Something a Little Different

Those pondering a staycation have a multitude of quirky and luxurious holiday homes to pick from – which takes your fancy….?  

Seventy one per cent of us chose to take a staycation last year, according to industry trade body, ABTA. Self-catering is popular with those holidaying at home particularly for families and groups of friends.

If you opt for the top end of the market, you can enjoy some of the luxuries that you’d usually expect in a hotel. Think fluffy bathrobes, games rooms, a bottle of wine or scones and tea on arrival and swimming pools.

Some of the higher end properties come with more unusual extras too like their own cinemas, spas, a hamman, an art studio and even an observatory for the stargazers amongst us. Here we highlight a few:

For yogis and those that like the luxuries in life
If you have an appetite for the finer things in life you will love Waternook, Situated in a private and secure 26-acre estate with over half a mile of lake frontage, this chic hideaway commands uninterrupted panoramic views of one of the most beautiful lakes in the Lake District and has its own boathouse and jetty. Facilities include: a private cinema and other luxury concierge services like private helicopter tours, sailing lessons, flying lessons, butler, chauffeur service and in-house chef.

Plus if you want to unwind in style you will love the Spa and Wellness Sanctuary with a holistic Laconium. The spa also features a bar leading out onto an infinity Yoga terrace with a stunning lake-view hot tub and an array of comfy sofas.

Exclusive use of the estate costs from £6,850 for a three-night break and £10,475 for a week’s stay comprising luxury accommodation for up to 20 people in ten en suite bedrooms across the two properties and the use of all the facilities. ( 07709 098507)

For film lovers and celebrations
Heathfield House is an ideal property for a special occasion or family celebration. It’s set within the picturesque New Forest National Park and boasts its own cinema room as well as log fires, unique artworks and 12 individually designed bedrooms accommodating up to 24 guests. The house provides the perfect blend of contemporary comforts and period features. Guests can host a magical dinner party in the elegant dining room whilst kids enjoy the basement games room.

The New Forest National Park is on its doorstep, with some of England’s most beautiful and historic countryside easily accessible by foot, bike or car from here.

A week’s stay for 24 guests costs from £7,995 and a three-night stay starts from £6,396. (, 08453 456169)

Heathfield House

For those that love their history
One of the Northumberland’s most beautiful country houses set in idyllic surroundings, Shortflatt Tower is surrounded by walled gardens and ancient woodland – perfect for those who want to escape the stress of everyday life.  After a morning exploring the wonderful garden, you can relax in the property’s own outdoor hot tub or enjoy an authentic Moroccan hammam at the onsite Fullerton Place Spa.

A combination of elegance and tranquility, the 13th Century Fortalice Tower has seven individually designed double bedrooms, antique furnishings and stunning views overlooking the formal gardens. The top floor Bedroom IRIS has a door out to the ramparts with a stunning view over the surrounding countryside with neighbouring Belsay Castle in the distance.

A three-night stay in Shortlfatt Tower for 14 guests starts from £2,121 and a week’s stay starts from £3,989. (, 01661 881804) 

For star gazers
Situated between the magnificent Northumbrian coastline, the Northumberland National Park and the Cheviot Hills, Beacon Hill Farm is surrounded by 50 acres of ancient beech woods, 300 acres of parkland and grass fields.

The property is right on the doorstep of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. At nearly 1,500 square kilometres, it’s Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the heavens.

Beacon Hill has its own purpose built observatory that comfortably seats eight and has a range of telescopes for viewing the night skies. Its roof cleverly slides off leaving the heavens open above.

Inside information boards line the walls and in the centre is an incredibly powerful computerised telescope, the Celestron CPC 1100 that allows you to view amazing detail on planets such a Jupiter or Saturn as well as other wonderful deep-sky-objects such as nebulas. There are also three Celestron Outland x 8 x 25 Compact Waterproof Binoculars and head torches. Use of the observatory is free of charge; guests simply need to book a slot.

Beacon Hill also boasts a wide range of leisure facilities including a superb spa with indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gymnasium and beauty salon.

