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These days, self-catering doesn’t mean loading up the car with cornflakes and frozen chilli, or making do with a camping kitchen.

Increasingly, UK holiday rentals are the very definition of imaginative – converted barns, quirky seaside apartments, rustic-luxury cottages, shepherd huts, safari tents, architectural treehouses, and organic farmhouses.

They’re often equipped with kit for kids, from high-chairs and stair gates, to bottle warmers and DVD libraries. Plus, high-spec kitchens stocked with locally sourced food, and hampers bulging with everything from fresh cheese and homemade yogurt, to local honey and English wines, and breakfast sausages made on-site.

With the UK’s delis, farm shops, seafood shacks and food markets often to be found in close proximity, exploring the local area for groceries will reap great rewards.

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Operators have seen a sharp rise in bookings this year, and as such, demand for coastal properties and those around inland tourism hotspots – near national parks, lakes and postcard pretty villages and towns – is high. As there's also a newly found appetite for remote rentals, you’ll likely need to be flexible with your destination choice.

With the ongoing Covid situation in mind, we advise caution when booking. Check your property’s refund or rebooking policy before you pay your deposit – many operators are now offering very reasonable terms for short-notice cancellations or rebooking.

Fritton Lake wooden cabin in woodland

Fritton Lake

Fritton lake, Norfolk

Visit the Fritton Lake website

Sitting pretty between the Norfolk Broads and East Anglia’s beach-blessed coast, Fritton Lake is a newly revamped private members’ club, discreetly set around two miles of woodland-fringed lakeshore.

Its log cabin accommodation, canoes, lake views, and wild deer deliver a dose of Canadiana to deep Norfolk countryside. Each privately owned, no two lodges are alike, some with wood burners, decks, BBQs and hot tubs. Newly added cabins by Koto Designs have sleek minimalist lines and silvery wood. All are carefully positioned for privacy. If you don’t want to make use of the functionally equipped kitchen, amble through beech and oak woodland to the The Fritton Arms.

The estate’s clubhouse offers a continental breakfast (£7.95), modern pub-grub lunches, and more refined dinners (£8-16) that may include estate farm game, local mussels (Lowerstoft is 10 miles away), or seasonal berries, mushrooms, and herbs that thrive in and around the walled gardens leading to the lake, just beyond Fritton’s expansive new clay and lawn tennis courts and an elegant outdoor pool that wouldn’t look out of place in a Tuscan manor.

Go on guided foraging tours of the newly re-wilded 1,000-acre estate, take a nature safari by boat, or simply spend tranquil hours swimming or exploring by kayak, canoe and SUP. With children free to enjoy the treetop zipline, beach, boatshed and swim pontoon, Fritton has Swallows and Amazons charm a-plenty. Arthur Ransome set two books from his beloved series in the Norfolk Broads, and Fritton is a superb base from which to explore his watery realm.

Hire a boat from St Olaves, a mile away, to set sail, paddle or motor into the Broads’ 125 miles of national-park-protected waterways, mooring at bankside villages with distinctive round-tower stone churches, foodie pubs, or numerous RSBP reserves. The manmade Broads are lined with windmills that once helped pump-drain local marches for arable land. The 200-year-old Thurne Windmill is one of several still in action. Hire a blanket from the adjacent Lion at Thurne for a riverbank picnic of its 'posh pizza', local Redwell ales, or house-made gins. The Norfolk-Suffolk border offers rich pickings for local produce, from Norfolk oysters and crab to Suffolk asparagus, and wine from a growing number of medal-winning vineyards, including Flint and Winbirri. Plus, find chutneys packed with plentiful local produce, and countless cheeses – try Mrs Temple’s Binham Blue, and Baron Bigod.

Prices and booking information:
One week in a two-bedroom 'classic' cabin with outdoor deck, equipped kitchen, and bathroom costs from £647 (up to £1,734 in peak season), including use of all Fritton Lake’s recreation facilities. Cabins are pet-friendly and sleep four to eight. Farm Cottages, sleeping eight, cost from £1,008 for a two-night minimum stay, and double rooms in the clubhouse cost £140 per night.

