/40 extraordinary places to stay in the UK

40 extraordinary places to stay in the UK


Creative conversions


Whitby lighthouse, North Yorkshire
Sleeps 5 | From £1,043 a week
Standing on a grassy clifftop on the North Yorkshire coast, Whitby lighthouse was first lit in 1858. The current building was originally one of a pair of towers that lined up with Whitby Rock to warn passing ships of the hazard. In the former lighthouse keeper’s cottages attached to the south tower (the north tower was demolished long ago), there are now two three-bedroom holiday homes, Vanguard and Galatea, each with a garden and deck with sea views. The lighthouse itself is still in use, with the beam visible from the garden. It’s a great base for exploring the coast and its beaches, and within easy reach of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. Welcome hamper included.


Baroque splendour, Lancaster
Sleeps 2 | From £254 for four nights




The Landmark TrustThe Music Room Lancashire



Photograph: Jill Tate

The Landmark Trust has more than 200 extraordinary buildings to stay in across Britain – including The Music Room, a garden pavilion that dates from about 1730. The trust painstakingly restored its baroque plasterwork, including nine Muses decorating the walls. Other highlights include a four-poster bed, a baby grand piano and a roof terrace with views over the city. The Music Room is on a pedestrian square in central Lancaster, two minutes from the castle. A four-mile cycle route links the city with the sea at Morecambe.


Magic bus, Lake District
Sleeps 2 | From £100 a night




Hinterlandes bus stops at secret locations in the Lake District



Photograph: Stuart McGlennon

Hinterlandes, an American Community bus with a VW van welded to the top – may well be the most unusual entry on this list. Other reclaimed materials include oak flooring from a Birmingham school, door handles from the Hempel Hotel in London, 1950’s bulkhead lights from a German cargo ship, cupboard doors from the Natural History Museum, and a vintage anglepoise lamp. The van is continually relocated to wild sites around the Lake District – and guests are given the secret locations via the what3words app. It has a marble-clad shower, kitchenette, woodburner, firepit and wood-fired hot tub. A roving, trailer-mounted cabin is launching in spring. Bikes are available for hire.


Round house, Cornwall
Sleeps 2 | From £495 a week




Round House East, Cornwall


In 1820, the Reverend Trist built four round thatched cottages in the village of Veryan on the Roseland Peninsula, part of the Cornwall AONB. They were circular so that the devil would have nowhere to hide, and had crosses on top to scare him away. One of the two surviving properties is now Round House East, a cute, Grade II-listed holiday home with a circular sitting room, a bedroom with a vaulted ceiling, kitchen extension and cottage garden. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. Veryan has a pub and shop, and is within walking distance of unspoiled Carne and Pendower beaches.


First-class cabin, East Sussex
Sleeps 2 | From £50 a night




Quirky Sussex Carriage. Ashdown Forest Streetfield Farm, Nutley



Photograph: Jim Holden

The Quirky Sussex Carriage started life as an 1880s rail coach and has lots of original features, as well as additions made by the owner – with timber from his own woodland – and a pizza oven. The cabin has its own lake, with a jetty to dive off and a rowing boat, and is on the edge of Ashdown Forest. It is off-grid and there are no neighbours in sight, but the Griffin Inn in Fletching is a 30-minute walk away. Stays include a welcome pack of sourdough bread, butter, eggs and jam.


Keep on trucking, Powys
Sleeps 2 | From £90 a night




Pantechnicon Powys



Photograph: Shron Smith

Pantechnicon Powys is former removals van in Mid Wales that is now a hillside retreat sitting among lavender beds. The side of the vehicle was cut out to make the entrance and recycled into a table top. The space is compact, with a cabin bed, small kitchen and a seating area, and large double doors opening onto the deck. From here, there are views across the farm, which was Wales’s first producer of lavender oil. Outside, there’s a firebowl, a tree swing and swimming pond for a dip in summer after hiking nearby uplands of Mynydd Epynt or around the Brecon Beacons.


