10 of Britain's best seaside hotels

Sarah Turner
·5 min read

Cary Arms & Spa, Torquay, Devon

Dip down at Babbacombe on the South West Coast Path and you reach a small cove surrounded by red cliffs. Nearby Kents Cavern caves show that this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Cary Arms is a more recent incarnation; a 19th-century lodge with rooms and a collection of beach huts with views across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill along the Jurassic Coast.
Doubles from £275 B&B, caryarms.co.uk

Fowey Hall Hotel, Fowey, Cornwall

The Victorian mansion, commanding a cliff-top view over the Cornish seaside town, is said to have inspired Toad Hall – Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows, was a regular visitor. Following a £3.5m refurbishment it’s a glamorous, grown-up hotel that wholeheartedly greets young families. For adults there’s a huge spa and a stylish shop, curated by a former Vogue editor. Younger visitors will love the outside playground with zip-wire, the games rooms, cinema and a library filled with 700 or so childhood classics. Dogs are very welcome, and provided with beds, bowls and treats. It would be easy to spend the day on the terrace gazing out to sea – lunch, tea, cocktails – but a 20-minute stroll takes you to Readymoney Cove, a sheltered sandy beach ideal for paddling. Head into Fowey for its many old-fashioned delights (aquarium, boutiques, fish and chips sitting on the harbour wall, fudge shops galore); and don’t forget to take a boat trip down the estuary past the waterside home of Daphne du Maurier.
Doubles from £279 B&B, foweyhallhotel.co.uk. From 30 May through the summer, the hotel will host a bi-weekly market celebrating local producers

The Albion, Cardigan, Pembrokeshire

Cardigan in Pembrokeshire is a historic town dominated by a Norman castle and a great base from which to enjoy Poppit Sands – a stunning stretch of shoreline. The owners of Fforest, who offer outdoor experiences in mid-Wales, have a new 23-room hotel opening there this summer. Housed in a pair of warehouses on the harbourside, it preserves as much of the buildings’ history as possible, including 19th-century graffiti.
Doubles from £125, coldatnight.co.uk

The Rose, Deal, Kent

Deal is where the North Sea and the English Channel meet, and has both a castle built by Henry VIII and a 1950s brutalist pier. The influence of nearby Margate is apparent with a clutch of new restaurants and, since 2018, a hip hotel. This former boarding house accentuates the past beautifully with vintage furniture in eight pleasingly louche bedrooms. Food at The Rose has been a highlight even during lockdowns, when guest chefs created menus to collect. Spring 2021 has brought Japanese-influenced food to Saturdays, from head chef Luke Green.
Doubles with breakfast from £125, therosedeal.com

Cabü by the Sea, Romney, Kent

The austere landscape of Romney Marsh and, a hike away, the otherworldly terrain of Dungeness (sometimes referred to as Britain’s only desert) are great areas to explore from Cabü’s cool, timber-frame cabins by the sea. An onsite shop stocks essentials, including Aperol and Tunnock’s tea cakes. Best of all is a large, heated outdoor pool for when regulations allow.
Cabins for two from £250 for two nights, holidays.cabu.co.uk

The Newport, Newport on Tay, Fife

The Newport is helmed by 2016 MasterChef winner Jamie Scott. During Scotland’s lockdown he operated a bakery and made at-home meal kits. Spring will see him reopen the four hotel rooms in the main restaurant and open a seafood shack by Newport’s Harbour. The beaches at Tentsmuir are a short cycle away, and the museums and restaurants of Dundee can be reached by buses that run every 10 minutes.
Doubles from £140, thenewportrestaurant.co.uk

The Harper, Blakeney, Norfolk

North Norfolk’s Blakeney Nature Reserve is a glorious expanse of salt marshes and dunes, home to all sorts of wildlife. There are lovely coastal walks and villages nearby, including Blakeney and Morton. The new Harper Hotel is a perfect base, where guests can expect four-poster beds, yoga, a spa and a swimming pool.
Doubles from £175 including breakfast, theharper.co.uk

Hame Hotel, Isle of Skye

You’re spoilt for stunning coastline in Skye with magical white sandy beaches galore. Near Dunvegan and overlooking Loch Vatten, Hame is a perfect base for your walks, and the low-slung hotel lets the scenery dominate. Decor-wise, it’s neither wall-to-wall tartan nor full-on Scandi, but hovers around the northern hemisphere with a minimum of fuss. The locally sourced food and whiskys are impressive.
Rooms from £139, hamehotel.com

Union Place, Whitby, North Yorkshire

On the North Yorkshire coast, Whitby has a resonance that goes far beyond Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Steeply pitched between the fishing villages of Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes, Whitby has dramatic cliffs, a strong food culture and a ruined abbey. Union Place is in one of its most striking buildings, a listed 1790s townhouse, owned by an artist and his partner, and decorated with historically appropriate verve.
Rooms from £80 including breakfast, unionplacewhitby.co.uk

The Gallivant, Camber Sands, East Sussex

This five-mile-long beach is close to medieval Rye, with sports and walks on hand. The Gallivant is a light-filled, loungey hotel where you can be on the beach in seconds. There are just 20 rooms in the low-key buildings set around a garden, restaurant and spa. Their weatherboarded charm is perked up with Moroccan-inspired colours. Rates include lots of extras – breakfast, dinner, elevenses, classes and an early-evening tasting of English wine.
Doubles from £369, thegallivant.co.uk

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