A new book, accompanying the TV series, details the magnificent properties featured alongside many more that will inspire a dream UK getaway.
The Chalet, Herefordshire
Set 500ft above the River Wye on the steep slope rising to Symonds Yat Rock, this red timber Nordic chalet is a scene-stealer. It featured in an Ideal Homes Exhibition after being shipped to England from Norway as a flat-pack house in 1912, and was a location for the Netflix series Sex Education.
A top-to-toe consultation with Farrow & Ball informed the latest revamp, creating a colour-saturated interior with a wonderful Smoke Green conservatory and pinky-brown attic. From the wraparound deck with hand-built pizza oven and wood-fired Swedish bath, steps lead down through the garden to a summer house with a secret cinema, then to the river.
Sleeps 10, from £2,995 for four nights, thechaletsymondsyat.co.uk
Pilothouse PH5, Argyll (pictured)
Far out in design and location, this compact aluminium hideout’s elliptical form is inspired by a submarine control tower, making it a unique base for exploring the remote Sound of Mull.
Every detail has been thoughtfully executed to create a space that feels ergonomically designed. An upside-down arrangement of rooms gives the main living space views to the colourful town of Tobermory and a wraparound balcony has a 360-degree outlook on sunsets, storms and wild seas. On the same site is AirShip 002, following the design characteristics of airships, plus the Captain’s Cabin, another elliptical building on the flat roof of an old chapel.
Sleeps two, from £160 a night, outoftheblue.uk.com, airbnb.co.uk
Ty Hedfan, Pembrokeshire
Like a Welsh answer to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, Ty Hedfan, meaning “hovering house”, is perched above the River Ysgir near the Brecon Beacons.
A spectacular, box-like wing clad in slate cantilevers over the river, among mature oak and ash trees, and houses a living space overlooking the black water passing beneath.
The interior is a soothing haven of slate and timber, with tasteful wooden furniture and thick Welsh blankets. Most of the surrounding landscape has been left wild, with a stream forming pools as it tumbles towards the river and beds of vibrant lupins, foxgloves and bamboo.
Sleeps six, from £1,100 a week, ty-hedfan.co.uk
The Houseboat, Dorset
Not a houseboat but a RIBA award-winning building constructed to look like two upturned boat hulls, this imaginative beach house overlooking Poole Harbour packs an aesthetic punch inside and out.
A veritable Escher painting of staircases and stepped bridges connects split-levels with lounges and seating areas, creating a large internal void into which natural light pours from the glazed, sea-facing side. A restrained nautical theme is limited to the occasional vintage toy boat and striped cushion (no naff driftwood affirmations here) and there is something glamorously 70s about the lounges, with jewel-toned sofas. Owner-architect Roger Zogolovitch calls this his “analogue retreat”, where free time can be given to enjoying the quiet luminosity of the coast.
Sleeps 10, from £1,208 for three nights, thehouseboatpoole.co.uk
The Mill House, Devon
There are amazing sea views from every window and water borders the property on two sides at this historic cottage on the north coast of Devon. Whether storms roll in, thrashing the sea walls with powerful waves, or sun bathes it in heavenly warmth, it provides a ringside seat for the drama and beauty of nature.
Starting life as a flour mill powered by a water wheel in the 1560s, it later became a smuggler’s hideout, a bakery, general store, sweet shop and a tea room. Now the airy interiors feature “an eclectic mix of old and older” with flagstone floors, lanterns and antiques and a little drawbridge.
Sleeps eight, from £770 a night, themillhousedevon.co.uk
Looking at first like a tumbledown barn, this bewitching 16thcentury cottage within the remains of an ancient fruit farm in the Malvern Hills retains many original features, to create a cosy and timeless interior.
Owners Mervyn and Niki have been slowly and sympathetically restoring it since the 1990s, preserving original wattle-and-daub panels, exposed beams and a fabulous brick floor. Hiding within thick stone walls tangled with tendrils of foliage is a nest of snuggly blankets, plump sofas, upcycled furniture and a wood-burner, the perfect place to retreat to after a day’s walking.
Sleeps two, from £995 for four nights, uniquehomestays.com
Found Tower, Suffolk
In the early 19th century, after the French Revolutionary Wars, the British were terrified of potential invasion by Napoleonic forces, so as a deterrent built 100 towering luxury holiday homes all along the southern and eastern coasts, to scare the French off with unnerving good taste and an eye for interior design.
