Step into the world of real-life fairy-tale houses, lavish lakeside farmhouses and ‘spectacularly grown up treehouses’ on an unforgettable homestay holiday.
Cosy up with a fire among the birds in the treetops of Devon, or fall through the rabbit hole at a topsy-turvy manor in Surrey where Queen once played in a dazzling charity ball.
For another kind of ‘star struck’, watch the stars from the comfort of a hot outdoor stone bath in Ireland’s Kerry Hills.
These are just some examples of what’s on offer with Unique Homestays, which provides what could be described as some of the most magical escapes in the British Isles.
Scroll down and be amazed by these 11 unique rental holiday homes. We think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a favourite.
Gaia Farmhouse – Ullswater, Lake District, England
Nestled in a remote Lake District valley, Gaia Farmhouse is a ‘luxury self-catering homestay’ set within 32 acres of farmland where ‘the clouds rush over ridgelines like waterfalls’ and sheep poke their heads through the fence
‘Cradled by the fells which soar from the Lake District’s secluded Martindale Valley, this luxury self-catering home, built from stone and timber foraged from the surrounding streams and woodlands, sings a song of Cumbrian soul,’ Unique Homestays says of Gaia Farmhouse.
Cocooned in a fairy-tale setting, it’s a place where ‘the clouds rush over ridgelines like waterfalls’, wild red deer roam to the sound of ‘nearby becks’ and sheep poke their heads through the fence.
‘There’s a certain magic’ to the 16th-century farmhouse, which has been lovingly restored using minimalist Scandinavian design, according to the listing. Property highlights include Smart TVs with Apple TV, underfloor heating, a Petanque set, fire bowl and Weber barbecue.
The five-bedroom accommodation, set amid 32 acres of land, sleeps up to 10 guests from £4,250 per week, or £3,195 per short break.
Limehouse Cottage – Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, Ireland
Limehouse Cottage serves up ‘simple luxury’ and offers ‘kaleidoscopic views over Coomasaharn Lake’
Limehouse Cottage, set amid the Kerry Hills of Ireland, is described by Unique Homestays as a self-catering hideaway that serves up ‘simple luxury with one hand and raw, organic beauty with the other’.
The cottage has been ‘tenderly brought back to life’ with two modern extensions including a green iron barn with curved sides and a glass box with ‘kaleidoscopic views over Coomasaharn Lake’ and the mountains behind it.
Owner Catherine recommends lighting a fire at night ‘to feel cosy whatever the weather’, or watching the stars above you as you soak in the outdoor stone bath ‘set in prime position to watch dusk fall over the mountains’.
The one-bedroom property sleeps up to two guests from £1,395 per week, or £1,095 per short break.
Midsummer Wood – Bourton-on-the Water, Cotswolds, England
Lavish Midsummer Wood features a heated swimming pool, country kitchen, tennis court, cinema room and 14th-century millrace
Midsummer Wood is described as a ‘real-life Neverland with magic at every turn’ set on the ‘golden fringes’ of Bourton-on-the Water in the Cotswolds.
Eleven acres of ‘Eden-esque grounds invite guests to lose themselves within the beauty of knot gardens, rose arches, apple orchards and enchanting woodland’, says Unique Homestays.
It adds that the luxury millhouse entwines luxuries such as a 13-metre heated swimming pool, Mark Wilkinson country kitchen, cinema room and tennis court ‘with intriguing features like its 14th-century millrace that runs through the house’.
The two-bedroom accommodation sleeps up to eight guests from £5,995 per week, or £4,495 per short break.
Verte – Devon, England
Verte is a luxury self-catering escape surrounded by wildflower meadows ‘that will reset the soul’
This ‘spectacularly grown-up treehouse’ is tucked away in Devon’s Chevithorne Barton estate where birds sing from the surrounding branches, according to Unique Homestays.
Wander the surrounding wildflower meadows, enjoy a woodfired hot tub, and take advantage of the tree swings and two rowing lakes connected via a waterfall, the property site says.
It adds: ‘The open-plan living space is the hub of this magnificent dwelling. Gentle, dappled sunshine floods through on spring mornings, tempting long breakfasts on the large dining table carved from timber found on the estate. In brisker months, the modern, circular fireplace takes centre stage, crackling with comfort.
‘Here lies a luxury self-catering escape that will reset the soul.’
It sleeps up to 10 guests, including six adults and four children. Prices start from £3,450 per week, or £2,595 per short break.
Solas – Isle of Harris, Scotland
‘Wildlife spotting and fiery sunsets are guaranteed’ at Solas, which is seemingly ‘perched on the edge of the world’
Solas sits above the ‘paradisiacal shores of Luskentyre Beach’ on the Isle of Harris as though ‘perched on the edge of the world’.
It’s a modern home, the listing says, where you can ‘spend days with eyes on the enormous skies’ from its patio, al fresco hot tub, or glass-fronted sauna.
The ‘sleek interior’ is formed from ‘cool minimalism and a monochrome colour scheme accented with hues from the shifting seasons’.
Unique Homestays adds: ‘Whether soaking in the bath, stretching on the yoga deck or enjoying a dram in one of the perfectly positioned window seats, mountain vistas, wildlife spotting and fiery sunsets are guaranteed.’
The luxury island dwelling sleeps up to six guests from £3,295 per week.
