Kneeling in the middle of the board, I took a deep breath. ‘Slowly move onto all fours,’ my husband instructed. ‘Look ahead. Now slide one foot at a time to exactly where your knees were.’

I wobbled but just about managed to keep my balance. ‘Now stand up slowly, keeping your knees bent,’ Alexio said. ‘That’s it, keep going. Straighten your legs.’

And there I was – standing up on a paddle board for the first time. ‘That was easy,’ I grinned, jumping off. ‘Heck next time, I might even try it in the sea.’

We were on the beach at Felpham, near Bognor Regis where we’d come to the Beachcroft Hotel for a ‘doorstep discovery’ weekend away. It was only an hour and ten minutes’ drive from our home in Eastbourne – and we’d swapped one pebble beach for another – but here there were no distractions, except for my husband’s obsession with mastering water sports.

Great British Life: You can stay in a luxury beach hut (c) Fiona MillsYou can stay in a luxury beach hut (c) Fiona Mills

He's an adrenalin junkie who’s deliberately jumped off the edge of a snow-capped mountain in France to parasail to the bottom and land on his skies. He spent one holiday in Greece learning to scuba dive, another mastering a catamaran, and regularly goes parasailing, surfing, and canoeing in the sea.

So, the least I could do was give this a go instead of racing to get out my SPF Factor 10 and head to the nearest sun lounger with a bestseller.

And the paddleboarding did come free as part of the package with the Penthouse Suite so I really had no excuses not to give it a try.

‘Let’s go,’ Alexio said, grabbing both boards and handing me the paddles. I hopped across the pebbles to the sea and spent the next two hours guzzling salty water. I’d like to say I managed to stand up after all that time, find my core, and paddle along the surprisingly warm Channel.

Great British Life: A picnic on the beach was part of the package. (c) Fiona MillsA picnic on the beach was part of the package. (c) Fiona Mills

Instead, I became the star of my teenage daughter’s viral social media posts as the most embarrassing mum ever and finally got to flop out, exhausted, onto a deckchair in the sun.

‘Go and get some ice cream,’ I told my daughter. We’d been given free vouchers for scoops of it by the hotel, so she scurried off and came back with rum and raisin gelato for me and tubs of salted caramel for her dad and herself. ‘Delicious,’ I said, eyeing up Blake’s Bar & Beach Terrace, the hotel’s seafront pizza restaurant.

‘I’m ravenous,’ I said – and a pizza each plus drinks were included in the doorstep discovery package. ‘So it would be false economy and rude not to,’ I told Alexio.

The wood-fired pizzas came in cute little takeaway boxes, even though we were sat in the restaurant, and were delicious with side orders of chunky fries and salads all washed down with a glass – OK a bottle - of sparkling Sussex sparkling wine from the local vineyard, Tinwood estate.

Great British Life: The hotel's inside book is a hidden oasis. (c) Fiona MillsThe hotel's inside book is a hidden oasis. (c) Fiona Mills

Then it was time to go and explore our new seaside home away from home. We’d only caught a glimpse of the Penthouse Suite when we dropped off our bags, but now I could see it was enormous.

As well as two large bedrooms, it has a study area, living room, shower room and a huge balcony overlooking the beach with a dining table, and sunloungers. For large families or groups, there’s the option of also renting the room opposite, number 61, and opening up an adjoining double room with ensuite, meaning up to 10 could easily sleep there.

With nautical décor, a welcome bottle of rose, and another of sloe gin, along with board games galore and those paddleboards thrown in for good measure, this is the ultimate place to be beside the seaside.

After showering, and using all the divine sea kelp toiletries, we settled in for a nightcap alfresco on the balcony, listening to the waves lap the shore. All that paddle boarding – and swimming! – and now the fresh salty sea air, and sounds, soon had me half-asleep.

Great British Life: The Penthouse suite's seaside-inspired twin bedroom. (c) Fiona MillsThe Penthouse suite's seaside-inspired twin bedroom. (c) Fiona Mills

I stumbled into the master suite and had one of the best night’s sleep ever. ‘Breakfast time!’ my daughter squealed, and we headed downstairs for our Sussex breakfast. We could help ourselves to juices, fruit and pastries, while the kitchen, led by chef Damian Czerny, cooked up our orders.

Our plates came laden with scrambled, fried or poached eggs – my husband had them all – beans, mushrooms, hash browns, toast, bacon and sausages. I had the vegetarian option, which was delicious, and meant I practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant.

‘Let’s play ping pong,’ my daughter suggested. It was a novel way of burning up some calories, so we fetched the bats and balls from reception and spent an hour trying to get some spins on our serve. Our daughter won easily and chose to spend the morning on the beach as her prize.

We suggested a day at Butlin’s, just up the road, which is open to visitors if you buy a pass, but she wanted to go for a dip in the sea. I’d had enough sea water to last me a lifetime, so I flopped onto a deck chair, provided by the hotel, and soaked up the sun for the rest of the morning.

Great British Life: Nautical but nice: the Penthouse Suite. (c) Fiona MillsNautical but nice: the Penthouse Suite. (c) Fiona Mills

For lunch, we were given a champagne picnic by the hotel. There’s something about being by the seaside that gives you an appetite, because we all dived into the salad, made our own sandwiches and feasted on a fruit platter, even though we’d only had breakfast a couple of hours earlier.

After that I wanted to have a snooze in the sun, but instead we walked along the seven-mile coastal path, taking in the hotel’s luxury beach hut suites along the way.

Along with 40 bedrooms, including dog-friendly ones, guests at Beachcroft can stay in one of the quirky four beach hut s that were designed by Peter de Savary and Ivon Blumer Architects that have a mezzanine master bedroom, and direct access to the beach. They were kitted out in kitch coastal décor, with nautical knickknacks, and would make a very romantic weekend retreat for a couple, or even a young family as there was another bedroom with bunk beds.

Back from our stroll, we decided to take a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool, before getting ready for dinner. ‘All we do is eat here,’ I laughed, but we still managed to put away three courses in the a la carte Tamarisk Restaurant. The menu focuses on fresh, local seasonal produce, to create delicious British dishes including twice cooked pork belly, sirloin steak, pan fried seabass and veggie wellington.

Great British Life: The wood fired pizza is delicious. (c) Fiona MillsThe wood fired pizza is delicious. (c) Fiona Mills

Then it was time to head back up to the Penthouse for a marathon match of monopoly. Our stay was nearly over – we had to check out the next morning before lunch but after another ginormous Sussex breakfast.

We left a couple of lbs heavier but feeling as though we’d had a week’s holiday rather than just a coastal mini break. All that by the seaside meant we were tanned, relaxed and rejuvenated. I can’t wait to come back – as long as those paddleboards have already been booked by someone else.

Staying There:

The Beachcroft Hotel offers Doorstep Discoveries throughout the summer. Stays in the Penthouse Suite include breakfast and one casual dinner for two people at Blakes Bar & Beach Terrace, enjoying a wood fired pizza, salad and a bottle of Tinwood Estate Sparkling wine, from £550 for one night and £895 for two nights. Weekend bookings that include a Saturday night require a two night minimum stay from April to September. For stays from Sunday to Thursday both one or two night stays are available.