Beautiful beach huts in Essex
- Credit: Archant
A day beside the seaside has an added dimension with the help of an attractive beach hut. Holly Eells went in search of some of best beach huts Essex has to offer
Beach huts have long been a part of the seaside scene and with Essex boasting many award-winning beaches across its coastline, there are many perfect places to escape to and create some fond memories.
Anna Baria, owner of Happy Hut in Dovercourt Bay in Harwich, believes that the beautiful Dovercourt Beach has everything you could want for a relaxing day at the seaside. Anna moved to Harwich with her three children two years ago, after her husband died, and considers a beach hut to be the ideal escape from daily life.
‘I love a beach hut,’ says Anna. ‘It’s a little fantasy, a home away from home where you don’t have to decorate sensibly. In fact, the wackier the better as far as I’m concerned. For me it is like my own life-size Wendy House that I live in, full of childish, colourful, nonsense items.’
Following difficult times, leading to her relocation to the area as a single mother with her three young children, Anna and her family have found happiness in this aptly-named hut. With a red and white polka dot exterior that would not be out of place in a fairytale illustration and a more traditional pastel interior, this hut features carefully selected objects which add to its happy, seaside vibe. The innovative style has not gone unnoticed as Happy Hut is currently one of the top ten finalists in with a chance of winning the title of Beach Hut of the Year — the biggest beach hut competition in the UK.
‘I’ve spent the past two years transforming it into the explosion of colour and “kitschiness” that it has now become. The front comes down like a drawbridge and creates the decking at the front of the hut. It was very basic and minimal when I first purchased it, and while the hut itself was a real feat of engineering when it was first built, inside it was drab and purely functional. I have regular passers by coming up to me and saying how beautiful they think the hut is and asking if they can look inside,’ says Anna.
She adds: ‘I love it here and I have made some lovely friends. The front of the hut has double-glazed windows and single-glazed doors, making it perfect to use all year round. Why waste the winter sunshine, I say, when you can be snug and cosy inside with a hot mug of tea, watching the ships sail by?’
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Essex is truly a county steeped in history and infused with unique architectural, historic and natural treasures, encapsulating everything that is great about the outstanding coast. The county has a coastline of more than 350 miles, fronted by verdant marshlands and charming creeks. For a nation that loves nothing more than a day beside the seaside, the Essex coast has it all, with Mersea Island one of the many highlights.
Jane Ashmore purchased her luxury, award-winning Beach Hut of the Year 2015 in Mersea Island with her mum more than 15 years ago. Jane says: ‘I have always loved beach huts and being near the sea, I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. My fondest memories are sharing my time with the children and enjoying long relaxing days just playing on the beach and having picnics and ice creams before heading off home with two very tired little ones. Beach huts are a great asset that can be enjoyed by the whole family – from babies to grandparents. It’s about spending quality time together and making special memories.’
Jane adds: ‘We go all year round. Boxing Day is a favourite time of mine when we take the dog for a walk on the beach and end up at the hut for hot chocolate. We even put a Christmas tree up! However, while I love the summer, I am not too keen when the beach gets very busy. I prefer to spend time at the hut when the crowds have gone home and you can enjoy a balmy summer evening together.’
Some would say life is always better on a beach and Vicky Gun, owner of Millie’s Beach Huts in Walton on the Naze, couldn’t agree more. She founded her beach hut rental company in 2014 as she had a passion for the sunshine, the coast, a water-obsessed English springer spaniel (Millie, who gives the beach hut her name) and a vision to give everyone the chance to escape for a day.
Vicky says: ‘I own one other beach hut and I love how friendly and welcoming Walton and the beach hut owners are. I think that’s why we are so popular and book up quickly – the beach is spotless and sandy, there is a fun-filled pier and great fish and chips!
‘While I know that many people use beach huts to relax, families who visit here also come here for a fun day out as well. I’ve become a little obsessed with ice cream and ice cream parlour designs, so I went out of my way to make my beach hut “pop”. We have a pinterest board dedicated to ice cream parlours, which helped inspire me to create its look.’
Starting with just one beach hut, Millie’s now offers a range of beach huts for hire and for sale and is soon to launch its very own boutique to give you that little piece of Millie’s Beach Huts at home.
Vicky is all for creating memories both at the beach and at home. ‘Millie’s is on the second row of huts, about two minutes away from the pier,’ adds Vicky. ‘Even though she’s on the second row, she’s raised up with a small balcony. I love that, personally, because you get privacy away from those peering eyes who walk past on the promenade, but an amazing view down the beach and over towards the pier. It’s bliss!’
Vicky continues: ‘The best days here are those filled with ice cream, a BBQ or fish and chips. You can often find me down at the beach hut very early at 7am for bacon rolls when no-one else is around or at the end of day with a plate of fish and chips. More often than not, I have the sunset to myself and Millie loves a late evening splash!’
Find out more
For more information on Millie’s Beach Huts, visit www.milliesbeachhuts.co.uk. To vote for Happy Hut as the Beach Hut of the Year 2016, visit www.towergateinsurance.co.uk/home-and-property-insurance/beach-hut-of-the-year