanny service and explore the area’s eateries. The sprawling coastal garden – featuring Italian landscaping, a waterfall and a Japanese tea-house – is heaven sent for little hide-and-seekers.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit thepennestate.co.uk.
7. LARPOOL HALL
WHITBY, NORTH YORKSHIRE
WHY HERE? This 29-bed Georgian mansion above Whitby is popular with families, walkers and cyclists alike. Whether you take the kids crab-hunting at Robin Hood’s Bay or take the steam train to Goathland, chances are you’ll be talking about it in the boot room or the bar with new friends the same evening. Take advantage of Larpool’s daily ‘activity hour’ for kids, offering parents a peaceful pre-dinner unwind.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 0345 4708558 or visit hfholidays.co.uk.
8. ADMIRAL HOUSE
FOWEY, SOUTH CORNWALL
WHY HERE? Without compromising on the finer touches for grown-ups (king-size beds, luxury linen, rain showers and claw-foot baths), this lavish, eight-bedroomed abode is properly kitted out with children’s essentials – from a pool table and a secret cellar cinema for the teens to a travel cot, high chair and stair-gates for the littlest legs. ‘The Nest’ is a bedded annex with en-suite bathroom – a great option for either a travelling au pair or grandparents seeking a bit of peace and quiet away from the bustle of the main house.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01872 241241 or visit cornishgems.com.
WHY HERE? For old-school charm. A classic Edwardian house is furnished with a sprinkle of Scandi minimalism and has a bird’s eye view of Kingsdown Beach – 200m down winding paths. A small wooden house, slide and deck chairs all sit within lawned gardens, providing ample space for children to run free. Rainy day? Ditch the phones for a family dance-off around the vinyl record player or let kids pore over the plentiful books and toys.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01304 382044 or visit keeperscottages.co.uk.
BIGBURY-ON-SEA, SOUTH DEVON
WHY HERE? This dreamy bolthole is only a hop and skip away from some of Devon’s finest sandy beaches. Sleeping eight people, its coast-inspired interiors thread through a light and spacious beach house. The golden sands and shallow waters of Bigbury-on-Sea Beach close by offer safe fun for little ones, who will love a trip over to Burgh Island on the stilted legs of the sea tractor. For older children looking to have a go at SUP, book them in at the local Discovery Surf School – a two-hour family surfing lesson with a private coach comes highly recommended.
HOW DO I BOOK? Call 01647 433593 or visit airbnb.com