Rhapsody – Haslemere, Surrey, England
Enjoy Rhapsody’s outdoor heated swimming pool, sunken hot tub, hidden yoga studio and floating glass reading room
‘A utopia of surreal garden sculptures, topsy-turvy architecture and glass-like pools, Rhapsody has fallen head first through the rabbit hole and landed in the heart of Wonderland,’ says Unique Homestays.
The property, in rural Surrey, has played host to an impressive lineup of celebrity guests including Genesis, The Police and Queen – who played a roof-raising charity ball there in the nineties, according to Unique Homestays.
But apparently ‘the time has come for this Tudor country home to grow up and settle down’.
Highlights include an outdoor heated swimming pool, a sunken hot tub, a yoga studio hidden beneath the trees and a floating glass reading room with a log burner on the crayfish pond.
The ‘daring’ Tudor country home sleeps up to 12, including 10 adults and two children, from £12,500 per week, or £9,350 per short break.
Isla Windmill – Beaumaris, Isle of Anglesey, Wales
Isla Windmill guests will treated to ‘panoramic views over the Menai Straight and rugged peaks of Snowdonia National Park’
‘High on a hill overlooking the Anglesey coast, Isla Windmill shines like a beacon of promise for the traveller in search of rest,’ Unique Homestays says.
Guests will be treated to ‘panoramic views over the Menai Straight and rugged peaks of Snowdonia National Park’. And inside to ‘a mixture of Art Deco and 1970’s influences melded to create contemporary living spaces with a lavish retro twist’.
A spiral staircase winds up from the ground floor dining room, past two double bedrooms and up to a ‘cherry-on-top’ lounge harbouring a velvet sofa.
The property sleeps up to four guests from £1,850 per week or £1,350 per short break. Visit www.uniquehomestays.com/self-catering/uk/wales/anglesey/isla-windmill.
The Art House – Sutton, West Sussex, England
The Art House boasts a 17-metre heated pool and decor that’s ‘vibrant, uplifting and energising’
If you’re in the market for a sanctuary for a ‘together-time retreat’, The Art House, in a wooded location bordering the South Downs National Park, is a promising proposition.
Outside, there’s a 17-metre heated pool and 50-metre swimming lake, and inside decor that’s ‘vibrant, uplifting and energising’, with each bedroom imbued with an ‘individualistic identity’.
The listing adds: ‘An idyllic home for multi-generational escapes, younger members of the group are free to enjoy a Swallows and Amazons adventure, while there’s time aplenty for parents to enjoy crisp G&Ts under the rose pergola.’
The four-bedroom manor sleeps up to 13 guests, including 12 adults and one child, from £9,995 per week.
The Signal Station – The Lizard, Cornwall, England
The Signal Station once offered safe passage to voyaging ships and has now been transformed into a luxury seaside homestay with an ‘understated charm that complements the ever-changing horizon’
Perched on the cliffs of Cornwall’s wild Lizard Peninsula, The Signal Station is a place ‘where barefooted al fresco breakfasts are nothing but mandatory, where the stars shine bright and the sea forever whispers’, according to Unique Homestays.
The iconic maritime tower, which once offered safe passage to voyaging ships, has been transformed into the most southerly self-catering home in the region, ‘where chic, understated charm perfectly complements the ever-changing horizon’.
‘Beautifully uncomplicated’ rooms overlook the ocean as well as the outdoor barbecue area and window seats, recommended as the perfect spot for a quiet morning cup of tea.
The historic accommodation sleeps up to six guests from £2,495 per week, or £1,895 per short break.
Found Tower – Bawdsey, Suffolk, England
Found Tower comprises almost a million bricks wrapped around its central brick shaft, with three floors of contemporary living space that includes ‘two sharply modish bathrooms and three sumptuous double bedrooms’
Found Tower, on the shores of the Suffolk coastline, gives ‘the fluttering butterfly feeling of boarding a private jet’ from the moment you arrive up its sandy track and ascend the flight of steel stairs, according to Unique Homestays.
The Martello tower – a type of defensive fort – is said to be in the perfect place for picturesque morning jogs and long evenings looking up at the stars from its panoramic roof terrace, which Unique Homestays claims ‘rivals any in the city when it comes to entertaining’.
Originally built to defend Napoleonic forces in the 1800s, the property comprises almost a million bricks wrapped around its central brick shaft, with three floors of contemporary living space that includes ‘two sharply modish bathrooms and three sumptuous double bedrooms’.
The stylishly renovated retreat sleeps up to six guests from £3,250 per week, or £2,450 per short break.
Charlotte’s Folly – Weston-under-Lizard, Shropshire, England
Charlotte’s Folly is a ‘time-travelling family retreat that could have been lifted from folklore’
Unique Homestays describes Charlotte’s Folly as ‘a Brothers Grimm hideaway that seems to sprout from the garden like a limewashed berry’, adding: ‘Telling a sweet tale of craftmanship and nostalgia, this terracotta trinket is storybook architecture at its finest, a time-travelling family retreat that could have been lifted from folklore.’
And inside? ‘Jellybean hues and antique curios lie in wait,’ says the listing, ‘as clawfoot tubs, velveteen headboards, and pea green beams assemble for your jollity.’
The exquisite luxury home sleeps up to six guests from £1,450 per week, or £1,095 per short break.
Other homestay rental sites are available.
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