Summer breaks: 20 of the best self-catering stays in the UK

·12-min read

Unless stated, all prices quoted are for a week in June

Hen Cottage, Leek, Peak District

An idyllic retreat for two, this small cottage is situated on the south-west edge of the Peak District national park, with head-swivelling views across the valley to Tittesworth Reservoir and the dramatic limestone ridge known as The Roaches. Vintage furniture, home-made ceramics and a crackling log burner make this a lovely place to hole up, whatever the weather, with curlews, lapwings and skylarks all whirling in the skies above the house. The market town of Leek is three miles away, renowned locally for its excellent range of independent shops and antique emporiums.
From £430 a week, sleeps two, thelittledomain.com

1 & 2 Morville Barn, Shropshire

A view from Wenlock Edge near Easthope.
A view from Wenlock Edge near Easthope. Photograph: David Lyons/Alamy

A brand-new conversion of an 18th-century barn split into two comfortable cottages, Morville is ideal for two families who want to spend time together, but still have their own space to return to at the end of each day’s fun. Both the properties sleep five people in three bedrooms, and have spacious lounges and kitchens, with a shared garden outside. The historic town of Bridgnorth is a couple of minutes’ drive away, with picturesque Much Wenlock five minutes further up the road, while the sleepy village of Morville is a good starting point for walks through the tranquil Shropshire countryside. Both properties welcome dogs.
From £999 for a week in No 2 in July (June dates no longer available), nationaltrust.org.uk

The Old Cowshed, St Ishmael’s, Pembrokeshire

Ideal for an outdoorsy family, this cleverly converted former farm building has three cosy bedrooms, all en suite, and a spacious, double-height lounge area, warmed by a log burner. On warmer days the terrace is ideal for barbecue suppers: it’s within a walled garden, so offers complete privacy. Beyond the surrounding farm buildings and a handful of cottages, there is nothing but open, hill countryside, which makes this a great choice for dog owners, as well as for keen walkers. The lovely, sandy beaches of Saint Bride’s Bay are a short drive away, while the Dale peninsula offers spectacular coastal walks, with dramatic views of the Milford Haven waterway.
From £1,328 a week, sleeps six, qualitycottages.co.uk

Orions Cottage, Chilham, Kent

Children will love this cute, Grade II-listed cottage, with slanted walls and wonky stairs, set on the picturesque medieval square of one of Kent’s most beautiful villages. There’s a tea room next door, and Chilham Castle – an elegant Jacobean mansion – and the village’s two excellent pubs are a stone’s throw away. The property is ideal for a car-free break, as there are walks from the village into the surrounding orchards and gentle hills, and the station has good connections into historic Canterbury. The house itself has a cosy sitting room with inglenook fireplace, two bedrooms with beamed ceilings and a spacious kitchen/dining area.
From £709 a week, sleeps four, mulberrycottages.com

The Albatross, Totnes, Devon

A brand-new property from organic food pioneer Geetie Singh-Watson, who also owns the Bull Inn just across the road, this four-bedroom apartment is a real treat and has sustainability stamped right across it. Everything, from the furniture to the old cookery books and maps in the lounge, has been recycled or repurposed, the bedrooms are kitted out with organic mattresses and towels, and the walls are covered with an eclectic collection of artworks. There are walks from the door to nearby beaches and Sharpham vineyard, with Dartmoor’s unspoilt landscapes just 10 minutes’ drive away (or an easy bus journey, if you’re on a car-free break).
From £2,800 a week/£1,200 for a three-night break, sleeps eight, sawdays.co.uk

2 The Sands, Praa Sands, Cornwall

It’s all about the views at this glass-fronted house, which boasts spectacular views of the mile-long, dune-backed beach at Praa Sands. Sliding glass doors bring fresh sea air into the spacious lounge areas, and the surrounding dunes are the perfect natural adventure playground for a young family. The three bedrooms are cool and chic, with rattan furnishings and clean, cream decor, and the well-equipped kitchen is good for rustling up everything from beach picnics to three-course dinners. The South West Coast Path runs along the beach, which makes this a great choice for keen walkers, and Saint Michael’s Mount and busy Penzance are also just a short drive away.
From £1,882 a week, sleeps six, luxurycoastal.co.uk

