Craving candlelight and countryside quiet? Our great-value romantic UK boltholes are perfect for a rural self-catering break. From the wilds of Scotland to the tumbling hills of south Devon, there’s peace and tranquillity guaranteed.
Hidden on the edge of Devon’s beautiful Blackdown Hills, The Barn is a fairytale cottage for 2. Topped by thick thatch, with ivy creeping up the walls and rolling fields as far as the eye can see, we can’t think of a better place to hole up with someone special. Inside, you’ll escape modern life without sacrificing modern comforts – there’s a Bosch touchscreen oven, Nespresso, Bluetooth speakers and a smart TV with Amazon Firestick. A decadent zinc bathtub takes centre stage of the open-plan space. To one side, there’s a double bedroom with an open-plan rainfall shower. To the other, you’ll find a large living space and a snazzy kitchen. Spend your days walking through fields and unspoilt woodland then curl up on the sofa after dark.
Just 2 hours from London but a world away in feel, these romantic Wiltshire lodges nestle amongst Fonthill Estate’s woodland. A rural take on loft-living, they are light and airy with well-equipped kitchens, open-plan lounges and mezzanine bedrooms. Rolltop bathtubs gaze out and a wood-burner warms wintery evenings. Moments along the lane, you can stroll around picturesque Fonthill Lake (where scenes from Chocolat were filmed). A little further, you’ll reach The Beckford Arms, a gorgeous country pub perfect for hearty Sunday lunches and candlelit suppers.
Set near the watery beauty of North Norfolk’s glorious coast, the chic self-catering Cartshed Cottages are very relaxing, very stylish – and very spoiling. Your nature-inspired bolthole will have a wood-burning stove for lazy afternoons, a roll-top tub for indulgent soaks, and four-poster beds for blissful slumbers. There are plenty of pampering touches, too: hot-water bottles, scented candles, Ren toiletries, wine waiting on arrival… Explore the area’s bird-filled marshes, windswept sands and pretty harbour towns before returning to your tranquil haven.
You can’t get much more off-the-beaten track than the beautiful Oa peninsula in the south of Islay, Scotland’s fifth largest island. At Coillabus, 2 unpretentious yet luxurious eco-lodges come with outdoor bathtubs and private saunas, perfect for warming up after a walk along the bracing Scottish coastline. From long lie-ins under the British-sheep wool duvets to cosy evenings spent drinking red wine in front of your wood-burning stove – you’ll feel a million miles away from the busy mainland. A secluded and super-romantic place to hide away with your favourite person.
For the ultimate in romantic glamping, few can surpass StarBed Hideaways. These glamourous shepherds-hut hideaways are tucked away on a National Trust estate in Devon’s lush Tamar Valley (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the edge of Dartmoor). Each double oak-clad cabin is completely private, with spectacular views over fields towards historic Buckland Abbey. Inside, you’ll find a roll-top bathtub, a high-end kitchen and a totally unique curved glass skylight – perfect for star-gazing from the comfort of your kingsize bed. For breakfast, there are freshly baked pastries, homemade granola and the ingredients for a DIY Full English. Spend the evening beside the warming firepit, soaking up the blissfully quiet surroundings.
Melissa’s taste for travel began during a month-long expedition to Malaysia, and since then she’s taken every opportunity to discover pastures new. From babysitting lion cubs on a South African reserve to trekking the Atlas Mountains. She spent 6 happy years on the i-escape editorial team, before embarking on a freelance editing and writing career.