UNIQUE PLACES TO STAY

Fancy an idyl­lic sum­mer es­cape? Then how about a cou­ple of days in a re­mote High­land bothy – or a gor­geous coun­try house ho­tel? Let our dreamy dozen get­aways in­spire you...

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents - By Ben Ler­will

June calls for a coun­try get­away – but where to go? Whether you must sleep in lux­ury or would rather rough it in a re­mote bothy, let our pick of 12 amaz­ing ru­ral es­capes in­spire you.

Truly great coun­try­side ac­com­mo­da­tion is about far more than scones on ar­rival and fluffy tow­els. It’s about tran­quil­lity, deep views and con­nect­ing to what’s around you. It’s about los­ing your­self in the land’s syl­van folds or the salty-aired ex­panse of the coast. It’s about toss­ing your ev­ery­day stresses to the wind. Most of all, it’s about be­ing a part of where you are.

A spe­cial place to stay doesn’t have to be lux­u­ri­ous. It can just as eas­ily be ba­sic and bud­get-friendly, so long as it’s some­where that can grant you mem­o­rable mo­ments. But with so many cot­tages, B&Bs, hos­tels and lodges to choose from, seek­ing out the best of them can be hard work. That’s why we’ve cherry-picked 12 stand-out op­tions from across the map. Wipe your boots on the way in, now…

1. GRAVETYE MANOR, WEST SUS­SEX

It’s al­most 60 years since Gravetye Manor opened as a high-end ho­tel, although the build­ing it­self stretches back to the late 1500s. It’s best known as the for­mer home of leg­endary Ir­ish gar­dener Wil­liam Robin­son, an early ex­po­nent of the cot­tage gar­den style. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the 1,000-acre grounds in which the coun­try house sits are very easy on the eye, as is the mel­low Sus­sex coun­try­side that serves as a back­drop. As if that weren’t enough, the ho­tel also has a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant. Go on, treat your­self. Rooms from £365 (sum­mer rate). gravetye­manor.co.uk

2. KEARVAIG BOTHY, HIGH­LAND

Want to get away from it all? Head north, and don’t stop un­til you reach Kearvaig Bothy. One of the fur­thest-flung overnight op­tions in the coun­try, the bothy stands just above a sweetly scal­loped Scot­tish beach and pro­vides a re­mote but homely refuge from the el­e­ments. There’s no book­ing sys­tem, so you’ll be shar­ing with who­ever else ar­rives. Cape Wrath is only a few miles away, and if you’re ar­riv­ing from Dur­ness in the east, you’ll need to catch a ferry across the es­tu­ary. An ad­ven­ture, then – but a mighty fine one. • Ac­com­mo­da­tion free, but do­na­tions wel­come. moun­tain­both­ies.org.uk/both­ies/north­ern-high­lands/kearvaig

3. YHA BLACK SAIL, LAKE DIS­TRICT

Moun­taineer Sir Chris Bon­ing­ton has trav­elled to a place or two, so when he de­scribes some­where as his favourite youth hos­tel in the world, it’s worth know­ing about. Step for­ward the glo­ri­ously iso­lated YHA Black Sail, which is only ac­ces­si­bly on foot or by bike. It’s a full 2.5 miles from the near­est road. The for­mer shep­herd’s bothy has been cater­ing to dis­cern­ing (and de­ter­mined) Lake Dis­trict vis­i­tors since 1933, and sits at the head of the gor­geous En­nerdale Val­ley. The fells of Great Gable, Red Pike and Pil­lar are close by.

• Beds from £35. yha.org.uk/hos­tel/black-sail

4. ROCKWATER CABIN, CORN­WALL

If they gave out medals for spec­tac­u­lar lo­ca­tions, Rockwater Cabin could ex­pect to earn a spot on the ros­trum. The hand­some 1930s cabin might be small, but it goes big – very big – on scenery, be­ing perched on the cliffs above south­east Corn­wall’s Whit­sand Bay and look­ing out onto a hori­zon-wide sea panorama. Head out­side to spot por­poises or dol­phins, then cosy up in­side among white­washed retro dé­cor. The twin vil­lages of Kingsand and Cawsand are close by.

• £641.20 for three nights (June rate). Sleeps three and a cot. clas­sic.co.uk/hol­i­day-cot­tage/desc-3229.html

5. BWTHYN TREHILYN, PEM­BROKESHIRE

Hard to pro­nounce, very easy to love. This sturdy farm cot­tage has been care­fully ren­o­vated by Griff Rhys Jones (yes, that one) and his fam­ily, us­ing tra­di­tional skills and ma­te­ri­als. It’s fair to say they’ve done a good job. Fea­tur­ing a wood-burner, an open-plan liv­ing/din­ing area and a large shower, the cot­tage sits in 70 acres of farm­land with big sea views. The nearby Pem­brokeshire Coast Path, mean­while, of­fers ac­cess to some of the most breath­tak­ing coastal walk­ing in Bri­tain.