Rubstone Cottage, Shanklin, Isle of Wight

Beach at Shanklin
A view of Shanklin beach. Photograph: Michael Charles/Alamy

It’s all about the location at this cosy stone cottage, tucked away in the heart of Shanklin Old Village, an easy walk from the beach. This is a great place for young families; the shoreline is sandy and shallow – ideal for paddling and sandcastles – while the old village is dotted with picturesque thatched cottages and several tea rooms, all serving up classic cream teas. The house can provide cot, stair gate and high chair on request, and is tucked away down a small, car-free pathway, with a walled and gated courtyard garden.
From £730 a week, sleeps four, islandcottageholidays.com

The Small House, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds

This charming cottage is located close to Bourton-on-the-Water, but surrounded by open countryside, giving it an away-from-the-crowds feel. Dating back to the 17th century, the three-bedroom house has been stylishly converted into a contemporary bolthole, with exposed brick and beams, and a cosy kitchen warmed by the Aga. Outside, the garden has a spacious terrace with barbecue, and lovely views over the Windrush Valley. Stow-on-the-Wold and Northleach are both just a few minutes’ drive; kids will love Cotswold Farm Park, home of Countryfile’s Adam Henson, with plenty of animals to meet and an excellent adventure playground.
From £1,487 a week, sleeps six, sykescottages.co.uk

The Foxes Cove, Brixham, Devon

New for 2022, this stylish, three-bedroom house is ideal for families who want to get out on the water. Overlooking Brixham’s busy marina, almost every room has gorgeous sea views, with the master bedroom and lounge both having balconies (complete with telescope). Steps down from the kitchen lead to a private decked area, perfect for breakfast while watching the fishing trawlers and yachts glide in and out of the harbour. It’s ideal for a car-free break, with the Golden Hind, a replica of Francis Drake’s Tudor ship, historic Battery Gardens and Brixham’s bustling streets, dotted with pubs and fish restaurants, an easy walk from the door.
A week from £1,593, sleeps six, classic.co.uk, short breaks available

The Nest, Powys

Hidden away on a 300-acre farm in the village of Bleddfa, this remote green-roof retreat is a magical place to get away from it all, surrounded by wildflower gardens and gorgeous countryside. There are two double en suite bedrooms, a spacious lounge and dining area, a handmade kitchen, and special features like two alfresco bathtubs, a hot tub (great for stargazing on clear nights) and a firepit. There are plenty of walking trails on the doorstep and the foodie town of Ludlow is 30 minutes’ drive away – though it’s unlikely you will want to leave.
From £1,600 a week in July, sleeps 4, hostunusual.com

Caledonia Escapes, Invergarry, Highlands

Situated right beside the Great Glen Way, a 79-mile walking and cycling route between Fort William and Inverness, this pristine two-bedroom apartment is a great base for serious hikers and those looking for an outdoorsy week. The open-plan living room and kitchen area is light and airy, and a lovely space to return to after a day’s activities; there are also two comfortable bedrooms, and a travel cot and highchair available on request. Loch Ness and Fort William are both within 45 minutes’ drive – offering a wide range of activities, from kayaking and white-water rafting to abseiling.
From £819 for a week, sleeps four, cottages.com

Cuckoo Cottage, Blakeney, Norfolk

Blakeney harbour
Blakeney harbour. Photograph: whitemay/Getty Images

Vast skies, unspoilt beaches and atmospheric marshes make Blakeney a great bet for a back-to-nature family holiday, and this cutesy cottage – originally two fishermen’s houses, built in the 1850s – has a great location, within walking distance of the beach and village. The downstairs is warmed by a double-sided wood burner and the upstairs bathroom has lovely views across the marshes. It’s also ideal for a car-free break, as the Coasthopper bus stops close to the cottage, offering easy access to everywhere from Cromer – famous for its crabbing – to the seaside town of Hunstanton.
From £803 a week, sleeps four, norfolkcottages.co.uk

Treovis Farm, Cornwall

Opened last summer, Treovis Farm is a pretty, spacious three-bedroom Georgian farmhouse with old flagstone floors and beamed ceilings. It’s surrounded by wildflower meadows and an extensive garden. It’s close to the River Tamar in Luckett, on the border between Devon and Cornwall, and there’s lots to do in the area: Greenscombe Wood nature reserve (for butterfly spotting) is on the doorstep, there are Tudor gardens to explore at Cotehele, and the wilds of Dartmoor, and a wide choice of beaches, from Freathy to Looe, are just a short drive away. The Royal Inn in Horsebridge is an easy walk for real ales and great food.
From £1,600 for a week, sleeps five, sawdays.co.uk

