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Hunt on for nation's best beach hut

PUBLISHED: 13:30 09 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 06 July 2010

THE hunt is on for Britain's best beach hut - and the winner could turn out be a humble seaside shed from among those that line the promenades at Lowestoft or Southwold.

THE hunt is on for Britain's best beach hut - and the winner could turn out be a humble seaside shed from among those that line the promenades at Lowestoft or Southwold.

Beach huts are more popular then ever - celebrity owners include Rolling Stone Keith Richards, thriller writer P.D. James, chef Aldo Zilli and Madness singer Suggs - and all around the country there are queues to buy the traditional seaside retreats.

Over the next few weeks a panel will choose the best, sifting through hundreds of entries to find five regional finalists across England, Scotland and Wales.

Once-humble huts can change hands for six-figure sums, in Dorset some sell for more than £100,000.

Even huts with no facilities in Southwold can fetch above £75,000. There, local hut owners' association spokesman Dr Slim Dinsdale summed up their appeal: “There is no finer place to be on a sunny day and even in winter they provide a shelter from the weather and a wonderful chance to enjoy the seaside.”

There are more than 20,000 registered beach huts around Britain and the contest is open to every owner, and every visitor to the site - www.beachhutoftheyear.co.uk - will get the chance to vote.

There are four categories, best kept hut, best designed hut, best name for a hut and the country's hut “hero” - someone who has rescued, protected or preserved a hut.

Leading the judging panel is Dr Kathryn Ferry, author of Sheds on the Seashore a definitive history of beach huts, which date back almost 300 years.

She said: ”What I love about beach huts is that they're different everywhere - people are really creative with decoration and the names so this competition is a wonderful opportunity for owners to show off their pride and joy.”

The first beach huts were known as bathing machines and became a familiar sight on fashionable beaches as early as the 1730s.


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