Blake’s Bar and Terrace, at Beachcroft Hotel on the West Sussex coast, opening for coffee in the morning and moving on to bistro dining is more than an idyllic spot. The bar is a tribute to William Blake, the artist, poet and visionary who loved the serene views over Felpham Beach to the sea. “Heaven opens here on all sides her golden gates”, Blake wrote to a friend in 1800.
If Blake returned to his beloved Felpham today he would think that Felpham had enjoyed a rather luxurious upgrade. Four beach hut suites, spread over three levels, by Ivon Blumer architects, redefine the humble beach hut. At Beachcroft Hotel the beach hut has become a work of art.
Merely yards from the shingle that leads down to a sandy beach, the huts have decking with sublime sea views. Sea gulls call. Waves break on the shore for a relaxing bedtime lullaby.
Opt to have continental breakfast delivered and you can eat on the decking terrace looking out over the English Channel. Gentle sea breezes rustle the palm trees by the side of the four duck-egg blue clapperboard huts. Terraces are private as the four huts – Beach, Sand, Pebble and Shell – are in a strategically staggered formation.
Located on a 7 mile coastal trail, there is always a temptation to take a stroll along the sea-front or hire a bike from the hotel. Guests are given a booklet of local walks for those wishing to explore further afield: Chichester Harbour, Littlehampton, The South Downs National Park and Worthing.
Inside the huts, Kathleen Turner’s acclaimed design captures the retro spirit of the great British getaway. A palette of blues, above light wooden floors, are bright and breezy. Bi-fold doors, and a porthole above, illuminate the lounge with coastal light.
On a mezzanine floor, the master bedroom, with a big white linen dressed bed is in line with that porthole. Immediately below on the ground floor is a small bunk room, ideal for two children. It comes with primary colours buckets and spades. Just in case the children wake-up and forget where they are.
Guests are welcomed with a decanter of sloe gin, a bottle of dry white wine chilling in the mini SMEG fridge and fresh milk. Ready for coffee from the coffee maker or a mug of tea.
That is as far as the self-catering goes. For dinner, guests can choose between the Tamarisk Restaurant, Monty’s Bar or, in good weather, Blake’s Bar and Terrace. The menus feature classic British favourites of beef, chicken and lamb. Though within yards of the ocean sea-food is a tempting ocean. Perhaps scallops with a black pudding crumb as a starter? Then a sea-bream fillet with roasted heritage tomatoes on risotto?
In fact, the West Sussex coast and its environs are becoming quite a draw for foodies. The Artisan Bakehouse offers small classes for those wishing to hone their baking skills. A day’s Four Grain course introduces bakers to the different types of flour available – and the kneading techniques required.
Bread guru and author, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, teaches several courses. His sourdough introduction is so popular that many bread scholars return for his two-day sourdough master class. Classes feature Mediterranean breads, Viennoiserie and seasonal breads for Christmas and Easter. Look out for the occasional artisan chocolate making class too.
Another foodie experience, taking guests right back to the source, is provided by Fins and Forks. This is bait to plate fly fishing near Arundel. Guests have a guided fishing session, an afternoon in the smokehouse kitchen, followed by a fish themed meal.
The South Downs National Park is a renowned Dark Skies venue, even hosting its own Dark Skies Festival. From stargazing, astrophotography, nightscape walks, nocturnal wildlife and dark skies events, there are wonderful opportunities to make the most of the West Sussex skies.
Featuring retro artwork, the sun-drenched colours of railway posters from the 1920s and 1930s, the Beach Huts revive the golden age of the Great British seaside holiday. In those bygone days travellers would leave Victoria Station at 7.01 and catch a return train at 18.00 for a day at the beach. Nowadays, the car gives visitors a chance to explore so much more of the countryside and West Sussex coast.
Glorious West Sussex coast and country fact file
For more on the beach huts see Beachcroft-hotel.co.uk.
Find out more about The Artisan Bakehouse’s range of courses.
Find your fishing and food experience at finsandforks.co.uk.
If you enjoyed Glorious West Sussex coast and country, you’ll find more of Michael’s UK getaway reviews on our Travel channel.Tags: Michael Edwards, West Sussex Last modified: March 10, 2022