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The summer holidays have arrived, and if you’re planning to stay at home it’s not too late to book a cottage break, although finding a bargain may prove difficult.
Fear not, we’ve done some digging and found a range of accommodation with flexible booking policies, in or near to some of the top-rated seaside towns in the UK (as rated by Which? readers). One stay in the foothills of epic Snowdonia is as cheap as £71 per night.
From a 70s-style clifftop cottage overlooking Ventnor beach on the Isle of Wight, to a modern converted Cornish barn, there are still accommodation deals to be found.
Each stay is with an accommodation or cottage provider that has a good flexible-booking policy.
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Last-minute seaside holiday to Ventnor, Isle of Wight
Little Chert, Ventnor, £281 per night, sleeps 2
What this quirky abode lacks in size, it makes up for in its location. Thanks to its position on a wooded clifftop, there are beautiful views out to sea, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your lounge.
Just over a mile’s walk away downhill is Ventnor, nestled into the steep cliffs of St Boniface Down. Here you can catch the surf or stretch out on the sand-and-shingle beach. The town’s array of cafes and bars are situated behind the beach promenade, so it’s not far to stroll when you’re feeling peckish.
This compact guest annexe has a bright 70s-inspired interior and a pull-down double bed.
Ventnor is a well-rated seaside town by Which? readers – see how it scored in our full seaside town results table
Last-minute seaside holiday to Llandudno, Conwy (Wales)
Luxury Sea View Apartment, Llandudno, £283 per night, sleeps 3
Located in the centre of the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno, this apartment is just a one-minute walk from the seafront. A host of coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and pubs are also within walking distance. If you’d prefer to eat in though, the kitchen is well-equipped and comes complete with a Lavazza coffee machine.
Llandudno retains a classic seaside charm, complete with a pier and promenade backed by a row of pastel-coloured houses. There are plenty of activities and attractions nearby too. You can visit the prehistoric copper mines (Great Orme Mines) dating back to the Bronze Age, or ride the Llandudno Cable Car.
Last-minute seaside holiday to Criccieth, Gwynedd (Wales)
Aran, Beddgelert, £71 per night, sleeps 2
This accommodation is all about its location, surrounded by walking trails and stunning Welsh scenery. If you’re a keen hiker, the Watkin path up Snowdon begins in the next village along.
If it’s the seaside you’re after, Criccieth beach is 11 miles away. The crescent of sand and shingle is dominated at the western end by an imposing medieval castle ruin that sits on the headland. It’s no surprise that the town was awarded five out of five stars for scenery in our seaside town survey.
The accommodation itself, while smart and welcoming, is compact, with a bed on the mezzanine level that has low beams, so might not suited to taller guests. Kitchen facilities are limited – however, Beddgelert is just a mile’s walk away, where you’ll find several cafes and pubs.
National Trust was well rated in our cottage provider survey – see full results to help you pick who to book your next cottage break with
Last-minute seaside holiday to Dartmouth, Devon
Rose Cottage, Dartmouth, £389 per night, sleeps 4
This three-storey, period, terraced house has been renovated to a high standard. While the property itself is lovely – with views from the bedrooms overlooking a historic church – its location is even better as it sits in the heart of Dartmouth.
Dartmouth came second in our recent seaside town survey. While there is no beach, you can instead enjoy its various independent boutiques and art galleries, as well as restaurants and pubs overlooking the River Dart.
If you choose to eat back at home, there is a kitchen and a breakfast bar to enjoy meals at, but no other dining area.
Be aware that you will be able to hear the bells ring from the nearby church every hour – even during the night – so it’s perhaps not the ideal spot for light sleepers.
Last-minute holiday to Falmouth, Cornwall
Chenhalls Barn, Maenporth, £449.75 per night, sleeps 5
This barn has been tastefully converted into spacious accommodation for five people. The views from your garden as well as your first-floor living room over Falmouth Bay are stunning.
If you fancy a dip in the sea on a sunny day, Grebe Beach is less than two miles away, and a nearby footpath will take you there. Further along the path is the exotic Glendurgan Garden. Entry would be free, as you’ll be staying in this National Trust property.
If you’re keen to explore a well-rated seaside town, Falmouth is less than 15 minutes by car. It has a picturesque harbour, as well as Gyllyngvase, an arc of sandy beach where you can stretch out on hot summer days.
Last-minute holiday to Sidmouth, Devon
The Granary, Sidford, £475 per night, sleeps 5
This picturesque farm cottage is ideal for five friends to share, as it will work out as £95 per person per night.
Although the pretty wisteria-covered accommodation doesn’t have a garden, you can make use of the grounds, where you’ll find a tennis court and table tennis table.
Around one mile away is the village of Sidford, which has a handful of shops and pubs. But travel two more miles to reach Sidmouth – known as the gateway to the Jurassic Coast – England’s only natural World Heritage Site.
Here, you can grab an ice cream from the high street before stretching out on the sand-and-shingle beach. You’ll be flanked by scenic red cliffs which are more than 200 million years old and of great geological importance.
Airbnb didn’t come top of the table in our recent cottage provider survey – see how it fared. However, it does provide some accommodation with flexible policies. Use the free cancellation filter to locate more flexible properties in case your circumstances change closer to your holiday.