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Our top five beach houses in the UK

Why do so many people dream of living by the sea? Perhaps it’s that soothing yet invigorating blend of sandy toes, fresh salty air and crashing waves. It’s good for the soul. Live out your coastal fantasy for a few days with a stay at one of our top five UK beach houses. Think epic widescreen sunsets, riotous games on the sand and lazy mornings reading on the deck to the sound of the surf. Also, coffee just tastes better by the sea – we don’t know why but it’s a thing. Take a look at our envy-inducing beach front pads.

Samphire, Essex

Totally isolated, the views are fabulous: moored boats bobbing in the tidal estuary, farmland behind you and the often-submerged causeway leading to Mersea Island off to the east. Your list of things to bring should include a tide timetable to avoid getting caught out, a torch for late night wanderings (don’t fall in!) and kayaks for exploring the wetlands – there’s a handy store for stashing gear under the cabin. Out on the deck there’s a table and chairs for outside eating and a cosy corner sofa for lounging back and listening to the symphony of birdsong at dawn and dusk with a warming cup of tea.?Despite being 90 minutes from London, even the most popular beaches are rarely crowded and backed by a line of sweet pastel huts.

The Cove, Devon

The Cove’s sleek wood and glass design would look equally at home in The Hamptons as it does perched high on a Devon hillside. Leave the unpacking till later and start your stay as you mean to go on with a glass of fizz on the spacious sun deck, gazing out at the waves. The Cove has been designed for luxurious, barefoot living so get ready for an exhausting schedule of hot tub, sauna, outdoor shower and BBQ. If you can muster the energy to venture further afield, beautiful beaches and coastal footpaths are a few minutes’ walk away or you can visit picturesque Dartmouth and iconic, art deco Burgh Island.

Sandy Toes Beach House, Kent

Go full beach bum on the Isle of Sheppey in a spacious hideaway on stilts overlooking the North Kent coast. You’ll have sand and surf spray in your unbrushed hair and an aversion to any kind of footwear by the time you leave. You might develop a new preference for clothes-free sunbathing after stumbling across the nudist beach 150m away. Or it might put you off for life. Either way, Sandy Toes is somewhere to lose track of time as you meander around the wetlands spotting wildlife and admiring the changing light on the water. The cabin is off-grid but has every home comfort from hot showers and central heating to board games and the option to book Champneys-standard spa treatments.

The Beach House, Kent

Owners Simon and Anna brought The Beach House back to life in spectacular style after discovering it as a forgotten wreck on Shell Beach. Now complete with an Insta-worthy lounge swing and euphonium sink, it’s a cool, laid-back space full of found and foraged objects. The interior is gorgeous but outside is the real draw – it’ll take you less than ten seconds to cross the dunes, open the gate and run onto the huge sweeping sands. There’s plenty to do locally with Leeds Castle and Whistable within easy reach but if you don’t fancy driving, all the fun you need is outside the front door – swim, paddleboard, fly a kite, play beach volleyball or build an epic off-grid cabin in the sand.

Bowcombe Boathouse, Devon

Overlooking the estuary, Bowcombe Boathouse is a sailing sanctuary decorated in dark teal, aged brass and a collection of foraged and found treasures. Your main form of transport will be kayak, launched from the private jetty for leisurely explorations of the water. You can easily reach Kingsbridge restaurants for a bite to eat before heading back to start on the collection of “welcome gins and rum” thoughtfully left in the dresser. Spend cosy evenings playing board games in front of the wood burner, sipping sundowners on the deck and watching the movements of the tide from the window seat. A deeply zen state awaits.