Where to book:


The Cotswold Barn

Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, England

Upper Slaughter is the kind of Cotswold idyll that you dream of at your desk on a wet Tuesday afternoon. It’s a clutch of honey-hued stone buildings deep in the countryside, where only the occasional passing Range Rover disturbs the peace. Guests staying at The Cotswold Barn enjoy both living in this quintessential English village for a while and, courtesy of the deep, slit window in the sitting room, a front-row view of its epicentre – the famous ford across a tributary of the River Windrush. Yet, The Cotswold Barn’s location isn’t its only highlight.

The compact and comfortable long, low building has an open-plan living space that accommodates cooking, dining and relaxing, a large double bedroom, a bathroom, cloakroom and utility area, plus a small, private pebbled terrace with a table that begs to hold two glasses and a bottle of rosé in the warmer months. The décor errs on the minimal, yet the atmosphere is warm. Richly coloured contemporary furnishings are offset by antique pieces, and there’s a wood-burning stove in front of which up to two 'well-behaved' dogs can curl up on the rug. You will find the soft bed linen irresistible – it is sourced from Soak & Sleep, and we defy you not to order a set for yourself.

The sizeable kitchen is a capacious and well-equipped resource (except for a microwave) for self-catering chefs, who can source high-welfare meat at Fir Farm at Lower Swell, cheese from the creamery door at Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Dairy near Upper Slaughter, and veg, bread and deli products at The Cotswold Food Store at Longborough. Alternatively, there is uber-gourmet dining just a short walk away at the two multi-AA-Rosette restaurants at Lords of the Manor, one of the poshest hotels in the region.

Prices and booking information:
Seven-night stays from £790, three-night stays from £460.

Where to book:

Words: Kate Simon

Elmley Nature Reserve accommodation

Elmley Nature Reserve

Isle of Sheppey, Kent

Visit the Elmley Nature Reserve website

If getting close to nature is top of your list for a UK getaway, it doesn’t come much closer than at Elmley Nature Reserve. Located on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, Elmley is the only national nature reserve in England in which you can spend the night, meaning you’ll wake up each morning surrounded by 3,300 acres of sprawling marshland that's home to hares, cattle and a huge variety of birds – the reserve is a favourite of birdwatchers.

Accommodation at Elmley ranges from simple bell tents for two, to the beautiful 18th-century Kingshill Farmhouse, which sleeps up to 14 people. Despite the grandeur of the farmhouse, it’s the shepherd huts that are the star attraction, offering home comforts in a more secluded setting. Dotted around the estate, the huts are small but perfectly formed, squeezing in a double bed, kitchen and bathroom with shower – some even have an outdoor tub, too. Whitewashed panelled walls, chunky wooden shelves and lights suspended by thick rope lend the huts a stylish beach hut look. But, as pretty as the interiors are, they can’t compete with the reserve itself, visible in all its glory through one entirely glazed wall in each cabin.

Outside, there are tables and chairs as well as a BBQ fire pit for toasting the stock of marshmallows found in the kitchen. For cooking supplies, there are farm shops nearby offering local produce, including Brambledown just north of the reserve for fresh fruit and veg, and Macknade Food Hall near the town of Faversham for a wide range of meat, cheese, wine, and more. For fresh fish and oysters, Whitstable is only 30 miles away. Elmley also offers simple meals made with local produce: hearty breakfast sandwiches (from £8.50), packed lunches (from £10), and a two-course set menu in the evening should you not feel like cooking (from £22).

Prices and booking information:
Shepherd huts at Elmley are available from £145 a night.

Where to book:
Elmley Nature Reserve

Words: Joel Porter

Cottage exterior

Orchard Cottage


Visit the Orchard Cottage website

Newly opened Orchard Cottage on the border of England and Wales isn’t just a peaceful retreat in the quiet pastures of the Hindwell Valley. The former gardener’s house on the 250-acre Rodd estate sits in a huddle of medieval buildings around a Jacobean manor, where the late Australian artist Sidney Nolan spent his final years.

