Give your seaside staycation an easy upgrade this summer – by booking into a Victorian-era beach hut
- Two dozen colourful huts set by the sands of Barry Island cost from £19 a day
- Beach Hut 67 near Sandbanks, Dorset, has views to the Isle of Wight
- Stay overnight at Holi Moli, a boutique hut for two on Dunster Beach, Somerset
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: How to join the beach-hut boom.
Days out at the seaside can get an easy upgrade this summer – if you go back to the future and rent a Victorian-era beach hut.
They became fashionable after Queen Victoria took to the water from her bathing machine to protect her modesty. Some of these humble huts, which were wheeled into the waves, were repurposed so that the well-to-do could have private places to change.
Lovingly restored: Huts line the seafront at Southwold in Suffolk
Today, some are dubbed ‘gold mines by the sea’ – a 10ft by 12ft wooden hut on Dorset’s Mudeford Spit sold for an extraordinary £330,000 last summer.
Thankfully, you can also rent one from as little as £20 a day.
Many have been lovingly restored and are packed with personality. Even their names can raise a smile, including Jabba the Hut in the arty town of Southwold, Suffolk, and Some Like It Hut, which is a few miles further south in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.
A rented hut should contain everything you need for a perfect day at the seaside. The best offer deckchairs, parasols, wind-breaks, bucket-and-spade sets and more. Some come with electricity and running water, while others have electric-hobs or gas-rings so that days-out can start with a bacon sandwich and end with a sunset meal. Crockery, cutlery and pans should be included.
Local councils and individual owners set the rules on the length of stays. Most huts can only be occupied in the day and you can be fined if you stay too late, or make too much noise after dark.
If you book for a week (often the minimum time in peak season) you simply lock the door at night and return to it the next day.
Holi Moli on Dunster Beach in Somerset can be rented from £595 a week
Holi Moli sleeps two and has a modern interior with bright pops of colour
A small number of huts also have sofa-beds and allow overnight stays, though this will probably mean using nearby public toilets. If you have a location in mind, start by checking the local council website for any huts it owns.
Two dozen colourful huts set by the sands of Barry Island (of Gavin & Stacey fame), are available through valeofglamorgan.gov.uk from £19 a day, for example. Sites such as milliesbeachhuts.co.uk offer links to those in East Anglia, while tourist offices such as visitbude.info offer online bookings in Cornwall and include details of accessible huts for those with disabilities.
Two big websites connect owners and renters. With beachhuts4hire.co.uk you can email the owners to check availability. At beachhuts.com you can swipe through hundreds of photos and descriptions.
The pretty beach huts at Wells in Norfolk are a stylish choice
Stylish choices include the pet-friendly Hut 102 on the ‘dogs allowed’ section of Wells beach in Norfolk from £54 a day. Get close to the sea with Gwendoline in Frinton – at high tide the water laps right up to the wooden steps. It can be hired from £46 a day.
Beach Hut 67 near Sandbanks, Dorset, has views to the Isle of Wight and costs from £20 a day.
Or stay overnight in Holi Moli, a boutique hut for two on Dunster Beach in Somerset. It sells out fast, from £595 a week.
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