Unique places to stay in the UK….

Shaldon Beach Hut No.1 - one of my favourite unique places to stay in the UK

Unique places to stay in the UK

I love exploring my home country and seeking out unique and unusual accommodation is top of my list when I’m researching a trip. Although small the UK has some awesome places to stay. I’m a huge fan of camping and glamping but I also love staying in a classy hotel.  So I thought I would list down my favourite places to stay in the UK and explain what makes them unique. Read on for some inspiration on a staycation with a difference…


The Big Green Bus, East Sussex

This awesome bus needs no introduction on what makes it unique.  Matt and I stayed on the bus for my 30th birthday with friends, we had the best time!  Parked up in the Sussex countryside the Big Green Bus has been converted into a cosy retreat.  It sleeps six, with two double beds and bunk beds upstairs, has a fully-fitted kitchen, bathroom, lounge area and an outdoor heated shower (there’s also a shower inside.) The lounge has a log burner and there are all sorts of original bus fittings. Upstairs the front area is decked out with original seats and a collection of books; it was the perfect place to chill out with a glass of prosecco or two.  Outside there is a campfire and a wood fired hot tub for hire. This has to be one of the most unique places to stay in the UK!  Read more on my glamping trip on the bus here: All aboard the Big Green Bus: glamping in East Sussex.



Shaldon Beach Hut No. 1

I loved staying in this dreamy little beach hut.  Nestled on the shoreline of the Teign Estuary in Shaldon with direct access to the beach it is the prefect retreat from the world.  The beach hut is compact as you would expect but it is perfectly formed.  Inside is a galley kitchen, bathroom, lounge with a sofa bed, under floor heating and a lovely mezzanine level with a comfy mattress.  Bi-folding doors open out onto a private terrace overlooking the beach and steps leading onto the sand.  On a sunny day it’s a beautiful spot to sit, read and watch the world go by.  Shaldon is a tiny village in Devon full of west country charm.  There’s plenty to explore and gorgeous beaches too.  I wrote a post all about it: Beach Hut Living…



Hollies Cottage, Cheddar

This cottage in Somerset has to be one of the cosiest places I’ve stayed in on my list of unique places to stay in the UK. Matt, Emily and I had a lovely long weekend in Cheddar, Somerset for New Years Eve in 2016.  This quaint cottage had an open fire in the lounge and a spiral staircase leading up to the bedroom.  Drinking champagne by the fire on New Years Eve while watching fireworks out of the window at midnight was a lovely way to see in the New Year.  The cottage location is fantastic, it was very quiet but just what we wanted.  Along the road from the cottage sits The Cider Barn, full of west country cider and lovely locals.  Cheddar Gorge and caves is a 10 minute drive along the road and the gorgeous beaches of Weston-super-Mare only a 40 minute drive.



White House Cottage, Port Isaac

I have never stayed anywhere like Port Isaac, the picture perfect Cornish village is like no other.  Made famous by the popular TV series Doc Martin, it can get very busy during the summer months.  But during the winter months it’s a quiet and tranquil place to stay.  There is no parking in Port Isaac itself so you have to park on the outskirts and take a short walk down into the village.  We stayed in White House Cottage a few steps away from ‘Doc Martin’s House’ on Roscarrock Hill.  There is no parking with the house so it was a bit of trek to the car park but when you have views as lovely as in Port Isaac it really doesn’t matter.  White House Cottage had beautiful views of the harbour and Port Isaac itself from its elevated position on the hill. Turn left out of the house and follow the narrow road up onto the South West Coast Path, beautiful views and stunning walks are literally on the doorstep.  Port Isaac itself has some gorgeous shops, cosy pubs and cafes to buy an obligatory Cornish pasty or cream tea.  Tiny alleyways and quaint fishing houses all add to the charm of this stunning Cornish retreat.  For more on what to do in and around Port Isaac click here: Port Isaac, the ultimate Cornish Retreat…



Hotel du Vin, Poole

Boutique hotels with unique rooms are what a stay at Hotel du Vin are all about.  Matt and I stayed in the Poole hotel for his birthday, it was a gorgeous mini-break.  Our room was so stylish and featured a roll top bath in the centre of the room.  I loved the attention to detail and the way the room was in keeping with the building which dates back to 1776.  On the quayside in Poole Harbour it’s in a fantastic location for exploring this lovely area of the south coast.  Hop on a ferry to Brownsea Island or visit the upmarket area of Sandbanks. Hotel du Vin often have some great deals, we reserved a room which included dinner and breakfast.  The evening meal was so delicious and a sommelier to help pair our wine with our meal was a very nice touch.  A weekend in Poole, Dorset has all the details of our dreamy weekend escape.



A campervan

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know I love a road trip, especially if it’s in a campervan.  Matt and I used to own a Mazda Bongo campervan and had some awesome adventures.  We went to Scotland, Wales, Dorset and spent a lot of time in Devon and Cornwall camping in some beautiful places.  We also camped closer to home on the beach on Hayling Island once and drank rum and coke until the early hours!  I loved having a campervan, having the freedom to go where you want, park up in a beach car park and have a cuppa while doing a surf check and having a few beers in the evening by a fire pit…there’s nothing better!  One of my all time favourites to camp at is Incledon Farm.  Being a working farm you often find a chicken or farm cat strolling by your van or tent.  Incledon Farm is in a tiny place called Georgham, just along the road from Croyde in Devon.  It’s a short drive to all the nearby surfing spots and a lovely spot for camping. As far as unique places to stay in the UK goes a campervan is at the top of my list. It is perfect for a staycation with a difference, choose where and when you stop and explore the open road.  If you are planning a road trip in the south west  The Cornwall Camper Company have some awesome vintage VW campers available to hire.



