British Beach Week – beachcombing essentials

If you’re planning to beachcomb during British Beach Week, we’ve got the best advice to help get you started. Remember you can beachcomb wherever you are on the UK coastline, whatever the beach type, location or weather, in fact it’s even better after a storm, which makes it perfect for the British climate! Just pack sensible shoes, waterproof clothing and a bucket and get exploring!

Click on the below links for more information, or let us know your beachcombing tops below!

Out to See – MCS Information sheet

Seawatching Essentials

There are 147 award-winning beaches in England this year flying the Blue Flag and Quality Coast Award.  These beaches are litter free, safe, well-managed, with great facilities.  The Blue Flag and Quality Coast Awards are run by Keep Britain Tidy in England, to find out which beaches are flying the flag this year visit the Keep Britain Tidy website http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/Programmes/Beaches/OurAward-winningBeaches/Default.aspx

5 strangest beach finds

As we’ve launched the new Beachcombing section on the cottages4you blog we thought we’d take a moment to look at some of the more unlikely items that have been discovered on beaches across the world in recent years.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found on a beach? Why not post it in the comments section below. We’ll send a prize to anyone who can top any of the examples below. Happy hunting!

1. A LEGO man.

Finding an abandoned LEGO man on the beach might not be too out of the ordinary, but we’re talking about a 6ft tall LEGO man, believed to have floated from the Netherlands. The plastic man mysteriously washed up on Brighton beach and his origins remain a mystery to this very day. Perhaps he found out the hard way that LEGO boats don’t actually float?

2. Driftwood.

We’re sure that driftwood is found on beaches all the time, but not to the levels that one Sussex beach received in 2008. Due to a shipwreck, 2,000 tonnes of timber washed up along 10 miles of shoreline. And while that sounds like the perfect opportunity for the world’s biggest beach hut, the wood was ruined from its spell in the sea, much to the disappointment of eager beachcombers.

3. Motorbikes and face cream.

When the stricken MSC Napoli offloaded 40 containers off the coast of Devon in 2007, we’re sure many beachcombers couldn’t believe their luck. Instead of crabs or messages in bottles, opportunists made off with over 50 BMW motorbikes, along with steering wheels and beauty cream. The authorities managed to reclaim most of the stolen bounty, so we can’t confirm if Devon is still known for its youthful looking bikers.

4. Meteorites.

Not all strange things found on beaches come from the sea. Earlier this year a meteorite was alleged to have landed on a beach in Tel-Aviv. Video of the incident shows a smoking object lying in the sand. But what could it be, signs of life on other planets or perhaps a novel way of reserving sun-loungers? We’re stocking up on beach-towels just in case!

5. Mermaids.

Equally strange, in 2006 photos of an incredibly scary mermaid, reportedly washed up on a Malaysian beach, spread across the web like wildfire. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) it was soon revealed to be a hoax by its creator who apparently couldn’t sell terrifying models made of plastic and fish parts (?!) without creating an elaborate back-story. We’re sure most people could have told him that. But perhaps strangest of all, the artist claims people are now buying his pieces!

Posted by Ben Webster, cottages4you.

Best Beaches for Dogs

They say that a dog is ‘man’s best friend’, so don’t leave your pooch behind this year when planning your summer break – take him with you to stay in one of cottages4you’s dog friendly properties.

Whether your dog likes long coastal walks, playing catch on the sands or splashing in the surf, there is a cottage perfect for you and your pet.

Danes Dyke, Yorkshire

This is a small sand and pebble beach near Bridlington which is dog friendly. The beach is reached through a woodland nature trail.

Stay at…

Teapot View


Property Reference: W42462

Standing opposite the village church, this traditional terraced cottage with original beams, exposed stonework and open fire, has been renovated to provide cosy holiday accommodation in the attractive village of Bempton.

An ideal location for exploring the coastal resorts of Bridlington, four miles and Filey, eight miles with their sandy Blue Flag beaches, where children can ride the donkeys.

Well Head Barn


Property Reference: 25484

Peacefully situated in the Yorkshire Wolds, this semi-detached, converted barn offers spacious holiday accommodation ideal for large families and groups of friends.

Renovated to a very good standard with exposed beams and stone flagged floors, the property enjoys modern day comforts, with well equipped kitchen, tastefully furnished bedrooms, high specification bathroom and en-suites, with multi-jet showers.

The location is perfect for walkers, with the Wolds Way running close by and the Howardian Hills and the North Yorkshire Moors, both home to a wealth of trails through stunning scenery.

All within a 45 minute drive are the traditional resorts of Scarborough, Bridlington and Filey with their long sandy beaches.

