Our favourite hotels on the UK's South Coast
Now is a great time to bag a discounted UK break. To help you make the most of autumn, we've rounded up a selection of our favourite hotels on the south coast.
Sands Hotel - Margate, Kent
Why we love it: According to The Daily Telegraph, "this is the best hotel in Margate". Housed in a lovingly-restored Victorian townhouse, this seaside spot boasts a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant and its own gelato shop. Be sure to try the passionfruit daiquiri or cherry and amaretto flavours, or sample "Pirate Punch" rum cocktails on the roof overlooking Margate's sandy beach.
This town - a top-of-the-list holiday destination in Victorian times - is home to the £18-million Turner Contemporary gallery and Dreamland, one of Britain’s oldest fairgrounds. Both attractions are five minutes' walk from the hotel.
Price: from £130 per night
Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant - Lyme Regis, Dorset
Why we love it: Perched on a hilltop with views of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast, this hotel is "a balance between comfortable seaside holiday home and charming boutique hotel", says Condé Nast Johansens. You can tuck into a selection of West Country cheeses on the terrace, which has far-reaching views across the bay, or take a 10-minute stroll down to the beach for a day of sandcastle-building and rock-pooling.
Price: from £180 per night
Stanwell House Hotel - Lymington, Hampshire
Why we love it: The Georgian harbour town of Lymington was once a honeypot for smugglers looking to hide goods in nearby caves, but today it's an affluent town with independent boutiques, delis and a multitude of white masts in the marina. Stanwell House Hotel is on Lymington's high street, and it holds three AA Silver Stars for its superior level of service.
The 2-AA-Rosette bistro restaurant serves fresh New Forest produce, and no less than 25 gins feature on the bar menu. You'll be half a mile from the rugged beauty of the New Forest National Park and one mile from Lymington's ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight.
Price: from £129 per night
Hotel du Vin & Bistro - Brighton, East Sussex
Why we love it: Set a stone's throw from Brighton's beach, between the old and new piers, Hotel du Vin & Bistro is in the oldest part of town. The 4-star hotel is made up of a cluster of mock Tudor and gothic-style buildings, and the restaurant serves homely French cuisine in the smart bistro or under the vine-covered pergola in the courtyard.
The new pier is less than eight minutes' walk away, and The Royal Pavilion is a 10-minute stroll along the seafront. You will also be a few minutes' walk from the Choccywoccydoodah chocolaterie, made famous by its imaginative cake designs and television show.
Price: from £99 per night
The Ship Hotel - Chichester, West Sussex
Why we love it: "This well-presented, Grade II-listed Georgian property occupies a prime position" in the centre of Chichester, according to The AA Hotel Guide 2017. With a 900-year-old cathedral, an attractive town and an impressive collection of art showcased at the Pallant House Gallery, there's plenty to keep you entertained all year round.
You can drive 10 minutes and see Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its boating creeks and barely-disturbed wilderness, and the mosaics at Fishbourne Roman Palace are also worth a trip (less than 10 minutes' drive away).
Price: from £109 per night
Devonshire Park Hotel - Eastbourne, East Sussex
Why we love it: This Victorian townhouse offers a seaside stay with the comforts you expect at a family-run property. You'll be a short walk from Eastbourne's pebble beach and pier, which is backed by a promenade of whitewashed townhouses and hotels from a bygone age.
You’ll also be 10 minutes' drive from Beachy Head and the iconic Sussex Heritage Coast. Here you can see the decommissioned Belle Tout Lighthouse, or take in the chalky brilliance of the Seven Sisters cliffs.
Price: from £90 per night
Lulworth Cove Inn - West Lulworth, Dorset
Why we love it: Lulworth Cove Inn is on the Purbeck Heritage Coast, a 5-minute drive from Durdle Door and St Oswald's Bay. If you walk downhill past the row of quaint pastel-coloured fudge and ice cream shops, you'll come to Lulworth Cove - a turquoise inlet formed around 10,000 years ago and surrounded by towering cliffs.
You can join the South West Coast Path from opposite the Boat Shed Café; it will take you along the top of the cliffs to Fossil Forest, a petrified cypress forest once roamed by dinosaurs.
Price: from £105 per night
Hythe Imperial Hotel - Hythe, Kent
Why we love it: Constructed in 1880 as a railway hotel, this property is set along Hythe's long stretch of shingle beach. You can dine in the AA-Rosette-awarded Coast Restaurant, sip champagne cocktails in the Moët & Chandon Bar or enjoy a round of golf on the 9-hole course (other facilities include a gym, a spa, a sauna and a swimming pool).
There are reminders of Hythe's military past everywhere here - the Royal Military Canal runs behind the hotel, and keep an eye out for the Martello Towers, which were built as a defence against a Napoleonic invasion. You’ll also be 10 minutes' drive from Folkestone and 20 minutes' drive from Dover's port.
Price: from £62 per night