These are 9 of the most quirky and unusual locations in the UK for your autumn staycation
Because sometimes you want more than a bog-standard hotel room.
Unusual UK staycations: The Clock Tower at Bamburgh CastleThis beautiful medieval clock tower – part of Northumberland’s iconic 11th century Bamburgh Castle – has been lovingly ‘upcycled’ into a unique three-bedroom holiday apartment. Split across three floors and towering 150 above the churning Northumberland coastline, this tower and turret built into the castle walls is the place from which to watch your enemies approaching (as many Anglo-Saxon kings did in the past).
Views stretch east over Bamburgh beach – home to pristine sands, impressive surf breaks and some very rare insects, actually – up the coast to the tidal Holy Island and west across Bamburgh village, up to the Cheviot Hills. Inside, you’ll find things awash with opulence, from blood-red velvet to pretty antique chandeliers.
Sleeps up to five, from £993 for three nightsA monk’s tower in CardiganUnusual UK staycations: Twr MynachIn the coastal town of Barmouth, where the mountains meet the sea between Snowdonia and Cardigan Bay, you’ll find Twr Mynach (meaning ‘Monk Tower’ in English). headtopics.com
This beguiling little tower feels like a tiny castle, and dates all the way back to 1880. The owners Henrietta and Pavlos fell in love with the structure, which once formed part of a school building, and have transformed it into a playful, eco-friendly retreat, decked out in a quirky arts-and-crafts style, with stained glass windows, two unique double bedrooms and plenty of vintage treasures dotted about, from taxidermy stags to shop dummies (we’re also a little bit obsessed with the pink-tiled bathroom). Each room comes with its own terrace complete with panoramic views (the tower overlooks the glistening Llyn Peninsula and the much-trudged Wales Coast Path) and you can lose hours here watching the sunk sink into the horizon as gulls skirl above the flinty grey waters.
There’s much to do in the surrounding area, with the north Wales coastline and the dramatic Snowdonia National Park just a stone’s throw away, and it’s just a 10-minute skip to beautiful white sand beaches, or the network of National Heritage Walks that afford sweeping views over the sandy Mawddach Estuary.
Sleeps up to four, from £115 per nightA chic private island shack, SuffolkUnusual UK staycations: The Tabernacle, SuffolkFancy escaping from everything, hiding out on your own private island, with a little rowboat to mosey about in and no neighbours except for the birds? Yeah, doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
This fairytale shack in Suffolk delivers a taste of what life on the water’s all about. Accessible by its own little rope bridge, The Tabernacle is surrounded by 5,000 acres of nature and native woodland, where sheep and cattle graze and where you can lose yourself to the wilderness for a long weekend. headtopics.com
Inside, décor is cosy yet exquisite, with a loveseat next to the fire and a freestanding bath for mindless wallowing. There’s also a hot tub, wifi, Pashley bikes, wellies, a Smart TV, Hypnos beds and that all important Nespresso coffee machine. So really, the only thing that’ll make you feel castaway is the sound of the countryside burbling outside your window.
From £255 per nightWigwams at Port Lympne Reserve, KentUnique UK staycations: Wigwams at Port Lympne ReserveHome to over 700 rare and endangered animals – from Western lowland gorillas to grey wolves – the 600-acre Port Lympne Reserve in Kent is owned by the Aspinall Foundation, who make great things happen in the wildlife conservation sphere. All accommodation profits go towards the foundation’s work that takes place around the world and there’s a whole host of options when it comes to resting your head, including treehouse rooms and safari-style lodges.
Their newest offering, Leopard Creek, will open on a tranquil corner of the reserve in April 2021, where guests will be able to soak up 24-hour views of their nosy neighbours – a pair of critically endangered Amur leopards and two white rhinos. There’ll be cosy just-for-two cub huts available as well as three chic larger cabins. But the real centrepiece will be two luxurious 7ft ‘wigwams’, which will sleep four.
£699 a night per four person wigwam.A converted bus, The Lake DistrictUnique UK staycations: A converted bus, The Lake DistrictThis old school bus began its life in the US, but has since been remodelled into a truly unique place to sleep, with an Aga, a hot shower, a loo and even wifi. headtopics.com
This place is all about the setting though and from the bed you can wake to views of The Lake District through every window, with a firepit outside ideal for sunset drinks and a wood-fired hot tub which will have even the most stressed-out sorts relaxed in seconds. Further afield you are free to explore the bounty of the surrounding area, from wild swimming wherever you see the water, to hiking or simply holing up in local tea rooms for scones and cream.
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