Rhossili Bay, Swansea

Rhossili Bay is located on the Gower Peninsular at the most westerly point and is a wide sandy beach with wonderful views.

Stay at…

Pont Aber Cottage


Property Reference: W42313

Pont-Aber Cottage is a beautiful semi-detached cottage for people seeking quality accommodation in peaceful surroundings. Set in the heart of the scenic Welsh countryside in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons.

The area offers stunning views, plenty of fresh clean mountain air and excellent walks with direct access to all the main peaks from the doorstep. This Welsh cottage is the perfect location for walkers, cyclist and those looking to get away from it all.

Tudor Cottage


Property Reference: W42600

This bright terraced cottage has been decorated and furnished to a good standard, and set in the quiet hamlet of Abergwili, just 10 minutes walk from the bustling town of Carmarthen.

Within easy reach of nearby facilities, Aberglasney gardens and the National Botanical Garden of Wales. Also close by is the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, the famous rugby ground of The Scarlets (Llanelli’s legendary team), and the Ffos Las Racecouse, just a 20-minute drive.

Perranporth, Cornwall

This is a two to three mile stretch of sandy beach backed by sand dunes inland and one of the most popular beaches in the area.

Stay at …

Greenmeadow – Oak Cottage


Property Reference: TH3

These five holiday cottages (TH3 – TH7) are situated in their own tree-lined meadow just minutes from the village centre. The village of Goonhavern is under 10 minutes from the main A30 making it the ideal base to explore and discover the charms of the Cornish coast and countryside. The holiday cottages all have shared use of a barbecue, patio area and children’s adventure playground.

Penanarth, Newquay, Cornwall


Property Reference: GWU

Only a mile from Newquay’s famous surfing beaches, this comfortable holiday property has its own little garden and is within 300 yards of a swimming pool and sports centre.

Within half a mile of many attractions, including a zoo, pub, tennis, riding, golf and Newquay’s Leisure Gardens.

The town also offers a choice of magnificent sandy and sheltered beaches, as well as restaurants, shops, a railway station, cinema and theatre.

Wonderful coastal walking and inland touring pleasures are added attractions of the area.

Britain’s Best Coastal Walks

With summer in full swing why not make the most of the weather and take a walk along one of Britain’s best coastal paths?

cottages4you is launching its third beachcombing campaign, and this year we’re encouraging people to enjoy everything that Britain’s beaches have to offer. Beachcombing consists of searching the beach for washed up items, the perfect pastime for some summer holiday fun. What’s more, it’s free and can be done at any beach whatever the weather!

cottages4you has got a wide range of properties perfectly placed to enjoy walks along some of the UK’s most stunning scenic routes. So for walking and beachcombing, whatever takes your fancy, take a look at our selection below for a beachcombing break with a difference.

Formonthills Farm- But ‘n’ Ben, Leslie, Fife


Property reference: 19129

This charming 200 year old rural property is privately set within 220 acres of Woodland Trust land and surrounded by the Fife Regional Park. With magnificent views of the surrounding countryside to the Firth of Forth and wonderful walks from the doorstep, this is an undiscovered gem.

Fully modernised and furnished, this property makes an ideal base for exploring the Fife coastal path or for a peaceful retreat. The property offers easy access to all areas of St Andrews and its renowned array of golf courses, excellent theatres and good variety of shops, all within 30 minutes’ drive.

Blue House Cottage, Elsdon, Northumberland


Property Reference: MNV

Set in the heart of the historic village of Elsdon, within the Northumberland National Park, this unique and beautifully presented cottage overlooks the village green: rumoured to be one of the largest in England, with its 13th-century church and 15th-century pele tower.

This is a wonderful touring area with easy access to the Craster to Dunstaburgh coastal walk, as well as the Borders, Kielder Water and Hadrian’s Wall all within easy reach.

Mill Pool View, North Elmham, Norfolk

Property Reference: CXF

Elmham Mill stands in a stunning location, straddling the River Wensum. Mill Pool View lies on the second floor with a wonderful view of the mill pond, gardens and surrounding countryside.

Guests can relax in the shared grounds or find a quiet spot along the riverbank for a picnic; an ideal place to enjoy the abundant birds and wildlife. Centrally located for exploring the North Norfolk Coast, Norfolk Broads and fine City of Norwich, all within an hour’s drive.

Mallows, Seaford


Property reference: 25697

This welcoming holiday property is only a quarter mile from Seaford, a quaint seaside resort located at the foot of the South Downs (now designated a National Park). There are superb walks close by with plenty of wildlife and birds, and Brighton is only 20 minutes by train.

