Top 10 unique
For those bored with a standard double
nusual, utterly unique, these are some of the most quirky places to stay in England. They say that the British are a nation of eccentrics and here’s the proof. Run by people with unbridled enthusiasm and professionalism, staying at one of these properties will be unforgettable.
A collection of vintage train carriages have been painstakingly renovated into holiday accommodation in the grounds of what was once Coalport Station, near Ironbridge Gorge. Surrounded by woods, the exteriors are traditional, but the interiors are anything but! Inside you’ll find wooden floors and leather sofas, double beds and whirlpool baths. Up to ten guests can stay here, all in great comfort, a chance to holiday in your very own train carriage.
The quintessential English family house (well, the sort that most of us dream about owning), you’ll find Deane Lodge’s beautifully old-fashioned comforts just outside the centre of Winchester. Stocked with vintage toys, nostalgic furnishings and an Edwardian ambience, the lodge sleeps 10 people comfortably. And modern life hasn’t been ignored – you’ll find wifi and plasma screen televisions.
Fun and practical in equal measure there’s a fairy tale quality to this holiday property in Suffolk. Once a water tower that was used by the nearby holiday houses, now it has been converted into a 5-bedroom house, with a mixture of twin and double bedrooms. Right at the top is a galleried games room with pool and table tennis tables. And yes, just as you’d imagine, the views from the top of the House in the Clouds are superb.
Follies and fantastical buildings, saved from ruin. If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a pineapple-shaped house, a converted pigsty or stately stables, you’ll find that the Landmark Trust has something perfect on its books from every period of English architecture. From houses that sleep just two to mansions that sleep 16 in elegant surroundings, history lovers will be in heaven; every house comes with meticulous cataloguing of the building’s history.
Step straight out onto the golden sands of Camber beach from this beautifully decorated apartment. Located directly on the beach, you’ll be able to walk for miles and enjoy the glorious scenery. The ultimate beach house, it’s been beautifully decorated thoughout. The main bedroom has a huge bed made from driftwood with a private balcony that looks out to sea, there’s a second single bedroom, a wonderful bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.
Go to sleep with the gentle lapping of the River Avon and watch ducks and swans drift by from this converted boathouse in Bath. You’ll get a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and large sitting room with a wooden balcony overlooking the river. And if you want to hire a rowing boat to explore the waterscape, you’re only just steps away from the boat station and a short walk to a city that dates back to Roman times and still has a thermal spa.
Surrounded by rolling greenery of Worcestershire’s countryside and overlooking the small hamlet of Weatheroak, this former windmill provides a wonderfully romantic break. There’s a golf course and traditional country pub within walking distance. The windmill itself is a Grade 2 listed building which has recently been completely renovated and modernised to offer two bedrooms for up to three people, lounge, kitchen and a magnificent 360 degree viewing gallery on the top floor, with a telescope to make the most of the views.
This treehouse is designed for grown ups as well as children. Open plan, on the inside you’ll find an open plan sitting room, wood burning stove and a kitchen with a double bed up a spiral staircase as well as a roll top bath. Outside there’s a hot tub to add an extra touch of luxury. In a gloriously rural setting in Somerset, the owners, who run a farm, also have Cornflower Cottage, a two bedroom cottage, for those who prefer to be on firm ground.
A prison cell that comes with its own key? Being banged up (as prison slang goes) is a pleasure here. The building dates back to the 19th century and is full of atmosphere, including the original metal landings. The cells are now a pleasure to stay in – spacious, with double beds, carpets, flatscreen televisions and rainfall showers. There’s a cocktail bar and a highly popular restaurant and in the mornings, porridge is definitely on the menu! The hotel is part of the even more historic Oxford Castle that was first built in 1071.
A romantic hideaway for two, this 18th century folly in North Yorkshire is definitely a local landmark. Built by a landowner so that local ladies could watch the progress of hunts, the views stretch for miles! There are just two octagonal rooms but it comes fully equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. The bedroom with a domed ceiling also has a balcony as well as a wealth of original features including Georgian panelling.