Guests staying here not only enjoy a reclusive rural atmosphere – they can also privately explore the place where this extraordinary contemporary artist was still creating his vivid and challenging images until a few days before his death in 1992. The rustic Edwardian cottage, set in its own wild garden, sleeps two and one well-behaved dog. Recently renovated, it has a cosy double bedroom, a sunroom that visiting artists and writers often put to use as a studio, and a spacious lounge focused on a large hearth with a wood-burner. Two bathrooms and a utility room complete the picture.

All rooms are furnished with items found around the estate, and shelves are stacked with books from Nolan’s library. The walls are hung with prints of his work, including his signature paintings of the outlaw Ned Kelly in his square black helmet and armour, with which Nolan stormed onto the art world stage in the 1950s. At the heart of the house is a well-equipped kitchen with a large table at its centre, where cooks can get to work on fine ingredients from Deli Tinto, Weobley Ash Meats, and the fish counter at The Salty Dog in the neighbouring Welsh market town of Presteigne.

On the chef’s night off, The Stagg Inn at Titley and The Harp Inn at Old Radnor offer superior pub food within a short drive. Between meals, there's time for a private guided view of the artist’s work and his studio, preserved just as he left it, and walks through fields and woods, and along Offa’s Dyke.

Prices and booking information:
Seven-night stays at Orchard Cottage costs from £640-£750. Three-night weekend and four-night midweek stays from £395-£525 (July to October).

Where to book:
Sidney Nolan Trust

Words: Kate Simon


Bossington Hall

Allerford, Exmoor

Visit the Bossington Hall website

Set at the northern edge of Exmoor National Park, Bossington’s location is reason enough to come, with views south to Dunkery Beacon (carpeted purple with heather in summer) and west along the Devonshire and Somerset coast. But wait until you see the house – built in 1913 with stone from Hawcombe and slate from Treborough, it’s a sprawling testament to Edwardian grace.

This is accommodation you can get lost in, including two kitchens, two games rooms (with a pool table and board games), 15 bedrooms, and an epic sitting room that has hosted parties for 200 people. The original owner was a 19th-century shipping magnate, and many of the house’s magnificent oak beams were repurposed from ship’s timbers.

Beyond the acres of garden is a region perfect for rambling. An hour’s walk through the National Trust Holnicote Estate brings you to Selworthy Beacon or Hurlstone Point, each with breathtaking coastal views. Book a tour with Richard Growden, an all-round force of nature who runs Discovery Safaris to go in search of red deer and yellow-spotted adders aboard a Land Rover (£25pp). Finish with afternoon tea at the characterful Kitnors in Bossington village.

With two kitchens, it’s a pleasure to get cooking back at the house, but if you’d like someone else to do the heavy lifting, Janet Middleton from the local Harbour Gallery and Café in Porlock Weir, delivers delicious meals of local produce. Nearby Porlock is bursting with good restaurants, pubs and shops. The Big Cheese showcases local cheeses and chutneys, while Bramdowns surely has the country’s best homemade crumpets. If you’ve a car, head south to Tarr Farm Inn, which serves fabulous steaks from its farm-raised Red Ruby cattle. Family-run Exmoor Distillery in nearby Dulverton (advance booking required) is winning awards a-go-go for its Northmoor Classic gin.

Prices and booking information:
Bossington Hall can accommodate up to 30 people. The whole house must be rented as a single booking for a minimum of three nights from £4,500 (£50 per person, per night) full occupancy, or from £3,300 at lower occupancy.

Where to book:
Bossington Hall

Words: Adrian Phillips

Holiday cottages on the beach


Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate

Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England

Visit the Carbis Bay website

With views of its own Blue Flag beach, near St Ives, the Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate combines its Victorian heritage with super-slick modernity.

Visited by the likes of Virginia Woolf, the original hotel dates to 1894, but it has since been added to. Among the contemporary accommodation, eight super-luxurious beach lodges offer open-plan living areas, hot tubs, private gardens for al fresco dining and direct beach access.

Spread over three floors, beach lodges sleep up to eight in three or four en-suite bedrooms. Master bedrooms have roll-top baths and all come with powerful walk-in waterfall showers and fluffy robes.

