2020 has definitely been the year of the beach hut. With travel overseas less desirable and staycations on the cards for many, British beaches have been a go-to destination and beach huts have been booked out solidly. A great result for the 20,000 or so beach hut owners around the UK, who have the potential to cash in on around £30 a day for renting out their seaside havens when they’re not using them themselves.
Beach hut sales have also hit an all time high, with the UK’s most expensive beach hut selling in July for £330,000. That’s around £30,000 per square metre and, according to government data from January 2020, around £100,000 more than the average price of a house in the UK.
Now, we’ve launched a new competition to celebrate Britain’s beach huts and, together with Millie’s Beach Huts, we’re offering over £1,000 worth of prizes and the prestigious status of becoming the first ever ‘Ryan's Beach Hut of the year 2020’ award winner – with beach hut uses rather than simply aesthetics playing a key role in the judging.
A wave of demand
A common fixture on UK coastlines, beach huts have a long history, evolving from simple functional bathing boxes introduced to preserve Victorian modesty, to now – in some cases - manifesting into cosy and even luxury coastline retreats.
Over the course of the Coronavirus lockdown, owners were unable to visit and enjoy their much-loved havens. But now, in most seaside resorts in the UK, they’re back in action and being appreciated more than ever – as families opt for staycations rather than going abroad, falling back in love with the country’s stunning countryside and coastlines.
Our new competition, which is open now and runs until 30 September, will celebrate best beach hut uses, however small or grand they might be, exploring beach hut owners’ stories – from restoration projects and storm damage come-backs through to bringing family together, creating a sanctuary for recovering from illness or escaping life's daily stresses, and even raising money for charity or realising a life-long dream.
Entry is free, quick and simple, with owners of beach huts from anywhere in the UK encouraged to complete a 200-word summary explaining why their beach hut is best, as well as up to four supporting pictures.
Winners will be announced on 19 October, with a first prize of £300 plus one year’s free insurance – worth up to £500 – and a luxury hamper, as well as a winner’s plaque. Runners up will also be celebrated, with second prize of £200 plus plaque and a third prize of £100 plus plaque.
Tracy Healey at Ryan’s commented: “We’ve already received a number of entries and it’s been interesting to read the submissions. From celebration situations and birthday gifts through to stories that really pull on your heart strings.
We appreciate that not everyone has been able to return to their huts this summer, so we’re also accepting pictures taken prior to lockdown. If you’ve used your hut to make life better – whether this time last week, or last year, we’d love to hear from you.”
Vicky Gunn, owner of Walton-on-the-Naze based, Millie’s Beach Huts, and judge for the competition, said: “There have been other beach hut competitions over the years but this one, celebrating use, rather than just aesthetics, brings a new and very welcome dimension – and diversion – in a very difficult year for so many people.
“Since we started Millie’s Beach Huts over five years ago, we’ve seen so many families enjoying their time in our huts. This year’s the busiest for sure and we’ve spoken to many beach hut goers about their wonderful experiences. Everyone’s story is different and it’s going to be fascinating and, I should imagine, at times a little emotional, to judge."
The Ryan’s Beach Hut of the Year 2020 competition, including the entry form, all details and terms and conditions, can be found here.