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Yet to book a staycation? Don’t panic – new openings mean more availability, even in peak season. Here are 25 stylish options
May hot tubs be cedarwood and tasteful in the second summer of staycations
Fortune favours the efficient. With the Great British staycation reaching unprecedented levels of popularity this year, there’s barely a cottage or camping pitch left in the country for summer breaks; all snapped up by early-bird bookers many months ago. If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you’re not one of those early birds. But rejoice, all ye latecomers! A raft of new holiday rentals have been launched this year, some even now getting their final lick of paint – and as such, still have availability even in those hard-to-find weeks of high summer and school holidays. So whether you’re after a beach escape, a romantic rural bolthole or great-value party houses for the big post-lockdown get-togethers we’ve been dreaming about, here are 25 great new holiday digs, from stately homes to seaside yurts.
The Tractor Shed, Polzeath, Cornwall
What’s this – a bijou Cornish hideaway with availability in July and August? The Tractor Shed is a little cob-stone studio, a couple of miles from the glorious sandy bay of Polzeath, and the latest addition to the Mesmear estate – so guests have access to the shared (and crucially, heated) swimming pool and hot tub for post-surf revivifying and late-night stargazing. It also has its own garden, overlooked only by the alpacas in the neighbouring field.
From £550 a week (latitude50.co.uk; 01208 869090)
Guests at The Tractor Shed have access to a shared heated outdoor pool
Yurts at Three Mile Beach, St Ives Bay, Cornwall
Cornwall’s hotly-anticipated newcomer Three Mile Beach hasn’t even opened yet, and already most of its swish beach houses have been snapped up for summer. But the good news is that in July, it will introduce a set of Berber-style glamping yurts to its site amid the sand dunes – and as such, all are still available. They’re fitted out with double beds, dining tables, mini fridges and retro Everhot double ovens, and have outdoor decks with barbecues and seating with blankets for night-time drinks under the stars. Bathrooms are shared between two yurts, and there’s also a cedarwood hot tub and barrel sauna for post-beach broiling.
Sleeps two in each yurt
For prices and to book, contact threemilebeach.co.uk; 01736 805981
Gwel Mor, Trelights, Cornwall
Ten minutes from Polzeath Beach, Rock and the foodie haven of Port Isaac, this five-bedroom family home – with its own outdoor pool, no less – was launched as a holiday rental in late March so still has availability in the summer holidays. In the sleepy hamlet of Trelights, the house has a garden with a croquet lawn and terraces front and back, and from the bedrooms on the first floor the views stretch right across the north Cornish countryside to the sea.
From £1995 a week; latitude50.co.uk
Gwel Mor has a garden with a croquet lawn and terraces front and back
Hantergantick Barn, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
Out on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Hantergantick Barn is a proper rural escape that’s a 20-minute drive from Port Isaac and the north Cornish coast. Formerly a derelict farmstead, the barn was converted and opened this year, a spruced-up delight of a holiday home with three bedrooms and open-plan living and kitchen spaces, and outside, gardens, woodland for making dens, fields of sheep and a yurt for kids to play in.
From £100 a night (sawdays.co.uk; 07768 130936)
No. 36 By The Beach, Westward Ho!, Devon
Overlooking the beach so jolly it was awarded its own exclamation mark is this new four-bedroom seaside spot, a collaboration between Holiday Cottages and fashion and homewares brand Joules, which has stamped its coast-and-countryside aesthetic on the place. It has a clapboard, New England beach-hut vibe, with open-plan contemporary living spaces within and, outside, a lawn and terrace overlooking the Burrows and beyond it, three miles of sandy north Devon beach. Up to two dogs can stay too.
Availability: April and May
From £1,071 a week; holidaycottages.co.uk
No. 36 By The Beach is a collaboration between Holiday Cottages and fashion and homeware brand Joules
Rose Cottage, Bouth, the Lake District
After the confinement of lockdown, many of us are seeking an antidote in Britain’s greatest landscapes, and Rose Cottage, hunkered in a valley southwest of Lake Windermere, offers just that. This stone bolthole-for-two was stylishly renovated at the start of the year, with a wood-burning stove to keep it cosy, and interiors painted with muted natural tones and furnished with Joules’ touches, from the plates right down to raincoats and wellies for the great Cumbrian weather.