You can relax on sofas beside remote-controlled fires, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea. High-end kitchenettes are equipped with inbuilt appliances (there is no hob, but there is an oven and microwave), smart Belfast sinks and boiling water taps.


Pre-dinner aperitifs of snacks like crab tartlets and arancini and chilled wine are delivered each evening by the lodge concierge and you can order a breakfast hamper for the next day, choosing from a selection of pastries, cereals, smoked salmon, cold cuts and cheeses or hot choices like a full Cornish fry up, eggs benedict or pancakes.

For a luxurious dinner option try Ugly Butterfly, Adam Handling’s latest addition to his restaurant group. Built into the neighbouring complex to the lodges the airy restaurant has breath taking views

onto the crashing waves outside. The two tasting menus (5 and 7 courses) make the most of local suppliers showcasing ingredients like fish from Harlyn Bay, Porthilly oysters and Cornish Gouda. The experience is full of theatre and storytelling as servers guide you through the menu. Expect perfectly executed dishes like sweet buttery Lobster, carrot and purslane in a rich bisque sauce, melt-in-the mouth potato agnolotti and umami rich beef with celeriac puree.

A slightly more casual offering is Walters on the Beach, just along the boardwalk from the lodges. Sink into teal leather banquettes and enjoy some inventive cocktails and cooking with the globally-influenced menu offering starters such as king prawns with wasabi, cucumber sorbet and charred little gem and mains like Cornish beef with chimichurri and smoked onion.

For those who prefer self-catering, lunchtime sandwiches and cakes are available from the next door Deli and a mile along the coast path, St Ives Farmers’ Market runs Thursdays (9.30am-noon), offering Cornish cheeses, meats, eggs, bread and pasties – plus free local delivery on orders over £25. The Allotment Deli on Fore St stocks dressed crab from Matthew Stevens, Cornish cheese hampers and homemade tarts and savouries (open daily) and drinks can be delivered from St Ives Cider and Polgoon Wine.

Penzance and the fishing port of Newlyn are a 20-minute drive south. The Shore Restaurant has takeaway Saturdays offering indulgent lobster, and mac & cheese, while The Cornish Crab Company sells dressed crab for £5.20. Devour at sunset back at your lodge.

Prices and booking details:
Carbis Bay Beach Lodges cost from £950 per night (sleeping up to eight in three or four en-suite bedrooms) including breakfast delivered to the lodges. No minimum night requirement. Dogs are welcome.

Where to book:
Carbis Bay Hotel website

Words: Ellie Ross (this review was updated November 2022)


The Sandcastle

Freshwater East, South Pembrokeshire, Wales

Visit The Sandcastle website

The Sandcastle, set on the sands of Pembroke National Park’s Freshwater East beach, is accessed via private steps; the Pembrokeshire Coastal path skims right past the back door. At night you are lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean.

From the 10-metre-wide living space, sliding glass doors open onto a vast balcony and coastal view. It sleeps 14 in six en-suite bedrooms occupying a lower ground floor (some are family rooms).

Each has a sea view and French windows opening onto the lower deck. The sustainably heated saltwater infinity pool has a remote-controlled telescopic enclosure for all-weather swimming, plus, there’s a steam room, hot tub, cinema and snooker clubroom with a bar.


The place exudes a casual Caribbean-chic style, inspired by the owner’s years in St Lucia, which also influenced his London pub of many years, the much-loved Portobello Gold. A tropical-styled outside shower and dog wash is planted with banana trees and screened off with bamboo.

This is a self-catering house. Private catering is possible, and it's directly arranged between guests and local chefs, which are recommended by the owners. Dine on the sea-facing balcony, around the 12-seater table inside in the walled garden, on the wind-protected veranda, or around the fire pit.

World cuisine takeaways from We Love Curry and Love Rustic Catering are available on Friday and Saturday.

South Pembrokeshire is becoming a serious culinary hub, with its fresh food markets, local wine, up-and-coming seafood restaurants and local fairs.

When you’re not devouring Tenby crab, you could be cruising around a few award-winning Welsh vineyards. There are plenty of gourmet pubs, from the new Dial Inn at Lamphey, and The Stone Crab to The Griffin.

