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Interesting, Unusual and Historic Places to Stay in the UK

Instead of staying in an impersonal hotel, why not spend at least part of your vacation to the UK in a truly unique, historic building? Whether you long for the hustle and bustle of a city or the peace and solitude of a secluded country setting, a wide variety of short-term rental properties are on offer to suit all budgets.



If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in an idyllic English village, why not rent a picture-perfect thatched cottage and enjoy the peace and quiet of a quintessentially English cottage garden. Other types of countryside properties include lodges and gatehouses at the edge of large estates, toll houses, coach houses, converted barns, converted mill houses, windmills, watch towers, farm cottages and apartments in converted stable blocks.

If you are traveling with a relatively large group of people, your options extend to rambling rectories, manor houses dating from the fifteenth century, medieval farmhouses and even castles.

Interesting properties abound around the protected areas of outstanding beauty known as the National Parks. These include Exmoor in Somerset and Devon, Dartmoor in Devon, the Peak District in Derbyshire, and Snowdonia in North Wales. You may find yourself on the edge of woodland, forest or moorland, close to babbling brooks or streams, or quite literally off the beaten track.

The other benefits of renting accommodation in the country include the proximity of a variety of countryside pursuits, such as fishing, cycling, walking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. Sometimes free admission to adjoining country houses and gardens is included in the cost of the rental.

At the seaside, you can find interesting beach-side cottages, apartments in Victorian buildings on the promenade, or houses perched on the side of cliffs. Many of these properties were occupied in the past by people doing a specific job, such as coastguards or lighthouse keepers, and they often retain the name and character of their former residents.

In towns and cities, apartments in historic Victorian and Georgian houses can be rented. They are usually furnished in keeping with the period, either with antiques or modern fixtures and furnishings that are in step with the property’s original features, such as Victorian brass bedsteads and roll-top baths.

The historic buildings available to rent have been sympathetically restored to include many original features, such as beamed ceilings, latticed windows and flag stone floors. In some properties, open fireplaces, inglenook fireplaces, wood burning stoves or solid fuel stoves help you to achieve a warm, cozy atmosphere reminiscent of the past. Further features that evoke a sense of the past and give you an insight into how people used to live include old bread ovens, old bakery ovens, spiral staircases, galleried landings, and courtyard gardens.

You may even be lucky enough to rent a property with a highly unusual or even a unique feature, such as an octagonal shaped room or a fifteenth century screen made from oak.

Standard stays usually last from two to seven nights. Longer stays are often also possible. Some properties accommodate just two people. Others are suitable for larger parties, sometimes up to twenty people or more.

Several organizations, including charities, commercial companies, and private landlords offer historic properties for short-term holiday rentals. In most cases, you can view photographs and book online. A good way of finding the properties available is to type the keywords, ‘holiday cottages UK’ into an Internet search engine. A further benefit of staying in these historic buildings is that a proportion of the rent you pay will go towards their future conservation.

If you choose to stay in a rental property for at least part of your holiday, you will gain an insight into real life both in the present and the past, and you will encounter places off the beaten tourist track. You will learn more about the country’s history and your holiday will be a more enriching experience.