Idyllic rural retreats, romantic barn conversions and stunning beachside properties make for the perfect getaways. Watching the fire dance on a crackling open fireplace snuggled under a White Company throw – or sipping freshly brewed coffee on your own private deck while watching the children happily playing on the sandy beach nearby – these halcyon days can be achieved, and right here in the UK.
Luxury cottage holidays are gaining in popularity – and more and more companies are upping their game to deliver properties that meet the criteria expected from families looking for exceptional stays. And while a home away from home is vital in making guests feel relaxed, there also needs to be an added element of extravagance, in order to elevate a humble staycation.
For me, it’s the added flourishes that make all the difference – such as a welcome hamper full of treats when you first arrive; interior furnishings that are unusual and delight in equal measure, a stunning view; and a location to match.
And having browsed Niche Retreats, they offer just that – home and cottages that have an added extra – from rain showers, spellbinding architecture to hot tubs and swimming pools. And I have chosen my five favourite properties that not only have the WOW factor, but will positively inspire.
N8, The Warren – Abersoch – Snowdonia & The Lleyn Peninsula
So while technically the N8 is part of the exclusive Warren Holiday Park, it made it into my top five because of the stunning location – just look at the elevated view you get of the stunning Warren Beach below – and it’s only a few minutes walk down to the sea. Not only can you relax on the huge deck which is accessed by bi-folding doors from the contemporary living area, but you can also relax in the sunken hot tub, too.
The Fish Sheds – St Austell, Cornwall
The rather beautiful Fish Sheds is situated on West Portolland Beach, and this secluded cottage offers spacious yet cosy accommodation on the historical Caerhays Estate. A stay in one of the three bedrooms ensures that you can watch the sea lapping against the beach from the bed as well as cosy and comfortable living space. One of my favourite sounds is being near to the sea and hearing the waves, so I think I would be sent into a very peaceful slumber here.
Shooting Box Tower – Battle, Sussex
Right in the heart of 1066 country, is this unusual property which has tons of charm and history. Originally the Shooting Lodge for the Ashburnham Estate, the views from the top of the tower are meant to be breathtaking – not only over the fields and woodlands but to Hastings and beyond. With four bedrooms and an open-plan living area which has the original wood panelling as well as gothic revival windows, the Shooting Box Tower will be perfect for families with little explorers.
Keys Barn – Southrepps, Norfolk Coast
With a landscaped sunken garden, pond and vegetable patch across one acre of land, this 19th century converted barn retains some original features including traditional Norfolk red brick and flints. What I love about Keys Barn, apart from the ample of outdoor space to explore, is the ground floor’s central dining hall with a glass-fronted gallery above and the double height ceiling. It is superbly bright. Plus a great location to explore the Norfolk coast and countryside.
Ivydene – Looe, Cornwall
I love properties that showcase their Victoria heritage and Ivydene is no exception – with a feature fireplace and large entrance hall with a grand staircase. It’s the amazing views across Looe Harbour and the river that is the real draw to this house, however, and Looe village with its abundance of shops and restaurants, as well as the beach are close by. Who needs the French Riviera when you have this?
* This post was written in collaboration with Niche Retreats, who specialise in premium cottage breaks across the UK