On Freshwater West, Café Mor sells crab & lobster sandwiches and seaweed ginger cake out of a colourful beach van, fashioned like a fishing boat. Simply Seafoods is another good fish shack (5-6 Bridge Street; 07828 046047), this one in Tenby port.

Or stay put in the house, jump into the hot tub, onto the paddleboards, the kayak or the sailing dinghy. Or go large: the Sandcastle’s 1952 Buick convertible is available for chauffeured sightseeing trips into Tenby or further afield.

Prices and booking information:
The Sandcastle sleeps up to 14 in six bedrooms, and costs from £3,011 per week in low season to £7,094 in high season, with discounts for direct booking, and minimum three-night stay. Dogs are welcome.

Where to book:
The Sandcastle website
Sykes Cottages

Words: Lydia Bell


Photo: Christopher Swan

Fir Chlis

Seilebost, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Visit the Fir Chlis website

Overlooking the sands of Luskentyre, Fir Chlis is a stunning property that combines sleek Scandinavian lines and contemporary Hebridean artwork with the cosy furnishings of Harris Tweed and a wood-burning stove.

Fir Chlis is Gaelic for 'northern lights', and while you may well see those in winter, it's beautiful in summer, when the sands, rivulets and tides – best enjoyed from the open-plan upper floor – seem to change shape and colour with every hour that passes.

The house sleeps up to eight in three bedrooms, with one en suite, and one main bathroom. There’s a cinema room and an extensive, fully equipped kitchen (while the dishwasher is small, the views from the kitchen sink window may get you volunteering to do the washing-up).

You can eat on the balcony or simply swing back and forth in the sheltered hammock, grazing your way through the welcome pack of locally made chocolates and drinks.

Photo: Christopher Swan

Beach walks start just across the road, while the house is positioned in the middle of the Harris Riviera, six miles of unbroken beaches and headlands.

For other food options, A D Munro in Tarbert, eight miles away, is a licensed community shop that takes pre-orders and arranges delivery in advance of your arrival. The store sells local ranges of salmon, oatcakes, cheese, whisky and beer as well as fresh meat.

Croft 36 at Northton is best described as a high-end, self-service wooden roadside shack. Use the honesty box to pay for crab ravioli, rabbit stew & dumplings, soup and cakes.

For condiments, pop along to an even smaller seaside hut, home to The Hebridean Mustard Company. The homemade organic mustard is flavoured in varied ways, from honey to chilli, and is the work of Heike Winter, who lives in the adjacent house.

For seafood chowder or Hebridean crab with soda bread, visit the caravan at Rodel that is the take-away kitchen of Sam’s Seafood Shack.

Prices and booking information:
Fir Chlis costs from £1,400-£2,400 a week in summer; £1,100-£1,500 in autumn.
Out of season, short breaks cost from £100 per night for two, £150 for groups, subject to a minimum booking of £500. No pets.

Where to book:
Fir Chlis website

Words: Mark Rowe

Dog-friendly holiday cottages


Photo: Mike Henton

Old Gateway Cottage

Minehead, Somerset, England

Visit the National Trust website

This enchanting National Trust Cottage, squirrelled away on the peaceful Holnicote Estate on Exmoor, has all the ingredients for a satisfying holiday, from bracing coastal and moorland walks on the 240km of paths that criss-cross the estate, to picnics on the vast beach at Bossington, and pints of local cider at the pub in Porlock.

Refurbished in 2017, the 18th century cottage adjoins the 15th-century gateway that was once the threshold to the estate, and overlooks a pretty, walled garden complete with a shaded patio area for meals al fresco.

As you’d expect from the National Trust, there’s a warm welcome: visitors are greeted with a tray of tea, coffee and biscuits on the large kitchen table that sits next to a grade II listed inglenook fireplace; in cooler months, the wood-burner adds an even cosier atmosphere to the well-equipped kitchen.

The lounge, too, has a wood-burner and, like the three bedrooms (sleeping six in total), is decorated in tasteful tweeds and herringbone fabrics in colours attuned with Exmoor: purples, yellows and greens.

