If you’re looking for a self-catering adventure this year, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover across the UK. From star gazing in Sussex to an idyllic island abode in Tresco, Isle of Scilly, or even a traditional bothie style Perthshire lochside bolthole, there’s something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your loved ones, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories in these stunning destinations.
Hesdin Estate, Wiltshire
Talk about cool pools – Hayho House, the latest addition to this little hamlet of properties, has an underground swimming pool, surrounded by grey walls. The other four houses all have a pool too, one a magnificent affair in its own spa hall (pictured), another in a walled garden, where you can swim as you watch the outdoors cinema. Expect cocktail dens and bunk rooms within. All the houses have games rooms, hot tubs, kitchens to cater for groups, and access to the estate, with its alpacas, goats, and a pig called Zoomie.
A week for 14 at Hayho from £4,050; hesdin.co.uk
Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk
Get complimentary use of an electric BMW when you stay on this 8,000-acre Suffolk estate with its collection of restored properties. Use the cars to explore the surrounding woodland, lakes and rolling pastures, or venture further afield before returning to sleep in anything from a thatched cottage for two to a restored 15th-century barn.
One night in a four-bed house from £823; wildernessreserve.com
Stargazing Cabins, Sussex
Stargazing windows are set above the beds in this trio of ecolodges, so you can lie back and view the dark night sky. Each cabin has subtle nods to the nearby site of the Battle of Hastings, with stained-glass bathroom windows and Gothic doorways. We especially love Matilda, named after William the Conqueror’s wife.
From £170 a night; starcroftfarm.co.uk
Blockhouse, Tresco, Isles of Scilly
If you’re looking for the ultimate place to stay on the island of Tresco, this could be it. Just steps from the sand, with particularly lovely views through the bifold doors in the kitchen, The Blockhouse also has its own sauna and steam room, plus a yoga and Pilates studio. The seven bedrooms aren’t bad, either.
A week for 16 from £8,750; tresco.co.uk
The Collective at Woolsery, North Devon
The man who created the social-media site Bebo is now sharing his ancestral village home with us. Some of Michael Birch’s family still live in the village of Woolsery, in North Devon, and it’s there that he has revived the local pub, the Farmers Arms, as well as the post office, fish ‘n’ chips shop and farm. Now you can stay in one of three cottages, two suites, or two village rooms, all beautifully kitted out in colourful contemporary fabrics, with a real sense of theatre about them. They sleep from two to eight people; a manor house is also being restored.
Cottage for two from £450 a night; woolsery.com
Glen Glack cabins, Scotland
Although they were inspired by traditional bothies, the five lochside boltholes that have just opened on Perthshire’s Atholl Estates don’t share the no-frills ethos. Instead, they have a modern, minimalist design; one cabin for two also has an outside bath to truly immerse yourself in nature. Spend your days exploring the Cairngorms National Park; guests get free entry to Blair Castle.
From £175 a night for two; atholl-estates.co.uk
The Nest, Devon
You can see why this little clifftop eyrie for two got its name – surrounded by trees, it has panoramic views of the sea from the terrace or from the sofa through floor-to-ceiling windows. The art-filled interiors include a modern four-poster bed.
From £140 a night for two; uniquehideaways.com
SCHLOSS Roxburghe, Scottish Borders
It already comprises a hotel with golf course, restaurant and spa. Now this estate on the Scottish borders has added 26 contemporary cottages in woodland, some with private saunas. Like the hotel, they are all dog friendly, and make the perfect base from which to explore the countryside. Go fly-fishing, try clay-pigeon shooting, or head off for some hiking or biking. When you return, there’s an outdoor pool to soak in, followed by estate-to-plate dining in Charlie’s Restaurant. Accompany your meal with wine, whisky or gin pairings.
Two-bedroom cottage from £506 a night; schlosshotel-roxburghe.com
Gardener’s House, Wales
Rows of galvanised watering cans displayed on wall shelving, a potting trolley doubling as a bedside table and antique trugs… the décor certainly lives up to the name in this former gardener’s cottage on North Wales’s Hawarden Estate. As you might expect, the garden is a riot of colour; the house also borders Hawarden Walled Garden.
From £395 a night for nine; hawardenestate.co.uk
Words | Jane Knight