Dinah Hatch

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There's something indefinably relaxing about being near water – looking at it, eating in front of it or swimming in it. With that in mind, I've listed ten of my favourite places to enjoy the lapping of waves and the tinkle of boat masts - all of course, with something cool and crisp to drink close to hand…
The Waterside Hotel

With such a doozy of a location, on Eastbourne's Royal Parade right in front of this lovely seaside town's beaches, it's no wonder the hotel owners have decided to make the most of their fortuitous position – cue sea-view bath tubs, Jacuzzis and telescopes in some of the fancier rooms. And if you are of a mind to tackle some of the gorgeous coastal walks in this part of the world (we recommend Beachy Head to Birling Gap), the hotel provides backpacks with maps to save you the bother. If getting your hair all messed under a bobble hat and clodding around in walking shoes isn't your bag, simply install yourself in front of one of the lovely bay windows with a glass of something relaxing and drink in the floral displays (for which this town is famous) and the lapping ocean.

Salthouse Harbour Hotel

Hugely luxuriant and decadent (who can resist a copper roll top bath?), the Salthouse sits on the harbour in Ipswich and positively exudes urban sophistication, from the mood-lighting and citrus sofas to the miles and miles of yacht masts that make up your view. This former warehouse has garnered some serious style awards in recent years – you only have to pop up to the penthouse to admire the outrageously cool floor to ceiling windows with birds eye views of the boats bobbing around outside to realise someone thought very hard about the layout of this place. Admittedly, a dip in the harbour is ill-advised but you've a sprinkling of lovely unspoilt beaches a cycle ride away.

Knockinaam Lodge

The small country house hotel Knockinaam Lodge sits in 30 acres of landscaped gardens which stretch down to a private beach just a few miles from Stranraer and Portpatrick. When you sweep up to its drive, you pretty much feel like you have discovered some wonderful little secret and that feeling continues as you wind your way through the glorious gardens until you get that first, uplifting sight of the romantic Irish Sea. There are just ten suites here and attention at this traditional, wood-panelled period property is firmly placed on the guest and good service. Ask about pony trekking on the Solway beaches – a rare treat in this blissfully quiet part of the world.

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