Availability: May and July
From £895 a week; holidaycottages.co.uk
Keep it cosy in the great Cumbrian weather at Rose Cottage
Sotterley Barn, Suffolk
In summer, the Sotterley Estate in the Suffolk countryside, a few miles from Southwold and the nature reserve coast, hosts events such as outdoor cinema nights, fairs and live music. This year it launches its thatched Sotterley Barn as a holiday home to rent. The designer renovation in natural stone, concrete and wood has opened up the interior, with five bedrooms and open-plan living and kitchen areas with a great sense of space that’s ideal for big gatherings. The setting is gorgeous too; beside a lily pond, with terraces for outdoor living and rambling gardens that include a petanque court.
Availability: April-June; September-December
From £2,323 a week; oliverstravels.com
Hawthorn Huts, Suffolk
Like an architectural interpretation of an armadillo, wooden tiles armouring its curving form, Hawthorn Huts are pure cabin porn: spare, white cabins with Danish chairs, kitchenettes and a recessed bed for two. The kind of back-to-basics (but not too basic) bolthole many of us have been dreaming of escaping to during lockdown. There are just a handful of huts, set in 10 gentle Suffolk acres, and they’re brand new so have availability all spring and summer.
From £95 a night; kiphideaways.com
Hawthorn Huts have Danish chairs, kitchenettes and a recessed bed for two
Manor Farmhouse, Conderton, Cotswolds
In the green hills of Worcestershire, Manor Farmhouse is a classic Cotswold beauty: a honey-coloured, Grade II-listed 19th-century manor set in the prettiest gardens and surrounded by orchards and fields of sheep. The just-refurbed interiors are fabulous (even the orange boot room’s something to write home about), with eight unique bedrooms and lots of mooching space that’s ideal for big-group get-togethers: two living rooms, with games and books and a piano; a dining room big enough to seat 18 people, opening onto a terrace with pizza oven and barbecue. It’s outside Broadway – a contender for England’s loveliest town.
Sleeps 17 (theluxurytravelbook.com; 020 7586 5342)
Manor Farmhouse is a classic Cotswold beauty
Toadsmoor, near Stroud, Cotswolds
Toadsmoor is a just-launched stilted safari tent big enough for six people. It’s been hand-built by Matt and Susie Thomson, who have created a handful of stays on their 12-acre Middle Lypiatt Glamping site in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds. The ‘tent’ has a double room, two singles and a cabin bed for kids, and a wood-burning stove in the living room, while outside there’s a barbecue and fire pit for grilling supper. Reluctant campers rejoice – there’s also an adjoining bathroom with a shower and proper loo. Wildlife spotting here means looking out for buzzards and deer in the morning and badgers and barn owls in the evening.
Availability: all year
From £177 a night; canopyandstars.co.uk
Dover’s Hill House, Chipping Campden, Cotswolds
One for wild swimmers, this – in Dover’s Hill House’s eight green acres there’s a spring-fed lake for swimming, fishing and boating. The five-bedroom house, which launched as a holiday home this year, is set on a hill, and the rooms and Riviera-vibe outdoor terrace have views right across the Gloucestershire countryside – some would say the most outstandingly beautiful part of all the Cotswolds. Inside it’s country-house classic, and packed with rainy-day playthings: table tennis, a drum kit, pool table and table football. Get there early to bag the master bedroom with the rolltop copper bath. Dogs are welcome too.
From £10,000 a week; luxurycotswoldrentals.co.uk
Dover’s Hill House: a country classic
Inkwell Cottage, near Burford, Cotswolds
On one of those winding, photogenic lanes in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Inkwell Cottage is an artsy little bolthole that’s as cute as pie from the outside, and interior-mag stylish on the inside. Furniture is a mix of reclaimed and mid-century pieces, with some interesting art thrown in and a bold use of colour in its design – such as the vintage Champagne riddling rack for a headboard in its sole, loft-like double bedroom, which has views of the countryside from its leaded windows. The real treat is its artist’s studio, across the yard, with a chaise longue and a woodburner as well as a desk with painting materials for guests’ use. And, as the newest addition to Unique Homestays, it miraculously still has availability for July and August.
From £995 a week, £750 per short break; uniquehomestays.com
The artist’s studio at Inkwell Cottage has a chaise longue and woodburner
A pair of terraced Cotswold cottages have just been converted into a holiday home on the village green in Little Barrington, near Burford. Their historic, higgledy-piggledy charm remains – in the centuries-old beams and fireplaces and flagstone floors, the antique furniture and paintings and overstuffed sofas – though they’ve incorporated modernities such as a gym and a table football room. There are five bedrooms – three for adults, and the most gorgeous attic rooms full of toys for children.
