1. That Fresh Air!
It grips you before you’ve even seen the sea and it’s that anchor in people’s vision of a coastal stay. Picture an early-morning stroll along the sand after breakfast. There’s salt in the air – more: there’s a freshness in it made of a myriad of natural influences that provide a feast for the senses. Maybe the family are in tow or maybe this is a chance for you to spend an hour or so in your own company. We all need these times to become reacquainted with our selves. The early waves wash thinly over the level sands to your side and all that lies before you is the balance of an almost overwhelming calm and the first hints of what the new day has in store. It is another kind of quiet you find in these moments: a silence found only in finding yourself at peace between the rush and the distractions, the plans and the rolling on of so many fleeting experiences. These moments are ones of clear and pure thought. Spot the occasional foot- or paw-print and be humbled in the knowledge that others have shared in that same most special of states.
2. Limitless Views
It’s that edge-of-the-world feeling, when “on the shore / Of the wide world I stand alone, and think / Till”… Till what? For Keats it was “Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.” But the point is in the unique draw for the individual, to be inspired, to be one with the quiet, to paint and to write, to play, or simply to stare into the limitlessness of it all and bask in the very absence of activity. Everyone is a photographer nowadays. With the push of a button we can capture something that the visual artists of bygone years could only have dreamed of. Whether you’re a professional or you simply love to document the best moments during your holiday, many chase after the unmistakable natural beauty of the coast. The sun trims each cloud in gold and the azure sky behind them spreads larger than life and peppered with the high calls of seagulls. If you have the right vantage point, surveying the distant towns or harbours or beaches at home in all of this is an experience like no other.
3. Life in the Water
My earliest memories of holidays contained traces of much of the above, but there are a few things that stick out. Crabbing was one activity that we always made time for. Another was scouring the eternally wet rocks – fields of rock cratered with pools and small strange delights of the sea world, ready for the picking and the inspecting of keen-eyed and restless children. Caring not a bit about our damp limbs and sand-caked clothing, me, my brothers and my cousins would hop from spot to spot hungry for any signs of life. And life there was, in abundance.
4. Food, Glorious Food
Fish & chips, scampi, shellfish, mussels and more. All their overpowering smells that will not let you forget your insatiable appetite for the freshest seafood. Maybe it’s the quality of the pasties (‘Cornish’ or ‘Devon’ – I’ll let you decide which you place before “pasties”). Maybe it’s the irresistible cream teas that tickle your fancy. Or a slice of Cornish Yarg. Or some Stargazy pie followed by a saffron bun. Feast on the possibilities!
5. Iconic Design
Certainly one of my favourite aspects of the many houses we have on the coast. Particularly the sort of interior design that takes inspiration from the rough and ready ways of the coast: thick ropes coloured by use and knotted in their several ways; antique brass telescopes and large compasses; lanterns, oars and wheels; white walls bright and minimal and acting as canvas for so many interesting objects. Some of our greatest properties are on the coast and interior design is definitely something they excel in.
More information and links can be found below for these houses: the small and cosy, the grand and impressive – each one has its own style and its own treasures waiting to be discovered on your next coastal break…
Polpier and Penpol | Sleeps 22-26 | Mevagissey, Cornwall
As soon as you arrive at Polpier and Penpol you’ll throw open the terrace doors and drink in the stupendous views of palm trees, aquamarine seas and boats bobbing in the harbour. The heated pool, tennis court and disco will stay on site, but the view will stay in your memory forever.
Villa Judapa | Sleeps 20 | Isle of Wight
Slip back in time to a 30s world of art-deco decadence fit for a flapper girl or 20. Villa Judapa is all stained-glass windows, triple-aspect reception rooms and swaying palms in manicured grounds. It tells of lives well-lived above the spectacular sweep of the Isle of Wight’s Sandown Bay.
The Moult | Sleeps 16-24 | Salcombe, Devon
Once home to the Earl of Devon (and anonymous smugglers before him), The Moult is a heady mix of history and romance. The Moult exhausts comparisons, even superlatives. Described by one enchanted visitor to Salcombe as arguably the finest private house on the South Coast of England. Live the dream at Salcombe’s iconic pink house.
Seaspray Cabin | Sleeps 9-13 | East Sussex
Step into a beachy, bleachy look on the beautiful south coast and step out onto the dunes of Seaspray. Set the steaks to sizzle on the Seaspray Cabin patio as the gulls wheel overhead and the waves wash the shore. Chuck some driftwood on the woodburner and make some memories where reclamation meets sophistication.
Other houses not to miss…