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Holiday in the UK at one of Britain’s four most stylish rental homes

From a timber-beamed barn to a collector’s home filled with Danish furniture, staycations have never seemed more appealing

timber beamed barn the meadows
Unique Homestays

If you’d rather remain on UK shores for your post-lockdown escape – and ever-shifting travel corridors might make that an easy decision – take a look at our pick of unique self-catering properties and enjoy a staycation in style.


vintage house suffolk red brick exterior
Jefferson Smith
It’s hard to believe this Suffolk hideaway was once a proud entry on cult property site Wreck of the Week. The ex-industrial shell, three miles from market town Bury St Edmunds, has now been converted into a spacious three-bedroom barn. It’s characterised by a clever division of space (including a mezzanine bedroom and a snug on a lower level), and filled with treasures from the travels and flea market trawls of owner Sandy.

bedroom at vintage house suffolk
Jefferson Smith
snug with niels gammelgaard sofa at vintage house suffolk
Jefferson Smith

Her search has proved seriously fruitful – as well as 1970s Habitat chairs from her childhood home in the kitchen, there’s a Niels Gammelgaard sofa in the snug and Willy Guhl planters in the walled garden. Plus, a piece with a story sure to raise the heart rate of any design lover: a Charlotte Perriand ‘Les Arcs’ chair, left out with the rubbish on a central London street and swiftly rescued.

vintage house suffolk kitchen
Jefferson Smith

The careful edit is balanced by the building ’s utilitarian proportions and universally white walls; the result is a light, airy rural retreat that feels utterly uncluttered. It’s bookable via new membership website Kip. From £250 per night to sleep six. kiphideaways.com


pink plaster kitchen at the sandy feet retreat
David Grandorge

Cries of ‘best-kept secret’ are usually unfounded when it comes to Britain’s sandy beaches, but the coastal hamlet of Anderby Creek in east Lincolnshire is still gratifyingly unknown to the masses. It’s here that local firm Jonathan Hendry Architects has overhauled a simple two-storey dwelling directly above the beach to create a deceptively spacious three-bedroom holiday home, swiftly nominated for a regional RIBA award.

wood burner at the sandy feet retreat
David Grandorge
bathroom beach views at the sandy feet retreat
David Grandorge

Though its floor-to-ceiling windows, both upstairs and down, frame tempting shots of the banks beyond, its raw, rosy-hued interior – inspired by the surrounding landscape – makes staying in an equally appealing prospect. From £1,395 per week, to sleep seven. hostunusual.com


sunny stone terrace at the meadows
Unique Homestays

Cornwall’s enduring appeal is well earned, but hit a spell of good weather at The Meadows and you could almost believe you’re in the Balearics.

pale timber and concrete kitchen
Unique Homestays
pink bathroom with brass hardware
Unique Homestays

Sensitively and sustainably restored in reclaimed timber, slate and stone, the converted barn lies low in the eponymous field of wildflowers on an old farm settlement, seven miles inland from the county’s wilder north coast.

contemporary home with beams the meadows
David Grandorge

Beyond the bucolic setting and pale timber beams is a contemporary hideout for two, with a sleek concrete and lime-washed wood kitchen, chalky pink bathroom and bifold doors that lead onto a patio bordered by Mediterreanean-esque beds of lavender. Head out for transportive views and the neatly hidden hot tub. From £995 for four nights, to sleep two. uniquehomestays.com


living room at the early risers
Edward Jose

Until now, exclusive rental platform The Plum Guide, which employs rigorous review methods to rate homes on everything from shower pressure to the availability of natural light, has focused exclusively on a select group of world cities. But no longer:the site is quietly expanding its offering to include rural properties that satisfy the same exacting standards.

bedroom at the early risers
Edward Jose

New addition The Early Risers could have made the cut on location alone. Built into the landscape overlooking the fringes of north Devon’s Woolacombe Beach and out to the sea, this architectural four-bedroom house is quite the seaside escape. Elegantly clad in burnt Japanese wood, the sleek, modernist exterior belies the expansive lair inside – more urban loft than countryside bolthole.

Follow the gentle levels down into the sunken main living space, with its suspended fireplace, Ligne Roset sofas and nifty bar nook. From £702 per night, to sleep 10. plumguide.com

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration September 2020

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