Last summer, when lockdown lifted, there were countless reports of people bunching together on beaches and crowding coves as they flexed their freedom.
With most people likely to take a staycation when restrictions ease, there’s a risk it could happen again.
But there are still hidden spots along our coastlines. Here are a few secret shorelines still under the radar:
Dornoch has its own microclimate; the seaside town is much warmer and evenings are lighter than elsewhere.
Madonna and Guy Ritchie were married here but, despite several claims to fame, it is still relatively unknown. Close to the beach, Links House is a five-star, 15-room hotel, divided into three cottages.
Built in 1843, it enjoys superb views of the Dornoch Firth, and sits on the famous 516-mile NC500 driving route. Four leading single malt whisky distilleries are also within a 30-minute drive.
How: Rooms from £250 per night, including breakfast.
Beadnell Bay, Northumberland
Northumberland benefits from fantastic scenery. Close to beautiful Beadnell Bay and its sandy beach, dog-friendly Levante Cottage is a cosy getaway with waterside views. Sleeping up to six, it features an open fire for cold nights.
Outdoors, after paddling in the surf, visit one of the area’s castles: Bamburgh starred in Hollywood movie The BFG while Alnwick doubled for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
How: A week’s stay costs from £112pp (six sharing), plus £20 supplement per dog.
Beach Huts at Beachcroft Hotel, West Sussex
Nothing sums up a summer by the sea better than a beach hut. But, while coastal cabins sell for eye-watering prices, it is possible to book a temporary stay at these huts in West Sussex, located on a seven-mile coastal footpath near the South Downs.
How: From £297 per night (two sharing). Visit and englandscoast.com/en.
Rame Peninsula, Cornwall
Rame Peninsula is supposedly so under the radar, even locals are baffled by its whereabouts. With tidal creeks, sandy beaches and clifftop paths, nearby attractions include Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park with its gardens, temples and follies.
Perched on a cliff at Whitsands Bay, Brackenbank Cottage (sleeps five) is a Scandi-styled hideaway, where gulls swoop overhead and dolphins cruise out front.
How: From £680 per week (five sharing), with a small extra charge for dogs. Book through Beach Retreats (01637 861 005)
The stretch of Cardigan coast between Llangrannog and New Quay is a playground for active pursuits: go hiking, cycling, coasteering, kayaking or surfing. Or just explore hidden coves. The coastline is dotted with pretty beaches, National Trust sites and towns.
Cwmtydu, in Ceredigion, is a small hamlet, where a winding lane connects to a narrow valley dropping into the sea. Close to the pebble beach, Ty Cwch Beach House is a collection of cabins constructed from stacked shipping containers – available to rent individually or exclusively for a group of 12. And large doors can be rolled back for a glimpse of sea views.
There’s ample space for kit, such as kayaks and bikes, which can be rented locally.
How: From £120pp per night (12 sharing). Book through Quality Unearthed.
This year marks Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, so dive in and celebrate the country’s amazing shorelines.
A programme of events has been postponed due to Covid, but keep an eye on visitscotland.com for updates and ideas of places to visit once restrictions are eased.
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