Why risk going on a plane when there are amazing self-catering options on our doorstep? We bring you some of the very best…
As a nation, we are blessed with such a wealth and variety of scenery, history and culture that a home turf holiday is always a delight… and it’s kinder to the environment too. The sun may not always shine, it’s true, but if you have one of these dashingly good-looking holiday homes to hole up in, we reckon you will feel like you’re in the sweetest place on earth!
1. THE BOTHY, DARTMOOR, DEVON
This decadently romantic bijoux bolthole has been really thought out by its interior designer owner. The main living space has a sofa, woodburner and king size bed – just the place for breakfast with dreamy moorland views. For a close-up, search for wild Dartmoor ponies on any number of exhilarating walks. The holiday let has a private garden with fire pit and access to the owner’s tennis court – handy if you have a Devonshire cream tea to work off.
* The Bothy can be booked through Boutique Retreats, who try to bridge the gap between boutique hotels and traditional holiday cottages. They have properties all over the UK and can organise catering and food deliveries.boutique-retreats.co.uk
2. THE BRIDGE BARN, NORTHUMBERLAND
Overlooking the ruins of medieval Warkworth Castle is The Bridge Barn, a small and stylish property suitable for two adults and two children up to the age of 12. We love its simple character and charm and the village location, with walks and rowing boats on the Coquet River almost from the doorstep, a fabulous sandy beach an easy walk away, plus all the attractions and wild beauty of Northumberland accessible by car
*The Bridge Barn can be booked through Coquet Cottages – a small team who specialise in luxury, dog-friendly, cottages in Northumbria and know the area and the cottages well.coquetcottages.co.uk
3. JASMINE COTTAGE, COTSWOLDS
Cute cottage in the Cotswolds? Yes please! Jasmine Cottage is as quintessential as they get, with wisteria around the door and a pretty country style with a French twist. It sleeps three, in one double, and one adorable single, bedroom. The cottage is in the sleepy village of Windrush, less of a honeypot than many others in the Cotswolds, with lovely walks around the Windrush Valley – it’s a two mile ramble to the National Trust village of Sherbourne.
* Jasmine Cottage can be booked through Cotswold Hideaways who are a relatively new company specialising in this appealing patch of England.cotswoldhideaways.co.uk
4. THE CHALET, CORNWALL
This county is not short on stellar beaches and The Chalet has dazzling views over one of the best – Carbis Bay. The architect designed pad is uber modern, with two ensuite bedrooms (two king size beds, one an optional twin), a snazzy kitchen and an upside-down layout with living area upstairs, for maximum vista drooling time. Lovely St Ives is just a one mile stroll along the coast.
* The Chalet can be booked through Cornish Gems who have over 180 special places to stay across Cornwall and pride themselves on their customer service. cornishgems.com
5. SWANTON COTTAGE, NORFOLK
The north coast of Norfolk attracts the well-heeled, drawn by its beautiful beaches and great accommodation. Swanton Cottage is near the gorgeous Georgian town of Holt as well as some of the area’s best swathes of sand. The house sleeps 12 so is ideal for extended families or a gaggle of friends. Highlights include the big, sociable kitchen/diner and, outside, an old glasshouse with table for dining on summer evenings. A tennis court, five acres of woodland and a play room will keep kids occupied.
* Swanton Cottage can be booked through Barefoot Retreats, who specialise in laidback luxury in the north of Norfolk. Their concierge service supplies not just the usual restaurant bookings and babysitting but also cool things like hiring a luxury bell tent for kids in the garden, a hot tub for the weekend, or in-house cocktail making classes. barefootretreats.co.uk
6. EIRIANFA, DENBIGHSHIRE
You can be sure of a warm welcome in the Welsh hillsides at this divine old farmhouse near Ruthin. It has a proper country kitchen, with Aga to cook and warm socks on and cosy living room with wood burner. Rather unusually, although Eirianfa sleeps just four people, it has the facilities of many much larger houses, including a wonderful games barn with hot tub and bar. Oh, and did we mention that the private garden is 17 acres, complete with lake and rowing boat?
