Thatched roofs, open fireplaces and rosy gardens
owhere does cosy cottages quite like England. Where else can you get classic ‘roses round the door’ boltholes with thatched roofs, inglenook fireplaces, oak beams and antiques? We select some of the best characterful rural retreats, all set in idyllic countryside.
Take a bracing walk along Holkham beach before returning to this 18th century brick and flintstone cottage to warm up in front of the woodburning stove. The wisteria clad, semi-detached cottage is set in mature gardens with a pond (home to the ‘Polly Wiggles’, or tadpoles, in spring).
Visit the Palladian mansion Holkham Hall, go on a seal-spotting boat trip to Blakeney Point or buy crab from the quayside at Wells-next-the-Sea with its colourful beach huts.
You get the best of both worlds at Myrtle Cottage: the privacy of your own apartment and a full English breakfast delivered to your door. Owner Veronica serves local sausages, bacon, free-range eggs as well as homemade jams and bread. Upstairs is a light double bedroom with lovely views of the Malvern Hills and an adjoining single room. Head to Worcester to admire the Victorian stained glass windows and medieval cloisters of the cathedral or enjoy a day out at one of Britain’s oldest racecourses.
Rural retreats don’t get much more idyllic than this 18th century bolthole in the pretty village of Ashton Hayes. The interior combines original features such as oak beams, an inglenook fireplace with a woodburning stove and wattle and daub with a sleek modern kitchen and quarry tile flooring.
Explore the medieval-timber framed houses in nearby Chester while Delamere Forest is perfect for walkers and cyclists (you may even catch sight of a green spotted woodpecker).
Tucked away down a leafy lane near the banks of the River Tees, this grade II listed Victorian farm cottage has been lovingly restored to offer a cosy retreat for two. Buy local produce from the town’s bustling Market Place with its butcher, tearooms and weekly Wednesday market.
Numerous attractions are on your doorstep, from Barnard Castle’s medieval stronghold to the aptly named 70ft High Force, England’s highest waterfall.
Historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes wrote Mary of Carisbrooke while living at this thatched cottage in Wellow on West Wight. No wonder she felt inspired; the grade II listed smugglers cottage oozes character with beamed ceilings, a woodburner in the quaint ‘dining parlour’ and antiques.
West Wight is the wilder, rural side of the island, home to the Needles that stretch out to the sea and the vertiginous beach at Alum Bay with its coloured sands.
It’s the location that makes this one-bedroom bungalow so special, nestled between the Lincolnshire coast and the Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A top beauty spot is Hubbard’s Hill (not actually a hill but a lush river valley). Louth is also worth a visit with its Wednesday market and elegant 16th century church topped by the tallest spire of any British parish church. After a day exploring, retire to your comfortably furnished cottage and relax in front of the open fire.
Personal touches such as fresh flowers and a bottle of wine make this Victorian cottage feel like a real home-from-home. A Shaker-style kitchen leads to a pretty patio garden and there are original fireplaces, a woodburner and an antique pine dresser. Be warned: the steep Norfolk winder staircase is not for the fainthearted. Shop for local produce in independent shops along nearby Staithe Street while Wells harbour is only a short stroll.
Owners Peter and Brenda Carpenter have more than 60 years experience in the hospitality industry and it shows. Wonderful breakfasts (pancakes with wild blueberries anyone?), fresh flowers, bathrobes and chocolates in this 17th century B&B make it stand out from the crowd. A self-catering wing has an oak-beamed sitting room, woodburner and flat screen TV. If you don’t fancy cooking, the beautiful Ribble Valley offers plenty of gastro pubs within an easy drive.
Tramp across heather-covered moors, ford streams and admire the handiwork of dry stone wall builders while staying at one of three self-catering cottages in the heart of Swaledale. Swale View, a former village inn, has the most character with an attractive stone fireplace in the lounge and a country-style four-poster bedroom. Head to picturesque Reeth with its village green, craft shops and tearooms. Nearby Richmond is home to an impressive castle with a fine Norman keep.
This 300-year-old cottage has the wow factor combining beamed ceilings and exposed stonework with a stylish open-plan kitchen/diner. The bedrooms don’t disappoint either with more beams, sloping ceilings and light and bright décor. Located in Northumberland National Park there are spectacular walks from the doorstep, including one along a wooded gorge to Hareshaw Linn waterfall. The World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall is only 12 miles (19 km) away.
Smelling the rich fragrances of lavender, snowdrops, roses and bluebells.English Gardens
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