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With restrictions hindering the prospects of a trip abroad in the summer holidays this year, a staycation is the next best thing. Luckily for us, there are plenty of incredible places to go in the UK with an abundance of beautiful destinations and picturesque locations right on our doorstep.
UK holidays can be just as exciting as jetting off to another country, you just have to find the best type of trip for you. From countryside getaways and beach retreats to town trips and city breaks, there’s lots of options to suit every taste. For those that are looking for something a little different, why not try a staycation with a twist? We’ve all had a strange year, so why not go all out with a unique holiday too?
We’ve analysed the Google ratings and reviews for over 2,600 listings on HostUnusual.com and asked a panel of experts to give each one a ‘unique-ness’ score. From treehouses and windmills to Romani caravans and authentic American airstream trailers, read on to find the best quirky places to stay in the UK.
The Windmill in Suffolk takes first place in our list of unusual places to stay, followed by The Cantick Head Lighthouse Cottage on Orkney Islands and the South West’s very own Wolf Wood Treehouses in Devon.
Perfect for couples getaways, Suffolk’s adult-only Windmill is the perfect hybrid between old and new. The historic building has been restored with a modern viewing platform offering stunning views of the local countryside. Likewise, with nothing but sea and fields for miles at Scotland’s Cantick Head Lighthouse, you couldn’t be further away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life if you tried.
Quirky places to stay in the South West
If you’re wondering where to go on holiday this year, a report by Visit Britain has found that the South West is the leading destination for Brits for an overnight stay in the UK, and we’re not surprised looking at the unique destinations that have made it on to this list. At South Western Railway, we love to champion our local businesses, so we’re excited to see so many places from across our network appear in the top 20.
Whether you’re looking for a short break away to explore the local countryside or a week-long holiday to soak up as much sand and sea as possible, we’ve highlighted the most unique staycation ideas for the South West below.
No. 3 Wolf Wood Treehouse – Bratton Clovelly
Nearest station: Exeter St David’s
In our research into the most unique places to stay in the UK, Devon’s very own Wolf Wood Treehouse places third. Set in the treetops amongst acres of woodland, this is the ideal spot to switch off and reconnect with nature. Perfect for those that are looking to explore, there’s a stream that runs through to the River Wolf and footpaths that lead to picturesque views of Dartmoor.
Hit your 10,000 steps in the countryside? Not only will you be surrounded by nature and wildlife, but for £285 per night, you will also have your own private outdoor jacuzzi to relax and unwind in after a busy day of exploring. Perfect for a romantic getaway, these adult-only treehouses will give you and your partner all the space and tranquility you need to be at one with nature.
No. 6 The Boat House London – Paddington
Nearest station: London Waterloo
If you’re looking for a unique city break, you can catch a South Western Railway train to Waterloo where you’ll be just a short tube ride away from The Boat House in Paddington. Created in partnership with MADE.com, this lavish barge is in a great location to explore the capital and it’s even moored at the Floating Pocket Park – a green space set on the water – can you get quirkier than that?
There’s no need to worry about a rainy weekend here either, the interior is so stylish that you’ll have enough content to update your Instagram feed here alone. For those that will be adventuring around London, The Boat House comes with a rowing boat and two bicycles that you can use to tour the city.
No.7 Okel Tor Mine – Calstock
Nearest station: Exeter St David’s
Situated between an Ancient Monument and a World Heritage Site, these two cottages are in an ideal location for long dog walks and a bit of wildlife spotting. Back in the 19th century, this land used to be a tin mine that produced copper, lead and arsenic. Now, the Grade II listed buildings are home to outstanding views of the River Tamar and Devon’s hills, offering an ideal setting for your morning cup of tea.
When you’re back from your stroll along the river into the local village of Calstock, you can snuggle up in front of the log burning stove in these cosy cottages. While there are minimum stay requirements depending on the time of year that you’re booking for, at £89 per night, this quaint stay is one of the cheapest in the research.
No. 9 Kaywana Hall – Kingswear
Nearest station: Exeter Central
Another stay hidden amongst Devon’s woodland landscape is Kayawana Hall in Kingswear. The amazing, abstract architecture of this luxury B&B, with a butterfly-shaped roof, offers tall windows to bring in lots of light and air. Each room has its own entrance and outdoor seating area too, so you can be as secluded and at one with nature as you like. Surrounded by acres of treetops, this adult-only stay is perfect for a blissful retreat away to de-stress and take it easy.
With costs starting from £160 per night, you can choose to soak up the sun in the heated swimming pool, explore the local and colourful village of Kingswear, or hop on a ferry to explore the tourist town of Dartmouth.
No. 13 Fisherton Farms Vintage Vardos – Atherington
Nearest station: Exeter Central
Ideal for group holidays when you’re looking to log off and re-connect with one another, at Fisherton Farm's Vintage Vardos you have the whole camp to yourselves. For £230 per night, your group will have the option of three horse wagons and a farm tipping trailer to sleep in - there’s a quirky place to stay for everybody.
Before you head out to explore the local beaches or the close-by Exmoor National Park, start your day by collecting your own eggs or picking your own fruit and vegetables for breakfast. You get the complete off-grid glamping experience here with a hot outdoor shower, composting toilets and even a vintage tractor to bring your luggage to your unique stay.
No. 14 Beach House Smugglers Cove – Portreath
Set directly on the beach of Portreath, just a stone’s throw away from the sea, lies the luxurious holiday home of Beach House Smugglers Cove. Perfect for family holidays or a trip away with friends, this four-bedroom dream holiday home comes with an outdoor fire pit and jacuzzi overlooking the Cornish sands and sea. Not only will you have spectacular sea views for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but for £550 per night, there is also a cinema den for cosy nights in together.
Dogs are welcome in this luxurious getaway so get ready for a long walk to Bassets Cove or explore the local village of Portreath and all of the unique shops it has to offer. Just a 30-minute drive to St Ives and a 45-minute road trip to Newquay, you’re in the ultimate spot for a beach holiday full of Cornish sea, sand and smiles.
No. 17 The Meadow Glamping – Broughton
Nearest station: Winchester
The ideal choice for a couple’s getaway, The Meadow Glamping offers an off-grid retreat for adults only. With no electricity in the accommodation, this is the perfect opportunity to spend time alone with each other in the idyllic Hampshire countryside. Here, you have three quirky stays to choose from: a showman’s wagon, a converted trailer or a narrowboat, each with their own outdoor space to relax in.
There’s an abundance of things to do near this unique glamping experience. Stay local and dabble in a spot of rowing or grab a pint at one the nearby pubs that are just a five-minute stroll away. If you want to do a bit of sightseeing, National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey is not far away, Stonehenge is just a 20-minute drive and just 30-minutes away lies Bombay Sapphire’s gin distillery.
Whether you’re looking for holiday ideas in the South West or further afield, there’s plenty of unique places to stay in our top 20 list. Wherever you decide to go on holiday this year, we hope you have a great time, and remember to make the most of the cheapest deals by planning in advance. Check out our flexible range of train tickets and explore our train times to get to your staycation as swiftly as possible.
South Western Railway analysed over 2,600 listings on HostUnusual.com and ranked each one based on three factors:
- The Google rating
- The number of Google reviews
- A ‘unique-ness’ rating, as decided by a panel of experts.
Each of these factors was given a weighted score of 0-100, and these were combined to create the full rank.
Each cost has been calculated to provide the price for one night. This was calculated by dividing the cost by the total number of nights, or by the average for those who provided a range of values. All prices have been rounded up to the nearest pound.