s summer draws to an end and visions of bracing countryside walks, big woolly jumpers, fireside frivolities and hearty roasts begin to swirl, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best boltholes to hunker down in.
From a cottage fit for royalty in Cornwall, to a lakeside cabin in the Cotswolds, these autumnal hideaways effortlessly walk the line between snug and stylish. All that’s left for you to do is to round up your nearest and dearest, and hit the road for the ultimate staycation.
Tincture, Powys, Wales
Nestled in the rolling peaks of Wales’s Cambrian Mountains, Tincture is the dream setting for those wanting to switch off and unwind this autumn. This remote 17th-century dwelling is the epitome of rustic charm with framed botanicals twinned with reclaimed furnishings – there’s a dining table that was recovered from the stable, a garden room cabinet from the pigsty and an original stone wall in the shower room. As the sun sets each night, pour yourself a gin and tonic, flavoured with herbs picked from the biodiverse garden, before wrapping up warm to enjoy the clear, starry skies, with no light pollution for miles around.
Price: from £1250 per short break (sleeps four); uniquehomestays.com
The Cabin at Settle, Norfolk
Meet Settle – a secluded slice of Norfolk parkland that’s home to three beautifully restored vintage railway carriages and a cluster of luxury canvas tents. As we head into the cooler months, their spacious cabin, surrounded by ancient forest and overlooking a glassy lake, is the ideal place to hide out far from the stresses of the world. Crafted with soul, the interiors feature reclaimed wood, a freestanding egg-shaped bath and a black Bertazzoni cooker, while outside there’s an abundance of wildlife to admire – keep your eyes peeled for hares and roe deer as you sip hot chocolate by the fire pit. In the mornings, a breakfast basket is delivered to the door, filled with local favourites from Kofra coffee to Fen Farm Dairy butter.
Price: from £1080 for threee nights (sleeps two); settlenorfolk.co.uk
The Bull Pen at Bibury Farm Barns, Gloucestershire
Hidden in the Cotswolds, The Bull Pen is the brainchild of George and Polly Philips, a husband-and-wife team who have breathed new life into a group of derelict barns near Bibury. The duo enlisted the help of the interior designer Pippa Paton, who has artfully transformed the space with nods to its heritage – think weathered stable doors reimagined as a coffee table. A hamper of local produce greets you in the kitchen, including a fresh loaf of bread, butter, milk and eggs, and there are baskets overflowing with board games and jigsaws to while away the afternoons. Upstairs, you’ll find hand-blended 100 Acres body products in the chic bathrooms (some with freestanding tubs) and crisp linen on the beds.
Price: from £425 a night (sleeps six); biburyfarm.com
Two Pines at The Wilding Airfield, Northamptonshire
Once home to some 3000 Americans during the Second World War, the Wilding Airfield in Northamptonshire has slowly returned to nature since the troops departed in 1945. You can now stay at the magical Two Pines treehouse, one of a pair of low-impact holiday lets designed by the owners Fin and Joanna Broadbent, in tandem with Lifespace cabins. Wake up to birdsong and a backdrop of white birch trees beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedroom, before heading to the nearby Georgian market town of Oundle to pick up supplies for the fire pit grill and wood-fired pizza oven. Don’t miss the chance to soak in the William Holland copper bath on the terrace, or to take a guided walk with Fin’s mother, a passionate amateur ecologist who has lived on the site for over 40 years.
Price: from £195 a night (sleeps two); canopyandstars.co.uk
Links at Aller Dorset
When the luxury fashion PR Cat Earp decided to open two cabins by a lake on her husband’s 400-acre family farm in sleepy West Dorset, it was always going to be a stylish affair. Take Links – a glass-fronted shepherd’s hut boasting Farrow & Ball paint, a king-size bed with a scalloped headboard, and a kitchen with brushed gold fittings and tableware from cult brands Matilda Goad and Hot Pottery. After a bracing walk through the surrounding meadows, we recommend heading straight to the al-fresco bathtub draped in festoon lights for a long soak, before pouring a glass of Conker gin from the honesty bar and roasting marshmallows on the fire.
Price: from £185 a night (sleeps two); allerdorset.com
Hayjack at Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk
Hayjack is the latest fairy-tale property to be unveiled at Suffolk’s 8000-acre Wilderness Reserve, an Arcadian playground where guests can try a multitude of activities including kayaking, archery, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. Draped by a thatched roof, the house is essentially one huge room with arched oak beams and a striking fireplace. Large windows frame the far-reaching parkland views and just outside you’ll find a natural swimming lake with its own jetty and rowing boat for messing about on the water. The best part? There’s a private spa with a sauna, steam room and treatment area, making it the ideal choice for a restorative couples’ retreat.
Price: £673 a night (sleeps two); wildernessreserve.com
The Salt Box at Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent
With one wall made entirely of glass, the Salt Box at Elmley Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey is great for stargazing or watching the sunrise while snuggled up under a duvet. This large shepherd’s hut also has a kitchenette, a dining and lounge area, and offers plenty of thoughtful touches to keep you cosy, including thick woollen Romney Marsh throws and blankets, hot water bottles and a vintage cast iron radiator. But the pièce de résistance has to be the outdoor shower, stocked with fragrant Bramley products, from which you can enjoy spectacular views of the salt marshes and mudflats that team with birds of prey and wildfowl.
Price: from £185 a night (sleeps two adults and two children); elmleynaturereserve.co.uk
The Apple Store, Gloucestershire
No detail has been spared in curating The Apple Store, one of the honey-coloured Daylesford Farm Cottages in the pretty village of Kingham. Interiors are painted in soothing shades of white and duck egg blue, with sophisticated details including taupe ceramics, wicker lanterns and fragrant Bamford candles. The two ensuite bedrooms are small but perfectly formed, with exposed beams, stripped back Cotswold stone walls and high thread counts. By night, roast a chicken in the AGA before sinking into the seriously comfortable sofas with a good book, or pop round the corner to the brand’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Wild Rabbit for delicious dishes such as heritage tomato, smoked aubergine and goat’s cheese tart.
Price: from £350 per person (sleeps four); daylesford.com
Restormel Cottage, Cornwall
Part of the Duchy Estate’s portfolio of holiday homes in the tranquil Fowey Valley, Restormel Cottage is around 400 years old and was formerly an entrance lodge to the main manor. Thanks to a tasteful refurbishment by the interior designer Annabel Elliot (who also happens to be the Duchess of Cornwall’s sister), the house is super inviting, with an eclectic mix of British brands, antique finds and contemporary fabrics, and there’s a courtyard garden that makes for a warming suntrap in the autumn months. Cottage guests also benefit from access to the extensive leisure facilities in the grounds, including an indoor swimming pool, steam room, tennis court and games room.
Price: from £1050 for three nights (sleeps five plus a cot); duchyofcornwallholidaycottages.co.uk
Lakeside Cabin at The Lakes by Yoo, the Cotswolds
For a wow-factor weekend, make a beeline for the new two-bedroom Lakeside Cabin at the Lakes by Yoo in the Cotswolds. As well as an impressive double-height open plan living and dining space, with its clever folding kitchenette, you can make use of the spacious entertaining deck overlooking the peaceful Marley Lake. Natural materials bring the outdoors in further, using Cotswold stone, tonal timbers and statement pendant lights that are handwoven in willow by local craftsmen, and there are deep velvet armchairs to curl up in. While it may be hard to leave this warm and cosy nest, with the estate’s spa, restaurant and play area nearby, it’s worth venturing outside at least once.
Price: From £995 a night (sleeps 4); thelakesbyyoo.com