Beachgoers wrapped up to make sure they were first in line for the huts (Picture: Corin Messer/BNPS)
A bunch of dedicated staycationers camped out overnight in Dorset to get their hands on a small wooden beach hut.
People queued through the night at Avon Beach, Christchurch in Dorset to get their hands on a hut to rent for the year.
The much sought-after seaside challets cost £4975 for the one-year hire of the 6ft by 4ft huts which have no running water or toilets.
Just 12 cabins were available for summer or all-year rental, and staff were shocked when they turned up at 7.30 yesterday morning to find people already braving the elements.
They weren’t available to book until 8am today.
The queue in Dorset grew through the day, with dozens camping out overnight and around 50 people waiting by the time the administration office opened this morning.
Avon Beach has 130 huts lining the quiet sandy beach, which is popular with dog walkers, tourists and water sport enthusiasts.
Some were in the queue for more than 24 hours (Picture: Corin Messer/BNPS)
The small wooden huts can cost up to £5,000 a year to rent (Picture: Corin Messer/BNPS)
Some of the huts change hands privately for as much as £80,000 and have gas-powered fridges and gas hobs inside.
This year, there were 40 huts up for grabs for different periods of the year and just 12 available for the full summer holidays or whole year.
One of the first in the queue was Ken Ryder, 72, and his partner, Jan Manton, 70, who arrived at 4am on Sunday and waited 28 hours.
Ken said: ‘This is the 6th year I’ve queued to get a beach hut – we’ve been here for 28 hours.
‘You read books and chat – that’s all you can do to pass the time.
‘Luckily we’re under cover beneath a canopy by the ice cream kiosk – the first dozen or so people get under there but the rest are out in the open.
‘My wife came down from 8am until 10 yesterday morning so I could go and get breakfast, then she came back from 12 until 2pm and I stayed overnight.
‘The reason we retired here was to be close to the beach and having a hut is just the icing on the cake.’
Nicola Davies arrived at 4am this morning and is one of the lucky few who secured a hut.
The 38-year-old mother of two said: ‘My grandfather made me promise to get one for the whole family but he passed away in November aged 93 so never got to see it happen.
‘He loved to come down and watch his eight great grandchildren play by the sea.
‘It’s such a beautiful and friendly beach which is so clean and the kids feel safe here. It was well worth the wait.
Staycationers were over the moon after they managed to get their hands on a hut for another year (Picture: Corin Messer/BNPS)
Dozens of people were sat waiting outside the office for it to open at 8am today (Picture: Corin Messer/BNPS)
Margaret Davis, 61, who secured a beach hut for the year, queuing all night from 5pm on Sunday and was 6th in the queue.
Her rental cost is £4975 and is the second year of having a beach hut there.
She said ‘I got here at five o’clock last night, it was a good crack, I don’t think I’ve slept a lot. There was good crowd of us and had a real laugh and a joke, it was really good. I wouldn’t have missed that and worth coming for.’
The retired construction receptionist from Totton, near Southampton, added ‘We had it because my father wanted it for the grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.
‘Unfortunately, he died in November last year, but I carried on and did it for his wishes last year, he enjoyed the beach hut.’
‘You get use out of it for the money and feel like you’re on holiday here, I love the area. I live 18 miles away, it is nice and not far to come.’
Beach hut manager Laura Huxtable-White said: ‘They are very sought after, which is why people are willing to queue up for so long.
‘We have tried to be careful and asked people queuing to be mindful of social distancing.
‘Avon Beach is a beautiful place to be, with lovely views of the Isle of Wight and we have our lovely restaurant, coffee cabin and soon-to-be new deli.
‘With the pandemic and staycations, I think people are even more keen to get one this year.
‘In lockdown last year the phones were extremely busy and yesterday we had a lot of calls from people checking they have the right date.’
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