Ten best: West Country havens
Summer is nearly over, but it's not too late to hop across to England's south coast and unwind for a few days in a seaside haven. Jessica Clark has the pick of the best.
Waters Reach, Lerryn, Cornwall
Nestled in the heart of Du Maurier countryside, this riverside home is a short distance from some of the most stunning beaches in the county.
Enjoy serene river views from the decking while dining al fresco. It's perfect for couples looking for a romantic winter hideaway, or as a summer pad for a family group, as it sleeps up to nine guests.
There are a number of stunning beaches within 15 minutes of the property, from the white sands of Talland Bay to quiet sheltered coves off the beaten track, such as Lantic Bay.
Details: From €1,200 a week (€133pp) or €840 (€93pp) for a three-night stay.
Sea Cottage, Helston, Cornwall
Think private gardens, verandas and sunbathing terraces at this exclusive beachside retreat. A house designed with relaxation in mind, you'll be mesmerised by the breathtaking panoramic views from this coastal cottage. A perfect family pad, it sleeps eight.
Steps lead down to a pebbly beach from the garden and the sandy shores of Church Cove can be reached within a 20-minute walk along the coast path.
You're a short distance from one of the most picturesque golf courses in the county at Mullion, but be warned: the views might affect your performance.
Details: Week stays from €2,700 (€337pp).
Kingfisher Folly, near Barnstaple, Devon
Ensconced in nature, this riverside cottage is just 15 minutes from the coast.
A cosy couple's retreat, it's set in a 28-acre secluded wooded valley rich with wildlife -- expect to see red deer, buzzards and, of course, the resident kingfisher during your stay.
Recline in your waterside gardens, head to the long sandy beaches of Saunton Sands, Croyde and Woolacombe, or don your walking boots and explore Exmoor National Park.
Details: Week stays from €470 for two; three nights from €350.
River House, near Dartmouth, Devon
This oak-framed beauty is the epitome of waterside living, a real haven of calm to enjoy from the zen suite to the pool room. With open-plan living spaces and stunning grounds, it sleeps 13 and is close to superlative strands such as Slapton Sands to Mattiscombe Beach.
Take the sea tractor to Burgh Island from Bigbury Bay, while surfers can head to Bantham.
Try to tear yourself away from the stunning indoor pool and explore the waterways. There's plenty on offer -- dingy sailing, yachting, canoeing or windsurfing -- while landlubbers can just kick back on the gin and tonic deck and take in the vistas.
Details: A three-night stay costs from €3,600 or €276pp.
Chydane, Helston, Cornwall
Traditional meets contemporary in this cliff-top B&B decked out with tasteful designer fabrics, antique furniture and original works of art.
Pick the Atlantic or the Port Hole room, both doubles with some of the best seas views in Cornwall. Take a towel and head to the three-mile shingle beach at the bottom of the garden for a refreshing swim. A full breakfast menu uses the freshest and finest local ingredients.
Details: From €66 per person per night on a B&B basis.
Driftwood House, Mullion Cove, Cornwall
With stunning views towards Mullion Island and harbour, this B&B hideaway, with three bedrooms, is a great place to unwind.
Follow the private path down to the secluded beach. Surrounded by an area of outstanding natural beauty, there's a feast of fauna and wildlife to observe. As well as beach and cliff walks on Lizard peninsula, there's riding, surfing, fishing and sailing at the nearby Helford River.
Details: From €108 per double room per night.
Tides Reach, near Arundel, West Sussex
From dining al fresco in the garden to soaking up the sun on the decking, this contemporary beach house is perfect for a restful coastal stay. Sea-view vistas and New England-style décor combine in this property, which sleeps eight. Just a stone's throw from a private residents-only beach, you can literally roll out of bed, don your flip-flops and head to the beach, just a few steps away.
There's golf, tennis and sailing nearby, Arundel Castle and the town of Chichester are close, or you can head to Brighton for a day out.
Details: Week stay from €2,110 (€263pp), three nights from €1,510 (€188pp).
Sunday Cottage, The Lizard, Cornwall
A refurbished coach house, set within the grounds of a former rectory, Sunday Cottage sleeps four but makes a great bolthole for couples. If the weather obliges, the heated outdoor pool is perfect for a dip, though you're just a five-minute walk from the coast, which you can glimpse through the two-acre subtropical gardens. Spend lazy afternoons in the galleries of St Ives or catch an open-air performance at the Minack Theatre carved into the cliffs at Porthcurno.
Details: Week stays from €600 (€150pp); three nights from €386 (€96pp).
Penkenna, Crackington Haven, Cornwall
You can't get more beachside than this! Think dramatic sea views, slate floors, white-washed beams and Scandinavian-inspired interiors.
Three bedrooms, with crisp white linens and squishy beds, await after a day in the elements. Wend your way through the pretty private courtyard with beach-salvaged buoys and driftwood finds and straight on to the beach, where you can hit the waves and hunt the rock pools all before breakfast. It's tempting to just kick back and relax in the private, sunny garden.
Details: Week stays from €1,427 (€237pp); three-night stays from €991 (€165pp).
Seasalt, Sennen, Cornwall
This chic and stylish cottage, which sleeps six and overlooks sublime Sennen Cove, is the perfect pad to enjoy sun, sea and sand. It's a great base for surfers or a peaceful winter hibernation home in the cooler months. A fusion of white sand and aquamarine waters, the views are more Caribbean than Cornwall.
Details: A week's stay costs from €1,320, or €220pp.