Photo: Mike Henton

When it comes to fuelling forays beyond the house, visitors can stock up on the bounty available from local producers in the friendly town of Porlock. The Big Cheese delicatessen sells an array of cheese and picnic provisions, as well as local ciders and the excellent Wicked Wolf Gin, distilled on Exmoor.

For local lamb or venison, call into the well-stocked Clive Downs Butchers. Meanwhile, the Edible Exmoor website lists other producers that deliver.

For a treat, order some Porlock Bay Oysters: this small company has resurrected the oyster farming industry that thrived there during the 19th century. They deliver, but you can also collect from Porlock Weir, which is a gorgeous spot to visit, with a pebbly beach, harbour and quayside pubs and cafes.

Prices and booking information:
Old Gateway Cottage costs from £448 for three nights (three-night minimum stay), or £689 for seven nights. The cottage sleeps six in three bedrooms, and dogs are welcome.

Where to book:
National Trust website

Words: Carolyn Boyd

MicrosoftTeams-image (43)

Caradog Cottages

Abergavenny, Wales

Visit the Caradog Cottages website

Caradog Cottages is located in and around the food mecca of Abergavenny, Wales. The four cottages in the town – two neighbouring the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree in nearby Llanddewi Skirrid, and one further in the Monmouthshire countryside in the village of Llanvetherine – are perfectly positioned as bases to explore this picturesque corner of South Wales and the famous Brecon Beacons.

Abergavenny is a buzzing market town, full of gems for a food enthusiast to discover. Caradog Cottages’ sister property, The Angel Hotel, stands proudly opposite the impressive market hall and boasts award-winning afternoon teas as well as a stylish bar and popular restaurant. The acclaimed Angel Bakery (also part of the family) is just over the road, baking slow-fermented breads and pastries Tuesday through Sunday. Its morning coffee and pastries are a must-try, and you’ll be tempted to stock up on the homemade preserves and produce supplied by local, like-minded producers. If you’re heading out into the hills for the day, you’ll want to pick up some of the sandwiches. And, in summer, you’ll not be able to resist the soft-serve ice cream, available in flavours like hazelnut and geranium leaf.

Just down the road, The Art Shop & Chapel is a local favourite for breakfast, serving za’atar fried eggs and Chapel pancakes. Or, visit for lunch to try vibrant salads, crispy laverbread and irresistible cakes. Chesters Wine Merchants offers a curated list of wines to discover and enjoy by the glass. Locals cram into every corner to enjoy the evening ambience and the owner’s LPs. Recognised in the Michelin guide, The Gaff has become an Abergavenny institution, focussing on great local produce that is transformed into stunning small plates. The jewel in the crown of Abergavenny has long been the Walnut Tree, which is just outside the town and recently reclaimed a Michelin star.

All the cottages were refurbished in 2021, each with its own character. Vintage pieces, in keeping with the cottages’ architecture, are combined with contemporary decor for maximum comfort. Local artworks take pride of place on the walls, and the finishing touches, like fresh shortbread on your tea tray and a beautifully illustrated map of the town, are artful in themselves.

All the cottages are suitable for light cooking, so you can make the most of local produce. If you like to really get going in the kitchen while on holiday, it’s worth checking equipment lists on the website. A daily housekeeping service is offered, and a breakfast of local goodies is provided, including bread from The Angel Bakery and homemade granola.

Prices and booking details:

The seven dog-friendly cottages sleep between four and six people, and all rooms are ensuite. From £350/night, including breakfast.

Words: Ben Curtis


Bibury Farm Barns

The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England

Visit the Bibury Farm website

Barn conversion hideaways may be commonplace in the Cotswolds, but few can match the calibre and class of those at Bibury Farm.

Launched in summer 2019, the five self-catering properties were crafted from the derelict outbuildings of a working arable and livestock farm.

Surrounded by rolling countryside, the sensitive renovation has retained much of their 18th century charm with honey-stone walls, wooden beams, and statement pieces, such as stable doors upcycled into quirky coffee tables.

