From spa hotels to cute cottages, the coast team choose their favourite British holiday hotspots. Words: Caroline Wheater

Shellseekers, Whitsand Bay, near Looe, Southeast Cornwall

THE SETTING This corner of Cornwall, between Rame Head and Portwrinkle, is renowned for its towering cliffs and long sandy beaches. Tregonhawke Beach is the place to go for rockpooling and to learn to surf, the cliffs above for blustery walks. Savour seafood at The View restaurant overlooking Whitsand Bay, and all-day breakfasts at the Eddystone Café on the beach below.
WHERE TO STAY Perched cliffside, Shellseekers is a stylishly furnished beach hut, perfect for a family of four plus dog, with a sun deck and garden.
HOW TO BOOK From £539 per week. Call 01637 861005 or go to

Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, Sidmouth, East Devon

THE SETTING Overlooking lovely Lyme Bay, Sidmouth has the timeless feel of a Regency period resort. The town is at the beginning of the Jurassic Coast and its tall red cliffs bear fossils. For walks, the South West Coast Path leads up and over those cliffs to Beer and Branscombe, or salamander on the beaches below.
WHERE TO STAY The Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, close to Jacob’s Ladder Beach, has undergone refurbishment and has a new restaurant and spa.
HOW TO BOOK From £148 for two, including breakfast. Call 01395 513252 or go to

Estura Villa, near Salcombe, South Devon

THE SETTING Sunk within the emerald green Devon landscape, Salcombe used to be a fishing village and mucking about in boats is still a major pull. Learn to sail a traditional yawl or a powerboat, go sea kayaking, or chill out on a Salcombe Estuary cruise. Putter to the Millbrook pub on a creek in nearby South Pool for a fish barbecue.
WHERE TO STAY Luxury self-catering Estura Villa sleeps up to eight and has estuary views.
HOW TO BOOK From £1250 for a week’s stay. Call Coast and Country on 01548 802171 or go to

Looking for the perfect holiday right at the water’s edge? Try out our selection of exclusive cruise trips around the British Isles here.

Woolacombe Bay Hotel, Woolacombe, North Devon

THE SETTING Woolacombe Bay is all about beach life – a glorious three-mile stretch of golden sand which is manned by lifeguards during the summer months, so extra safe for kids. Of course there’s surfing to be had when the wind’s up – but there are also great boat trips for mackerel fishing and heading out into the Bristol Channel to visit magical Lundy Island run by the National Trust.
WHERE TO STAY The four-star Woolacombe Bay Hotel is perfect for families, with its choice of standard rooms and suites, heated pools, spa and two restaurants.
HOW TO BOOK From £70 per person per night in a classic room, including breakfast. Call 01271 870388 or go to

Peninnis Farm, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

THE SETTING Next stop America, the Isles of Scilly are a world apart, with the five inhabited islands, St Mary’s, Tresco, St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes in possession of both rugged rock faces and pale sandy beaches. Highlights include the Abbey Gardens on Tresco, grey seal colonies and seabirds galore.
WHERE TO STAY Kids will enjoy collecting eggs at Peninnis Farm, while adults will love the wooden lodges with all mod cons.
HOW TO BOOK From £595 for seven nights. Call 01720 421008 or see For more, visit

Morston Hall, Stiffkey, North Norfolk

THE SETTING The area around Blakeney on the North Norfolk coast is renowned for its colonies of grey seals and variety of birdlife.
lovers who like their food will love secluded restaurant-with-rooms, Morston Hall, where well-known chef Galton Blackiston runs his Michelin-starred dining room.
HOW TO BOOK From £170 for a twin room. Call 01263 741041 or go to

Torridon Hotel & Inn, by Achnasheen, Wester Ross, Scotland

THE SETTING Wester Ross in the north-west Highlands is a land of lochs and glens, while the Minch coastal waters burst with marine wildlife.
WHERE TO STAY Rest up at the four-star Torridon Hotel and restaurant, or the Torridon Inn, both on Loch Torridon.
HOW TO BOOK Torridon Inn, from £120 per room per night, including breakfast. Torridon Hotel, from £245 per room per night, including breakfast. Call 01445 700300 or see Plan your trip at

Ziggurat, St Peter Port, Guernsey

THE SETTING Who needs the Greek islands when you can nip around the bailiwick of Guernsey, extending to Sark and Herm, both a 20-minute catamaran ride from St Peter Port? Local crab and oysters are a speciality.
WHERE TO STAY The boutique hotel Ziggurat in St Peter Port has a Moroccan feel and a restaurant open for dinner. On Sark, stay at La Sablonnerie Hotel, ( on Herm, The White House (
HOW TO BOOK From £90 for a twin room per night at Ziggurat. Call 01481 723008 or see See, and

Sumburgh Lighthouse, Shetland, Scotland

THE SETTING With soaring cliffs covered in pink thrift flowers, sea caves and miles of pristine sandy beach, Shetland is dreamy. Get up close to the huge seabird colonies of puffins, kittiwakes and guillemots, watch killer and minke whales, and enjoy the rich culture, including a thriving folk-music scene and local crafts.
WHERE TO STAY The newly restored lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Sumburgh Head is on Shetland’s southernmost tip. The self-catering property sleeps five and little luxuries include underfloor heating and an Aga.
HOW TO BOOK Seven nights from £651. Call 01595 694688 or go to Discover more about Shetland at
Photo: Aiaikawa/Shutterstock

