Most big holiday cottage companies have a selection of coastal properties, but there are also websites devoted entirely to seaside stays. Beachlets only lists properties on or near the beachfront – more than 70% are within 300 metres of the sands. The site has thousands of cottages in south-east and south-west England, Wales and Scotland. For example, a one-bedroom cottage in Downderry, Cornwall, has direct access to the beach down cliff steps, and sea views towards Looe Island. It sleeps two, and has availability from August (£576 a week, or from £330 in September).
Simply Sea Views only lists holiday accommodation with clear sea views – no poor or partial views allowed. There are three categories – beach boltholes, harbour hideaways and open-sea sanctuaries – covering the whole of the UK, with a particular emphasis on Cornwall, Devon, Suffolk, Norfolk and Scotland. The Boathouse in Kessingland, Suffolk, is a converted lifeboat station by the beach. It sleeps six, and has availability in June, July and September (from £693 a week in June, or from £400 in low season).
In southern England, Coast & Country Cottages has nearly 400 coastal properties in South Devon; Beach Retreats has luxury holiday homes on the beach in Cornwall and Devon; and Dorset Coastal Cottages has 220 lets near the county’s beaches.
In East Anglia, there are small selections at Norfolk Coast Holiday Cottages and Suffolk Coastal Cottages. In northern England, Coastal Retreats has holiday cottages along the north-east coast, from the Scottish Borders down towards Durham; and Yorkshire Coastal Cottages has properties in Whitby and along the Yorkshire coast. In Wales, Coastal Cottages has more than 550 seaside lets in Pembrokeshire.
For coastal cottages with a difference, Host Unusual lists UK beach huts and architect-designed beach houses. The National Trust has more than 240 coastal holiday rentals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including thatched cottages and lighthouse keeper’s houses. A row of coastguard cottages on the Needles Headland on the Isle of Wight has been turned into three holiday lets. They sleep four to five, and have availability in June, July and August (from £730 in June, or from £355 in low season).