Beautiful cottages for couples are abundant in Britain, and self-catering stays have never been more popular. Here is a round up of some of the best self-catering cottages for couples from 101 Holidays
During the pandemic it is estimated that 11,000 second homes were turned into rental properties amid the staycation boom. For many holidaymakers the habit of renting in the UK has stuck and there’s now more choice than ever.
Not all rental properties are family-sized houses. There are some wonderful cottages for couples, from cosy houses on the coast to shepherd’s huts on small farms. Here, Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays, picks some of the best.
Leave the car at home
It’s hard to beat the convenience of driving when you’re self-catering, but there are downsides – traffic, parking, environmental impact and the rising cost of fuel. But if you choose wisely, you can find places to stay in cities and towns where a car isn’t required and might even be a liability.
In the city of Bath, Johnstone on the Weir is an elegant Georgian apartment for two with high ceilings, sash windows and shutters, and contemporary styling. It’s a 10-minute walk from the train station and has a private balcony overlooking Pulteney Weir that is perfect for al fresco meals. You’re only a short walk from the main attractions of Bath.
Soak up the sunshine and feast on the seafood in the chichi seaside town of Whitstable which boasts its own little micro-climate. Sunset Beach Cottage is right on the water with a decked terrace and garden, where you can watch the sun set, and direct access to the beach. Whitstable is 75 minutes on the train from St Pancras and you won’t need a car to explore the town or take walks along the coast.
You could stay on the waterfront in Leith with easy direct bus routes into the centre of Edinburgh. The Cooperage is a modern ground-floor apartment for two with patio doors leading onto a cobbled wharf and Leith’s foodie pubs and restaurants within easy walking distance.
With so many people adding a puppy to their family over the past two years, there’s a growing demand now for dog-friendly accommodation in the UK, and many providers stepping up to meet the need. The biggest selling factor? Walkies on the doorstep.
Five miles from Hay-on-Wye, Starlight Cottage is a lovely barn conversion set on a small organic farm that offers a wealth of walks in the Black Mountains. It’s close also to Brecon Beacons National Park, Offa’s Dyke Path and the Wye Valley, so you’ll never need to walk the same trail twice. There’s a cosy wood burner to warm you up on your return.
Jenny Wrens is a small one-bedroom cottage in the hamlet of Gorley on the western edge of New Forest National Park. There’s a village pub within walking distance and trout fishing nearby, and you’re not far from the town of Salisbury. But it’s the doorstep trails through the New Forest that are the main attraction for dog owners.
One of the staycation hits of the pandemic was the emergence of newly-renovated shepherd’s huts up and down the country, popular with people who loved the idea of glamping but weren’t too keen on soggy canvas and sleeping on the hard ground. Some of the best huts are truly luxurious such as Starbed Hideaways in Yelverton, Devon, set in woodland on a National Trust estate in the Tamar Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With a log burner, rolltop bath and fire pit, you can lie in bed and gaze out at the stars. There’s an honesty shop on site with home-cooked meals, but no dogs or kids.
In Herefordshire’s Wye Valley, Swaledale is a gorgeous shepherd’s hut that feels utterly secluded set on a working farm with far-reaching views of the rolling countryside. There’s a private hot tub, wood burner and barbecue, plus walking and cycling routes directly from the farm gates. Up to two dogs can stay too.
The lure of the coast
There’s nothing quite like being on the coast to refresh the senses – the feel of the breeze, the smell of the sea, the long horizons – and in this country we are blessed with a vast and varied coastline. In south Cornwall, Orchard Vean is a single-storey cottage for two a short walk from Restronguet Creek and a stone’s throw from the local pub. Roughly equidistant from Truro and Falmouth, it is close to the Mineral Tramway Cycle Trail and Trelissick Gardens, a National Trust property. Jump on the King Harry Ferry to reach the Roseland peninsula.
In Ilfracombe, Devon, Smugglers Cove is a seafront studio apartment with a private patio right on the water’s edge. The property is compact but it’s a short walk from shops, restaurants and the beach, with the South West Coast path a few minutes’ away.
If you’re looking for splendid isolation, you could venture out to Colquhounes Byre, a whitewashed stone cottage in a remote spot on the Isle of Skye at the end of a single-track road. The one-bedroom property has panoramic sea views and looks up to a spectacular mountain range.
Escape to the countryside
In Snowdonia, Ty Coch is a rustic barn conversion near Caernarfon, with spectacular views, a wood-fired hot tub, open-plan living and underfloor heating. It’s a short drive from the fishing village of Trefor, home to the national forest of Coed Elerinon.
On the Isle of Wight, Medham Farm Cottage is set on a 35-acre farm near Cowes with a private meadow, lake and woodland accessed from the door. Red squirrels, foxes and badgers are often seen in the gardens, while twitchers can look out for green woodpeckers, sparrow hawks, lesser spotted woodpeckers and buzzards.
In the Cotswolds, The Old House is a Grade II listed cottage with antiques, exposed beams and wood burner. It’s set in a romantic village near Stow-on-the-Wold with a pub and shop within easy walking distance.
If you want to feel utterly secluded, Tenterden Hideaway is a cosy little retreat with a hot tub and fire pit tucked away amidst corn fields and vineyards in the Kent countryside. The stylish is slick and contemporary with exposed brick and bifold doors.
Embrace the quirky
There’s been a sharp rise in quirky, offbeat rental properties in the past few years, driven in part by Instagram. You could stay at a former lighthouse keeper’s cottage, The Link at Cromer Lighthouse, set on the beautiful North Norfolk coast. It’s a short walk along the beach to Cromer where you can tuck into traditional Cromer crab sandwiches.
In Northumberland, you can stay at Pottergate Tower, a unique gothic tower overlooking Alnwick Castle with wooden beams, a spiral staircase and – of course – wonderful views.
For more travel ideas in the UK, see 101 Holidays.
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