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From luxury treehouses and private island huts, to windmills and converted trucks, these are the best places for an unusual UK staycation if you’re looking for somewhere new to book for autumn.  

Sure, we all love a luxury hotel robe and a long, warm bath, but sometimes four white walls just won’t cut it. 

We want magnificent views and a bed to remember; we want walls made of something other than brick; we want a holiday that goes beyond what we’ve come to expect from the traditional B&B.

So, in the pursuit of something a little less ordinary, here’s Stylist’s pick of some of the UK’s best quirky yet luxurious staycation spots.

  • The Windmill, Suffolk

    Unusual UK staycations: The Windmill, Suffolk

    Crowned “the most unique place to stay” by a recent South Western Railway report, The Windmill is a boutique bolthole perfect for a romantic hideaway, or for fun filled time off with friends.

    Originally built in 1891, the recently converted Windmill has stunning panoramic views across the rolling Suffolk countryside. As the evenings draw in, you can enjoy the uninterrupted view of the early Suffolk sunset from the comfy warmth of the ‘POD’ top floor living space. Or in the smaller hours, relax and delight in the amazing and far reaching night sky views from the fourth floor balcony.

     £325 per night

    Book now

  • Cantick Head Lighthouse, Orkney Islands

    Unique UK staycations: Cantick Head Lighthouse, Orkney Islands

    Coming in second in South Western Railway’s analysis is Cantick Head, the Scottish lighthouse set on a 115-foot cliff.

    As their website describes, steal away from civilisation to an historic haven, with dramatic sea views out towards the Pentland Firth and Caithness on mainland Scotland.

    Once the home of a Victorian lighthouse keepers family (the lighthouse was built in 1856), you can expect timeless comfort in instantly charming surroundings. Everything you need for a relaxing holiday or vacation is here, including a well-equipped kitchen, a family bathroom, and a snug lounge that comes complete with a warming fireplace.

    £120 a night

    Book now

  • Dabinett treehouse, Somerset

    Unusual UK staycations: Dabinett treehouse, Somerset

    This kooky Somerset treetop abode may give off a Hobbit-like aesthetic from the outside, but inside it’s blissfully luxurious, brimming with design-led features, from the hammered copper kitchen sink to the cabin-style bed.

    Access to the treehouse is easy: guests receive a link to a digital guide which explains how to check yourself in, where to find your torch and wheelbarrow and then off you go. While climbing the wooden structure on which the treehouse rests, you’ll spot a ginormous outdoor bath which – with festoon lights twinkling in the branches above and views for miles – is every bit as romantic as you’d hope. Indoors, the bathroom comes with cosy underfloor heating, a rainforest shower and organic toiletries. 

    And it’s the little touches that make this spot really special. Great thought has gone into making guests here as comfortable as possible in every way, and sampling the local cheddar and cider courtesy of a welcome basket, enjoying a coffee from the Nespresso machine and loading up the log burner with a supply of pre-chopped wood, makes looking up at the stars from your private balcony all the sweeter.

    From £205 per night

    Review by Megan Murray

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  • The Clock Tower at Bamburgh Castle

    Unusual UK staycations: The Clock Tower at Bamburgh Castle

    This 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 nights

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  • A monk’s tower in Cardigan

    Unusual UK staycations: Twr Mynach

    In 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).

    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 night

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  • A chic private island shack, Suffolk

    Unusual UK staycations: The Tabernacle, Suffolk

    Fancy 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. 

    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 night

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  • Wigwams at Port Lympne Reserve, Kent

    Unique UK staycations: Wigwams at Port Lympne Reserve

    Home 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.

    Book now

  • A converted bus, The Lake District

    Unique UK staycations: A converted bus, The Lake District

    This 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. 

    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.

    From £145 per night

    Book now

Images: courtesy of brands

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