Magnificent mill, Norfolk
Sleeps 9 | From £1,103 a week




Cubitts, Ebridge Mill, Happisburgh Road, White Horse Common



Photograph: Steve Adams

At five storeys, Ebridge Mill pretty much qualifies as a skyscraper in this rural corner of Norfolk, its upper-floor balconies commanding views across the millpond, water meadows and beautiful Bacton Wood beyond. Reminders of its former life as a flour mill are all around in Cubitts, a four-bedroom holiday home that occupies the top four floors of the red-brick building. The mill’s iron wheels, pulleys and heavy wooden beams give the huge open-plan living, dining and kitchen space an industrial edge, which is offset by vast sofas, oversize lamps and high-spec fittings. Fish for trout in the pond, kayak the North Walsham and Dilham Canal or drive to sandy beaches at Bacton and Mundesley.


Holy retreat, Northumberland
Sleeps 8 | From £118 a night




Greystead Old Church. Bellingham, Northumberland



Photograph: Neil Denham

The 19th-century Greystead Old Church, on a riverbank in the North Tyne Valley, west of the village of Bellingham, was converted into a holiday home in 2013. Many of the Grade-II listed building’s original features have been retained and restored, including a Victorian stained-glass window, Georgian panelling, stone lancet windows and the flagstone floor. Covering two-thirds of the former nave is a first-floor mezzanine with open-plan kitchen-dining space. Downstairs, where the altar once stood, there’s a living room with a woodburner and four bedrooms, one with an original fireplace. It’s a short drive to Kielder Water & Forest Park, and Hadrian’s Wall.


Feathered nest, Monmouthshire
Sleeps 8 | From £163 a night




The Chicken Shed Trellech


A once unremarkable poultry coop has been converted into The Chickenshed, a stylish, Scandi-style holiday home. The project was an “enjoyable challenge” according to architects Martin Hall and Kelly Bednarczyk, who retained the wooden building’s footprint and structure. Decor around the open-plan living space and four bedrooms is minimalist – with pops of lime green from beams to cushions. Large windows, white walls and contemporary furniture have been paired with agricultural influences – wood cladding, corrugated roofing and concrete floors. Sitting on a hill above the Wye Valley, it offers views of the Black Mountains from the terrace, and Offa’s Dyke Path, the Wye Valley Walk and the Abergavenny three peaks are all close by.


Captain’s table, Hampshire
Sleeps 3 | From £86 a night




The Boat Shed External Garden Hampshire


Architects Alice and Henning Stummel appeared on Channel 4’s Grand Designs with their London home (the Tin House, shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year). Their repurposed Boat Shed in Royal Lymington Yacht Club dinghy yard is close to the busy harbour, but this little, shingle-clad retreat is on a quiet road and has a private garden. The ground floor has a queen-size sofa bed, a small kitchen and dining table, and another single bed on the mezzanine (suitable for older children). There’s a woodburner (but no wifi or TV) and plenty to explore nearby, including the Sea Water Baths in Lymington, the Sea Wall Coastal Walk and the New Forest – less than 10 minutes away by train.


Brilliant design


Inside out cabin, north Cornwall
Sleeps 6 | From £235 a night




The Danish cabin at Kudhva in Cornwall


With folding walls that slide upwards and a large outdoor deck, the Danish Cabin, on the coast near Tintagel, aims to make the most of the surrounding wilderness. The wooden structure sits on stilts above a stream, in a private forest less than two miles from the beach. Sleeping six in two bunks and two fold-out beds, it also has hanging wicker egg chairs, a composting toilet and a firepit. It’s on an off-grid campsite, and there’s a larger shared kitchen, a bar, wood-fired hot tubs, breakfast packages to order and hot showers. Activities include yoga, foraging and DJ parties.


Low on impact, big on style, Kent
Sleeps 11 | From £275 a night




Modern Passive House in Kent



Photograph: Used with permission of Boutique Homes

The Passive House is an ultra energy-efficient building in Whitstable that uses design principles such as airtight build, thick insulation and natural light and heat. It is low-impact yet stylish, and big enough for groups of up to 11 people. Bedrooms and a mezzanine level are in one timber-clad block; another, whitewashed, houses an open-plan living space leading to a large garden. The angular form gives it an industrial feel, but it’s a homely, sociable space, and makes a great base for exploring the north Kent coast.