The Seven Sisters Country Park, South Downs Way or Paradise Park are all within easy reach, as are the far reaching views and coastal walks along Beachy Head. Golf, riding, hang-gliding and wine-tasting can also all be enjoyed nearby.

Enjoy the best UK surfing beaches

With over 250,000 surfers in the UK, it’s an increasingly popular activity amongst holidaymakers. cottages4you has picked out three of the best beaches for surfing in the UK with recommendations of self-catering cottages to come home to after an awesome day riding the waves.

Bude Beach, North Cornwall

Bude beach is a golden sandy beach surrounded by rock pools and green hills. This beach is perfect for surfing beginners, and is a popular location due to the waves along the entire length of the bay. The beach is also ideal for family outings as it caters for all beach activities. Lifeguards in attendance May to September. RNLI Lifeguard service May to September.

Nearby properties:


Wagon House, St. Gennys, Bude

Property Reference: W42059

Whether surfing, walking the coastal path, playing golf, fishing or simply relaxing, this stunning holiday location has something for everyone. The popular resort of Bude with its excellent surfing offering lies just 10 miles away, and has an excellent range of shops and restaurants, many specialising in locally caught seafood, along with tennis, riding, indoor splash pool, bowling and sandy beaches.

Fairchild Cottage, in Woolsery, nr. Clovelly, North Devon

Property Reference: HAAX

Located on farmland in the midst of rural Devonshire countryside, this property is just a short drive away from the villages of Bucks Mills, Clovelly and Hartland. Nearby Bideford is famed for its historic port, weekly markets and boat trips to Lundy Island. Just a fifteen minute drive away is Bude with its fabulous beaches.

Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth, Dorset

Renowned for its clean beaches and safe surfing, fresh winds can create waves in a few hours in Bournemouth, making the coastline popular for a range of surfing styles including bodysurfing and longboarding. Boscombe Pier is Marine Conservation Society recommended and is just 220m offshore from Boscombe Surf Reef – Europe’s first artificial surf reef. Bournemouth Surf School is just 500m from Boscombe Pier, and is the only British Surfing Association Centre of Excellence based on the South Coast, and the closest to London. RNLI Lifeguard Service May to September.

Nearby properties:


Oakleigh, Holt

Property Reference: 23799

This detached holiday bungalow is idylically situated within the peaceful location of Holt Forest, just north of the quaint minster town of Wimborne. Holt Forest and adjacent Holt Wood are two separate areas of ancient woodland which form part of the 488 hectare Holt Heath National Nature Reserve, which also includes one of Dorset’s largest remaining areas of lowland heathland. Holt Heath National Nature Reserve is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest; so this is a wonderfully diverse location for wildlife, walking, cycling and riding. Boscombe Pier is about a half hour’s drive from this property making it easily accessible for a day’s surfing at the beach.

Purbeck Cottage, Wimborne Minster, nr. Poole

Property Reference: W42023

This detached barn conversion is set in a glorious two acres of stunning lawned gardens. Just eight miles away are the Blue Flag beaches at Sandbanks, Poole and Bournemouth, while many coastal walks can be enjoyed in the Purbecks (15 miles), with Swanage Steam Railway, Corfe Castle (NT) and Studland Beach. The New Forest – with its famous ponies that roam freely – is within easy driving distance.

Saltburn, Cleveland, North-East England

Saltburn is a sand and shingle beach backed by a promenade and with a pier. Standing as one of the original centres of the north-east surf scene, great beach breaks can be easily found either side of the pier which work best at high tide and which are well-suited to beginners and intermediates. There is also a surf shop on the beach front which offers the opportunity for visitors to experience the pleasures of surfing, boogie boarding, surf skiing or windsurfing. Lifeguard service May to September, 10am to 5pm.

Nearby properties:


Jasmine Cottage, Saltburn-by-the-sea

Property Reference: W41092

Situated just a short walk from the sea front, this terraced cottage is in close proximity to the headland and benefits from the beach lift to take you down onto the sands. Saltburn has a good range of shops, pubs and restaurants, and the lovely Victorian railway station, along with the nearby bandstand, children’s playground and a riverside walk through rose gardens to Rushpool Hall, giving you plenty to explore here without using your car. The whole heritage coastline is waiting to be discovered also with Staithes, Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby all being popular days out.

Thistle-Doo Nicely, Staithes, nr. Whitby


Property Reference: 14379

In an elevated position with views across the quaint fishing village of Staithes, this four storey fisherman’s holiday cottage stands just 100 yards from the beach. 10 miles to Whitby with its Benedictine Abbey, Captain Cook’s house, museum and marina. Inland the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, scene of ’Heartbeat’ with walking and choice of pubs. Shops and pubs within 100 yards.

