Where to stay on the south coast of England

A former smugglers' inn in a Cornish fishing village, vs a hotel in the place that inspired many of Enid Blyton's childrens stories.

The Lugger Hotel, Cornwall

The location of the Lugger Hotel couldn't be better. It's situated on the harbour's edge in the pretty Cornish fishing village of Portloe. The former smugglers' inn used to ban children but the new owners are now encouraging families to stay. David Cameron and his family stayed here last summer. As a bonus, the Eden Project is nearby.

How they rate it

"The Lugger is a real gem: stylish bedrooms with bleached wood, an elegant restaurant serving up locally caught seafood and sundrenched terraces that are perfect for long, lazy lunches," says Annabelle Thorpe in The Times. "If you plan to push the boat out, opt to stay in the miniature cottage for something a bit special," says The Daily Telegraph. The food on offer is excellent with the local fishermen bringing their catches straight up to the kitchens.

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The menu

Unsurprisingly, fish features heavily on the menu. Try West Country hake topped with a lemon and herb crust. Or the megrim sole, Portloe crab and shellfish linguini. Finish off your meal with the hotel's special chocolate fondant.

The cost

A double room costs from £110. For more information visit www.luggerhotel.com or call 01872-501322.

Soar Mill Cove Hotel, Devon


Enid Blyton said that Soar Mill Cove was the inspiration for the setting of many of her children's stories. It's not hard to see why. This beautiful stretch of sand near Salcombe offers a wealth of opportunities for children from sandcastle building to body boarding. Families are well provided for with two-bedroom suites and family rooms all with private patios. There is even a special 'kids high tea' so you can get the children fed and off to bed before enjoying your own dinner.

How they rate it

The Soar Mill Cove Hotel "has always been great for families", says The Daily Telegraph. Everything has been thought through. There's entertainment in the form of sandcastle competitions and eco-tours of the beach and a "supply of all the necessary clobber" from baby monitors to homemade baby food. There are "countless" things to do nearby including mounting biking, coastal treks, rockpooling and visiting the many blue-flag beaches. The hotel will even provide a picnic if you plan to be out all day.

The menu

The award-winning restaurant serves up delicious organic local produce. This includes a Salcombe scallop salad and fillet of West Country beef.

The cost

Rooms cost from £140, including cream tea on arrival and breakfast. Find out more at www.soarmillcove.co.uk or call 01548-561566.

What the travel writers are saying

So many visitors now trek to see the wonders of the world that a visit can easily be marred by the sheer volume of fellow tourists. But if you have the cash and the know-how it is still possible to escape the crowds, says The Times.

For example, it is possible to view the Vatican and Sistine Chapel away from the crowds by booking a private, after-hours tour through Bellini Travel. But it will cost you €2,500. Alternatively, if you are prepared to view everything quickly, arrive at the visitor gates at 4pm when "there's only a trickle of people going in". It closes at 6pm.

It's almost impossible to visit Uluru in Australia without being accompanied by a herd of tourists. For the best chance of a bit of solitude near the natural wonder, check into Longitude 131, "a luxury wilderness camp where you can see the rock from your room". The resort has negotiated rights to visit the park after it has closed to visitors. "So you can enjoy it with a glass of wine and best of all in the company of just a few other guests."

To see Machu Picchu before the hoards arrive, check in to Sanctuary Lodge, which is right beside the ruins. Then set your alarm for an early start and you can enjoy them long before the first tourists arrive. For a peaceful approach to Machu Picchu, choose your route carefully. The Salkantay trail taken by Mountain Lodges of Peru "is an alternative route that is far less busy". It offers "wonderful views across the valley to Machu Picchu".