Such rustic elements are matched with a contemporary aesthetic that brings an air of Scandinavian chic to the English countryside. The result is a thrillingly high-end escape that's big on both quality and comfort (with plenty of useful kit for kids, including stair gates and Baby Bjorns).

Ranging from three bedrooms to five, each barn is slightly different in style and size from its stablemates, and bears a name that hints at its former function – Grain Store, Bull Pen, Old Hay Barn.


Inside, expect giant sofas, sheepskin throws, bold artworks and views into private outdoor spaces, while common to all are wood-burning stoves, high-thread-count bedding and bathrooms stocked by 100 Acres, a local company whose products are packed with fragrant British botanicals.

Particular praise is reserved for the spacious open-plan kitchen-diners, each of which is equipped with gadgets to satisfy even the most ardent of chefs. All have outdoors dining areas; some with a gas-fired BBQ.

Breakfast hampers with local eggs, bacon, granola, milk and honey are provided, and there are plenty of top-up supplies available via a short walk or drive.

Nearby, Cheltenham and Cirencester have weekly farmers' markets, including The Organic Farm Shop, selling dairy and meat from the resident Shorthorns, and a much-loved veggie café, a campsite with yurts and huts to rent, as well as cookery courses.

Better still, go foraging at Bibury Trout Farm to catch your own fish, or buy it fresh or smoked from the counter, along with regional cheeses and produce.

Bibury itself is a 15-minute stroll across the fields, lined with quintessentially pretty Cotswolds cottages, and exemplary high-end pub grub and lavish afternoon teas as The Swan Hotel. Or hit the popular Daylesford Organic Farm, half an hour’s drive away.

Prices and booking details:
A three-night stay at Bibury Farm Barns in the Cart Shed (sleeps six in three bedrooms) costs from £1,575 (or £2,475 for a week). Dogs are welcome.

Where to book:

Words: James Litston


The Mission

Chale, Isle of Wight

Visit The Shacks website

Tucked away in a southerly part of the island known as 'Back o’ the Wight', The Mission is a stylish hotchpotch that you might call retro-contemporary. Originally a tin tabernacle (a prefabricated church made of corrugated iron, dating to 1895), the building has been restored with panache.

The interior is dominated by a modern mezzanine level with two bedrooms, which overhang a spacious ground floor furnished in eclectic but comfortable fashion (think comfy sofas and refurbished cinema seats).

The former baptismal font is now a luxurious sunken bath. With four bedrooms, and two bathrooms, the Mission House comfortably sleeps up to eight and dogs are welcome.

A dining area spills into a vintage 1950s metal kitchen (known as a Rose Kitchen, these were made by Spitfire factories after WW2), fitted with a modern cooker and fridge-freezer.

Leading from the kitchen is the 'Sunday school' annexe, with one double room and a bunk bedroom. Outside, there is a decked courtyard with seating, a BBQ area, and tree seat. Coastal footpaths, and those inland onto the high downs begin at the steps to the front door.


The island has more than 50 local food producers. If you arrive by ferry in Yarmouth, you can pre-order food from the Yarmouth Deli, including sourdough bread and homemade brownies.

Ventnor is a short drive from the house, and you can pick up and order fresh crab meat from the Ventnor Haven Fishery. Depending on how busy they are, they will either deliver or take pre-orders to be passed to you in your car.

The excellent Farmer Jack’s, a farm shop at Arreton Barns that sells local soft cheese, island meats and tomatoes, as well as a substantial stock of Italian specialities, such as cured meats, antipasti and stilton biscotti.

Should you wish to venture out for food, then the Buddle Inn at nearby St Catherine’s Point has won the Island’s coveted best pub garden in bloom award in recent years and has plenty of space overlooking the coast.

Prices and booking information:
In summer, the Mission costs from £1,525 a week in summer; £450 for two nights in autumn. One dog per booking is welcome.

Where to book:
The Shacks website
Sykes Cottages

Words: Mark Rowe

Holiday cottages in the countryside


The Hawthorn & Hazel

County Clare, Ireland

Have you been dreaming of an Irish escape? If you want to breathe sea air and escape the crowds but surround yourself with a subtle spread of mod cons to kick back, cook-in and stay connected, this restored Irish farmstead in Co Clare could be just the ticket.