Well, not quite; these imposing circular towers were built as defensive forts and topped with cannons, but now one of them, on the Deben Peninsula in Suffolk, has indeed been repurposed as a stunning holiday home. The exterior appears as intimidating and impenetrable as ever, with a fleet of steel stairs leading to a doorway halfway up, but inside the tower is a peaceful interior of exposed brick.
Everything from the log store to the shelves is bespoke to fit the tower’s curve, there’s a bedroom in the old gunpowder storeroom and where soldiers once watched for the enemy on the rooftop, there’s now a stylish open-plan living area opening onto the roof terrace.
Among the cannon-holders guests can bask under starlight by the fire pit and soak up the glory of the Suffolk coast.
Sleeps six from £1,995 for a short break, uniquehomestays.com
Little Inka, Cornwall
Hot tub – check; en suite – check. Alpacas? Yes! Few holiday boltholes can offer a herd of cuddly South American animals among their facilities, but at this charming cottage/cabin on a country farm on Bodmin Moor they’re part of the appeal, along with the unbelievable stargazing.
A shepherd’s hut containing the bedroom and a free-standing copper bath is connected to the living space, painted black to echo the area’s famously dark night skies, which have made it an officially recognised Dark Sky Landscape.
The sunken courtyard has a Japanese ofuro hot tub for watching pipistrelle bats at dusk, until the inky heavens stage a glittering
Sleeps two, from £850 for three nights or £1,150 a week, uniquehomestays.com
The Woodsman’s Treehouse, Dorset
Climbing a spiral staircase to soak and steam in the rooftop sauna and hot tub, relaxing in the outdoor “tree shower” and zipping down a slide are some of the playful elements at this secluded adults-only treehouse. Set in a private corner of a woodland in West Dorset and built around a 200-year-old oak tree, it is a treehouse of dreams, where guests quickly adapt to the immutable rhythms of the forest.
Inside, a circular living space has a rotating wood-burner, kitchen, king-size bed and a roll-top copper bath, while the lower deck has a hammock to slumber in, a barbecue and wood-fired pizza oven.
This combination of pampering with a side portion of childish zaniness is typical of the building’s creators, carpenter Guy Mallinson and his partner in design, architect Keith Brownlie. It’s not just fripperies and fun, though – it was sustainably constructed to protect the trees and ecosystems around it, helping to win a RIBA South West Award that even the squirrels and blue tits would applaud.
Sleeps two from £990 for two nights, mallinson.co.uk
The Greenhouse, Devon
From different perspectives, this shape-shifting property appears as both a triangular wedge slotted against the sloping gradient of the land, or as a timber tower set within the trees.
Inside is an open-plan living area of irregular spaces, where unexpected heights and angles suggest, says Devon-based architect David Sheppard, an internal forest canopy. Stripped wood, fine plaster and ply veneer create a smooth finish, while full-height glass seems to bring the outdoors in. It’s been brought in literally as well, with stairs constructed from storm-felled trees and a dining table made from a split beech.
A round fireplace with a funnel-shaped chimney is a focal point, and a cushioned window-seat runs around the room, perfect for a languid afternoon’s reading. From this relaxing space, a sliding glass door opens onto a terrace between the trees, with a fire pit and a Big Green Egg barbecue. All good intentions to go running and walking in the Blackdown Hills may be abandoned here, though you must stroll down to the two small lakes below, one of which is for swimming.
Sleeps 11 from £5,000 per week, avenueproperty.com
Hunsett Mill, Norfolk
In a sleepy part of the Norfolk Broads, beautiful old Hunsett Mill is romantically situated on the banks of the River Ant, where otters, kingfishers, sailing dinghies and wherries pass by. Built to drain marsh for arable land, it is a much-admired landmark, an iconic Norfolk Broads scene that has featured on many a vintage postcard.
At first glance little seems to have changed over the centuries on the waterfront, where the arms of the windmill slowly rotate beside a simple red-brick 19th-century cottage. Set back a little way, though, is a daring extension in blackened cedar, designed to appear as a shadow. The radical reworking, by up-and-coming architectural practice Acme, features three linked gabled pavilions and a light airy interior of pale wood.
Guests keen on fishing can catch their own supper in the river, a barn owl makes a fly-by most evenings and bitterns and marsh harriers inhabit the surrounding marsh. Unpolluted skies make for amazing stargazing here, and the big-sky beaches of the Norfolk coast are three miles away.
Sleeps nine from £1,390 for three nights, hunsettmill.co.uk
(Article source: Various)