1. The Gurnard’s Heads, St Ives, Cornwall
Right on the very tip of Cornwalls toe, at the end of a pretty, winding road, lies The Gurnard’s Head. The long journey down will be worth it when, pint in hand, you look out over the vast Atlantic, take in the sea air and feel yourself relax instantly. Theres no need to rush back, either, as this family-run pub also offers locally sourced food and comfortable beds for a grat nights sleep by the sea.
2. Victoria Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire
The public bar of this cliff-top hotel, built in 1897, is a wonderful spot to get in a few rounds. With a warm and friendly atmosphere, it hosts regular quiz nights and theres a roaring fire on colder nights. But it comes into its own in the summer, as the large beer garden looks out over the fantastic sweep of Robin Hood’s Bay. Listen to th waves crash below as you sup on ales from the local area after a long satisfying day of exploring the North Yorkshire Heritage coastline.
3. The Applecross Inn, Applecross, Wester Ross
This friendly inn has a disclaimer on its website that says it all: “We would like to remind residents that the Applecross Inn is a lively bar and does generate some noise.” Live music and merriment aside, this pub ticks all the boxes – from views across to the mountains of Skye to tasty seafood and cosy rooms.
4. The Coastguard, St Margarets Bay, Kent
Playfully describing itself as “between the bottom of the hill and the deep blue sea”, this is actually the closest British pub to France. Mobile signal can be patchy, forcing you to forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in tranquility for a change. The beer garden and terrace stretches right down to the shingle beach and the 21 miles of Channel to Calais, so theres plenty of room to enjoy the best of the British beers on offer.
5. The Ship Inn, Low Newton by the Sea, Northumberland
This cosy, traditional inn, run by a mother and daughter team, is all stone walls and big wooden tables. Its only a stones throw from Dunstanburgh castle, and theres a population of seals not too far away (apparantly you can hear their calls on a clear night). A micro-brewery has been producing ales on site since 2008 – perfect for sampling in the beer garden while looking out to sea.
6. Pentre Arms Hotel, Llangrannog, Ceredigion
The fishing village of Llangrannog has a strong maritime tradition going back hundreds of years, and those strong links live on in this wave-battered but solid slate and stone pub, just across the road from the sea. Set among the dramatic cliffs and headlands of the Ceredigion coastal path, its a great base for exploring Wild Wales.
7. The Ship Inn, Rye, East Sussex
Perfectly located at the bottom of Mermaid Street and only a few streets from the seafront, this trendy inn really embraces its connection to the sea. Now a rustic, 10-bedroom inn, it has a long history of sailors and smugglers – it was used as a warehouse for seized goods during the 16th century.
8. Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills, Dorset
Watch the sunset over the sea with pint in hand, away from the bustle of nearby Weymouth. Great beers in a dark-beamed, nooked and crannied hostelry that seethes with history – and merriment. This is a perfect pit-stop along the Dorset coastal paths, and offers great views over to the Isle of Purbeck. Its also an ideal spot for lunch before heading down to the beach – pub classics are lovingly crafted from fresh ingredients.
9. Smugglers Den, Morecambe, Lancashire
This cosy den is full of nooks and crannies and covered in nautical artefacts. The oldest pub in Morcambe, it dates back to the 1600s and is apparantly haunted. The name comes from the local story that there is a secret tunnel leading from the pub to the beach.
10. The Anchor Inn, Morston, Norfolk
Fine ales and great, fresh food are on offer at this recently refurbished pub run by two young enthusiasts. The building – a haven for 19th century smugglers – has a long past. Its also a great place to join the nearby seal-watching tours.