The Hawthorn (sleeping eight in four bedrooms) and The Hazel (sleeping four in two bedrooms) are a pair of cottages set 5km from the lively village of Doolin, with views over the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.

The Hawthorn was an 18th century Irish farmstead, The Hazel its cowshed, and both have now been restored as luxury, self-catering escapes using local materials and craftsmen wherever possible.

Think luxury, Irish country chic – a solid fuel stove anchors a double-height atrium, in the Hawthorn, where local art is colourful but carefully curated, and a creamily-toned, well-fitted kitchen has marble counter tops, a breakfast counter and a table with mix of banquette and standalone seats for mealtimes.

The cottages can be rented together or individually, and both have private outdoor dining and B&Q areas, too.


Nearby, the haunting moonscape of the Burren National Park unfolds, with coastal highlights including Ireland’s famous Cliffs of Moher.

Surprisingly for such a rocky landscape, the Burren is rich with foodie pickings: velvety smoked salmon from The Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna, St Tola Goat Cheese, and Flaggy Shore Oysters are just a few of the goodies you can bring back for meals.

Options for eating out range from Ireland’s only Michelin-starred pub, The Wild Honey Inn, to fine dining using an eye-popping array of local, seasonal produce like Burren lamb, honey, Doolin lobster and hand-dived scallops at Gregan’s Castle.

Prices and booking details:
Hawthorn & Hazel cost from €220-€380 (£195-£340) a night (Hazel; sleeping four in two bedrooms); €280-€455 (£250-£396) a night (Hawthorn; sleeping eight in four bedrooms). No pets, or children under 12.

Where to book:
Doolin Village Lodges (Hawthorn)
Doolin Village Lodges (Hazel)

Words: Pól Ó Conghaile


Beechenhill Farm

Peak District, England

Visit the Beechenhill Farm website

Countryside locations don’t come much more perfect than the Peak District’s Manifold Valley, where the hills are hefty, the crowds are paltry, and the cattle are well-fed.

It’s where you'll find Beechenhill Farm, an organic farm (formerly dairy, now beef) with three self-catering cottages (one sleeping six in three bedrooms, and two sleeping two in one bedroom), and a shoulder-loosening sense of remoteness.

This is rural England as you imagine it, with oaky slopes, drystone walls and shaggy meadows that seem to tumble downhill forever.

The farm has serious green credentials, with much of its energy coming from wood-pellet boilers and solar panels.

Don’t expect spartan accommodation though – all three cottages are comfortable and well-designed, with beams, fireplaces and large beds.

The largest, Cottage By The Pond, sleeps six, while both the others sleep two. One of the family living on the farm is a folk artist (Sue Prince, recently featured on BBC Countryfile), and her works are evident in all cottages.

There’s also an outdoor wooden hot tub, with sparkling wine and local handmade chocs provided as part of the package.


The location means quality food and drink, and plenty of it. Bread, eggs and local sausages and bacon are all available on site, while the brilliant deli service, Sauced Here sells produce from more than 40 Peak District farms and producers, with orders delivered straight to the cottages for contactless, supermarket-style payment.

For meals out, meanwhile, The George at Alstonefield is a dining pub less than three miles away; it appears in the latest Michelin Guide, and also does takeaways.

Nearby attractions in the Peak District include the famous beauty spot of Dovedale – its popularity a contrast to the hushed but equally lovely realm of the Manifold Valley – and, slightly further afield, the expansive grounds of Chatsworth House, which has an estate farm shop and offers picnic hampers for pre-order.

Prices and booking information:
Over the summer months, Beechenhill cottages cost a minimum three-night stay, which costs from £620 (sleeping six), while a stay at the two smaller cottages costs (sleeping two in one bedroom) are from £450. No pets.

Where to book:
Beechenhill Farm website

Words: Ben Lerwil

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Can you recommend a UK holiday cottage? Leave a comment below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of July 2020 and will be checked and updated regularly. If you think there is any incorrect or out of date information in this guide, please e-mail us at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.


Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to.

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