Beside the seaside: Britain’s top beach hotels for sun, sea and sand

By Sarah Moyles,

British holidays by the seaside conjure up precious childhood memories of walks along the pier, fish and chips, donkey rides and building needlessly complicated sandcastles with your siblings.

The British seaside remains a firm favourite for holidaymakers and is ideal for anyone looking for that perfect staycation. Bearing this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Britain’s top beach hotels.

Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway or a family looking to make new memories, we’ve found your ideal coastal retreat.

A beach hotel in Brighton with epic proportions

The Grand | Brighton

Steeped in British history, The Grand is the perfect example of how some hotels just keep getting better with age. Center stage on Brighton’s seafront, the hotel is a high ceilinged gilded affair, with a sumptuous day spa and a glamorous restaurant boasting wonderful sea views.

Enjoy afternoon tea from the opulent Victoria Lounge, which boasts sea views, comfy sofas and arm chairs. A covered conservatory is also available so you can relax in the outdoors, whatever the weather!

A beach hotel in Newquay with a beautiful spa

The Headland Hotel & Spa | Newquay, Cornwall

Situated in the seaside town of Newquay, The Headland is the ideal hotel for anyone looking for that perfect staycation. The iconic hotel overlooks the picturesque Fistral Beach and offers guests the ideal vantage point to appreciate Cornwall’s stunning scenery.

Aside from boasting stunning views, the hotel’s luxurious accommodation ensures that guests can relax from the moment they arrive. The Headland’s sumptuous Best Rooms are ideal for any couple looking to treat themselves to a romantic weekend away.

Guests can take breakfast in their elegant canopied bed and watch as the sunlight pours in through the giant bay windows – surely there’s no better way to spend your day?

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An adults-only beach hotel in Cornwall

The Scarlet Hotel | Newquay, Cornwall

The Scarlet Hotel is a modern and sophisticated adults-only hotel situated in the charming Cornish village of Mawgan Porth. This coastal retreat gives guests the chance to get away from every day stresses and recharge their batteries in the hotel’s sumptuous suites and opulent spa.

Each of the hotel’s Spacious Rooms boasts unsurpassed views of Cornwall’s rocky cliffs. The room’s private balcony is the ideal place to sit and appreciate the amazing coastal scenery. All but one of these light and airy rooms are fitted with a king-size bed and feature a sophisticated open-plan bathroom with a monsoon shower.

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A beach hotel with an outdoor pool in Devon

The Grand Hotel | Torquay, Devon

Taking pride of place on the English Riviera, The Grand Hotel is a historic jewel, which has looked out over one of Devon’s finest bays for 130 years. The old-world grandeur of this Victorian hotel is matched by modern fittings and a fully equipped spa, including heated indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, sauna and gym.

The hotel’s restaurant, Restaurant 1881, serves delicious seasonal food using the best quality local produce creating wholesome and healthy dishes. The atmosphere is a relaxed yet elegant affair in the main dining room with sweeping views over the surrounding sea. The hotel also offers exquisite Devonshire Cream Tea, which can be enjoyed in the compass lounge.

A beach hotel in St. Ives offering chocolate massages

St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa | St Ives, Cornwall

Overlooking the picturesque Porthminster Beach, St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa is a fantastic year-round coastal escape. Boasting spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding harbour, the luxurious hotel is ideal for anyone looking to relax in style and comfort.

The hotel’s rooms and suites are decorated in a nautical blue and white colour scheme and feature opulent soft furnishings. Each double-bed comes with a thick white duvet, plump Oxford pillows and crisp white cotton sheets.

For a truly indulgent experience why not book a chocolate massage at the hotel’s renowned spa? During this guilt-free treatment, pure cocoa butter is deeply massaged into the skin leaving it hydrated and silky smooth.

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A beach hotel next to Thorpe Bay Beach

The Roslin Beach Hotel | Southend-On-Sea

The Roslin Hotel is the perfect seaside retreat for both couples and families. Situated in the coastal town of Southend-on-Sea, this quaint hotel is ideally located opposite the award winning Thorpe Bay beach – perfect for walks along the seafront or building sandcastles with the family.

