Galatea and Vanguard
Whitby, North Yorkshire
Lighthouses are hard to beat when it comes to dramatic coastal locations and now, thanks to automation, many of the keepers’ cottages are available as holiday lets. Galatea and Vanguard, at Whitby’s 19th-century lighthouse, are perched on towering cliffs just outside the historic harbour town. The decor is homely rather than luxurious, but this place is all about the views and sense of glorious isolation.
Each cottage sleeps five, from £1,202 per week; ruralretreats.co.uk. (All prices are the lowest available between now and the end of September)
The Beach Hut
Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
Halfway between Boscastle and Bude, the Beach Hut sits on a grassy knoll overlooking the little valley of Millook, a small stream and a wide beach. Built as a tearoom in the 1920s, it has been restored as an idyllic hideaway, with clapperboard exterior and whitewashed wood-panelled walls inside. Often appearing in photo-shoots, it is booked long in advance, despite sobering high-season rates. The only weekend left this July costs £2,150 for three nights. Better to wait until autumn, when a full week costs £1,800 and you can warm up by the woodburner after a bracing swim.
Sleeps two, from £3,000 per week; uniquehomestays.com
Shore Cottage, Croft 103
near Durness, Sutherland
Shore Cottage is one of two dwellings on this remote Scottish croft that fuse eco-friendly credentials with cutting-edge design. The full-height windows of this bold, barrel-shaped building on the shores of Loch Eriboll offer ever-changing vistas of the sea, sky and mountains. Local timber and stone have been used inside and out to create a calm, minimalist space in harmony with the surroundings. Soak up the view from the outdoor bathtub (and perhaps spot puffins or whales), go for long walks on the white beaches or, if you’re feeling energetic, climb nearby Ben Hope, Scotland’s most northerly Munro.
Sleeps two, from £1,500 per week; croft103.com
Pagham Beach House
Pagham, West Sussex
Modern architecture fans will be seduced by the sleek good looks of this single-storey pavilion on Pagham Beach. The glass walls fold back to allow unobstructed views of the shingle and sea beyond, and a series of small courtyards further blurs the boundaries between inside and out. The RSPB Pagham Harbour nature reserve is just a 10-minute walk away and the South Downs National Park a short drive.
Sleeps six, from £1,975 per week; paghambeachhouse.co.uk
near St Ives, Cornwall
This lofty seaside retreat for two combines the best of both worlds — a secluded position yet within easy reach of the popular Cornish harbour town of St Ives. Accessible only by foot, it clings to the cliffs above the gorgeous sands of Porthkidney. Inside, all is shipshape, with porthole windows, nautical knick-knacks and a snug mezzanine sleeping area with sea views.
Sleeps two; from £879 per week; boutique-retreats.co.uk
Blackpool Mill Cottage
If this clifftop cottage looks familiar, it’s because it appeared in the recent TV serialisation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager. It dates back to the 15th century, and its rustic charm and dramatic setting have made it popular with location scouts and holidaymakers alike. Take a walk along the South West Coast Path, which passes in front of the cottage, a cream tea at Hartland Abbey (the cottage is part of the abbey estate) or a boat trip to Lundy Island from nearby Clovelly. The path down to the nearest beach is steep but the reward is that you will most likely have it to yourself.
Sleeps eight, from £1,175 per week; hartlandabbey.com
Built in the early 19th century to protect English shores from Napoleon, this imposing fortress is enjoying a new lease of life as one of the UK’s most unusual holiday homes, thanks to the efforts of the Landmark Trust, which saved it from dereliction. Cross the wooden bridge into the sturdy circular tower to find lofty, vaulted ceilings, teak floors, antique furniture and your very own rooftop battery — the perfect spot to settle down with some of Aldeburgh’s famous fish and chips and admire the views across the Orford Ness peninsula and out to sea.
Sleeps four, from £1,673 per week; landmarktrust.org.uk
The Cable Hut
Built to house the first telephone lines being laid across the Atlantic, this charming little cabin has been rescued from ruin by its owners and converted into a romantic bolthole for two. Small it may be but it packs a big design punch, with crisp red-and-white colour scheme, quirky industrial objects and luxuries such as a king-size cast-iron bed, slipper bath with sea views and underfloor heating to keep things cosy year-round. The beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach are a pebble’s throw away, as is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Sleeps two, from £1,250 per week; uniquehomestays.com