We love the bright lights and bustle of the city, but who isn’t dreaming of escape? The demand for properties around the coastal parts of the UK has, unsurprisingly, surged this year. The appeal of living beside the seaside, wandering charming cobbled streets lined with chocolate-box cottages, and rambling around emerald-green rolling hills, is real. Here we’ve rounded up the chicest rural retreats currently on the market…
Having cast the net far and wide, we’ve discovered the most beautiful homes are nestled in the fields and enclaves along the coast.
Within easy reach of London, Suffolk is home to the seaside towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold. The area has been drawing people in with its glorious beaches and beautiful stretches of heath and woodland, it also has an up and coming independent scene – think cool boutiques, galleries and plenty of gems for foodies, too. Cornwall is another wildly popular choice right now. The fact that they are one of the only parts of the UK to remain in Tier 1 should give you an indication of how remote living can be on England’s Southern-moust peninsula. On a winter’s day the wild coast makes for invigorating walks, there’s freshly-caught seafood appeal to all palettes, and that sense of barefoot luxury living. And then there’s Bosham, the sailing hub which stands on a small peninsula between two tidal creeks at the eastern end of Chichester harbour.
There’s never been a more apt time to fantasise about leaving city life. So here are five of the most beautiful (big-budget) homes to dream about buying right now…
Bosham lane, Bosham, Chichester
This waterside village house – a very modest description – sits in the heart of picturesque Bosham, on the shores of Chichester Harbour. Its southerly location and breathtaking sea views are so fabulous, we’d be surprised if it’s still on the market next week.
The house itself is Grade II listed and has been beautifully and carefully restored over recent years, so that it now offers that sought-after combination of period charm and contemporary living. It has six bedrooms, an open plan kitchen / breakfast / family room which serves as the heart of the house and is home to not one, but two fireplaces, an AGA, larder and broad doors which you can fling open onto the garden and water.
The village of Bosham is well known for its delightful position on Chichester Harbour, just 4 miles South West of Chichester – a 2hr drive from London – and a short drive from Goodwood. When time permits again, the sailing club provides plenty of social opportunities, as does the Anchor Bleu pub. The sandy shores of West Wittering beach are just a short drive, and there are endless walking routes around the South Downs.
Kettleburgh Hall, Woodbridge, Suffolk
This beautiful Grade II listed house is just oozing charm and somehow manages to feel cosy despite the fact it’s surrounded by 26 acres of private land and has seven bedrooms, numerous outbuildings (with conversion potential), paddocks and ponds. Positioned at the end of a long sweeping driveway, the house dates back to the16th century and it has been considerately extended to allow the natural light to flood in.
The kitchen is designed by Plain English – any interiors aficionado’s dream – and has an Aga, which is prerequisite with rural living. Large doors open out onto a west-facing patio, positioned to take advantage of evening sun. It’s characterised lots of original details such as large brick hearths (one of which now houses a wood burning stove) and original beams on both the walls and high ceilings. Outside, you’ll find a paddock on one side, and an idyllic walled garden on the other.
You can walk to country pubs, in the villages of Kettleburgh near Easton and Brandeston, and in neighbouring Framlingham you’ll find a Saturday market. Orford and Aldeburgh are approximately 11 miles away for wild swimming and sailing enthusiasts. It’s a 70 minute train journey from London to Ipswich – which has a great independent book shop and cinema – and a short drive from there.
Fancy living in one of Padstow’s finest houses. This incredibly handsome seven bedroom stone property is coastal living at its finest. It sits at the top of Fentonluna Lane and boasts elevated views across the the old town of Padstow and the Camel Estuary towards Rock. This Grade II listed abode manages to retain all its character while also offering thoughtful modern updates. The original fire places will keep you toasty all winter, and there’s even a log-burner next to the chalet-style jacuzzi outside.
Padstow is well known for its foodie culture and bustling life so you definitely won’t feel isolated here. You’ll find Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant located on the harbour and Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin starred restaurant No 6, nearby on Middle Street, just below Fentonluna Lane. Nathan Outlaw is also just across the estuary at Port Isaac, and there’s an award winning vineyard at Trevibban Mill. If you’re after outdoor pursuits, to the south of Padstow is a magnificent stretch of coastline known locally as the Seven Bays. There’s basically a beach for every day of the week here.
We’re sold on the view alone here. Can you imagine sitting on that terrace, wrapped up in cashmere, coffee in-hand, watching the sun come up? Or with a glass of wine, watching it set? As well as boasting a prime waterfront position, The Croft is also nestled in the very heart of the popular fishing village of Coverack, down on the South coast of Cornwall. And one of the big selling points is the fact the property has its own private steps leading down to the beach and foreshore below.
The Croft has been well looked after over the years and the accommodation, which spans three floors, has been beautifully adapted to modern living. The house has four bedrooms and a detached studio/ store. It also retains a wealth of period features including wood parquet flooring and a beautiful oak staircase, if that’s not enough to convince you, maybe the reclaimed marble floor in the conservatory and the four-door Aga in the kitchen is.
A terrace wraps around the house, and the landscaped gardens surround the property with level lawns. Paths meander through the garden alongside a small stream and easy steps lead to the beach below. It’s a pretty big – 4hr 40min – drive from London, but you’d be so in love with your surroundings, you’d never want to leave.
Chapel House II, Earl Soham, Suffolk
Just over an hour from London bordering the water meadows in Earl Soham, one of Suffolk’s most quaint villages, lies this beautiful conversion. Once a 19th-century Baptist chapel, it was designed by Andrew Hughes Architects in 2013, and now provides light and modern open-plan living space which includes five bedrooms, stunning gardens and a separate home office/studio.
The architect, Hughes, has been careful to conserve the property’s original features like the ceiling scissor beams which canopy the large, light open-plan living, kitchen and dining room which occupies the entire first floor. The terrace which offers views across the water meadows and the neighbouring willow trees to the rear, and the picturesque patio area make an ideal spot for al fresco dining and sundowners.
The house is within walking distance of Earl Soham, which has a thriving local pub (that brews its own beer), and an award-winning butcher. It’s also just half an hour’s drive from Aldeburgh, a coastal spot renowned for its sandy beaches and exceptional fish and chips.