Lucy Kehoe

Secret seaside hotels to discover this summer

  • From Spectator Life
Jacob's Ladder, next to Sidmouth Harbour Hotel

If you’re still feeling sceptical about traffic light holiday chaos, or – along with the estimated five million other UK citizens – are stuck with a Covishield jab and concerned a European escape might end at the border, never fear – Blighty has your back. Only a car (or train) journey away are sun-dazzled shores offering balmy sea breezes, ocean vistas, and golden-sand beaches to rival the continent. UK hotels have reopened with a celebratory atmosphere, and while they’re stuffed to the rafters, last-minute isolation orders mean cancellations are providing ad-hoc availability at the eleventh hour. Here’s our picks of the isles’ best places to stay for a seaside jaunt.…

The Brudenell, Aldeburgh, Suffolk


Summer in Aldeburgh (pronounced as you would ‘Marlborough’) provides the best conditions for an adventurous dip on the East Coast. Between April and October, a few minutes of the chilling waves are just about manageable. Plunge in, hold your breath and then race up the shingle to find your towel. If you’re staying at The Brudenell, so much the better – sat on the Parade Road, there’s only a thin strip of tarmac separating you and the shingle from a hot bath back in your room.

This 19th-century property, like the town it sits in, is quaint, picturesque and a little bit ramshackle. Aldeburgh has long resisted the kiss-me-quick nostalgia of England’s Blackpools and Brightons. Instead, you’ll find a high street busting with boutiques, a tiny independent cinema and, like many East Coast towns, a proclivity for magnificent sunsets splaying out over the flat, empty land stretching to meet the North Sea. The Brudenell has 44 rooms, half of which look out across the waves, the other half towards the River Alde. Interiors compliment the vistas, with marine tones or soft, countryside florals. Spend a day walking to Thorpeness, meandering along the Sailor’s Path to Snape, and you’ll pass Maggi Hambling’s memorial to Benjamin Britten, a vast steel scallop shell wedged in the beach.

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