It’s easy to get stuck in a family day out rut – park, swimming pool, soft play, repeat. So every now and then, it’s nice to do something a bit different. On a dry day, heading to the coast for a day of sandcastle building, paddling in the sea and eating ice cream is a great idea but even in the summer, it can get blustery and we might see a shower of rain or two.
So the ideal solution is hiring a beach hut for the day. If you’re anything like us, you walk past beach huts, wistfully dreaming about what it would be like to own one. We’ve even Googled to find out how much it costs to buy one and then stopped in our tracks because we don’t have a spare £20,000 kicking about. So hiring a hut for the day is the next best thing.
One place you can hire a beach hut is Mersea Island in Essex. It’s fascinating to visit because it’s actually a section of the English coast that turns into an island every day – you can drive straight there in the morning, but then the tides rise, marooning everyone on the island until low tide means you can drive away again. The locals tell us that everyone is so used to it, they rarely get caught out, needing to leaving Mersea when the road is deep under sea water.
The Little Beach Hut Company has five beach huts on Mersea Island – Percy, Betty, Hattie, Dotty and Bertie – and all are decked out in gorgeous nautical style with a hint of Cath Kidston chic thrown in.
You can take along up to 8 people – perfect for an extended family or two families meeting up for the day (Bertie is smaller so the maximum is 6) and inside each hut, you’ll find beach chairs, beach toys, windbreaks, blankets, magazines, cutlery, plates, cups, a kettle and tea and coffee. Basically everything you need for an amazing day at the seaside! They’re ideal to take a picnic to, and some of the huts (Betty, Dotty & Bertie) have a small oven, grill and two gas rings (Percy & Hattie have two gas rings) in case you fancy taking along ingredients to cook up some lunch – bacon rolls on a deckchair anyone?!
If you don’t fancy cooking, there’s a fab little cafe two minutes walk up the beach, which serves the usual seaside cafe fare like chips and ice cream. Alternatively, you can pre-arrange for lunch to be delivered from local Rosie’s Pretty Vintage China Hire and Tea Parties – choose from four menus which start at £15 per person and include dishes like homemade tarts, salads and cheese scones.
Space In Your Case’s Alison went with her family in late September, on a particularly warm and balmy day, and the whole family had an amazing time building sandcastles, paddling in the sea and exploring the beach.
The Little Beach Hut Company is run by two local friends – Jane Ashmore and Jayne Eyers. Both of them owned a beach hut each (Betty and Bertie) and came together to set up the company. Previously the owner of a shabby chic accessories business, Jane has used her flair for interior design to create the beautiful beach huts.
Hire of one of the beach huts starts at £45 a day and £180 for 7 days – but book ahead as they’re really popular! Top tip: Follow their Facebook page as they often publicise last minute availability or cancellations on there. Find out more on The Little Beach Hut Company website.
Where do you like going, for a more unusual family day out?
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