Nights to remember

Whether it’s for a New Year break or you’re planning your spring and summer 2022 staycations, make an experience of a night or two away with these unique places to bed down in comfort

Treehouse Dorset

There are many accommodation options at Mallinson’s Woodland Retreat, from yurts to tipis and shepherd’s huts but the standouts are, undoubtedly, the treehouses. Take The Woodsman’s Treehouse near Chard, for example, a RIBA award-winning piece of sustainable craftsmanship, with a list of facilities that put many five-star hotels to shame. Walk across the rope bridge and you’ll find a central circular room with a rotating wood burner, around which there’s a king size bed, a fully-equipped kitchen and roll-top copper bath. Venture outside and you’ll find a sauna and hot tub on the upper deck, and an open-air tree shower, hammock, wood- fired pizza oven and barbecue on the lower one. There’s even an en suite, flushing toilet for those averse to more rural, chemical solutions.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 2, from £990 for 2 nights. mallinson.co.uk

Ruins Warwickshire

A stay in a ruined castle dating back to the 13th century has to rate pretty highly when it comes to atmospheric accommodation. But calling Astley Castle, Nuneaton, ‘ruined’ is a something of a misnomer. Firstly, it’s more fortified manor than castle. As for ruined – a clever restoration blended stylish lodgings with the original Saxon walls after a fire put the property on the verge of collapse on 1978. Just how clever? Well, the property won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture 2013. It’s a remarkable mix of modern standards of comfort while maintaining the feel of an ancient, moated place. The living space is on the first floor, with four bedrooms on the ground floor, but a lift means access is easy for all.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 8, from £1,238 for 4 nights. landmarktrust.org.uk

Castle Scottish Borders

Historic Thirlestane Castle in Glenburnie is the setting for The Earl & The Countess, a three-bedroom apartment that was formerly the private quarters of the 14th Earl and Countess of Lauderdale. Recently restored, the apartment is elegant and sympathetic to the ancestry and provenance of its setting, and 400 years of Scottish history, albeit with TVs and underfloor heating in the bathrooms. Decorated throughout with rich heritage colours and sumptuous velvets, the apartment is dotted with antiques and period pieces: an ornate gilt mirror, original artworks from the castle collections, even bedsteads that date back to World War l when the castle was used as a recuperation hospital for officers.


Travel Details

Sleeps 6, from £792 per night. crabtreeandcrabtree.com

Yurt Black Mountains

The words ‘eco-living’ and ‘yurt’ throw up all sorts of visions, none of which will probably look remotely like Mimi’s Tree Yurt, Walterstone. Owners Bryony and Tim, inspired by their time in Botswana, specifically camps in the Makgadikgadi salt pan game reserve, have created something unique but in unity with the environment, its footprint a feather-light touch on the landscape. The yurt is handmade with locally sourced, coppiced wood and features solar-generated electricity and a wood burner. The results are spacious yet cosy, from the big double bed to a copper slipper bath and, for the warmer months, an outside ‘shower with a view’.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 2, from £200 for 2 nights. cottage-holiday-wales.co.uk

Martello Tower Suffolk

The remarkable sea views across the Deben Peninsula from Found Tower near Woodbridge are, of course, the very reason it exists. Originally built to defend the Suffolk coastline from Napoleonic forces – along with many similar Martello towers, most now lost to history – it’s enjoying a new lease of elegantly renovated life. Cleverly adapted to bring in more natural light, and with a spiral staircase that is the obvious way to link the three floors within, the tower boasts three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, wood burners, and a roof space with floor-to-ceiling windows, kitchen, dining table, lounge area, and outdoor terrace for when the Suffolk weather permits. There’s even a grand piano.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 6, from £2,450 for 3-4 nights. uniquehomestays.com

Private Island Cornwall

Being sent to The Island may sound like some sort of dystopian Hollywood plot, but the truth could not be more different at this spot on Towan Beach. The award-winning Newquay Harper Footbridge is your way into the property across the hidden garden, blocked to the outside world by greenery but with such views to the sea and Newquay from the garden, conservatory or, indeed, pretty much any room in the three-bedroom property. The interiors, while stylish, place comfort first in a house that’s so private there isn’t even a doorbell. Perfect for sunny days, and cosy for storms: in a part of the world famous for having four seasons in one day, The Island covers all bases.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 6, from £1,868 for 4 nights. theislandcornwall.uk

Railway carriage Somerset

Located alongside the still-working West Somerset Steam Railway in Bicknoller is, appropriately enough, a converted vintage wagon, The Railway Carriage. With the possibility of steam engines chugging – or possibly chuffing – past (perhaps as you lounge in the hot tub), it’s an area of outstanding beauty with much to do, even for those not obsessed with trains. The same applies to the accommodation: a classic brake cabin (to fascinate the spotter-types) that hides a sophisticated, country-style interior (to satisfy the seasoned traveller), with light oak floors, the long, open-plan living and dining area, a contemporary kitchen, two bedrooms, comfy leather sofas and a veranda offering views of the area’s lovely countryside.


Travel Details

Sleeps 4, from £350 for 3 nights. coolstays.com

Foghorn Station Kent

Proving bleak can be beautiful, Fog Signal Building at Dungeness offers views across the sea (possibly to France on a clear day) ... and across Romney Marsh and the nuclear power station. The barren aspect juxtaposes rather wonderfully with the accommodation itself, from the industrial design limestone floor (with underfloor heating) to the Bose sound system, Miele appliances, indulgent bathroom – with its two teak baths and shower – and contemporary furniture. A smart and novel base from which to explore this unusual region.

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Travel Details

Sleeps 2, from £776 per night. bloomstays.com

Lighthouse Yorkshire

Famed for a skyline dominated by the ruins of St Hilda’s abbey, great fish and chips, a role in the Dracula story and for playing a part in Captain Cook’s sailing career, Whitby is already well known to British tourists. Less well known, perhaps, is that there are two holiday cottages – Galatea and Vanguard – available to rent at the Whitby Lighthouse, each with three bedrooms. You’ll find all the kitchen mod cons you’d expect, comfortable beds and a garden plus, unsurprisingly given the lighthouse location, stunning sea views and easy beach access.

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Travel Details

Each sleeps 5, from £683 for 3 nights. airbnb.co.uk

Orangery Shropshire

Weston Park estate, near Shifnal on the Staffordshire border, is home to six unique historic holiday properties, from a tower to a bothy, a cottage, a potting shed and even the main house itself (which can sleep up to 54 guests in 28 rooms, with fully staffed service). Our top pick, though, is The Temple of Diana. Originally built in the 1760s for Sir Henry Bridgeman by architect James Paine, this multi-purpose garden building has been adapted into charming, five-star level accommodation, from the three-bay glazed Orangery with views across the parkland (designed by Capability Brown no less), to the beautiful circular sitting room, the hand-built kitchen (found in the old dairy), the rainforest shower, and three double bedrooms on the upper floors.


Travel Details

Sleeps 6, from £1,050 for 2 nights. ruralretreats.co.uk

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