We’re just back from a blustery, invigorating weekend by the sea: at Seashell Cottage, a Sykes Cottages property in Deal, Kent.
Do you know Deal? It’s a small town not far from Dover, on the east side of Kent. I’ve posted about the food we sampled in Deal here, and I’ve also posted eight more reasons to love the place. For now I wanted to tell you about Seashell Cottage, a cosy fisherman’s dwelling just a hop and a skip away from the sea.
When we arrived in Deal on Friday, it was after sunset, and the cottage’s narrow, quaint street was very dark. Luckily, the owner had advised us to take a torch or smartphone to see our way into the house. A few hours after the booking was made with Sykes Cottages, he had emailed and texted me a pack of information, about getting into the house, as well as detailed pointers about parking, and a little potted history of the dwelling.
Seashell Cottage is made up of two homes in Deal’s pretty conservation area. They were built around the turn of the 19th century, and probably used to belong to fishermen – or ‘sprat-wafflers’, as seafarers living in this part of town were known.
The two large wooden doors on either side of the room above led on to separate staircases, both going up to the bedrooms. They were steep, so people with mobility issues would find it difficult to stay at Seashell Cottage, but for our two kids the double staircases were lots of fun. We never quite knew which one they would pop out of when playing the ‘I don’t want to go to sleep’ game in the evening….
The downstairs living space was open plan, with a retro table for eating traditional British seaside grub…
or for playing with jigsaws and board games.
Seashell Cottage was well-stocked with games, books and DVDs.
The cottage’s stash of entertainment fodder would come into its own during a longer stay. You could quite easily while away a stormy afternoon in the cottage’s downstairs space.
The kichen was kitted out for a family, with a dishwasher, small fridge, oven and a motley selection of pots, pans and cutlery for rustling up hearty meals. There were even dishwasher tablets and washing-up liquid waiting for us, although I’m not sure whether those are provided as standard, or were just left over from the previous guests. Tin foil, clingfilm and washing-up cloths were to be found in cupboards; you can’t take these for granted in self-catering accommodation, so it was good not to have to rush out and buy them when we wanted to cover up our leftover salad.
There was one downstairs bathroom, where the ‘nautical chic’ style running through the entire house was most noticable.
Little reminders of Seashell Cottage’s location – ie 30 yards from the beach – were everywhere.
Upstairs, you could hear the waves from the small bedroom, on the landing:
and from the generously sized master bedroom.
The master bed was big; a super-kingsize, at a guess. Although Seashell Cottage housed our small family comfortably, if you were a couple who wanted a romantic getaway, the place would be cosy enough for two, without feeling as though you were rattling around in the place.
The second double bedroom was set back from the sea.
When we arrived, we tried to work out what its window overlooked:
In the morning, we found out: a small courtyard, with a utility space for a washing machine and tumble dryer.
We didn’t use the courtyard while we were there. As we only had two full days, we went out and about, to make the most of what Deal had to offer on our short trip: a market, the castle (which I’ve posted about here) and of course, the sea.
Here it is, from the master bedroom (I leaned out of the window to take this image). So close!
Our children don’t go to the seaside that often, so we piled onto the beach both on the grey Saturday:
and on the gloriously sunny Sunday. We spent a lot of time just throwing stones into the waves. Big smiles all round.
Storm Imogen was working its way into the UK mainland on Sunday evening, which made for a noisy, gale-filled night, but apart from that we were lucky with the weather. A UK seaside holiday in February is always a gamble, but I’ve posted before about how, if you prepare in the right way, the winter coast can be just as pleasant as in warmer months. Even more so, perhaps.
And the blustery, chilly nights in Deal gave us the perfect excuse to cosy up with Seashell Cottage’s wood burner (fuel was provided).
Here is what our children thought of Seashell Cottage, and a whistlestop tour of the place:
Sykes Cottages‘ prices vary according to the season, but for a weekend (three nights) in February, during term time, Seashell Cottage costs £269. For a selection of other family-friendly accommodation in the UK, check out this post by Wandermust Family.
Getting there: Deal is 9 miles from Dover, off the A2. Direct trains run regularly from Charing Cross and Kings Cross in London.
Seashell Cottage is in Deal’s conservation area, to the north of the town. It is about a 10-minute walk from Deal Castle, which I’ve posted about here, and six minutes from the main shopping area.
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Disclosure: Sykes Cottages offered us a three-night weekend stay for the purpose of this review. All views are my own.