England

Weekend cottage breaks | Find your own home in the countryside

From coastal retreats to cosy boltholes, I’ve found the very best British cottages for an idyllic weekend break.

I grew up around Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, and for years was seduced by every cosy cottage I came across. I swapped the countryside for London some 15 years ago, and as much as I love the city, if there’s a reason to spend a weekend in the country, I am there.

There’s no better way to do it than with a pad to call your own, so here are a few of my favourite home from homes amidst Britain’s glorious green.

A cottage to call your own for a weekend in the Lake District

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Romance bloomed in the Lake District back in the 19th century, and it’s easy to see why it has been attracting visitors ever since. A Unesco World Heritage Site, this spilling spread of rolling hillsides, sparkly lakes and emerald fields is a great escape.

Find your own little bolthole amidst the scenery in the Bridge End Farm Cottages, a craggy collection of traditional homes in pretty Boot Village. Ranging from an Elizabethan farmhouse to a barn conversion, these character cottages enjoy lots of traditional features, such as exposed beams and stonework – you’ll even find one with a baby grand piano and another with dazzling waterfall views.

The Lake District landscape stretches in every direction from the Bridge End Farm Cottages, where you can amble by the riverside or scale some of England’s tallest mountains (Scafell and Scafell Pike). And with two local pubs nearby, there’s sure to be a pint and some hearty food waiting when you return. Or you can just as easily sit back in the cottage gardens, take in the view and take it easy.

Bridge End Farm Cottages

8.4 Very good (70 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
WiFi in lobby
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A cosy cottage break in the Yorkshire Dales

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It has been argued that Yorkshire is home to some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery. It has captivated many an artist over the centuries, with three national parks, a wild and windswept coastline and a collection of ancient Victorian villages and towns. Now, it even has its foodie fans, with the most Michelin starred restaurants in the country, and a charming union of old Yorkshire meets new in its restaurants, cafes and pubs.

This Yorkshire blend of classic meets modern is certainly on the menu at Tupgill Park Cottages, a collection of holiday homes in the Coverdale Valley in the Yorkshire Dales. These beautiful stone cottages have refurbished interiors, giving you home comforts with traditional surrounds. You’ll find yourself next to the Forbidden Corner, a garden labyrinth scattered with statues, tunnels and hidden surprises. The villages of Middleham and Leyburn are also nearby, while Wensleydale and North Yorkshire are on your doorstep for exploring.

The Saddle Room - Tupgill Park Cottages

9.3 Excellent (262 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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Sea views in a cottage in Devon

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The British seaside doesn’t get much better than in Devon. This wild west coastal slot is all white sands, craggy cliffs, hidden coves and peaceful fishing villages. There’s a seashore for everyone, whether you want rough surf or a deserted bay. Days in Devon can be spent lazing under the sunshine or paddling in the sea. You can explore ancient country houses, grand gardens and hilltop forts. Or you can indulge, sampling wine from the local vineyards and fresh seafood from the nearby waters.

Find your own slice of solitude in the Cheristow Farm Cottages, set along the south-west coast with views across the Atlantic. These traditional cottages are a short walk through the woodland to Hartland Quay, where locals watch the sunset, swim, surf and enjoy a pint at The Wreckers pub. On your doorstep, you’ll find everything from galleries and gardens to a fine cream tea. And cobbled Clovelly waits nearby, a village of flower-covered cottages that tumble towards the sea, where locals still use donkeys and sleighs to navigate across the cobbled streets.

Cheristow Farm Cottages

9.1 Excellent (70 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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Country living for a weekend in the Cotswolds

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Venture into the Cotswolds and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped back in time. Known for its picture postcard villages, honey-stone homes and sweeping countryside, it is classically British, but it’s also packed with modern, chic style. A laid back day in the Cotswolds might include a hearty lunch and some local ale at the pub, a walk around a village, a spot of antique hunting, a visit to a local manor house, shopping, art gallery going… there’s so much culture hidden within the towns and villages of this renowned spot.

You can’t get much more Cotswoldian than the Slaughters Country Inn. Found in a honey-stoned house on the River Eye in Lower Slaughter, this traditional village inn is oh so quaint and quintessentially Cotswolds.

Stay in one of the inn’s individually styled rooms, or nab your own cottage just across the courtyard. You’ll find Bourton on the Water just a five-minute drive away (go and see Brum in the Cotswold Motoring Museum, if you know who I’m talking about!), with other Cotswolds highlights such as Daylesford farm shop and Burford nearby. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the cosy pub and the glorious riverside terrace…

The Slaughters Country Inn

8.9 Excellent (1570 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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A famous farmhouse for a weekend break in Nottinghamshire

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Mention Nottinghamshire and it’s likely you’ll think of Robin Hood. A county built on storytelling – whether about the notorious outlaw or from writer residents such as Lord Byron and DH Lawrence – Nottinghamshire’s historic towns and country retreats all have a tale to tell.

In the spirit of storytelling, it doesn’t get more apt than a stay at Cockliffe House. Former stomping ground to the likes of Winston Churchill and King Edward VIII – when it was also known for its hedonistic parties – if walls could talk, they would certainly share a few tales here.

Although not strictly your own pad for the weekend, with just 11 bedrooms, this huge country house will feel as good as yours, with hotel service to boot. This 17th-century farmhouse stays true to its heritage with French style furniture and exposed beams, and some rooms even boast grand four-poster beds. You’ll find Nottingham nearby, and famed Sherwood Forest should you want to go all Robin Hood in the woods…

Cockliffe

Nottingham, 11.9 km to City Ground Stadium
8.2 Very good (415 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.7 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Restaurant
Hotel bar
Hotel CTA

Spiritual living in a holiday home in Somerset

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Sleepy Somerset takes life at its own pace. Lull into laid back living with a visit to this pastoral haven, awash with green fields, hedgerows, bluebell woods and tumbling moorland. Attracting creatives from writers and photographers to filmmakers and painters, this pretty part of the country has seen modern reinvention but still holds its history with farm shows, folk festivals, village fetes and of course, the ever-growing Glastonbury Festival.

That said, Glastonbury town does have an identity of its own, away from the muddy music fest. Said to be the resting place of King Arthur, with a rich and intriguing pagan past, it’s certainly somewhere to go and ‘find yourself’.

Godney Arts House will help you on the journey. Capturing the area’s creative spirit with its interior, this 18th-century farmer’s house has been given a new, stylish lease of life with artwork on the walls, flagstone floors, velvet sofas and a copper top dining table. A cottage garden boasts apple trees and magnolia, countryside views can be enjoyed from most windows and the award-winning Sheppey Inn is a short walk away. You’ll also find Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve nearby.

Godney Arts House

Glastonbury, 5.3 km to Chalice Well
Excellent Service 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
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Laura Gabrielle Feasey

A writer living in London, Laura is currently working on her debut novel - a fictional tale inspired by her travels across America. When she's not checking out the ideal hotel bed thread-count, she's penning short stories, writing for various publications & brands, and sharing fashion tales on her blog, LauLauLand.