The hotel’s perfectly appointed rooms will ensure guests have a peaceful night’s rest. The bright and airy rooms are decorated in a New England style, which gives a luxurious yet homely feel to each suite. The soft beige wall colour is accented with rustic reds, royal blues and statement wallpaper.

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A beach hotel taking pride of place in Scarborough

The Grand Hotel | Scarborough

Built in 1863, the Grand Hotel Scarborough is ideally located overlooking the harbour and sandy bay. An instantly recognizable landmark, the hotel is a nod to days gone by, when coming to the seaside was a pastime of the elite. The hotel is also a highly sought after wedding venue with its own Palm Court Ballroom that can host up to 150 people.

Scarborough is a family resort boasting all the usual seaside attractions, including a miniature railway and Sealife Centre. You can also visit the historic Scarborough Castle or simply enjoy lunch at the hotel’s Harbour Lights Restaurant.

 A Victorian beach hotel with an impressive ballroom

The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool

The Imperial Hotel is Blackpool’s superb 19th century hotel, recalling the grandeur of the Victorian era when Blackpool saw its heyday. Since Charles Dickens came to stay two years after its opening, the hotel has welcomed royalty, politicians, and stars of the stage and screen through its doors. One of its gems is the Washington Ballroom, with an impressive arched ceiling covered in rich carvings and surrounded by plush fabrics of silver and gold.

The hotel health club includes an indoor swimming pool, saunas, team room and a Jacuzzi, plus a fitness suite so there’s no excuse to leave your gym routine behind. Once you’ve finished being pampered check out the Palm Court Restaurant for fine-dining and sea views.

A beach hotel with breath-taking views

Cliffemount Hotel | North Yorkshire

It’s the little touches of luxury that set the Cliffemount Hotel apart. Perched atop Runswick Bay, the hotel boasts breath-taking views of the sea and sandy beach below.

The Cliffemount’s charming rooms are the ideal vantage point from which to appreciate the stunning scenery. Each room is individually decorated with its own unique and elegant style and furnished with traditional and antique pieces. The hotel’s sumptuous Premier Balcony Rooms offer the best views and are ideal for any couple looking for a romantic weekend away.

The hotel’s heavenly restaurant is also a must-visit for any seafood aficionado. Under the expert eye of head chef David Spencer, the kitchen prepares its delicious rustic fare using only the freshest seasonal produce.

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A beach hotel in Cornwall with a heated outdoor pool

The Falmouth Hotel, Cornwall

Situated amidst five-acres of gardens and overlooking the Castle Beach, The Falmouth is a striking  Victorian building which is known for of being Falmouth’s first ever hotel. The hotel offers 71 well-appointed rooms, a luxurious spa – including a heated indoor pool – and an award winning restaurant, which features an à la carte menu and impressive wine list.

The hotel opened in 1865 and throughout its rich history has played host to illustrious guests like Beatrix Potter and Edward VII, as well as temporarily becoming a hospital during the First World War.

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A beach hotel along England’s South Coast

Situated on the beachfront in the heart of St Leonard’s, the Royal Victoria Hotel is a stunning period building with a welcoming piano bar and lounge straight off the seafront. Although part of the Best Western chain the hotel is still independently owned, retaining its charm and individuality. The Sea Terrace Restaurant brings you fine-dining looking across the pebbles of this beautiful beach.

Hastings became a popular resort in the late 18th century when it was believed that ‘taking the waters’ had healing qualities, and no doubt some fresh sea air was all it took to get away from the noxious London smog. Still today it’s a place of relaxation and beauty.

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A beach hotel with a terrace overlooking the beach

The Sands Hotel | Margate

A beautiful boutique hotel with stunning views over Margate Sands, the Sands Hotel offers a chic hotel experience and a good old-fashioned beach escape. From enjoying a chilled glass of wine on the terrace to sinking into silk cotton duvets and Egyptian cotton linens, it’s the perfect way to indulge whilst enjoying the simple pleasures of the seaside.

The hotel was bought in auction in 2011 and intended to be luxury apartments but when the owner discovered the building was originally a 19th century hotel he decided to restore it to its former glory – lucky for us! Old Margate houses many boutique shops and restaurants and the Turner Gallery along the seafront is well worth a visit.