Living the high life: 10 of the UK's best clifftop hotels

Druidstone, Pembrokeshire

Year after year, people return to the Dru, perched on a spectacular cliff’s edge with stunning views overlooking St Brides Bay. Enjoy the dramatic sunsets over the Atlantic from one of the roof rooms or the garden. Take the winding path down to the sea (around five minutes to descend, slightly longer coming back depending how fit your are) and you’ll arrive at the rock pools and caves of Druidstone Beach. Return for hearty, homemade meals. As well as 15 rooms, there are five self-catering cottages close to the main house, too.

Doubles from £165, including breakfast;

Portpatrick Hotel, Stranraer

From the Portpatrick, on a good day, you can see the bright lights of Bangor across the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland. Built in 1905, it’s low-slung and low-key, but very good value with spectacular cliff paths that take you to Dunskey Castle, Knockinaam and Killantringan Lighthouse. Equidistant from Carlisle and Glasgow, the very proper fishing village below has harbour-side restaurants and fishing trips.

Doubles from £89;

Pedn Olva Hotel, Cornwall

Perched on top of a former copper mine between Portminster beach and the harbour, Pedn Olva has the best views of St Ives, built into the granite rocks with the sea swirling 30ft below. Despite its prominent position, it is one of the town’s hidden gems; an airy contemporary design, superb panoramic views from the outdoor terrace, fresh seafood menu, plus an outdoor heated swimming pool built into the rocks.

Doubles from £160, including breakfast;

Watersmeet Hotel, Devon

Edwardian enough to still do afternoon tea in a big way, Watersmeet is wild and romantic, a white pile perched on a cliff with stunning views of the Devon coastline. On a good day you can see Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. There’s an outdoor swimming pool and, best of all, the hotel has steps that lead on to Combesgate Beach, a small, sandy cove that’s fantastic for rockpooling. Woolacombe beach is also a short walk away.

Doubles from £170, including breakfast;

The Alexandra, Dorset

Overlooking Lyme Bay with the Jurassic Coast stretching out below, The Alexandra has 18th-century bones and plenty of modern charm, mixing antique furniture and a conservatory restaurant where local provenance is key. There are 23 rooms spread around the main house and stables, plus a former chapel and tower given over to private dining. Although you can be in the centre of Lyme Regis in a couple of minutes, it’s far nicer to head out from the hotel’s own gardens and wander through the cliff-top gardens.

Doubles from £180;

The Clifton, Isle of Wight

In the seaside resort of Shanklin you’ll find the Clifton hotel, situated on a clifftop with glorious views across the English Channel. Built in 1860, this imposing mansion hotel has a wide veranda that looks out to sea and a conservatory below for simple meals. The hotel has won several awards, both for its gardens and service.

Doubles from £144, including breakfast;

The Marsden Grotto, Tyne & Wear

© Provided by The Guardian Cave dwelling … Marsden Grotto. Photograph: Peter Reed/Alamy

Not so much perched on a cliff as built into one, Marsden Grotto in South Shields came into existence back in 1782 when Jack Bates and his wife Jessie used dynamite to create a cave to live in. By the 19th century, the cave had become a bar popular with smugglers. In the 1950s, a lift was added from the coast road and the Grotto morphed into a much-loved seafood restaurant and bar. Two years ago rooms were also added, some in the original 18th-century cave with freestanding baths and a sense of fun. Definitely not polished, but completely unlike anywhere else in the UK.

Doubles from £99;

Driftwood, Cornwall

Cornwall has more good clifftop hotels than anywhere else in the UK. Overlooking a private beach with views across the Roseland Peninsula, Driftwood has the widescreen views that only clifftop settings can provide. The decor is Farrow & Ball with a touch of New England; there are just 14 rooms, fires for autumn days, plus food from rising star Olly Pierrepont. The glorious 7km circular walk from Portscatho to Pendower Beach will help work up an appetite.

Doubles from £195, including breakfast;

Cliff Hotel, Cardigan

© Provided by The Guardian Affordable with good facilities … Cliff Hotel. Photograph: Keith Morris/Alamy

Owned by Wells and Louise Jones, who have a small portfolio of properties in West Wales, Cliff Hotel aims to offer stunning views at affordable prices. This isn’t a tiny hotel – there are 78 rooms, all nicely kitted out in modern Welsh style – but that does mean that there are some good facilities, including a spa with a hydrotherapy pool and a nine-hole golf course.

Doubles from £193, including breakfast;

Lewinnick Lodge, Cornwall

Braced firmly against the Atlantic, Lewinnick Lodge has a stunning position on Pentire Head. It’s the perfect location to appreciate some of Cornwall’s most bewitching sunsets. Between Fistral and Crantock beaches, this is walking and surfing country. While dolphin and seal spotting is possible from the hotel’s terrace, which almost tips into the sea, you can also stride out along the cliff edge. The rooms and suites may look simple, but they’re sophisticated, too, with DAB radios, Bluetooth speakers and even binoculars for enjoying those views.

Doubles from £170, including breakfast;

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