Beach Hut Hire: What is a Beach Hut?

Being Scottish, you won’t be surprised that the concept of a beach hut was a new thing to me until 2014. While I’d seen lots of home decor and picture postcards of quaint coloured wooden huts, I’d never actually stepped foot into or even near one until that life-changing day back in September 2014.

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So if you’re like me or perhaps lived inland for most of your life, then you might be wondering the exact same question – what is a Beach Hut?

 

 

 

What is a Beach Hut?

Beach Huts – The History

Previously known as ‘bathing boxes’, beach huts can be traced back to as early as 1862.

Their main purpose was to provide privacy and you’d find that earlier version were on wheels so they could be positioned closer to the sea. Occupants could then preserve their modesty by changing in the ’bathing box’ before taking a quick dip in the sea.

 

bathing machines, Scarborough c1900

 

The earliest bathing box is thought to have existed in Australia but during Victorian times can also be tracked to France, Italy, and England too.

Post the war, when all UK Beaches were closed, British beach holidays became increasingly popular and while many beach huts were used by a fisherman or as boat sheds, the popularity of a Beach Hut grew as families flocked to the coast.

 

Brighton Beach Boxes, Brighton, Australia

Beach Huts – Today

Today’s beach huts typically look like a shed and approx 10×8 feet in size. Either based on promenades or on the beach, they can be found in ranks along the top of a beach.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 20,000 beach huts now in the UK. They can be privately owned or on land owned by a local council which adds to the variety of shapes, colours, and potential to sleep overnight in them too.

 

These beach huts at Hengistbury Head, Dorset, UK are the most expensive in the country. A hut that sleeps 2/3 people will set you back currently, April 2018, £300,000 or Euro 343,000, US$424,000 or CAN$548,000. You can’t use them as a house as you are only allowed to stay in them 11 out of the 12 months of a year, plus, you have to use communal showers and toilets.

 

At a basic functional level, they are used to store items to save packing for each trip.  They also provide shade or shelter during that slightly changeable British weather. Oh, and they are the perfect space to get changed for a paddle in the sea too, of course! But owners would argue that it’s their place to escape to. A place for solitude and reflection when needed, a place to call their own, but also a place where they can create memories for years to come. It’s for that reason that traditionally beach huts have been passed down between generations, keeping the ownership within the same family.

Traditional Beach Hutters would argue that a Beach Hut also have no electricity, water or toilet facilities. Instead, they use gas stoves to heat water and cook. However, over the past few years, there has been a growing number of ‘lodges’ and ‘chalets’ styled around the concept of a Beach Hut. They tend to appeal to the luxury market and come with running water, electricity and full cooking and sleeping facilities.

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These type of huts are far and few between but it’s clear that the Beach Hut market is continuing to grow.  Beach Huts and hiring a beach hut seem to be very much part of our family life, helping families create memories for many more years to come.

It’s an appointment with ourselves – and a refuge which means whatever the weather our plans don’t have to change. We love the beach, and I find big skies and horizons good for my mental health, so the Hut gives us a base and allows us to spoil ourselves also! We spend longer at the coast with a Hut than without.  Marie Donn, May, 2019

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Over to You:

Are beach huts a new concept to you or have you grown up experiencing beach hut life?  We’d love to hear your stories!

Just jump into the comments below.

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