Airship pod, West Sussex
Sleeps 3 | From £130 a night




Sussex Airship


A spaceship has landed near Billingshurst in West Sussex. The Sussex Airship is a retro sci-fi-style structure that looks like a spacecraft parked in private woodland in the village of Haven. It sleeps three in one double and one single sofa bed, and has a small kitchen, bathroom, barbecue area and views across surrounding meadows from the portholes and floor-to-ceiling windshield. The aluminium, stainless steel and glass structure was created by architects to be self-built, and dismantled and relocated by two people if desired. Bushcraft sessions are offered on site, and the hills, heathland, towns and villages of the South Downs national park are a short drive away.


Waterworks retro, South Cornwall
Sleeps 6 | From £550 a week




Filter House, Ladock, Cornwall


Fans of art deco will love the Filter House a 1954 waterworks in Ladock, near Truro. It was built by the South Cornwall Water Board to help supply the nearby Roseland Peninsula – famed for its wide, often uncrowded beaches and a popular area for walks and watersports. Operational until 1980, it was renovated in 2005 to create an art deco retreat, with vintage furniture throughout, and period details from a sunburst door to green leather chesterfield chairs and walnut bedroom sets. Mod cons include wifi, a sound system and underfloor heating.


Sleep in a sphere, Mid-Wales
Sleeps 2 | From £199 for two nights




Red Kite Conker Powys



Photograph: PR

Red Kite Conker is a surprisingly spacious copper ball in the Welsh hills near Builth-Wells in Powys, brainchild of aerospace engineer Jag Vardie. Surprisingly spacious, it comes with a custom-made double sofabed, a shower with views of the Elenydd mountains, and a kitchenette. With copper fittings and furnishings, and lined with turquoise hexagons, it’s fun, cosy and modern, with tech-y extras such as an air recirculation system to regulate temperature and a bluetooth soundbar, plus a composting toilet, terrace and fire pit. It’s a 10-minute walk to find a phone signal, and shops and a pub are a 10-minute drive.


Corrugated eco-house, Isle of Skye
Sleeps 2 | From £82 a night




The Studio Fiscavaig Isle of Skye - Inner Hebrides


A compact shipping container-esque modern cabin on the shore of Loch Bracadale, Fiscavaig Studio has a corrugated iron-panelled exterior and a timber and woodchip board interior made cosy by wool throws, splashes of yellow and a woodburner. Made from local, sustainable materials, with a composting toilet, it’s on the Minginish peninsula in the island’s south-west, handy for walks and climbs in the nearby Cuillin mountain range and on the coast around Talisiker and Fiscavaig Bay.


Scandi cabin, Norfolk Broads
Sleeps 4 | From £370 for 4 nights




The Water Cabin, Norfolk



Photograph: Fiona Burrage

This 1930s Water Cabin has tiny portholes, large skylights, and a calming, ultra-modern white interior that contrasts with its jet black cedar exterior. It was renovated by creative agency Nor–Folk, with help from local craftspeople, and sits on the banks of the River Thurne in the Norfolk Broads national park. Guests are encouraged to switch off devices and enjoy the library of design books and a lack of wifi or TV signal (although there is a DVD player), and cook and eat together in the open-plan space. By the water on the outskirts of Repps village, it has a dock, and electric boats are available for rent from nearby Potter Heigham, for exploring rivers and open water.


Rennie Mackintosh’s cottage, near Inverness
Sleeps 6 | From £509 a week




The Artist’s Cottage in a country location just outside Inverness and south of Loch Ness. Lounge


Staying in a house designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh would be a dream come true for many art lovers. Sadly, it was one not realised by the great artist himself, who died before he had a chance to live in the curvy white cottage he designed – probably as a future home for him and his wife. The Artist’s Cottage, a few miles from Inverness, with craggy mountain views, was sold last year and the new owners let it out when they’re not there. It’s a delight, with floral stained-glass windows, balconies and a central courtyard.


