I’m sitting on our private terrace, sipping a glass of wine, and listening to the sound of the waves gently lapping the shore. In the stillness of the night, I can’t see the sea, but I can feel and hear it. And I know it’s just metres away. It’s magical. This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to stay in one of the four Beach Hut Suites at the Beachcroft Hotel in Felpham, West Sussex. As the sun comes up the following morning, I see the beach and the sparkling sea stretching out before me. If you are looking for a seaside holiday in the UK, any sea-loving soul would surely love it here.
Disclosure: My stay at the Beachcroft Beach Hut Suites was complimentary for review purposes., organised by CJ Hotel Consultancy. All views and opinions are my own.
I was born and still live in the seaside town of Bognor Regis, well known for being the sunniest place along the south coast of England so you may be surprised that I love to go on holiday to the neighbouring village of Felpham. Yes, I already know the area like the back of my hand and yes, I regularly swim in the sea here, year-round, quite often just in front of the hotel in fact. However, for me, nothing could top actually staying here, in a luxury ‘beach hut’ right by the beach. I love the quirky yet stylish accommodation, but most of all the view – from the master bedroom, the living room and the private terrace – has completely bewitched me.
Above: Sunrise view from the Beach Hut Suites, below: The Beachcroft Beach Hut Suites (on the left) overlooking Felpham Beach
Add to this the attentive yet discreet hotel staff and the fabulous breakfasts and you are onto a winner. Waking up, and seeing the sunrise over the sea is priceless. And being able to hop into the sea and then nip back to your luxurious ‘beach hut’ for a warming cup of coffee or hot chocolate is my idea of heaven any time of year, whether enjoying the sunshine on the terrace or, on less clement days, tucked up warm and cosy inside. Despite it being just a few minutes drive from where I live, the Beach Hut Suites is one of my favourite places to stay in the UK.
The Beachcroft Beach Hut Suites, Felpham
The Beach Hut Suites are bright and colourful, decorated with a contemporary seaside theme with a touch of nostalgia. As you enter, you’ll be mesmerised by a full-length wall-to-wall, picture window looking out to sea from the living area completely opening up onto a private wooden terrace with a small table and reclining chairs.
The suites are well-equipped with a smart TV with Netflix, a kettle, Nespresso machine with tea, coffee and fresh milk provided in a stylish, bright red Smeg fridge. Thoughtfully, two blankets are also provided to keep you warm as you sit on your terrace on a chillier day. The complimentary bottle of wine and a couple of glasses of sloe gin are also a very welcome touch.
From the living room, up a few stairs, the mezzanine master bedroom has a second TV, several drawers, a dressing table and a small wardrobe/cupboard with an ironing board and iron inside. But why would you turn on the TV when you can lie in bed and gaze out to sea through the large portal window opposite
Back downstairs by the front door, a compact second bedroom has two bunk beds and a small chest of draws. It’s perfect for children. A bucket, spade and net are provided for sandcastles and rock pooling. I have actually slept in one of the bunks myself and found it perfectly comfortable. Admittedly, I’m rather short so it may not be suitable for a taller adult.
The shower room is next to the downstairs bedroom and is a reasonable size with a luxurious rain shower, fluffy bathrobes, slippers, towels, toiletries, and a hairdryer all provided.
There are four parking bays, with an electric car charging point, immediately behind the huts that are suitable for smaller cars, while larger cars can be parked in the hotel’s main car park just across the road where a further charging point can be found.
Bicycles can be borrowed from the hotel, perfect for cycling along the prom and exploring some of the nearby villages.
Dogs welcome at the Beachcroft and the Beach Hut Suites
Felpham Beach is a favourite with dog walkers. I love watching the dogs playing along the water’s edge. Two of the Beach Hut Suites welcome dogs and while they aren’t allowed in the main restaurant, dog owners with their pets can enjoy an evening meal in Monty’s Bistro in the adjacent room in the hotel. (see below)
Places to eat and drink at The Beachcroft Hotel
If you can drag yourself away from the sublime views that the Beach Huts offers just next door is Blake’s Bar & Beach Terrace, the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. It enjoys the same idyllic beachside views. I tucked into a tasty prawn and crayfish sandwich with Marie Rose sauce and mixed baby leaves during this break. The menu also includes fish n chips, burgers, soup, salads or an indulgent cream tea. It’s open throughout the day but not in the evening.
The main restaurant at the hotel is called the Tamarisk and while the decor is a little dated and the service can be slow, the staff are extremely helpful and friendly and the food is good. Next door is Monty’s Bar & Bistro offering a few traditional dishes such as fish n chips as well as pizzas. Notably, dogs are welcome here and I believe you can order from the main restaurant menu if you wish. Both of these restaurants are only open for breakfast and evening meals but not at lunch times. I noticed quite a few gluten-free options on the Tamarisk menu as well as a few vegan dishes but I would recommend discussing any dietary requirements in advance of your visit.
Above: Full English breakfast at the Tamarisk restaurant, below: Hamper breakfast brought to our suite
Below: Fillet of Lamb at the Tamarisk Restaurant
Places to eat and drink in Felpham
A couple of minutes’ walk along the prom is the lovely Lobster Pot, a very popular café, again with sea views. Just a few minutes’ walk further along the beach is the budget-friendly, Boat House Café, next to Felpham’s Sailing Club.
