Dreaming of waking up to sea views and waves lapping? Check out these waterside properties.

With overseas holidays largely in abeyance and many British coastal retreats completely booked up as a direct consequence of that, fewer of us may be getting the blast of seaside air we’ve been desperately craving. But if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that working remotely is more possible than previously imagined. If you’re considering ditching the city for good in favour of waving up to fresh sea air and the soothing sound of the waves crashing (or, indeed, a lakeside gently lapping), one of these properties on the market right now could be just the spur you need.

Dittisham, Devon

4 Bedrooms
Knight Frank, £1.5m

This glorious house, known as ‘Shimmerings’ presumably on account of the way the sun hits the water on the Dart Estuary it overlooks, could scarcely be more stunningly situated. For not only do the panoramas it offers take in the sweeping stretch of river, with boats bobbing picturesquely along it, it also includes views of Greenaway, the National Trust-owned former home of Agatha Christie.

Comfortably decorated (note the AGA in the kitchen and the log burner), it is also just a short walk from the village pubs and shops. But it’s the garden and views that makes this a place of dreams. If we lived here, every night would be an al fresco sundowner night. We can see quite why they say Devon is heaven. Check it out here.

Sheringham, North Norfolk

7 Bedrooms
Sowerby’s, £835,000

North Norfolk has long been popular with Londoners wishing to escape the city at weekends. The coastal villages of Blakeney, Cley, Wells and Stiffkey have drawn Chelsea Tractor drivers in such numbers that locals have, perhaps inevitably, been known to dub the area ‘Chelsea on Sea’ with, one suspects, more than a hint of a grimace. But just a few miles further east are the towns of Cromer and Sheringham which, until recently, have been largely unbothered by city folk, despite being right on the beach. What they lack in gentrification, they certainly make up for in transport links (both are on the branch line from Norwich) and amenities, as well as classic British seaside bucket and spade holiday charm. We love this sizeable seven-bedroom villa, known as Salisbury House, which is within spitting distance of the North Sea. Its generous hallway, its double-fronted ornate knapped flint façade, its tasteful decorative presentation and its elevated position above Sheringham’s ‘Blue Flag’ beach all make it a wonderful prospect for a family – and at a much lower price than the same house would command just a few miles short down the road. The ideal seaside family home – with swimming, sand-castle making and fresh crab eating opportunities at every turn. Explore the house here.

Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

9 Bedrooms
The Modern House, £1.85m

Where do we even start with this one? The main part of this resplendent house dates to the 17th-century, and whoever buys it will be in good company historically speaking. As the good folk at The Modern House say, ‘Smugglers’ tunnels run under the house and all the way down to the cove below and in the early 1900s, a catalogue of literary heavyweights stayed here; A. A. Milne, J. M. Barrie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were among the many.’ It has, since then, been much-extended – we especially love the orangery, which sits to the side of the entrance hall and is flooded with light. There is also a cabin, an observatory and a secret garden. Could it get any dreamier? Well, yes, in fact. Not only is it surrounded by National Trust-owned land, meaning it is safeguarded from development, but it also has views of and access to the most beautiful beaches. As it says, ‘Halzephron House is exceptionally well placed for access to the local beaches and dramatic coastline walks and cycle routes.

The golden sands of Church Cove, a hidden gem, perfect for surfing, swimming and bathing, can be reached on foot in ten minutes along a no-through lane. Dollar Cove, which takes its name from the silver dollars that still wash up from an ancient wreck and the charming 13th-century church, St. Winwalloe, are also both within easy reach.’ We may be in love. Check it out here.

Hastings Old Town, East Sussex

6 Bedrooms
Fine & Country, £1.48m

This is, we grant, an expensive proposition in the typically reasonably priced Hastings. It is a town that has been kept from going stratospheric price-wise on account of the fact that the picturesque Old Town with its Jerwood Gallery and stylish independent shops, sits alongside the somewhat less quaint, arcade-lined streets of the new town. But this Victorian villa is something quite special.

Slightly elevated and thus with spectacular views, it has some six bedrooms, four reception rooms and an astonishing eight bathrooms, making it either an vast family home, or a viable proposition as a boutique hotel (you could divide it up to have three self-contained space). It’s been lovingly renovated – but what we adore most is the view, which falls right down the valley between the east and west hills. This could be a truly glorious home. Find out more here.

Hastings, East Sussex

5 Bedrooms
Just Property, £680,000

For anyone sold on Hastings, but without such deep pockets, we have to bring this extraordinary home to your attention. Bursting with character and dating back to the 15th-century, its position on the high street makes it just a two-minute walk to the beach, while being right amidst the vibrant old town. We have completely fallen for its historic charms, its 45-foot sitting room, its exposed timber beams and the Inglenook cast iron fireplace of dreams. It is, it almost goes without saying, Grade II-listed. A cosy retreat from the modern world with the English Channel right on the doorstep. Rifle through the particulars and convince yourself to take the plunge here.

Windermere, Lake District

4 Bed Barn
THW Estate Agents, £795,000

This gorgeous semi-detached converted barn is within a small residential development of just three luxury houses on the fringes of Lake Windermere. The interior has been converted to a high spec, and the gardens at front and rear make it a lovely home for a family.

But what we’re most drawn to is, of course, its position at the edge of the lake, which demands summers here be spent doing little but messing around in boats. A bucolic dream. Explore the particulars here.

By Nancy Alsop
August 2020


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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.