Baroque tower, Manchester
Rooms 270 | From £95 room-only




The Foyer at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester (Formerly the Principal Manchester)



Photograph: Tim Winter

The 1895 baroque-style tower of the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel (formerly the Principal) looms over the city centre. The Grade-II listed building was once the headquarters of the Refuge Assurance Company, then various hotels, and after extensive renovation it became the Principal in 2016. Unattractive 1990s additions have been removed, and original mouldings and stained-glass windows have been restored. The winter garden room’s soaring, domed atrium is a showstopper, part of the Refuge bar and dining room, run by DJs-turned-restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford.


New Town chic, Edinburgh
Rooms 72 | From £70 a night




Eden Locke reception Edinburgh



Photograph: Nicholas Worley

In an elegant Georgian terrace, Eden Locke aparthotel is the second property from design-led Locke Living. The interior is bright and airy with a feast of muted tropical tones, brass fixtures, custom-made wicker furniture and large plants in terracotta pots. On the ground floor, a cafe-bar with a thick marble counter serves gluten-free pastries by day and local microbrewery ales at night. Studio bedrooms are in a rear extension, and there are free yoga classes for guests.


Best for families


A place to hover, Isle of Wight
Sleeps 4 | From £195 for 4 nights in the VW, from £395 in the helicopter (based on 2 people)




Windmill Campsite, Isle of Wight


Possibly the zaniest glampsite in the country, Windmill Campersite has a choice of wacky shepherds’ huts, VW campervans, a wooden shack and even a helicopter, bang in the middle of the Isle of Wight. It will have the kids’ eyes out on stalks. The steampunk-style facilities include an old farm silo transformed into the spaceship-like Siloflix Cinema and a launderette in a converted Robin Reliant. The site is home to chickens and a horse, a silent disco area and a 20-acre field. If you’re tempted to escape, there are two pubs a 10-minute walk away, and Carisbrooke Castle is nearby.


Your very own campsite, North York Moors
Sleeps 4 | From £260 for three nights




Coast and Camplight, Whitby, Yorkshire


Festival vibes and home comforts are what you get at Coast and Camplight, a peaceful off-grid nature camp between Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. At the moment there is just one big safari tent (five more are planned for next summer), so for now you’ll have the whole 24-acre site to yourself. The owners recommend you turn off your phone and listen out for the resident tawny barn owls, paddle in the sea and hike to the pub. Cars have to be left away from the fields, where the camp is tucked into a hollow on the hillside but with a clear view of Whitby Abbey. Inside are cosy sofas, log-burners and unusual decorations that have all been found, upcycled or picked up from car-boot sales – the founders were influenced by summers spent at festivals such as Shambala and Secret Garden Party. An outdoor bathroom provides hot showers, plus there’s a firepit and solar lights.


Boho garden retreat, London
Sleeps 4 | From £89 a night (based on 2 people)




Urban London Yurt


Finding a place to stay in London for four people for £100 a night without staying in a hostel is no easy task. The Urban London Yurt in Highgate, north London, not only fits the bill, it also provides an unusually green city escape and is only 20 minutes from the centre. Yes, essentially it’s a tent in someone’s garden, but this is no ordinary tent: Persian rugs cover a solid wood floor and two double sofa beds create a comfy retreat. The owner believes it is the only yurt accommodation in the capital.


Kitsch caravan park, Suffolk
Sleeps 6 | From £550 a week




Happy Days Retro Vacations, Suffolk


Grab a slice of Americana in rural Suffolk at the Happy Days Retro Vacations site, where eight trailers – some sleek silver Tradewind Airstreams and Streamlines, others pint-sized, 1970s British models – are decorated vintage style, with bunting and retro graphic-print fabrics. The site – where there’s space to pitch boring old tents too – has a play area with an old army truck and trampoline, as well as the usual swings and slide, a polytunnel housing giant Connect4 and table football, the Red Shed, a kitsch lounge screening classic family movies, plus an escape room game in a wartime Nissen hut. A few miles across farmland are the beaches near Thorpeness and arty Aldeburgh.


