Beach Hut Britain

After more than a year of living through a global pandemic and dealing with lockdowns and the restrictions that accompanied them, it’s not surprising that Brits are looking to escape their hometowns in search of a much-needed break.

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A graphic of beach huts with a seagull on top alongside a title which reads: Beach Hut Britain.

There are those who are confident enough to plan and book trips abroad to make the most of Summer 2021. But a large majority of us are reportedly planning to stick to the UK shores and settling for a staycation with our nearest and dearest. 

So, for those concerned with foreign travel, or simply too wary to warrant the financial risks that come with booking holidays abroad in the current climate, what are the best staycation options for enjoying the beautiful British coastlines for years to come? 

Which regions of the UK are going to offer you the best value for money and experiences when it comes to seaside fun? 

Or for those travelling in large groups or with small children - where in the UK can you be sure to secure yourself the purchase of an in-demand beach hut for you and your loved ones future staycations?

Using available data resources alongside open source research into beach hut availability around the UK, the loans team at money.co.uk look into the best way to go about searching for, affording and renovating the ultimate seaside accessory —  a beach hut. 

If you're considering purchasing a beach hut, you may want to take out a loan. However, it is important to remember not all loans are suitable for everyone, so it's vital to do your research and compare loans to find the one that best suits your needs.

What has ignited our rediscovered love for beach huts? 

As part of its research, money.co.uk teamed up with expert Vicky Gunn, the owner of Millie’s Beach Huts, to uncover some of the reasons she believes the popularity of beach hut ownership has soared so significantly during recent years. 

“My connection with beach huts first began more than six years ago. I’d always had the desire to run my own business but - as a qualified accountant - felt I lacked the creativity and time to figure out all the whats, wheres and whens. 

“One day, during a period where I found myself feeling burnt out, I decided to spend the day with my spaniel Millie (who the business is named after) at a beach hut myself, and couldn’t help but notice several of the other plots up for sale and the cogs started to whir. My first hut was purchased pretty quickly, and over the next six months the hiring section of my business began to take shape.

“In the six years I’ve been running Millie’s, I’ve seen a growing increase in the popularity of beach huts. Our own beach huts are located in Walton-on-the-Naze, and we’ve witnessed many of the previously brown vessels transform into welcoming bright spaces. 

“You only need to search #beachhut on Instagram to see exactly how popular they are now, But, I’ve never seen such an increase in popularity as there has been since the first lockdown. People are desperately searching for things they can do safely and placing an even higher value on time with their family. As a result, awareness that they exist has also increased.

“Beach huts naturally come with a feeling of nostalgia and much-needed time away from phones, screens and news. So it’s natural that so many of us want to escape to the coast  but with the safety net of a beach hut and their own personal space to retreat to.”

After identifying a seed list of UK beaches that all boast beach huts, money.co.uk then delved into the most commonly searched among Britons during the period of 2018-2020. This research aimed to determine where might be the least crowded for potential holidaymakers looking for a relaxing summer staycation:

Among the most commonly searched coastal spots with beach huts over the past three years was Barry Island, most notably known as the home of Stacey West, her mother Gwen, uncle Brynn and best friend Nessa in the BBC sitcom, Gavin & Stacey. With the series having filmed a number of episodes in and around the beach itself, the location remains a popular tourist destination for fans of the show. 

West Wittering beach, in Chichester, West Sussex, emerged as the second most searched for beach within the study; followed by Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset, and Camber Sands in East Sussex. 

Looking into the beach hut beaches of the UK that have been the least commonly searched throughout the past three years, South Strand beach, located in Angmering, West Sussex, came out bottom. Also featuring in the bottom 10 — and therefore potentially offering the least crowds as the summer season approaches — is Gundimore beach in Christchurch, Dorset, and Flaghead Chine in Poole.

Creeping into the top 10 of the least searched beach hut beaches is Holland-on-sea beach in East Essex, and Hamworthy beach in Poole, Dorset. The latter of these two beaches is well-known to local residents for its outstanding panoramic views and oasis of tranquility, but may be harder for visiting outsiders to find, hence its lack of google searches. 

The most affordable UK beach hut spots  

Alongside the search data determining how popular each of the beaches from the seed list were, the money.co.uk team also undertook some manual research into the average costs of renting beach huts in each location this Summer, for anyone looking to test the waters before making the financial commitment of purchasing one. 

Beach huts that were still advertised as having online booking availability between the months of June and September 2021 were analysed. The average prices for each beach were worked out where possible, with the costs emerging as follows: 

The 10 least expensive beach hut locations

The 10 cheapest beach hut locations

Updated 17 June 2021
RankBeachCheapest to rent (per week) Most expensive to rent (per week)Average cost to rent
1Mablethorpe beach (Lincolnshire)£40£110£75
2Dawlish beach (Devon)£103£103£103
3Broadsands beach (Devon)£105£105£105
4Dovercourt beach (Essex)£80£150£115
5St Ives bay (Cornwall)£70£170£120
6Porthgwidden beach (Cornwall)£70£170£120
7Swanage Bay (Dorset)£65£210£138
8Pakefield beach (Suffolk)£125£150£138
9Meadfoot beach (Devon)£140£140£140
10Monmouth beach (Devon)£140£150£145

These prices are based upon averages.