A week’s stay for six guests costs from £565 and a three-night short break from £510. (, 01670 780900)

For artists
Rainsbury House is a little piece of heaven nestling in 16 acres of hills and woodland in a secluded corner of Exmoor on the edge of Wimbleball Lake. The picturesque Haddeo River runs through Rainsbury’s land.  Wild Exmoor ponies and deer run free in the woods and moorland and buzzards soar overhead. The location is ideal for exploring the wild beauty of the Moor, as well as the stunning North Devon Coast and the Quantock and Blackdown Hills.

The house has its very own art studio that guests can book. The studio has been renovated from the original 250-year-old farmhouse and provides a large open-plan space with plenty of natural daylight and a separate kitchen area and toilet. The studio has under floor heating to keep artists cosy in winter. It also has ‘daylight’ halogen lights with dimmer controls to provide a variety of lighting options. Artist’s easels are also available.

A week’s stay for up to 13 guests in the interlinked Barn and Barn Owl Cottage costs from £2075, with a three-night weekend break or a four-night midweek break costing from £1660. The Barn sleeps 8 and Barn Owl Cottage sleeps 5. These stunning four-star Gold properties can be booked as one or separately for smaller groups.

A seven-night stay in the Barn costs from £1,375 or £1,100 for a three or a four-night break. Barn Owl Cottage costs £700 for seven nights and £560 for three or four-night breaks. Professional art tutors can be hired on request. (, 01398 371595).

For motoring enthusiasts
The charming Thrushell valley near Launceston is home to Devon Country Barns. Situated within 12 acres of green pasture with river frontage, the gorgeous retreat has five luxurious dog friendly properties that are within easy reach of the North Cornwall Coast, Bodmin and Dartmoor.

Each cottage has a private outdoor hot tub and roaring log burner to ensure you remain cosy throughout your stay. For an extra charge you can also hire a red or silver Jaguar E-Type – perfect for exploring Devon’s country lanes.

A week’s stay for two costs from £900 and a three-night night break from £500. (, 07500702248). Hire an E-Type from £395 per day or £695 for the weekend.

For spa lovers
Those looking to recharge and relax will love the five-star gold Springfields on the prestigious Wellesley Park estate. Boasting breath-taking views of the beautiful Somerset countryside, the luxurious property sleeps eight adults plus two children and is situated in acres of grounds and surrounded by plenty of woodland walks.

The exclusive on-site spa complex is the perfect place to relax and features an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room and library. For sports enthusiasts there is an all-weather tennis court and gym and for those who like to be pampered a visiting beauty therapist and private chef can be pre-booked. There are also plenty of board games and toys to keep all the family entertained.

A week’s stay for ten costs from £1,300 and a three-night short break from £975. (, 07930 092293) 

For couples
Formerly a stable block, The Retreat one of Cheviot’s Holiday Cottages is a gorgeous detached romantic bolthole for two. This unique property comes complete with its own private five-metre swimming spa pool with adjustable current and twin Jacuzzi inside the cottage. Other luxuries include an en-suite double ended bath and rain shower that’s perfect for those lazy weekends plus a hotel style duvet and pillow menu.

The property exudes first class design and craftsmanship and features a Harmon-Kardon home entertainment and sound system with wall and ceiling speakers throughout, and large screen TV’s in bedroom, lounge and Living kitchen. A week’s stay for two costs from £1,690 and a three-night break from £990. (, 01665 578236)

For families
Love Lane Cottage is a stylish five bedroomed house with indoor pool and Jacuzzi. The heated pool, which is around 1.2m deep with contra flow system, can be directly accessed from the lounge. The stylish cottage also has a large balcony with beautiful sea views and is just a short scenic walk to Whitby town centre and the beach.

A week’s stay for 10 costs from £1,750 and a three-night break from £1,150. (, 02920 257418)

Little Fox

For chefs
Just a ten-minute walk from the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in the charming village of Herbrandston lies Little Fox Cottage.  This super luxurious cottage is 200 years old and has been creatively renovated with every comfort in mind.

Highlights include an opulent 12 foot sunken swim spa that’s kept at a toasty 40 degrees all year round, a heated outdoor shower plus built in barbeque and wood fired pizza oven. There’s also state of the art music and lighting systems. Inside the welcoming hall there’s a double-sided woodburning stove plus three wonderful double bedrooms.

A week’s stay for six costs from £995 and a three-night break from £746. (, 07831 266026) riddle_stop 2

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