Busman’s holiday, near Edinburgh
Sleeps 4 | From £210 for two nights, luxury bus from £350




THE BUS STOP Rustic Bus exterior / The Bus Stop, Gifford, Near Edinburgh


There’s no need to disembark when it’s your stop when staying at the Bus Stop, a collection of refurbished city buses in a field of a working arable farm just 30 minutes from Edinburgh. Thankfully, the usual bus floor detritus has been replaced by sofas, lanterns, wood burners and beds. Outside, there’s a private hot tub and fire pit. The driver’s seat has been left in place, which will thrill kids. Choose rustic or luxury – the latter have en suites and fancier fittings. Ironically, it’s a little tricky to reach by bus from Edinburgh (two buses and a 0.6 mile hike), so driving is a better option.


Chapels and caravans, Shropshire
Sleeps 4 | From £440 for 4 nights (The Chapel)




Walcot Hall



Photograph: Olivia Moon

There’s an amazing collection of quirky cottages and glamping options on a large estate near Ludlow, with formal gardens and a fine arboretum around the private Walcot Hall. The most deliciously folksy-looking is The Chapel, a green tin tabernacle surrounded by the oaks and chestnuts of the Walcot Arboretum, with two double bedrooms on a mezzanine (adding to the sense of adventure is the limited lighting at night on the path – bring a torch). The Wheelwright’s Shop, an original 1840s craftsman’s shed, is decked out with Welsh blankets, a Rayburn, old tools and wood carvings.


Fantasy escape, North Devon
Sleeps 4 | From £610 a week




Hobbit Hole


The fact that there are a number of Hobbit-themed hideaways in the UK attests to their appeal. The Hobbit Hole is the latest, so new it hasn’t opened yet (booking available from 24 April). Its curvy walls, round door and grassy roof will delight children, regardless of whether they’ve read Tolkien’s classic. Outside there’s a garden, barbecue and hot tub. Nearby the wide sweeping surf beaches of the north Devon coast await, and the gorgeous fishing village of Appledore, with its timeless seaside attractions, is just a couple of miles away. Exmoor is a 45 minute drive.


Finnish cabins, the Cotswolds
Sleeps 4 to 11 | From £620 for four nights




Log House Holidays, Cotswolds



Log House Holidays, Cotswolds Photograph: Jonathon Watkins

Fancy a Scandi-style lakeside escape without the flight? Log House Holidays’ eight Finnish cabins sit in 130 acres of private nature reserve in the Cotswolds. Each has a hot tub and rowing boat. It’s the perfect spot for wholesome fun: swim in the spring-fed lake; row, kayak or paddleboard; play rounders in the meadow; and toast marshmallows on the firepit. Since owner Anthony Edmonson bought the land in 1980 he has planted over 50,000 trees and large areas of reed beds in the lake, creating wildlife habitats. Water source pumps heat water, hot tubs and under-floor heating.


Carriage splendour, Suffolk
Sleeps 4 | From £200 for 2 nights




Railway Carriage Coppins Farm



Photograph: Peter Langman

Sleeping in a first-class railway carriage from the golden age of steam usually means forking out for a luxury journey, but there’s an affordable option at Coppins Farm in Suffolk, where a steam carriage dating back to 1885 is now a cute escape for four. Wood panelling and a woodburner add a cosy vibe, complemented by granny-chic interiors: sweeps of pink brocade curtain dividing the lounge area from two sleeping cabins, tasselled sofas and a floral roll-top bath tub. The site also has two showman’s wagons (each sleeping four, from £190 for two nights).


Modern eco-bothy, Lanarkshire
Sleeps 4 | From £99 a night




Burnhead Bothy Lanarkshire


No crumbling old stone hut, Burnhead Bothy, set on a 1,600-acre farm, is a thoroughly modern affair – a timber-frame building with floor-to-ceiling windows, views across the Kilsyth Hills, and a simple pine interior. The farm is unusual too – home to Highland cattle and Valais sheep, whose wool insulates the sustainably built, off-grid, solar-powered pad. Water comes from a spring and the open-plan space is warmed by a woodburner. Edinburgh or Glasgow are easily reached, but with rock climbing, and kayaking from Auchinstarry Marina nearby, why bother?