In the village itself, all within easy walking distance, are three traditional pubs each serving good food. The Fox Inn is the nearest, about a ten-minute walk from the hotel with the Thatched House just around the corner. The George is about a twenty-minute walk from the hotel.
There are also several excellent cafes and restaurants in the village including the friendly Carlyle’s Cafe.
Places to eat and drink in Bognor Regis and beyond
One of my favourite eateries in Bognor town centre, about a twenty-minute walk from the hotel, is Bonito Lounge on the corner of the High Street and London Road. I love its colourful quirky décor and eclectic menu offering everything from lavish burgers to healthy vegetarian feasts. The cocktails are great too.
For a special occasion, I’d suggest Mustards, just around the corner in York Rd. It’s a little pricey but it is excellent.
If it’s a great pint of real ale you’re after visit the Dog & Duck a little further along the HIgh Street. Or perhaps you fancy fabulous homemade ice cream, then Pinks Parlour, a one-minute walk further in Waterloo Square, is a must.
Further afield, The George in Eartham, serves what is in my opinion the best roast dinners in Sussex. And Tinwood Vineyard in Halnaker near Chichester has some excellent local wines. Both are less than a 30 minutes drive away and on the doorstep of the South Downs National Park where you’ll find some beautiful walks.
Things to do in Felpham and the Arun Valley
The centre of Felpham village is a Conservation Area with 21 listed buildings including a 12th-century church. Look out for the lovely stained glass window dedicated to the poet and artist William Blake who once lived in the village. The thatched cottage he lived in is on Blakes Road.
For families, Hotham Park, is about a ten-minute walk away in Bognor Regis with sweeping lawns, shady picnic spots, a bandstand, a fabulous crazy golf course, a mini train, and an excellent restaurant, the Hotham Park Cafe.
The enchanting historic towns of Chichester and Arundel are both just a short drive from Felpham as is the South Downs National Park. There is no end of beautiful walking and cycling trails to explore. The views from the top of the Downs to the coast are breathtaking. Dotted around are a great many pretty villages and charming country pubs. Amberley and its myriad of picture-postcard thatched cottages is one of my favourites. There’s also a fabulous open-air museum here and two great pubs.
Pagham Harbour and Kingley Vale are two magical nature reserves popular with walkers that are both easy to reach by car from Felpham.
And Goodwood with its motor racing circuit, horse racing, golf course and spa is about a 20-minute drive.
Join me on a guided walk in the South Downs and learn about local history and folklore
For over three years now, I’ve been leading guided walks in the area including one through the town of Arundel into the hills of the South Downs. My most popular walk though starts in the village of Halnaker and heads up to a restored windmill with some fabulous views across the Downs to the sea. Visit my website Sussex-Walks.co.uk to find out more.
Beaches around Felpham and Bognor Regis
If you fancy a change of scene for your swim there are many different beaches to choose from in the area.
Three miles of promenade run right outside your window leading to Aldwick Beach and the Marine Park Gardens in the west (via the main town beach) or to the village of Middleton-on Sea to the east. Beyond Middleton, the path is unpaved but you can walk along a strip of grass and pebbles to Elmer. Here you’ll find some lovely little bays created by the sea defences. You can continue walking all the way to Littlehampton should you wish. At low tide, you can walk along the sand. It’s particularly magical at sunrise or sunset.
Above: The eastern end of the promenade where the path changes to a grassy track.
Further west lie the beaches of Dark Lane, Craigwell and Pagham. You’ll find a few facilities and cafes in Pagham, Bognor and Aldwick but nothing at the other beaches I’ve mentioned.
Please note, there are no facilities or lifeguards along the vast majority of these beaches. The only part of the beach with a lifeguard is in Bognor to the east of the pier throughout most of July and August between 10 am ad 6 pm. Apps for your phone such as Magic Seaweed and Tide Times are very useful but please do be cautious, especially when the sea is rough. If in doubt, don’t go in and never swim alone or without someone on the shore keeping an eye on you.
Sea swimming lessons
The Beachcroft has linked up with qualified open water coaches, Sandy Toed Sea Swimmers. They offer open water swimming lessons for adults and children, novices and experienced swimmers alike. I have had a couple of lessons with them myself and they are excellent, very approachable and great fun. Whether you are nervous of the sea or want to improve your technique, I can highly recommend them to help you make the most of your seaside holiday in the UK.
Bluetits of Bognor
If you’d like to join a fabulous group of ladies (men are welcome too but tend to be few and far between) then check out the Bluetits of Bognor’s Facebook group. Visitors to the area are made very welcome at their group swims held throughout the year a couple of times a week at various locations along the coast in and around Bognor from Elmer to Pagham. A small group swims almost every day from Felpham Beach just minutes from the hotel.
Below: A sunset swim at Craigwell Beach, Bognor Regis
In conclusion… the perfect UK seaside holiday
If you love being by the sea, The Beach Croft’s Beach Hut Suites is an idyllic place to stay for couples or families of four, especially for those of you who like me are addicted to sea swimming.
The suites themselves are lovely, bright and cheerful, the hotel staff fabulous, and the food great but it’s the views and the stunning location in general that clinch it for me.
To be honest, I’m not sure which I love more: seeing the sparkling sea glistening in the sunshine in the morning, enjoying the stillness of the evening with just the sound of the sea or witnessing a ragging storm snuggled up inside the beach hut watching it all through the wall-to-wall windows.
Whatever, the weather, whatever the time of year, I love it here. This is my happy place.
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