A whitewashed fishing hut beckons romantic couples on the wave-bashed Welsh shores. A stone-built bothy with a crackling wood fire awaits in the Scottish Highlands. A thatched bolthole with half-timbered walls keeps watch over the English Channel. Welcome to the world of coastal cottages to rent, where there should be something and somewhere to suit all sorts of travellers. This guide suggests just a few of the spots that are worthy of a mention.
There's nothing quite like a Welsh coastal cottage
Often compared to the Spanish Basque Country because of its wild and untouched coastline, Wales is blessed with coastal holiday cottages. In these parts, you'll often be only a stone's throw from a sandy beach and usually never too far from a designated seaside hiking path.
Coastal gems to be found in Gower
Not only is the Gower Peninsular one of the most accessible coastal spots in Wales – it's just next door to the city of Swansea – but it's also a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Catch a glimpse of wide 3 Cliffs Bay or award-winning Llangennith Beach and you should instantly see why.
Popular Pembrokeshire has stunning Welsh coastal cottages
Blessed with the only complete coastal national park in the United Kingdom, Pembrokeshire is an obvious stomping ground for lovers of seaside cottages. The 186-mile-long Pembrokeshire Coast Path does well to connect the whole region, and comes lined with little boltholes that channel Celtic charm with their real-stone walls, warming wood fires and sheep-dotted surroundings.
Anglesey caters to those heading north
If you're keen to catch sight of Snowdon while also making the most of the Welsh coast, it might be an idea to look for a cottage on the edge of Anglesey. The 125 miles of shoreline on this mysterious island of stone circles and medieval churches comes with Blue Flag bays and prime lookouts for dolphin spotting.
Coastal holiday cottages in England
Ringing the wetlands of Essex around to the cliffs of Cornwall, past the white rocks of Dover and along the wild sand stretches of the North, the shores of England come with a whole load of wanderlust-inducing destinations. Here are just 3 of the most evocative spots to seek out coastal cottages around much-loved Blighty.
Calling surfers to coastal cottages in Devon
If you like to able to check the surfing conditions from your bedroom window, a place to stay in the legendary Devonshire wave-riding towns of Croyde or Bantham is probably a good pick. You can also get the adrenaline pumping in Westward Ho!, near Bideford, which magnetises kitesurfers and hikers throughout the whole year.
Enchanting coastal cottages in Northumberland
With more castles and keeps than any other English county, Northumberland is a place steeped in medieval history. Discover a cottage on the coast here and you could put the haunting ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and the stone-built bulwarks of Bamburgh Castle on the to-do list. Other stays fringe Victorian resort towns such as Seahouses, where quaint tearooms mingle with rock sweet shops.
Bag a coastal holiday cottage in Cornwall
When it comes to coastline, there are few counties in England that can match the prowess of Cornwall. Jutting into the Celtic Sea on the extreme south-west side of the country, it's known for wave-battered bays like Fistral Beach by Newquay in the north, along with green-blue waters and high cliffs, such as those at Porthcurno down south.
Discover unforgettable Scottish coastal cottages
Scotland fragments into islands and cliff-cut shores on the far northern edge of the UK. It's the place for visions of wild nature working by the coast. Check out these 3 top picks on where to go.
Head for Skye to be surrounded by the sea
The Isle of Skye promises to encompass you with water. Wherever you are on this breathtaking jewel of the Inner Hebrides, you'll never be out of earshot of the waves. The coastal cottages also draw on the hardy architecture of the region, with rough, white-painted walls, sloping slate roofs and drystone walls ringing their gardens.
Get a taste of Edinburgh in Portobello
If you want to put one foot in the North Sea and another in the culture-rich walks of ancient Edinburgh, then the salt-washed district of Portobello has coastal cottages to suit. A hop on the tram and bus network from there can take you straight to the UNESCO-tagged Old Town under the gaze of Edinburgh Castle, which means mornings on the sands and evenings in the haggis taverns.
Choose Lewis and Harris coastal cottages for quietude
Lewis and Harris might be the most populous of the Scottish islands, but it certainly doesn't seem like it. Itineraries here are usually made up of awe-inspiring trips to the lonely Callanish Stones that date back to the Bronze Age, or visits to age-old tartan factories that still weave the fabrics of the clans.