Cwm Ty Coed, near Carmarthen, West Wales

THE SETTING Explore the lush countryside, pine forests and dune-fringed beaches of Carmarthenshire. Highlights include Dylan Thomas’ fishing village, Laugharne, spectacular walks on the cockling beach at Llansteffan, and cycling in the newly opened Millennium Coastal Park with its 18-mile track overlooking the Loughor Estuary.
WHERE TO STAY Glamp it up in a self-catering bell tent or a tipi for four at Cwm Ty Coed, close to Carmarthen and the coast. The accent is green with solar lighting, wood-burning stoves, spring water piped to the tents and compost loos.
HOW TO BOOK Bell tents from £70 per night. Call Cwm Ty Coed on 01994 484688 or go to Find out more about the area at

Farthings, Fowey, South Cornwall

THE SETTING The harbour town of Fowey is a magnet for sailors, with boatyards offering tuition and trips out. Go on guided canoe rides on the river, learn to dinghy sail or glide on a century-old trading ketch, the Bessie Ellen.
WHERE TO STAY Self-catering Farthings sleeps up to six and is on the beach. Book a private chef and go on a ‘Mackerel Bash’ to fish, then barbecue the catch.
HOW TO BOOK From £568 for a three-night short break. Call 0333 3317 723 or go to

Fred Olsen’s ‘Cruising the Emerald Isle’

THE SETTING Ireland’s dramatic coastline offers rare beauty, from the dramatic Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, to the sophisticated ports of Dublin and Belfast, where the new Titanic Experience is a must-see.
WHERE TO STAY Fred Olsen’s Boudicca accommodates around 800 passengers, but is small enough to get close to shore.
HOW TO BOOK ‘Cruising the Emerald Isle’, from £699 per inside cabin for seven nights. Call 0845 591 5188 or go to

Haven Hotel, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

THE SETTING Poole, Europe’s largest natural harbour, is the stunning backdrop to the Blue Flag beach at Sandbanks. When you’ve had enough of reading on the beach, head to the water for kite-surfing, wind-surfing, wake-boarding, jet-skiing or sailing.
WHERE TO STAY Schedule in some pampering at the four-star Haven Hotel’s spa for a purifying facial with marine clay mask mayhap, or a seaweed body wrap.
HOW TO BOOK From £329 for a one-night stay for two people on an ‘Ocean Escape’, including breakfast. Call 0800 484 0048 or go to

Sea Breeze, near Ventnor, Isle of Wight

THE SETTING The sleepy fishing hamlet of Steephill Cove is only accessible on foot. Bask on the beach in a canopied deckchair, then dine on crab pasties at the Crab Shed café.
WHERE TO STAY Sea Breeze, a self-catering apartment for two.
HOW TO BOOK Sea Breeze from £430 per week. Call 01983 855819 or see Book ferry travel with Wightlink ( and plan your adventure at

Slate Beach House, near Wadebridge, North Cornwall

THE SETTING Blustery and unspoilt, Cornwall’s north coast lifts the spirits. It’s perfect for multi-generational holidays: sailing lessons at the Camel School of Seamanship, bike hire for cycling the Camel Trail and surfing options galore at Polzeath, Harlyn and Booby’s Bay.
WHERE TO STAY Luxurious Slate Beach House is perfect for a special family celebration and sleeps up to 16. Book a chef to cook, or some pampering beauty treatments in situ, and star-watch in the hot tub.
HOW TO BOOK From £2,300 for a two-night weekend. Call 01242 235151 or go to

The Green House Hotel, Bournemouth, Dorset

THE SETTING Bournemouth celebrates its seaside traditions but has moved with the times too. So, while you can hire a beach hut for the week, you can also take part in paddle boarding at the newly opened Coastal Activity Park at Boscombe.  
WHERE TO STAY Good eco-credentials are at the heart of the Green House Hotel which sources everything as locally as possible. It’s five minutes from the front but in a quiet location.
HOW TO BOOK From £99 for a double room per night, including breakfast. Call 01202 498900 or go to For more see

Treehouse Hotel, Port Lympne, near Ashford, Kent

THE SETTING The Aspinall Foundation’s 600-acre wild animal reserve at Port Lympne is just 15 minutes from the Hythe seaside. Chug past rhinos, giraffes, zebras and tapirs in an African safari truck, and book a special ‘animal encounter’ to get even closer to a range of endangered creatures.
WHERE TO STAY Sleep high up in the trees at Port Lympne’s Treehouse Hotel, 10 self-catering suites with interiors designed by Tara Bernerd. There’s WiFi, a flatscreen TV and a minibar to help things go with a swing.
HOW TO BOOK From £300 for a two-bedroom suite for four, midweek. Call 08437 770749 or go to

Greycot, St Mary’s Bay, Dymchurch, Kent

THE SETTING Dymchurch is famous for its mini railway that trundles to Dungeness and its shingle banks. The area is stiff with maritime history, from the cinque port Rye to the Royal Military Canal.
WHERE TO STAY Three-bed Greycot is right on the beach at St Mary’s Bay. Sleeps six.
HOW TO BOOK From £510 for a week’s stay. Call 01580 713669 or go to

Heaton’s Guesthouse, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland

THE SETTING In spring and summer the beautiful, weather-beaten Dingle Peninsula is the place to see large pods of dolphins and basking sharks, made famous by a lone male dolphin named Fungie. Dingle is a foodie town – try Doyle’s for seafood and Idás for traditional Irish dishes.
WHERE TO STAY Heaton’s Guesthouse is a four-star B&B where breakfasts are a gourmet affair. For dinner options it’s a five-minute walk to the town centre.
HOW TO BOOK From €86 for a twin room per night. Call 00 353 66 915 2288 or go to Find out more about visiting Ireland at

For more seaside holiday inspiration, click here or pick up a copy of the magazine.

For more seaside holiday inspiration, click here or pick up a copy of the magazine.