Pining for a change of scene? A place to stay that’s charming but stylish, somewhere with a roaring fire and breathtaking scenery? We’ve rounded up the best places to bunker down for a weekend break or to book now for a cosy Christmas getaway, from coast to countryside…

  1. Samphire, Elmley Nature Reserve, Isle Of Sheppey

Although this isn’t strictly a rental, it’s far from a hotel too. This charming little hut has views across the Swale Estuary and on a clear day, all the way to Whitsable. Being a nature reserve, there’s plenty to see. Social distancing is made easy during winter months where your closest companions are likely to be the spy rafts of wildfowl and short-eared owls that like to glide over the ponds. This secluded spot is perfect for romantic break, and has all the nostalgic feels. You’ll find modern comforts like a really comfy bed, crisp white linen, a wood burning stove and ensuite bathroom. You can wrap up in the chunky woollen throws and toast marshmallows over the cast iron fire pit, too. Samphire sleeps two.

 

2. Ivywood Cottage, Harleston, Norfolk

If thought the cottage in The Holiday was idyllic then you’ll love this little gem. Run by Laura and James Davenport, Ivywood cottage may be medieval in age, but the design is very much contemporary; like something you might find on Modern House. It’s set in the rural grounds that were once part of the Gawdy Hall Estate, and sits next to a beautiful 15th century church. The attention to detail is definitely something to be appreciated in this two-bedroom bolthole. It’s situated near Harleston and Bungay – both quintessential English towns with plenty of independent stores to browse. It’s also a short drive to the coastal towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh.

 

3. Dom St John, Rye, East Sussex 

Dom is a small collective of architecturally stunning homes and St John near Rye is top of our must-stay list. Polish architect Marta Nowicka oversaw the reimagining of this Fifties former St John Ambulance station with exposed brick walls and industrial-style finishes. It’s just a stones throw from the seaside village of Rye where you’ll find pubs like The George, shops and all kids of other amenities. But honestly, with a house this stunning, why would you ever go out? Pop a log on the burner and batten down the hatches. This property has four bedrooms and five beds, so it’s perfect for a family gathering.

4. The Blue House, Near Rye, East Sussex

Fancy swapping the cobbled streets of London for sand between your toes? We’ve found the perfect glass-fronted beach hut right on the shores of Camber Sands. This super stylish and contemporary abode can sleep eight guests across four bedrooms so is ideal for large ‘support bubbles’ and families. You can wild swim, go antiques hunting in nearby Rye, collapse on the deck, or just snuggle up on the sofa with a good book or pair of binoculars. Huge doors open out onto a wooden terrace which is perfect for a morning cuppa and breathtaking views.

5. The Coach House, Boldre, New Forest

The reviews on airbnb speak volumes about this place. If you’re looking to visit the New Forest and its coastal spots like Lymington, this is the perfect base. The thoughtful decoration fits in perfectly with its country locale, with brick walls painted in a serene off-white, you can throw open the conservatory curtains and let the light flood in. The terrace also backs onto a lovely country garden where deer can often be seen nibbling on the rose buds. With one double bedroom, the Coach House is perfect for a romantic break. The host is also known to drop by to offer a taste of home –  usually homemade bread and flapjack.

 

6. Antonia’s Pearls, Charleston, Cornwall

This little grade II listed house sits at the end of a Georgian Terrace, and just 300 yards from the quay of the  historic harbour village of Charlestown, a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s set back enough from the bustle of the village by its long path and lawn, but is also close enough to walk to an enclave of cafes and bras, and is just a short drive from some of the best beaches on the South coast. The cottage sleeps four, and has been sensitively restored to highlight original features. White Company towels and REN emergency bathroom kits will provide your luxury comforts, while the log burner will keep you warm after a blustery seaside stroll.

7. Beachside Hideaway, Deal, Kent

Deal has witnessed a bit of a revival of late. It is, in part, thanks to the The Rose – the good-food pub which was bought and revamped by the former designer editor of Wallpaper. Well now you can stay a short walk from The Rose and the seaside in your very own beautifully renovated 17th-century cottage. The house oozes character, with original wood panelling, period windows, oak floors, and a beautiful walled garden. You can get cosy in front of the fire or head straight to the beach from this central location. It sleeps six guestscolourfully-designed bedrooms.


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