Where to book for a British spring fling
The Hudnall’s Hideout: The Wye Valley’s fresh-air-feels and astounding rural charm is no secret. And if you’ve binge-watched on Netflix’s Sex Educacation, you’ll know that its lush green backdrop is that of this scenic valley squiggled along the border of England and Wales. Plot a course here for your staycation and you’ll find ancient woodlands, calm river stretches for wild swimming, clifftop views and miles of farmland to ramble through. A stay here is all about rosy-cheeked adventure and escapism, and the new Hudnall’s Hideout channels this spirit – a secluded treehouse for two (no TV, no wi-fi), suspended four metres above the ground. It’s one of those genius places that’ll transform stern grown-ups into giggling teenagers with its self-contained indulgence; a remote pad where you’re free to recapture your inner wild child. On arrival, guests load up a wheelbarrow with their gear and scurry through a wildflower meadow and along a swaying wooden bridge to find the two-floor treehouse with a copper bath-for-two, a kingsize bed staring over the treetops, and an outdoor firepit lined with log seating. Scandi interiors playing with rusticity and minimalism were designed in collaboration with online design store, MADE.com, from velvety sofas to Berber-style rugs, and the outdoorsy vibe is magnified on the wraparound balcony where you might hear the coo of tawny owls or the rat-a-tat-tat of woodpeckers hidden in the boughs. Private chefs can be hired in to cook in the treehouse, artisan hampers are delivered each morning for breakfasts, and when you want to venture out, there are scores of walking trails, canoe trips and adventures penetrating the forests and waterways. Sorry kids, this one’s for adults only.
Book it: From £215 a night.
The Newt, Somerset: This vast Georgian property is one of those game-changing pads that creaked its heavy doors open last year after a meticulous restoration from the creative minds of sister property Babylonstoren in South Africa. The former estate of the Hobhouses – the prominent Liberal politicians – the honey-coloured country pile is pure class, mixing traditional aesthetics with playful design. But interiors aren’t its only ace card. Cultivated over hundreds of acres and tended to across the centuries, the famous gardens have been given a modern makeover, though much of the original landscaping remains: its cascades, its walled parabola, and its fragrance garden, all take guests on a history lesson through British horticulture and rear produce for its seasonal plates, preserves and homespun cider. Our verdict? One of the starriest openings on UK soil in the past year with acres of grounds to lose yourself in.
Book it: Rooms rates in the Hadspen Lofts starts from £275.
Fort Clonque, The Channel Islands: The Landmark Trust is a reliably idyllic place to start for remote and eccentric stays with its collection of quirky and abandoned buildings it revives and rents out to holidaymakers. There’s a grand tower house in Scotland with space for 16, or a welsh medieval hall house in the Black mountains. There’s even the Radio Room on the island of Lundy with a bed for just one. Over on the Channel Islands, you’ll find the sea-lashed Fort Clonque on the island of Alderney – a stern-looking granite fort reached by a causeway and drawbridge. And taking isolation to the extreme, the former WWII German gunning post is cut off from the rest of the island at high tide, leaving you and up to 13 guests shrouded in peaceful solitude to explore its nooks and gather together amid the salty air and swooping gulls.
Book it: From £812 for four nights.
Shoreside Huts, Northumberland: Cornwall and Devon – they’re all well and good. But the big skies and hazy beaches of Northumberland have all the seasidey charm of our south coast without the hoards. In summer, a hubbub of sun-seekers gather on golden-hued beaches, crafting sandcastles with ice-cream-licking toddlers daring to paddle in the shallows and later, hunkering over vinegary fish and chips with sand still between their toes. Along this trickle of windswept coastline, the village of Alnmouth is a serene yet swaggering hub with sceney beaches a few minutes’ walk from the centre. And that’s where you’ll find the Scandi-style huts of Shoreside – the result of a collaborative design project. Lining the beach, they’re cosy, sustainable and design conscious, close to rock pools to stagger over, with the crash of the sea audible as you huddle around the fire pit. When you feel like exploring, there’s plenty on your doorstep too: the huts sit on the St Oswald Way coastal path and you can walk north to Craster, Bamburgh and Holy Island, or south through the villages of Warkworth and Amble. Book it: From £80 a night.