From £6,000 a week; luxurycotswoldrentals.co.uk
You’ll find historic, higgledy-piggledy charm at Puffets
Georgian Manor no.4950, Banbury, Oxfordshire
Stay One Degree has a new-for-2021 Georgian manor house that’s so stately its identity must remain anonymous (it’s known only as number 4950), and guests have to apply to the owner to book it. The upside of all this secrecy is that it’s still available throughout July and August.
On its own 60-acre country estate near Banbury, this is a masterpiece in Georgian elegance, inside and out, from its marble pillars and wood-panelled walls to its antique furniture, rugs, grand piano, and chandeliers. The dining table is long enough for 28 people and special enough for a wedding breakfast. The 14 panelled bedrooms are furnished with 18th-century curves and curlicues. Nods to the present include a (tasteful cedar) hot tub and home cinema with velvet blue sofas, a clubby drawing room and a snooker room, and a tiny gym. The gardens are glorious: walled and formal, with sunlit stone terraces, and lawns stretching away to wilder grounds to explore.
Availability: July and August
From £3,000 a night; stayonedegree.com
This new-for-2021 Georgian manor house is so stately its identity must remain anonymous
Five miles from Bicester, which may either thrill or alarm, Stonehouse is a five-bedroom stone house in the Oxfordshire village of Weston-on-the-Green. The house has just been renovated to an exceptional standard using natural materials and such a pure, pale palette that you may want to think twice about inviting sticky children (though it does have the most delightful kids’ bedroom). The all-mod-cons open-plan kitchen and dining room has been created for gatherings, and there are more living rooms for hanging out, with games and a TV and home office.
Availability: July and August
From £500 a night; sandandstoneescapes.com
Stonehouse’s open-plan kitchen-diner has been created for gatherings
The Dragon’s Gate, Herefordshire
The River Monnow that runs through Demense Farm forms the border between England and Wales, so when Bill and Cheryl Sparey decided to build a handful of adults-only deluxe cabins on their working farm, they called it The Dragon’s Gate. Launched this year, the wooden cabins have tiny kitchens and big beds, and decks overlooking the Black Mountains across the valley. There’s fishing on the Monnow and Wye, and walking up on White Rocks and neighbouring Garway Hill, where wild ponies run. Just the thing for post-lockdown escapes to true wilderness.
Sleeps two in each cabin; The Cat’s Back and Pen-y-Fan still have availability in July and August
From £315 for three nights in summer (thedragonsgate.co.uk; 07763 811850)
The Dragon’s Gate wooden cabins have tiny kitchens and big beds
The Hop Kiln, Leominster, Herefordshire
Wall End Farm owner Camilla Bengough recently added a new two-bedroom self-catering stay to her Herefordshire estate. The turret-like Hop Kiln has fresh, light interiors, but it’s the great outdoors that really draws the eye, from the big outdoor terrace (with its brick chimney barbecue), private garden and tennis court, to the acres of grounds that include cider orchards and rambling fields for country walks, with fishing on the River Arrow.
Availability: May and June
From £860 a week (or from £600 for three nights); wallendfarm.co.uk
Cromwell House, West Sussex
In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell used this beautiful old brick and timber house on the edge of the South Downs as his hunting lodge. It’s still used for sybaritic pursuits today, with its big heated outdoor pool, hot tub, tennis court, croquet lawn, sauna and games room, an amazing kitchen at its heart, and enough space for 12 guests in its six bedrooms – and recently joined the Wow House Company’s portfolio.
Availability: April and May
From £5,995 a week in spring (thewowhousecompany.com; 01242 220006)
Facilities at Cromwell House include a big heated outdoor pool, hot tub, tennis court, croquet lawn, sauna and games room
Pebbles, Seasalter, Kent
This new family-friendly, foodie holiday home, in the Kentish village that’s been put on the map by the Michelin-starred Sportsman pub, has a well-timed launch on April 12. Transformed from unloved Seventies bungalow to Scandi-chic seaside retreat by interiors Insta-blogger @This_E17_Life, the three-bedroom rental is well-placed for Kent’s tastiest attractions, walking distance to Michelin-starred seafood at the Sportsman and harbourside oysters and chips in Whitstable, and 20 minutes’ drive from the Pig at Bridge Place. Food is a focus at the house, too, which has a barbecue and pizza oven; while kids have the run of a garden playroom.