* Eirianfa can be booked through Unique Homestays who offer magical homes in jaw dropping locations throughout the UK. They are incredibly fussy about the homes they market (and inspect every one), meaning that loyal fans trust them implicitly.uniquehomestays.com
7. THE BARNHOUSE, COTSWOLDS
This one of a kind barn boasts interiors designed by Kate Moss and is secreted away in the woods. The design is eclectic and luxurious, with raw silk carpeting, priceless pieces of art and dramatic furniture statements. The open plan living and dining spaces look out through a spectacular wall of glass, with views extending across the adjacent Bowmoor Lake.
* The Barnhouse is a property on the luxury Lakes by Yoo estate, bookable directly (thelakesbyyoo.com) or through Orion Holidays, specialists in self-catering holiday homes in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park. The area is beautiful with over 150 lakes spread over 40 square miles covering 14 different Cotswold villages and a wide range of leisure activities. orionholidays.com
8. GARDEN ROOMS AT FASQUE CASTLE, ABERDEENSHIRE
Calling all fairytale princesses…. the Garden Rooms at Fasque Castle await you. This tiny turreted pile is cosy inside, with roaring fires both in the living room and the suitably grand and girlie bedroom. The estate has acres to roam, with woodland, resident red deer and a small chapel. Down the road are beautiful walks beside the River Esk and further afield the more challenging Cairngorms and Angus Glens, plus fantastically unspoilt sandy beaches. This part of Scotland gets its fair share of chilly days – just the excuse to warm up with a wee dram or two of whisky at the nearby Fettercairn Distillery.
* The Garden Rooms at Fasque Castle can be booked through Cottages and Castles who have been in business for over 35 years and have 600+ quality Scottish properties on their books to suit every pocket.cottages-and-castles.co.uk
9. LULWORTH COVE HOUSE, DORSET
This is self catering with knobs on! Such hedonism doesn’t come cheap but you could spend your whole time here without budging. Facilities include a stunning indoor pool, terrace with sea views, bar, cinema room, games room and 10 ensuite bedrooms. The house is essentially a giant thatched cottage, with a sleek, modern interior. Pretty Lulworth Cove is minutes away on foot.
* Lulworth Cove House can be booked through The Wow House Company. They offer large, extra special houses and can help clients with catering, entertainment and activities.thewowhousecompany.com
10. ROSE CASTLE COTTAGE, THE LAKE DISTRICT
If remote beauty is the new luxury, then Rose Castle Cottage, once owned by Beatrix Potter, is one opulent place. It sits just above tinkling Tarn Hows, with not a neighbour in view. This is a low-tech pad for four people – off grid electricity, no TV, dishwasher, microwave, or even WiFi, so it’s definitely the place to bring teenagers to cold turkey! But who needs screens when the whole Lake District is on your doorstep? Tramp in the fells or to the jetty where you can climb aboard the old Steam Yacht Gondola for a cruise on Coniston Water.
* Rose Castle Cottage can be booked through National Trust Holidays.The National Trust restore historic properties throughout the UK, keeping their unique character. Money from bookings helps protect them for future generations. nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays
WHAT TO CHECK BEFORE YOU BOOK…
• How the company ensure properties are COVID-19 safe. This should at the least involve thorough antibacterial cleaning but might also include a key safe so that guests don’t have to meet owners or, even better, contactless entry.
• If there is a possibility for an early check-in or late check-out.
• When the low, mid and high seasons are for your property.
• What extras you’ll have to pay for.
Ask also whether an end of stay clean is included.
• Compare like with like.
Bear in mind you are likely getting more indoor and outdoor space for your money and saving money by having a kitchen to cook in. Also factor in things like parking, extras provided etc.
• The cancellation policy.
Some let you cancel up to the day before your trip, others might charge a percentage or all costs, depending upon when you cancel. Check the COVID-19 policy, too. Would you be refunded if you had to cancel because of it?
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