Stunning locations


Old railway carriage, Ceredigion
Sleeps 5 | From £307 for 2 nights




Wendy the Coastal Carraige, Aberporth, Ceredigion


Sit on the terrace of this converted Edwardian sleeping car and gaze out across an endless expanse of sea. The garden gate opens directly on to the Wales Coast Path, and the superb sandy beaches of Cardigan Bay are nearby, from Aberporth’s two beaches to the sheltered cove of Mwnt and the mile-long Penbryn. Built in 1905 for the Waterloo-Plymouth boat train, Wendy the Coastal Carriage still has its original oak interior and authentic features such as signage and a side corridor past the bedrooms. Kids will love running up and down shouting “tickets please”!


Off-grid croft, Scottish Borders
Sleeps 4 | From £360 for 3 nights




Fiddle Hill Hawick



Photograph: Christine Smith

Secluded Fiddle Hill Cottage is a new eco-lodge on a croft in rolling hills north of the small town of Hawick. Walking and on- and off-road cycling opportunities abound: the long-distance, circular Borders Abbey Way is a quarter of a mile away and two 7stanes mountain bike trails are each about a 40-minute drive. There are two electric bicycles for hire. Effective insulation, underfloor heating and a woodburner mean it’s snug all year round, and double-height windows allow guests to take in the view, watch birds on the 30 feeders in the garden, and spot badgers. Wild flowers surround the cabin in spring. A hamper of scones, bread, homemade jam and wine is provided; farm produce – including lamb, beef, chicken and pork plus fruit and veg – can be ordered from the owner.


Magic Mournes, County Down
Sleeps 2 | From £70 a night




Horse Box at Lackan Cottage, County Down


Lackan Cottage Farm is an off-grid, organic smallholding offering visitors a taste of low-impact living amid some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenery. With views of the dramatic tor-topped Mourne mountains, carbon-neutral Birch Cottage is one of the few cottages in Northern Ireland to hold a Green Tourism Gold award. Or opt for the Horse Box (pictured), kitted out with reclaimed material and with its own herb garden – and views of the mountains from the bed. The site is solar- and wind-powered, has composting loos and grows food year-round. Walking and bike trails, the seaside at Newcastle and Tollymore Forest Park (a Game of Thrones site) are all within easy reach. The farm is the first permaculture centre in Northern Ireland; and the owners, who live on site, run courses and open days, and welcome volunteers to learn about sustainable living.


Fairytale cabin, north Wales
Sleeps 2 | From £595 a week




Ty Twt Conwy, North Wales


With a rocking chair on the veranda and a woodland path leading to its door, pitched-roof Ty Twt cabin near Conwy looks like something out of a fairytale. In the grounds of the owners’ house but out of sight, it’s a great base for exploring waterfalls, abbeys, castles and Snowdonia national park. A woodburner and selection of boardgames and musical instruments give it a homely feel, and the hamper including Welsh cakes and sloe gin is a welcome touch. On summer nights you can cook on the barbecue or firepit.


Swallows and Amazons, Norfolk Broads
Sleeps 4 | From £95 a night




Hippersons Boatyard Norfolk


On a quiet stretch of the Broads, Hippersons Boatyard has four brightly coloured houseboats and two curvy wooden pods – one floating, one on land – that offer a chance to spend days on the water spotting otters, marsh harriers and kingfishers. Each houseboat comes with its own rowing boat and two of them, Coot Club and Swallows, are moored in a small boatyard off the main river, so safer for (older) children who want to have their own little Swallows and Amazons style adventure. There are canoes, kayaks or electric day boats to hire, perhaps for a trip up the River Waveney towards Geldeston – a low bridge deters larger craft – with a stop at the waterside Locks pub and brewery. Bikes can also be rented. The boatyard is a 10-minute walk from the market town of Beccles, where the Royal Oak does Neapolitan-style oak-fired pizzas. The pods cost from £150 a night (sleeping four). Open April-October.