The 10 most expensive beach hut locations

Updated 17 June 2021
RankBeachCheapest to rent (per week) Most expensive to rent (per week)Average cost to rent
1Wells beach (Norfolk)£280£750£515
2Herne Bay beach (Kent)£455£476£466
3Mudeford Sandbank (Bournemouth)£219£650£434
4Tankerton beach (Canterbury)£300£560£430
5Abersoch beach (Caernarfonshire)£125£690£408
6Southwold beach (Suffolk)£185£560£373
7Ferring beach (West Sussex)£250£420£335
8South Strand (West Sussex)£290£330£310
9Durley Chine (Bournemouth)£90£495£293
10Walton-on-the-Naze beach (Essex)£205£350£278

These prices are based upon averages.

Longer term beach hut investments 

For anyone looking instead to purchase their own beach huts, Vicky offers up the following advice: 

“When buying a beach hut, there will normally be a one-off transfer fee payable. This ranges from around £350 up to around £17,000 in areas such as Mudeford if the buyer is not related or a non-resident of the local area. 

“Typically, a beach hut owner will then either pay a licence fee each year (around £200 to £1,000 per annum) or pay to lease (around £600-£1,000). In addition, you may need to pay HM Revenue & Customs, which individually rates beach huts (throughout the UK) for non-domestic rates. Beach Hut tenants pay non-domestic rates separately, where these apply.  While you may be able to reduce your bill by claiming the Small Business Rate Relief, this can start at around £180 depending on local valuations.”

Once the purchase has been made, it’s time to start thinking about how to retain the value of your new beach hut investment, and Vicky warns that “along the coast you see so many beach huts that have fallen into disrepair. This not only brings down their own value but can have an impact on neighbouring beach huts too.

“It’s key to preserve the building itself, which, depending on the style of hut, will cost £5,000 upwards to replace, so I’d always recommend little and often. It’s key to undergo a yearly and thorough run through of your hut, and plan to address the maintaince jobs before they become an issue. 

“While supply and demand will always drive beach hut prices, adding additional security measures such as storm doors or small details to finishes will always help keep the value. There is no doubt that style of décor will impact the ability to sell, but most hut owners like to make their own stamp on the beach hut once they buy it.” 

Location, Location, Location

Ultimately, Vicky advises that the decision to purchase one's own beach hut should not be one taken lightly:

“It’s really important to work out how you will plan to use your beach hut once purchased, so the location and it’s position on the beach is vital. You may love a particular coastline or area two hours from your home, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to nip down after work to catch the sunset, and this will inevitably limit how often you use your hut. 

“Many beach hut owners also feel they ‘need’ to secure a front row hut in order to oversee young children playing on the beach; but it’s important to bear in mind these huts also come with a lack of privacy, due to passers by trying to look into the huts. A hut on the second or third row, with a private veranda, is much more preferential for those with children or dogs.” 

Methodology and sources

Taking a seed list of UK beaches where members of the public have the ability to rent UK beach huts from www.beachhuts.com, we used google Adwords to analyse the popularity of each of the beaches featured on the list across January 2018 to December 2020.

Taking the average monthly searches in the UK across all of the beaches from the seed list (167,530), we calculated the average % of searches that were being made for each of the beaches over the three-year period. This determined the most popular UK beaches with beach huts that Britons are likely to be searching for. 

Using manual, desk-based research, we also looked into beach hut prices for this summer from the sources outlined below to uncover the most affordable beaches with beach huts still available for a staycation. We researched beach huts that were still advertised as having online availability to book beach huts between the months of June and September 2021. 

Sources

https://www.beachhuts.com

https://www.beachhuts4hire.co.uk/ 

https://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/ 

https://www.parkinestates.co.uk/beach-huts 

https://avon-beach.noisylobster.co.uk/beach-huts/ 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/120387678011790/permalink/4048739951843190 

https://porthgwiddencafe.co.uk/the-beach/beach-pod-booking-page/ 

https://www.haulfrynhouse.co.uk/beach-huts-for-rent 

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/31140474?source_impression_id=p3_1621357389_fDyaLCC8IU4A0fsr&guests=1&adults=1 

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/36750819?source_impression_id=p3_1622289641_0gvyBC4ittmOCFVR&check_in=2021-07-12&guests=1&adults=1&check_out=2021-07-17 

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/46597181?source_impression_id=p3_1622283002_u%2FUYIqg8FHjo2P5p&check_in=2021-06-28&guests=1&adults=1&check_out=2021-06-30 

https://www.tor-bay-harbour.co.uk/leisure/beaches-and-coastline/visitor-beach-hut-cabin-and-chalet-hire/goodrington-beach-huts/ 

https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/sports-and-leisure/beaches/hire-a-beach-hut/ 

https://www.visitbude.info/accommodation/beach-huts/qb/ 

https://www.swanage.gov.uk/BeachHutHireCharges.aspx 

https://www.tor-bay-harbour.co.uk/leisure/beaches-and-coastline/visitor-beach-hut-cabin-and-chalet-hire/meadfoot-chalets/ 

https://www.thelittlebeachhutcompany.co.uk/ 

https://www.visitcornwall.com/beaches/lifeguards-seasonal/north-coast/bude/crooklets-beach 

https://www.visitbude.info/accommodation/crooklets-promenade-beach-huts/ 

https://www.beachhutdays.info/rates 

Data correct as of May 30th 2021. 

Due to a significant amount of private beach hut owners only hiring out on a weekly basis, some daily hires were multiplied by seven in order to work out the average weekly cost across different beaches. 

Only beach huts available to the general public were considered, and annual hires available to local residents only through the local authorities were omitted. 

Where sizings of beach huts varied, the larger hut price was analysed. 

Due to the lack of available data, the following beaches were omitted from the research:

  • Eastern kings beach

  • Friar's cliff beach

  • Southcliff beach

  • Tinside beach

  • Teignbridge beach