Beach Retreat, Milford on Sea

Owned by my parents the Beach Retreat started life as a garage, my Mum and Dad have turned it into a stunning one bedroom apartment.  Light, airy and full of seaside charm they have done a wonderful job and created a perfect little place for two to relax by the sea.  It has its own private entrance and parking and comes with a lovely little welcome pack of coffee,tea, milk, scones and jam.  Located a short walk from the seafront in Milford on Sea and a 10 minute walk to the village centre it’s a fantastic place for a break on the outskirts of the New Forest.



The Snug, Lymington

The Snug can be found in the old market town of Lymington on the edge of the New Forest. It is a cosy, boutique townhouse which has been lovingly restored and really lives up to its name. Full of character from the Belfast sink in the kitchen to the fireplace in the lounge, it’s a luxurious little bolthole for up to four people. The bathroom is an Instagrammers dream with a roll top bath and metro tiles, it has been finished to perfection.  All the small details have been thought of too, the gorgeous New Forest Aromatics products all produced locally add the finishing touch to the bathroom and the welcome pack full of local goodies is such a treat! A stones throw from the High Street, the cobbles and the quay the location couldn’t be better.



Have you stayed anywhere unusual in the UK? If so, let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for somewhere unique to stay….

A weekend in Poole, Dorset…

I squealed with excitement as we opened the door to our very plush room at Hotel du Vin in Poole, I was definitely not expecting a freestanding roll top bath in the middle of the room!  I had booked a night away for Matt’s birthday (last year I organised a surprise weekend away in a beach hut in Shaldon, read more on this here: Beach Hut Living) and I’m pretty certain this room was an upgrade from our original, what a lovely surprise.  Huge sash windows, a king size bed, chez long, a very smart coffee maker (which kept Matt happy for hours) not to mention the lovely Miller Harris toiletries.  I’m a sucker for hotel toiletries and Hotel du Vin did not disappoint in this department!  Along with the freestanding bath there was also a monsoon shower, which by the way was huge plus a separate bathroom.  It was a very luxurious room and I just had to have a G & T in the bath while I was getting ready for dinner…it just felt right!  Anyway, enough about the bath!  We booked a dinner, bed and breakfast package, which came with a three course set meal.  I booked our table at the same time as the room, I’m glad I did as the restaurant was very busy on the Saturday night that we ate there.
The service throughout the hotel was fantastic, including the restaurant.  I loved the extra touches like the Sommelier who recommended wine to go with our meal.  On that note, although wines weren’t cheap, we chose a very tasty New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc; you’ve got to treat yourself once in a while!  I had a gorgeous starter of Bayonne ham, salmon for my main and tarte au citron for dessert.  It was all deliciously French!  Breakfast was equally delicious, freshly squeezed orange juice, toast on demand, a continental spread to help yourself to and a menu to order cooked from, including a full English, crepes and eggs Benedict.  I went for the full English and was not disappointed.
Hotel Du Vin is located in the old town; the waterfront is literally a two-minute stroll along a tiny street past lovely old buildings.  The shops, bars and restaurants are also all within walking distance.  I absolutely loved the interior of the Georgian style building.  The grand staircase, with a very cool chandelier made from wine glasses gave a boutique feel and the bistro and bar with its cosy snug area all made for a wonderful stay.  It is worth mentioning that the hotel has very limited parking, we parked in a multi storey car park a few minutes walk away which was fine.  The hotel charges £10 for parking on site or at one of the car parks they recommend, we just kept our ticket and reception validated it for us.  We wanted to stay on in Poole after checking out so the staff kindly validated the ticket later on in the afternoon which meant we didn’t have to pay any extra for parking.
Poole is a picture perfect seaside harbour town in Dorset.  Famous for its pottery, Sunseeker motor yachts and Sandbanks, one of the most expensive places to live in the world.  Eager to make the most of Matt’s sunny birthday weekend we arrived a few hours before check in to explore.  After a stroll along the quay and a browse in the shops we were in need of some birthday refreshments.  A cool looking bar called Drift caught our eye; I loved the quirky vibe Alex the owner had created with such a tiny space.  The micro bar has its own cider ‘Devil’s Drift’ created with the help of Bournemouth Brewing Company and tables made from surfboards; right up my street and the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon!
On Sunday after checking out we jumped on a boat trip around Brownsea Island, it cost £10 for a one hour round trip.  It is possible to get off on Brownsea but there is a £6.50 charge to go on the island, a nature reserve owned by the National Trust. (If you are a member of the National Trust entry is free.) Brownsea Island is 1.5 miles long, 0.75 miles wide and famous for being home to the red squirrel.  Poole harbour is the second largest in the world stretching along the coast for around 99 miles, the largest is Sydney harbour.  It was such a sunny day to be on the water and having never really explored Poole it was interesting to see it from a different angle.
If you are planning a trip in the UK, don’t miss this beautiful part of the world.  The Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is just on the doorstep too.  There is so much to explore in the area, especially if you love the outdoors…I will definitely be heading there again soon.