This year has us all dreaming of beach escapes, and while trips to Mediterranean shores may not be possible just yet, there are a number of beautiful spots to discover along England’s own coastline. Dotted across our own shores are an assortment of idyllic and peaceful staycation spots, ranging from cosy beachside boltholes to luxurious hotels with impressive spas and restaurants. Elegantly designed and with seriously striking views, these are England’s best seaside hotels to check into the summer
New England comes to Devon courtesy of The Cary Arms, a sleek beachfront spot with breath-taking sea views and plenty of nautical charm. Spread across several levels, guests can either choose to stay in one of the eight rooms in the main stone inn, which is decorated with vintage brass search lights and a ship’s compass, or take to one of the sleekly designed beach huts, which all feature floor-to-ceiling windows boasting incredible views over the water. Dine on locally sourced dishes like pan-seared Brixham scallops and Devon lamb – try to nap a spot on the Captain’s Table, a private, elevated platform overlooking the sea – and make sure you visit the excellent spa, which has a waterfall hydrotherapy pool and treatments by holistic British brand Gaia.
Beach Road, Babbacombe, Devon, TQ1 3LX
From £140 per night for two
Situated in the picture-postcard village of St Mawes, Olga Polizzi’s Cornish retreat has been a favourite with in-the-know travellers since it first opened in 1998. Designed by Polizzi herself, the cosy interiors feature hand-picked antique furniture, colourful fabrics and artworks by a range of Cornish artists, including Barbara Hepworth. Made up of a collection of white-washed cottages, the vibe here is distinctly laidback – dine al fresco on the sea-facing terraces or lounge around at the Beach Club when the sun is shining, or cosy up by the fire in the sitting room when it’s not. In the summer months you can charter the hotel’s Italian racing yacht, Pinuccia, and take to the waters of Falmouth Bay – a pure slice of la dolce vita at this Italian-inspired getaway.
27 Lower Castle Road, St Mawes, Truro TR2 5DR
From £250 per night for two
This stylishly renovated former pub boasts an acclaimed restaurant and enviable location mere footsteps from Deal Beach in Kent. Inside, the furnishings are a mix of vintage pieces and Instagram-friendly accents, with roll tops baths, Farrow & Ball wallpaper and brightly coloured upholstered beds featuring House of Hackney and Liberty prints paired with rattan mirrors and vibrant lampshades, all courtesy of fashion stylist turned interior designer Michelle Kelly. Located in a conservation area known for stellar second-hand shops, The Rose revels in its old-school seaside appeal, making vintage bikes, including a tandem, available for guests to peddle around town and providing a hallway bar for late night tipples.
91 High St, Deal, Kent CT14 6ED
From £100 per night for two
From the outside, The Artist Residence looks like a classic, regency-era townhouse hotel with glorious sea views. But inside, the hotel is bursting with quirky details. While each of the 25 rooms has its own distinctive design approach using antique pieces, they all feature soft velvet furnishings, vintage rugs and exposed brick walls dotted with original artworks by the likes of Blek le Rat, Charlie Anderson, Joe Webb and Jess Albarn. A two-minute walk from Brighton Beach, balcony rooms offer the best views across the West Pier. Aside from the rooms, the hotel is also popular for its Clubhouse, a neighbourhood hangout that draws a crowd for long, lazy brunches, expertly-mixed cocktails and everything in between.
33 Regency Square, Brighton, Sussex BN1 2GG
Rooms from £141 per night for two
Less a hotel, more a collection of stylish boltholes along the Folkestone harbour, Rocksalt Rooms are the accommodation offerings from the acclaimed contemporary seafood restaurant of the same name. With idyllic views over a working fishing harbour and across the English Channel, the four shabby-chic rooms mix flocked wallpaper, exposed beams and brick with antique beds made up with plush Egyptian cotton sheets. Each named after Folkestone fishermen, the Valentine is the pick of the bunch, boasting excellent sea views, a Juliette balcony and vaulted ceiling. Small but tranquil, the rooms are perfect for making a night of a dinner at the Rocksalt restaurant – which is helmed by Mark Sergeant of Claridge’s fame – after which you can roll up to your cosy room and wake up to a gorgeous sea view.
4-5 Fish Market, Folkestone, Kent CT19 6AA
Rooms from £120 per night for two
Steps away from the expansive, dune-flanked beach of Camber Sands, The Gallivant is a decidedly smart seaside retreat with an emphasis on wellbeing. Not only is the entire hotel designed to create a calming, tranquil mood, but there’s also an on-site spa in a repurposed beach hut offering an assortment of treatments to help you unwind. There’s a programme of free daily guest activities on offer, including pilates, local wine tastings and wild swimming outings that come with a fluffy hotel robe and reviving hot drink post-dip. Rooms are uniquely designed, from Scandi-inspired wood-lined cabin rooms with a homey feel, to large garden-facing suites with bright splashes of colour and pattern, and there’s an excellent restaurant that serves up a menu of seasonal delights.
The Gallivant, Camber, East Sussex TN31 7RB
Rooms from £337 per night for two people
This historic pub, which dates back to the 17th century, has hosted a number of notable guests over the years, including Winston Churchill. Today it has a contemporary flare, with rooms that feature bright pops of colour and statement textiles. Each room in the main house comes with a four poster bed and a Tall Boy cupboard full of modern amenities, including a bluetooth Bose speaker and a Nespresso machine, while those in the garden annexe overlook the lighthouse. Guests are also treated to a complementary Adnams gin from the pub’s own brewery. The hotel has created several impressive outdoor dining options, which include coastal garden tables for lunch with a sea view and courtyard tipis for brunch. You can also request a picnic hamper to take with you on your excursions to explore Suffolk’s sandy beaches and picturesque lighthouses.