Britain’s Best Beach? – Porthcurno, ‘Bay of Cornwall’

Porthcurno

Porthcurno

The summer holidays are fast approaching and with many of us about to embark on a “staycation” we consider the question, ‘What is Britain’s best beach?’. Porthcurno, situated in Cornwall just a few miles to the east of Land’s End, must be close to the top of the list. This historic and virtually unspoiled location plays host to dolphins and basking sharks during the summer months. With its crystal azure water set against golden sands, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were abroad.  Locals insist that this area enjoys a ‘micro-climate’ and with shelter in its ‘lagoon like’ bay, the sun lights up the coastline on what is a jewel in Cornwall’s ‘crown’.

This is indeed is an idyllic setting but the tranquillity masks an illustrious past as Porthcurno enjoyed fame towards the end of the nineteenth century as its quiet shores became the site for Britain’s telegraph links to the rest of the world. The strategic importance of Porthcurno continued through the twentieth century and it is strange to think that such a beautiful location could be fortified with flame throwers but these precautions were  implemented during the Second World War. Today, with the flame throwers long gone, visitors can explore and learn more at the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. With nearby Sennen Cove and the exquisite St Ives a short drive to the north, this part of south west Cornwall is a delight and has much to offer inquisitive guests.

Logan's Rock

Logan's Rock

With its stunning bay surrounded by jagged cliffs, Porthcurno is also the home to the Minack Theatre. Carved into the cliffs this outdoor amphitheatre was the vision of Rowena Cade whose dedication has left us with one of the most amazing theatres in the country. Productions run throughout the summer and there truly cannot be a more fascinating backdrop to watch plays such as ‘The Tempest’ or ‘A Mid-summers Night’s Dream’.  If you do not intend to take in a show, then a visit during the day is still worthwhile in order to appreciate this unique cultural treasure. The view across the bay is inspiring in itself. The walk from the top of the Minack across the beach and over the cliff’s to Logan Rock is breathtaking. If you are lucky you will spot dolphins playing in the bay or maybe lumbering basking sharks as they pass Cornwall on mass during their migratory trail in early summer. If this sounds like too much hard work, then there is of course the beach.

Clear Blue Water

Clear Blue Water

Owned by the National Trust the beach at Porthcurno is timeless. On a recent visit I over-heard an American visitor say, “I have been to Tahiti and I have never seen water this blue”.  There is a sapphire quality to the water which is transfixing. The retreat of the tide lightens the blue vista even more giving it an almost tropical like appearance. The beach itself is lifeguarded throughout the summer and is sheltered on both sides by rising cliffs. This is certainly not the Pacific but it is a beautiful example of the British coastline at its best. We should be proud of our heritage and remember that Britain has a lot to offer and has beaches to rival any in the world.

Beachcombing finds; Bath toys on a journey

In January 1992, a cargo container carrying 29,000 bath toys was washed off a ship from Hong Kong bound for Washington, US. Ten months later, flotillas of plastic ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers began to appear bath duckson beaches in Sitka, Alaska. Many got caught up in the Subpolar Gyre, a current that runs from Sitka across the North Pacific to the far east of Russia and back again – a journey of 6,800 nautical miles. Over the past 16 years, the toys have continued to wash up in Alaska, but some have broken free and pitched up, faded white with exposure, in Hawaii and Maine. In 2003, a plastic frog made it all the way to the west coast of Scotland. Some of the toys are still thought to be in the water – giving oceanographers a unique way of studying the oceans’ currents.

Beachcombing ; Top 5 Tips

Our top 5 tips for beach combing:beachcombin

  1. Get the right tools. Creating your own kit is easy. You just need a stick for turning things over, a net for picking things up or rinsing the sand away and small bottles or containers for keeping fragile items in.
  2. Start with the high water line. But remember to look everywhere – you never know what you might be missing!
  3. Examine everything closely. Objects are not always as they appear – driftwood and seaweed may have a treasure hiding it in, a bottle could have a note inside!
  4. Always check for writing and markings – you may be able to track the owner.
  5. Be patient. It may take a little while so be sure to walk for 30mins – 1 hour before you expect to find anything.

Safety Tips

Being out there on the beach, please take into account some safety tips:

  • We recommend that you wear sensible footwear
  • Keep an eye on the tide
  • Beware of slippery or loose rocks
  • Wear sunscreen!
  • Stay clear of unstable cliffs
  • Beware of suspicious objects particularly anything metal or glass