Fancy an escape? Sign up to the Chill newsletter for weekly inspiration and advice on UK holidays
Close your eyes and think of somewhere that makes you happy… Beach? Check. Waves lapping the shore? Check. Sun? Erm…
Never mind, I can still thoroughly recommend a wet weekend in Bognor. Seriously.
West Sussex may be Britain’s sunniest county but it bucketed it down the entirety of our stay.
More like Wet Sussex.
But it doesn’t matter when you’ve scored a winner with your accommodation.
One of the Beachcroft Hotel’s beautiful chalet-style beach huts is the perfect spot to batten down the hatches. Placed in a prime location next to the beguiling Felpham pebble beach just to the east of Bognor’s town centre, there are four of these swanky blue seafront suites, each with a private entrance.
The vista is stunning and can be enjoyed from a private terrace when the sun is out.
But I reckon the view is even better on a windswept day when you can take shelter on a plump corner sofa and watch the storm-whipped sea from behind bifold doors.
You’ll feel snug, and a tad smug, watching the waves battering the groynes, furiously flapping gulls fighting the gales, and kite surfers coming a cropper in the swell.
All essentials are provided for rainy days and cosy nights. The lounge area, trendily decorated with colour-popping artwork, has a Netflix-enabled smart TV, there’s a Nespresso machine and pods, Smeg kettle and complimentary rose wine and a decanter of sloe gin. There is even Monopoly.
Bring the kids. There is a separate room with bunk beds for them. Adults get their own mezzanine master bedroom.
Bring the dog. Pooches are also pampered here, with bed, bowl, treats and toys all on offer. It’s worth mentioning that our suite was spotless, with no signs or smells of any hound habitation before.
Best of all though is falling asleep – and waking up to – the sound of the sea. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
A mere pebble’s throw away is the main hotel where attentive, courteous staff serve up breakfasts and dinners to beach hut guests as part of the B&B package, made with locally sourced ingredients. Choose its a la carte Tamarisk Restaurant, the Bar & Bistro for more casual dining, or treat yourself to afternoon tea in the terrace garden overlooking the sea. The kids will love using the Beachcroft’s swimming pool, heated to a welcoming 30 degrees and, of course, the beach.
Even on a rotten day, they won’t be able to resist a swoop on to the shore to chuck in some stones… and you’ll be relieved that your toasty beachside bolthole is just a few steps away.
There is a seven-mile coastal path on your doorstep (bikes are free to borrow from the hotel). Head east to the pretty town of Littlehampton. It has two award-winning beaches and Britain’s longest bench, which flows along the prom, curving around lampposts and twisting up seafront shelters. The rolling chalk hills of the South Downs are just minutes inland. A 10-minute stroll west along the prom gets you to the town centre.
Bognor has struggled to shake off the shackles of being lumbered with one of Britain’s most ridiculed place names (shout out to Grimsby too).
It has also been burdened by its withering King George V putdown… “B*gger Bognor” indeed.
Perhaps history would have played out differently had the town been given a slightly more seductive name. I don’t know… something like Hothampton-on-sea.
Oh… it nearly was.
Moneyed merchant-turned-MP Sir Richard Hotham came up with the infinitely more appealing name for the place in the 18th century.
He planned to transform Bognor into THE premium south-coast resort, a sort of riff-raff-free version of Brighton.
It never quite came off. The upgrade name change didn’t stick either.
These days most of the whoops and yelps of excitement are contained inside the white behemoth Butlin’s tent that dominates the town.
But while Bognor may not be buzzing, it is all the better for it.
The seafront feels calming without the crowds, the beach like your own as you take in the invigorating salty air. The pier, or what’s left of it having been reduced from 1,000ft to 350ft during a 150-year struggle with the sea, has retro charm with its slot machines, cafe and chip shop.
There are the ubiquitous ice cream stalls, rock shops and amusements, a seasonal land train runs along the eastern esplanade but it all feels refreshingly unpresuming for a seaside resort.
Up the road Hotham Park, where the aforementioned Bognorphile Sir Richard once resided, is now a fantastic green space with boating lake, mini golf and a thriving squirrel community.
Sadly Covid restrictions scuppered us from sampling the local hostelries, although there are plenty of tempting options.
So back to the Beach Hut where deliciously fresh fish and chips are ordered to our room.
They always taste better by the sea. And, boy, we can’t get any closer.
Bognor. Call it what you like. You won’t want to wave goodbye.
The Beach Hut Suites at the Beachcroft Hotel in Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex cost from £250 a night on B&B based on two adults sharing. Reopening is currently planned for April 12. beachcroftbeachhuts.co.uk
Source: Read Full Article