Like thousands of Brits desperate for a breath of sea air, I headed to the beach this Easter Bank Holiday weekend. To Brighton, to be exact.As I wandered along the seafront, I was struck by the shabby nature of many of the cream-coloured Regency buildings which must once have been dream homes: the peeling paint, the unloved facades, the faded grandeur of once-impressive houses hastily converted into flats and down-at-heel B&Bs.
Returning to my hotel, I wondered if there were any complete, original Regency houses left to buy. And if there was one, would the tatty appearance of Brighton’s seafront make it a bargain? A quick search on the web gave me the answers.
Yes, there was a rarely available, Grade II listed, 5-storey house for sale on Marine Parade, complete with original floorboards, cast-iron radiators and panoramic views of the English Channel. And the price? An un-bargain-like £1,850,000. So much for the scruff factor!
I took a stroll along the front to inspect the property. Unfortunately, the British weather intervened and the rain drove me back to my hotel. Which got me thinking: if I had a fortune to spend on a house by the sea, wouldn’t I want to spend it in a place that offered guaranteed sunshine?
So here’s my ideal choice of homes within earshot of lapping waves under crystal-blue skies.
On the waterfront – top 5 dream homes
- This seafront home in Malibu not only comes with 160 feet of prime, Californian beach, the house itself is designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry, creator of the curvaceous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao amongst many other iconic structures. Unfortunately, at $57 million, you too will need to be world-famous at something to afford it.
- One drawback with the Gehry house is that you might have to put up with architecture students snapping the outside of your home. Not so at the Sea Breeze Villa on Jumby Bay Island, a 300-acre, private Caribbean island where tourists are forbidden. Here you can laze in your wraparound infinity pool and enjoy the view towards Antigua in complete privacy.
- If, on the other hand, you’re more of an active type, this riverside home in New South Wales, Australia, comes with a private boat ramp and pontoon. From here you can cruise into the ocean in no time, catch an exotic fish and be back before sundown to cook it on the BBQ. Which is rather more appealing than munching battered cod on Brighton pier.
- For those who prefer others to do the cooking, however, Villa Solstice should be high on the menu. This grand mansion set on Florida’s Gulf Coast not only boasts a chef’s kitchen, it comes with a separate catering kitchen and even a dedicated catering garage! Presumably, that’s where they keep the cheese wheels.
- Finally, if the only neighbours you want to feed are passing monkeys and macaws, then perhaps this secluded, jungle oasis home overlooking one of Costa Rica’s top surfing beaches will fit the bill. What’s more, at just $398,000, it’s about the same price as a two-bed flat in shabby, rain-swept Brighton. Oh, and that’s one without a sea view.