• From £586 for four nights (June rate). Sleeps up to six. un­der­thethatch.co.uk/btre­hi­lyn#prop­erty-page-fa­cil­i­ties

6. THE CHESTNUTS, COTSWOLDS

A fi­nal­ist in last year’s Visit Eng­land Awards for Self-Cater­ing Prop­erty of the Year, eco-lux­ury cot­tage The Chestnuts has also achieved gold sta­tus with Green Tourism. It’s as hip as they come, some­how manag­ing to be tra­di­tion­ally snug and trendily de­sign-con­scious at the same time. Best of all, it sits on the edge of the Ox­ford­shire Cotswolds, less than three miles from the his­tor­i­cal town of Bur­ford and the pretty coun­try­side that sur­rounds it. Blen­heim Palace is 30 min­utes away. • £1,570 for seven nights. Sleeps six. thech­est­nuts.net

7. PURTON GREEN, SUF­FOLK

With more than 700 years of his­tory un­der its belt, Purton Green’s or­dered tim­bers and neat thatched roof re­flect some­where that’s both well-aged and well-kept, with mod cons along­side the house’s me­dieval fea­tures. The real joy is the lo­ca­tion, a beau­ti­fully se­cluded spot in the belly of the Suf­folk coun­try­side. Ex­pect fields ga­lore, as well as easy ac­cess to the stately homes Ken­twell Hall and Ick­worth. • From £237 for four nights (no June avail­abil­ity). Sleeps four. land­mark­trust.org.uk/search-and-book/prop­er­ties/pur­ton­green-10836

8. BLEASDALE GLAMP­ING, LAN­CASHIRE

The mood­ily mag­nif­i­cent hills of the For­est of Bow­land pro­vide the set­ting for these five sa­fari-style tents. The tents are as com­fort­able as you’d hope, with three sep­a­rate bed­rooms, so­fas, din­ing fur­ni­ture, and a stove. They’re set at in­ter­vals around a large field, with fire pits in­cluded. The River Brock flows nearby, there’s wood­land on the doorstep and nu­mer­ous walk­ing trails snake off into the coun­try­side. • £438.60 for four nights (June rate). Tents sleep up to six. lanter­nand­larks.co.uk/glamp­ing-lo­ca­tions/bleasdale

9. PLAT­FORM 1 CAS­TLE HOWARD STA­TION, NORTH YORK­SHIRE

Once the wait­ing room for Cas­tle Howard Sta­tion, this Grade II-listed build­ing is now a well-ap­pointed apart­ment for two, set in pri­vate grounds and of­fer­ing coun­try walks straight from the gate. Queen Vic­to­ria her­self once passed through the same front door you’ll en­ter. The rail line is still a work­ing one – you may even wit­ness the steam ser­vice to Scar­bor­ough. Cas­tle Howard it­self is just two miles away. • £450 for three nights (June rate). Sleeps two. castle­howard­sta­tion.com/plat­form1.html

10. SKOMER IS­LAND BUNKHOUSE, PEM­BROKESHIRE

This won­der­ful lit­tle Welsh is­land is a par­adise for spring and early sum­mer bird-lovers, with puffins, ra­zor­bills and guille­mots in their thou­sands. It makes for a princely day-trip from the main­land, but it’s even bet­ter when you stay the night. There are beds in a sim­ple bunkhouse, and you’ll share the is­land with pre­cious few other peo­ple – and half a mil­lion nest­ing Manx shear­wa­ters. The se­cret’s out about mag­i­cal Skomer, so book ahead when reser­va­tions open in Oc­to­ber. • Beds from £45 (June rate). welsh­wildlife.org/overnigh­tac­com­mo­da­tion-on-skomer/

11. THE TOWN­HOUSE LUD­LOW, SHROP­SHIRE

This lov­ingly re­stored B&B sits close to the Welsh bor­der in the charm­ing mar­ket town of Lud­low. With a plum lo­ca­tion in the Marches, Lud­low also has its own cas­tle – a sprawl­ing vi­sion of tow­ers and ram­parts with al­most 1,000 years of his­tory. The B&B it­self sits in a tim­bered build­ing and of­fers all the right sort of in­dul­gences, from goose-down du­vets to roll-top baths. • Rooms from £120 (June rate). town­house­lud­low.co.uk

12. AC­COM­MO­DA­TION CAIRNGORMS

Serv­ing up un­hin­dered views of the Cairn­gorm Moun­tains, this five-star B&B near Gran­town-On-Spey is just nine miles away from the out­door hub of Aviemore. The two rooms have oak floors and sheep­skin rugs, and break­fast eggs come from the B&B’s own hens. And for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion? The host also ar­ranges chauf­feur-driven vin­tage car tours of the High­lands, in­clud­ing one that fo­cuses on the nearby Spey­side malt whisky re­gion. • Dou­ble en-suite rooms from £150 (June rate). ac­com­mo­da­tion­cairn­gorms.co.uk CF

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