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...
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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