Ty Crwn, Carmarthen, Wales

Brand new for 2022, this charming roundhouse is tucked away on private farmland, making it an idyllic retreat for two. On the ground floor, a well-equipped kitchenette, large log burner and comfy easy chairs make for a cosy, restful space, with the sleeping area tucked away up a hand-made spiral staircase. The sleepy village of Felindre is just over a mile away, while the lovely beaches of Aberporth and Tresaith are both less than 15 miles’ drive. At weekends, there’s a pop-up vegan restaurant on-site (must be reserved in advance).
A week from £596, sleeps two, holidaycottages.co.uk

2 Lymbrook Cottages, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Golden Cap from Ridge Cliff at Seatown
Golden Cap, near Lyme Regis. Photograph: Martin Bache/Alamy

A charming former mill worker’s cottage, dating back to the 19th century, Lymbrook has a fantastic location in the Jericho area of Lyme – just five minutes’ walk from the beach. The cottage opens out onto a small patio and good-sized shared garden, with the River Lym just beyond, while inside there’s a cosy lounge with log burner, a well-equipped kitchen and two comfortable bedrooms. Lyme makes an ideal base for exploring the dramatic scenery of the Jurassic Coast; fossil-famous Charmouth and the spectacular cliff walk at Golden Cap are 10 minutes’ away.
From £815 a week, sleeps four, lymebayholidays.co.uk

Ocean Beach, Rye, East Sussex

A chic new option that opened its doors in September, Ocean Beach is ideal for a special occasion, located just a short walk away from the glorious stretch of beach at Camber Sands. Well equipped for younger children, the house has a stair gate, high chair and cot, and a games room with pool table, air hockey and table football. The two, white-walled bedrooms are dotted with sea-themed pictures and accessories, while the lounge opens out onto a small, sun-trap garden. Besides Camber, the picturesque town of Rye is a short drive away, along with the atmospheric Romney Marshes. Dogs are welcome too.
From £1,657 a week, sleeps four, besidetheseaholidays.com

Tintern Abbey Cottage, Tintern, Monmouthshire

Tintern Abbey.
Tintern Abbey. Photograph: Stephen Dorey/Alamy

When dusk falls outside this cosy 18th-century cottage, the real magic begins; the ruins of Tintern Abbey, illuminated in the half-light, lie just across the road. Tintern village boasts its own vineyard, micro-brewery and vintage bookshop, as well as excellent pubs – this is a place to really immerse yourself in the spectacular beauty of the Wye Valley. There are three double bedrooms, a log burner in the cosy lounge and a charming cottage garden, with walking trails from the door. The Wye offers kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and fishing, and the traditional market towns of Monmouth and Chepstow are a short drive away.
Six nights from £1,079, sleeps six, monmouthshirecottages.co.uk

The Ambleside Loft, Ambleside, Cumbria

Renting a family-sized property in the Lakes can be ruinously expensive in the summer months, which makes this new apartment in the centre of popular Ambleside a real find. The downside is that there’s no garden, but inside, the five bedrooms and double-height open-plan lounge and dining area feel light and spacious. There’s a good-size laundry and utility room, perfect for storing the family’s hiking boots, rucksacks and fleeces, and the busy streets of Ambleside just three minutes’ walk from the door. The northern shores of Windermere are a short drive away.
A week from £1,503, sleeps 10, originalcottages.co.uk

Kilchattan Church, Isle of Bute, Argyll & Bute

From outside, Kilchattan looks like a traditional sandstone church, but inside it has been cleverly converted into a superb holiday home, with four bedrooms and bathrooms, and a spectacular, open-plan kitchen diner, dominated by the original stained-glass windows. The garden fronts straight on to Kilchattan Bay, with glorious views along the Firth of Clyde, and there are several unspoiled sandy beaches within easy walking distance. If the weather is poor, there’s a bar and pool table in the games room, and a steam room and sauna to warm up in after brisk, blustery walks.
From £1,917 a week, sleeps eight, cottages-and-castles.co.uk

The Bait House, Portpatrick, Northern Ireland

Set right on the harbour wall in Portpatrick, this three-bedroom house dates back to 1850, when it was used by local fishermen to repair their nets. Behind the classic stone frontage, a contemporary renovation has given the interiors pristine wooden floors, clean white walls and a well-equipped kitchen-diner. It’s the only house on the western side of the harbour, and there are unbroken sunset views from the balcony at the back, and tranquil river views from the front. Portpatrick itself is a small fishing village with a clutch of good pubs and restaurants; a golf course, tennis courts and children’s play park are all within walking distance of the house.
From £1,295 a week, sleeps six, holidaylettings.co.uk

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