Army truck, Jurassic coast, Dorset
Sleeps 2 | From £50 a night




Brigs Farm Bedford Truck. Dorset


Set on a campsite with sea views, this vintage Bedford MJ Truck is now a bijou, wood-clad space with a woodburner, kitchen, electric cool box underneath and fire pit. Nearby Charmouth is famed for its fossils – stop off at the heritage centre for information on the geology of the area and what you can expect to find, or to join a guided fossil walk. The beach is also popular for rockpooling and safe for swimming. Follow the South West Coast Path from Charmouth to Lyme Regis – which heads inland along this stretch. Foodie Bridport is nearby too.


Shepherd’s hut, Romney Marsh, Kent
Sleeps 2 | From £299 for 3 nights




Lookers Legacy Kent


Romney Marsh is dotted with the remnants of small brick “lookers” – shelters used by shepherds in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now one of them, The Lookers Legacy, has been transformed into a stylish hideaway for two with a timber extension and views across the neighbouring vineyard. Inside there are the usual trappings of the modern retreat – woodburner, bare brick, fur throws, hot tub – but it’s the setting that makes it special. It stands on its own in a grassy field, surrounded by green and pleasant countryside and surrounding fields. Guests could walk the Saxon Shore Way, which runs through the nearby village of Stone-in-Oxney, home to the Ferry Inn. Tenterden, Rye and the beach at Camber Sands are all within easy reach too.


Rewild yourself, the Cotswolds
Sleeps 2-3 | From £89 a night




Campwell Gloucestershire



Photograph: PR

The number of places offering visitors the chance to “rewild” themselves is on the rise. Opening this spring Campwell – near Marshfield, nine miles north of Bath – invites guests to live simpler and more adventurous lives in off-grid cabins, yurts and a cob house on its woodland site. Swim in a “secret lake” and warm up in the sauna. Bookable activities include yoga, foraging and woodworking courses (from Easter); there are also plans for retreats (October 2-4, from £350pp, with more dates in 2021). Showers and kitchen facilities are in two separate shelters. Aiming to be carbon negative, the owners plant a tree for every booking. Available for group bookings too.


Loughside cottage, County Fermanagh
Sleeps 5 | From £299 for 3 nights (for two people)




Geaglum cottage, Upper Lough Erne, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland


Billed as one of the best-preserved cottages in Northern Ireland, Geaglum is a picture-postcard thatched home with a 1950s-style interior – and a Gypsy caravan in the garden. It’s less than half a mile from a pebble beach with a quay on Upper Lough Erne, an atmospheric maze of waterways and 150 islets bearing the marks of Celtic and Christian settlements. Hire a boat at Knockkinny Marina, a 15-minute drive away, to explore on the water, or scramble over the castle ruins and wonderful old yew trees of the National Trust-owned Crom Estate. Head north to Lower Lough Erne to discover the ancient stone figures of Boa island, or make a Game of Thrones pilgrimage to the Riverlands hideout (AKA Pollnagollum Cave in season 3), part of Marble Arch Caves.


Artists’ retreat, Welsh borders
Sleeps 2 | From £565 a week




Orchard Cottage from the Sidney Nolan Trust, English-Welsh border



Photograph: PR

The blue haze that envelops the Hindwell Valley on a summer’s evening reminded Australian artist Sidney Nolan of the wild landscapes of his homeland. Such was his love of this slice of rural Britain that he moved here with his wife Mary in the 1980s. The trust they set up still supports established and emerging artists and runs a programme of creative courses. This year it opened Orchard Cottage (formerly the gardener’s cottage) as a holiday let. Guests can wander the grounds, which include Rodd Court, the Jacobean manor house where the couple lived, walk in the valley and visit Nolan’s studio. Proceeds go towards the trust’s education and creative programme, which works with local schoolchildren and visiting artists from around the world.

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