Market Place, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6EG
Rooms from £220 per night for two people
Perched on the edge of a cliff so that you feel as far away from the real world as possible, Gara Rock boasts spectacular views across the Devon coastline. Inside you’ll find a rustic-meets-industrial design aesthetic, with vintage furnishings paired with reclaimed timber. Rooms range from cosy suites to the Signal House, a two-bedroom house for a group getaway. Stays here are designed for those looking to go off grid – mobile signal is patchy at best – but the extra services add a decadent touch. A small spa offers a menu of treatments using locally made products, and there’s both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as an inviting cinema room. The restaurant offers classic English dishes, and there’s an inviting, well-stocked lounge bar for evening drinks, too.
East Portlemouth, Salcombe, Devon TQ8 8FA
Rooms from £299 per night for two people
The Pig group has made its mark with a small number of thoughtfully designed, quintessentially British rural escapes. Their seaside spot is as tempting as the rest – a whimsical pale yellow 16th-century manor with sprawling views across Studland Bay, a terrace that stretches out onto an expansive manicured lawn and a picturesque walled kitchen garden that supports the impressive restaurant. Each room is unique, with kitsch vintage details such as rotary dial telephones, pale tones and four poster beds. Outside, the two Sheep Huts house a small spa, where guests can enjoy pampering massages. Both the bar and the restaurant incorporate local specialties into their menus, as well as produce from the neighbouring garden.
Manor Road, Studland, Dorset BH19 3AU
Rooms from £299 per night for two people
This boutique hotel offers up a fresh take on seaside stays, with 32 bedrooms that are both laidback and perfectly thought through. Rural design is seen through a modern lens, with contemporary four poster beds paired with deep armchairs and original artworks. Each room comes with a fridge stocked with Negronis, and bathrooms are fitted with monsoon showers paired with vegan products by Irene Forte Skincare. The hotel’s spa features an impressive indoor pool, steam room and sauna, as well as an extensive menu of treatments, including facials and massages. The hotel also boasts four different food and drink spots — the casual Bar, as well as three restaurants, including Stanley’s for fine dining, Ivy’s for a more relaxed meal, and The Yard for al fresco suppers, surrounded by lavender.
North Street, Langham, Norfolk NR25 7DH
Rooms from £175 per night for two people
This boutique B&B in a restored Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse is one of the most elegant places to stay in buzzy Margate, with a brilliant location to boot – it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the beach, the Old Town and the Turner Contemporary art gallery. There are only two rooms to choose from, but what this B&B lacks in quantity it more than makes up for with quality. Each one has been sensitively converted, retaining many of the original Georgian features, with stripped floorboards, antique chandeliers and roll top baths. They’re both vast, too, with each one covering an entire floor and overlooking tree-lined Hawley Square. Owners Louise and Liam are always on hand with a friendly welcome and the in-room breakfasts are legendary, featuring local organic eggs and Kentish sausages.
31 Hawley Square, Margate, Kent CT9 1PH
From £225 per night for two
Set on a stunning private Blue Flag beach that can only be reached by paths that wind through sub-tropical gardens, this 38-room retreat is a unique find along the Cornish coast. Set in a grand 19th-century house, the hotel makes the most of its sweeping bay views, with freestanding bathtubs next to marble-framed windows and huge beds facing the waves. It also boasts a sizable spa with a sea-view terrace and four dining options, including the refined Restaurant 1894 and the more laidback, Mediterranean-inspired Beach Club. Outside the main house, there are also a number of family cottages in the sleepy valley as well as beach lodges and huts dotted around, all with uninterrupted sea views and private hot tubs.
Carbis Bay, Saint Ives, Cornwall TR26 2NP
Rooms from £450 per night for two people
Perched on Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula, this luxury 19-room hotel in St Mawes blends French chateau touches with classic English coastal design. Each of the rooms has been individually styled, with pale blue furnishings, indulgently soft beds and ceramic plant-tiled bathrooms. Many of the rooms promise uninterrupted views across the harbour, and some have a juliette balcony so you can open the French doors up and let in the sound of the waves. The hotel has entertainment covered, too, with its own cinema kitted out with soft leather reclining chairs, fluffy blankets and bar. For something less sedentary, the hotel offers activities including kayaking, windsurfing and even sailing on a traditional Cornish shrimper boat.
Harbourside, Tredenham Road, Truro,Cornwall TR2 5AN
Rooms from £505 per night for two people
This luxe, adults-only hotel prides itself on its eco-conscious approach. Arranged over five levels, each of the hotel’s rooms makes the most of the dramatic views across the rugged Cornish coastline, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the beds. The Scarlet also boasts an impressive spa that is immersed in nature, with Scandinavian-style, log-fired hot tubs and wooden barrel saunas on the cliff top, as well as a romantic, natural reed-filtered outdoor pool. If the weather’s bad, there’s also an indoor hammam and several treatment rooms offering Ayurvedic massage and facials. Make time to visit the restaurant, which is focused on sustainability and seasonal produce, and has crafted a tempting menu of seafood to enjoy with views across the Mawgan Porth beach.
Tredragon Rd, Mawgan Porth, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4DQ
Rooms from £375 per night for two people