Availability: April-June and September-Decemeber
£800 for four-night breaks, year-round; email [email protected]
Shaftesbury House, Dorset
The Earl of Shaftesbury’s ancestral stately home of St Giles House, in the Dorset village of Wimborne St Giles, has recently remodelled its 17th-century stable block into a place to rent, Shaftesbury House (also known as Riding House). Dating back to 1616, the original wood and ironwork of the stables have been restored, and now house eight bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room and kitchen, and living room and games room, all decorated with the most beautiful antique furniture, mirrors and equestrian-themed objects, along with velvet sofas and deeply delicious shades of paint.
From £15,984 a week; oliverstravels.com
17th-century stable blocks meet deeply delicious shades of paint at Shaftesbury House
The Old Dairy, Bedfordshire
CoolStays has just added a new converted barn to its collection of holiday homes. The Old Dairy has three luxe en-suite bedrooms, and has been tastefully renovated with modern interiors, Crittal-style windows and doors opening out onto a terrace and a garden that’s the work of a Chelsea designer. Guests can borrow bikes, or go riding in the surrounding Bedfordshire countryside.
From £300 a night; coolstays.com
The Old Dairy is set in a converted barn
Monkey Island private residences, Bray on Thames
On a snoozy bank of the River Thames, the Monkey Island estate is opening six houses to rent in Bray 2021. They’re all distinct in style – from the one-bedroom Dormer Cottage, half a century old, to the four-suite Long White Cloud, a Victorian mock-Tudor house on the riverbank, which has hosted both Elgar (who composed works here) and Stirling Moss, and has its own landing jetty and private pool.
Like the guests of the hotel, those staying in the residences have the run of the island’s seven acre gardens, which also house hens and bees to make eggs and honey for breakfast, and can hire boats and e-bikes for pootling around the riverside. The houses are self-catering, but why take sandwiches to the banquet, when you’re in the most Michelin-starred villages in Britain?
Sleeps two to eight
Availability: throughout 2021
Dormer Cottage from £400, Long White Cloud from £1,400; monkeyislandestate.co.uk
Timber Cottage, Inner Hebrides
You don’t have to go to the tropics for a private-island escape. Off Scotland’s West Coast, the off-grid island of Eilean Shona – which was the inspiration for J M Barrie’s Neverland – is now owned by Vanessa Branson, who has restored the one-bedroom Timber Cottage for 2021 in signature smart-rustic style, with original art and antique furniture. It joins her collection of eight more cottages (plus an eight-bedroom refurbished hunting lodge) dotted around the 1,300-acre island, where guests spend their days making campfires, crabbing or painting, exploring the island’s beaches and pine forests, kayaking or paddleboarding off the coast, where seals, dolphins, minke whales and basking sharks swim.
Availability: May and June
Timber Cottage from £1,100 a week, including transfers between the mainland (eileanshona.com; 01967 431249)
One-bedroom Timber Cottage has been restored in signature smart-rustic style
Newhall Mains, Scottish Highlands
Bringing a new self-catering option to the Highland’s ever-growing collection of high-end places to stay, Newhall Mains country estate on the Black Isle peninsula has turned its 18th-century farm buildings into a set of luxury holiday cottages.
The cottages are large and lairdly, the design a wonderful incorporation of modern luxe with a few trad country-house elements thrown in. The estate’s Tesla charging points and private airfield (making total bubble holidays possible) hint at a jetsetting crowd, but the focus is super-local: from the artisans who carried out the restoration using local slate and stone, the quilts and rugs woven from wool spun from the fleece of the estate’s own Jacob sheep, to the produce in the welcome hamper and the chef who can deliver meals made with Scottish ingredients.
Sleeps four to six
Availability: April–September 2021
Two-bedroom cottages from £205 a night (newhall-mains.com; 01381 632032)
Laurel, Willow & Birch Cottages, East Lothian
Robert Burns was moved to describe Dunglass Estate, on the coast between Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed, as “most romantic sweet place I ever saw” when he visited in 1787. Much has changed in the intervening centuries – the present owners have created a sustainable farm to the estate, for one thing, and renovated the former stables into a trio of cottages they’ve just launched this year – but Dunglass’s 5,000 acres of parkland and farmland remains a most romantic pocket of Scotland. The cottages each sleep six people in three bedrooms, and are set around three sides of the old flagstoned courtyard, so work for bigger groups of up to 18, too.
Sleeps six or up to 18
Availability: May – September
From £695 per cottage for seven nights, or from £556 for three nights (crabtreeandcrabtree.com; 01573 226711)
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