Warm weather makes me wistful for a life by the sea. Bare foot living. Everyday BBQ’s or fish supper. My very own beach hut perched on the sand. A few weeks back, we spent a day on the south coast, May half term, the weather was warm. We wandered down the beach in search of ice creams. A few of the candy coloured beach huts, were in use, some for relaxing and some being prepared for the season ahead; huts open to the world. Often the interiors of beach huts are obscured by owners in deck chairs and towels draped over doors. I am imbued with that dual Englishness of being both nosey and too polite to gape inside. Beach hut interiors fascinate me.
When I was a child, my Aunt Lil had a beach hut on the Kent coast. We’d sit outside her hut, hired for season, while a collection of elderly relatives read the Daily Express and drank tea. In the distance I could see Margate, where it seemed to me, everyone was having a good time, polar opposed to the ‘time’ I was having.
In my memory, the beach hut sat on a grassy prom, back from the beach. The interior plain and unadorned. Aunt Lil was of a generation which was less inclined to indulge children with ‘things to do’ or decorate a hired beach hut with frivolous bunting.
At some point, beach huts shifted from the preserve of the elderly in full Sunday dress, to something hip to covet. Now they change hands for ridiculous amounts of money, should you wish to buy your own. You can hire them which, I guess, limits how much personal ‘stamp’ you can add.
Obviously, in that weird way life has of reminding you that become your parents, or even elderly (cantankerous) aunt, I would love a beach hut of my own.
Last summer, I found my all time favourite beach huts at Norfolk at Wells-Next-the-Sea, winning style and location. Each hut has its own external personality, from the quirky (at the top of this page) to the patriotic (below). What must they be like inside?
In May, on the coast, I was intrigued to see how the beach huts had been decorated and styled. A hut being painted, caught my eye, white washed interior, immediately it looked lighter and more spacious (I was too English to take a photo). A vintage kitchen cabinet in turquoise blue and a yellow trolley loaded with Cath Kidston mugs, stood temporarily outside.
Another was dark inside, but teaming with spotty bunting and seaside decorations, which had me musing on my ideal beach hut interior. This week with hot days, I’ve returned to my beach hut fantasy. Despite the quintessential nature of beach huts, my preference is for a slightly tropical theme, especially when the weather is very hot, a tropical beach would somehow capture the heat, even on the coldest days.
I would need a matching picnic set for lunches and proper deck chair for lounging. For cooler days and snoozes; a soft blanket. I’m pretty sure Aunt Lil had a blanket, so it is clearly an essential. A fake cactus plant for that tropical vibe and because every beach hut should have some kitsch element. Despite my palm fringed dreams, no beach hut can be without the opportunity for tea, therefore, a red enamelware tea pot and cups.
Other ‘must have’ items; a small table for presenting tea and cake to hut guests (and somewhere to put my book). A basket to transport and store the various ‘stuff’ than inevitably has to be taken to the beach by small children. I found a gold basket with pom poms on etsy and I property love it. For those who might swim (sea swimming is for other people) a beach towel or two. Later, a pineapple lamp to light the dusk; fluffy blanket is across my knees, G&T, fish and chips supper and the sunset.
Indulge me, What would be your beach hut theme and desert island beach hut essentials?