The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Coastal retreats

Start planning your seaside staycation with our round-up of the South West's best beach escapes
The Scarlet hot tub - Coastal retreats
The Scarlet

International tourism may be off the cards for most of us this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t escape to some of the world’s best beaches and hotels. Start planning your seaside staycation with our round-up of the South West’s best coastal retreats

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth

Spent lockdown dreaming of sipping fizz in a clifftop hot tub? Fulfil the fantasy this summer – and indulge in other well-earned spoils such as bathing in the natural reed pool and relaxing in the barrel sauna – at this luxury adults-only hotel and spa on the north Cornwall coast.

The boundary between inside and out is blurred at The Scarlet, with huge glass windows allowing the dramatic Cornish coastline to crash in and a spa which spills onto the clifftop garden. Each of the design-led bedrooms also includes its own private outdoor space.

Staycation tip: Unravel work-from-home stress with a four-night spa break including tailored treatments.

The Alexandra Hotel

The Alexandra Hotel, Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis hums with activity in summer as foodies flock to the seaside town to eat at its highly rated restaurants and pick up beautiful gifts on its indie high street. For those who want to balance excitement with the peace and quiet of a restorative staycation, The Alexandra Hotel is the place to stay.

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Jurassic Coast, the seaside villa and lush gardens feel a world away from the hubbub of the town when, in fact, it’s only a short walk from the action. You won’t need to go far for dinner as some of the best food for miles is to be found in the hotel’s restaurant where head chef Chris Chatfield delights diners with creative produce-led dishes.

Staycation tip: If you prefer a little privacy, there are two self-contained apartments in the courtyard cottage.  

Housel Bay Hotel

Housel Bay Hotel, The Lizard

The drive to Housel Bay Hotel can feel like you’re journeying to the end of the world – and you wouldn’t be completely wrong as the Victorian hotel sits a few hundred metres from the UK’s most southerly tip.

However long the trip, the leg cramp will surely be worth it for the unbeatable bedroom views, warm hospitality and fantastic food. Long summer days spent exploring the South West Coast Path are rewarded with first-class dining at the hotel’s restaurant Fallowfields. Young chef Joseph Fallowfield takes a hyper-local approach and creates intricate tasting menus named after the ingredients that take centre stage in each dish.

Staycation tip: Don’t turn down the offer of the wine flight when indulging in the tasting menu – there are some intriguing additions.  

Saunton Sands Hotel

Saunton Sands Hotel, north Devon

Whether you’re having a drink on the terrace, reading a book by the outdoor pool or unwinding on the massage table, there’s no escaping the incredible views at Saunton Sands Hotel in north Devon.

The striking art deco hotel overlooks one of the UK’s best beaches, where surfers chase waves and children play on miles of pristine sand. Even if the weather pauses your outdoor plans, panoramic windows throughout the hotel – including in the luxury Source Spa and two-AA-rosette restaurant – enable guests to make the most of their location.

Staycation tip: Saunton Sands is super family-friendly – visit in the school holidays to make the most of the free surf lessons and kids activities.

The Greenbank Hotel

The Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth

Dreaming of a coastal escape, but with the variety and entertainment of a city break? Falmouth offers waters views, coastal walks and sea dips with the added bonus of a bustling High Street brimming with indie restaurants, shops and galleries.

A five-minute walk from the centre of the action, The Greenbank Hotel offers the best of both worlds. The historic hotel is right on the estuary, meaning the restaurant, bar and most of the rooms offer idyllic views of boats bobbing in the water below.

Staycation tip: Book a table for dinner at the Water’s Edge Restaurant to sample sparklingly fresh fish and seafood.

Want more staycation inspiration? Check out our favourite South West hidden gem hotels.

We choose the companies included in our 5 of the best features based on editorial integrity. Occasionally, some inclusions will be from clients with whom we have a commercial relationship.

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