As the UK tourism industry reopens, your summer holiday might be looking a little different this year.
Foreign travel is once more an option, but with the risk of two-weeks isolation on your return, you might find it too large a gamble. And with many of us opting to stay in the UK, our most popular beaches and tourist spots have become quickly overcrowded too.
If you’re looking to get away in the UK this summer, why not try these quirky accommodation options, and maybe stay off the beaten track too?
- Restored railway carriages, St Germans, Cornwall
The Cornish village of St Germans lies on the River Tiddy, just upstream of where the Tiddy meets the River Lynher. It’s just a ten-minute drive from the beautiful Whitsand Bay and less than ten miles from the fishing villages of Looe and Polperro.
The village has a lot to offer. There’s the magnificent St Germans viaduct, part of the Cornwall Railway that links Plymouth in the east to Falmouth in the west. St Germans also boasts some of the most well-preserved station buildings on the Cornish Railway line.
In keeping with this great tradition, local accommodation options include five restored railway carriages, including The Travelling Post Office, as visited by Michael Portillo as part of his BBC show, Great British Railway Journeys.
Carriages can sleep between one and thirteen guests, with prices ranging from £60 to £180 per night, usually requiring a minimum three-night stay.
- The Chapel, Lydbury North, Shropshire
The Chapel is located near the Welsh border, deep in the Shropshire Hills and within the 30-acre grounds of Walcot Hall. The restored former-Chapel sits in a secluded, woodland spot and offers an open-plan living space featured on Channel 4’s George Clarke Amazing Spaces.
It sleeps four, with two double rooms on the first-floor mezzanine and extra camp beds available on request (at an extra cost).
The Shropshire Hills are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Chapel is certainly off the beaten track.
The town of Ludlow is the nearest highly-populated area, a 30-minute drive away. Ludlow is home to the 11th century Ludlow Castle. It has recently reopened seven days a week and with no pre-booking required.
The Chapel is available from between £400 and £750 per week, with a minimum two-night stay.
- Haldon Belvedere, near Exeter, Devon
Haldon Belvedere – or Lawrence Castle – is situated just six miles from Exeter. An 18th century, Grade II* Listed building, the castle stands nearly 250 metres above sea level and commands panoramic views of Dartmoor, Exmoor, and the River Exe valley.
Set within five acres of secluded woodland, the top floor of the castle sleeps two and is perfect for a romantic getaway.
It’s also an excellent location for travelling further into Devon, with Dartmoor National Park, and the rugged cliffs and beautiful beaches of the Jurassic Coast all nearby.
The Haldon Belvedere is self-catering only, with prices starting from £108 per night with a minimum three-night stay.
- Belle Tout Lighthouse, Eastbourne, East Sussex
A converted lighthouse, Belle Tout is now a unique Bed and Breakfast just a couple of miles west of Beachy Head. As you’d expect, it offers superb views of the English Channel and the Seven Sisters, as well as the South Downs if you turn your attention inland.
Built in 1832, the lighthouse sits on the Sussex Heritage coast, on the South Downs Way, with miles of beautiful pathway to explore in both directions.
Belle Tout’s six themed rooms are cosy – limited by the shape and size of the lighthouse itself – but homely. Guests are also free to enjoy the Guest Lounge, and at the top of the lighthouse, the incredible Lantern room.
With truly 360-degree views and a circular walkway outside (when the weather allows), this is a stunning and unforgettable place to stay.
Prices start from £160 per night, to include breakfast.
And the hotel owners have also announced that they will be passing the government’s recent VAT reduction onto their guests too. Any payment, partially or in full, made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 will be discounted. This could mean a reduction of £40 to £65 for a two-night stay.
- The Brochs of Coigach, Ross-shire, Scotland
North of the Summer Isles in the mouth of Loch Broom, the Brochs of Coigach are a modern take on the Iron Age roundhouse.
Built into the hills of northwest Scotland, they enjoy incredible views. Choose from two brochs – Gille Buidhe and Scài – which sleep four and two people, respectively.
Both have impressive eco-credentials too, being made almost entirely from recycled material, including from a Victorian pier and a Glasgow warehouse.
Breathtaking coastal scenery means you can sit back and relax with the chance to see dolphins and killer whales, plus deer inland. Or, if you prefer to experience the dramatic scenery and local wildlife close-up, why not head outside, and enjoy walking, kayaking, or climbing?
Situated two hours from Inverness, these unique, off the beaten track locations begin from £612 for a three-night stay in Scàl’s Broch – the smaller of the two. There is a minimum two-night stay.