Miniature castles, quirky summerhouses and distinctive retreats – you can enjoy luxury holidays in these beautiful pieces of history.
The word ‘folly’ is defined as something silly, a mistake, a nonsense. So it follows that these buildings – created mainly for decoration or as a show of extravagance, that are fanciful in shape, or have elements of the foolish about them – should share the same name.
Today, Britain has plenty of stunning examples of these extraordinary-looking buildings dotted throughout the countryside, most often part of great estates. Many of these were intended as ornaments, built at the whims of estate owners, but have now found a use as lovely places to stay. Choosing to stay in a British folly is to embrace an absurd tradition and find yourself enjoying an experience as whimsical and romantic as the building itself was intended to be. Here, we bring you ten of the best Britain has to offer:
Doyden Castle, Port Quin, Cornwall
Although it now sleeps just two and is perched on the top of Cornish cliffs in an idyllic, wholesome setting, this mini castle was once the location for nights of excessive parties hosted by a former owner, Samuel Symons. It is unsuitable for children and pets due to it proximity to the cliff edge, but promises total privacy, escapism and some of the best walks in Britain.
Tel: 0844 800 2070.
The Temple Folly, Swinithwaite, North Yorkshire
A former observatory for ladies to watch watch men as they hunted, this beautifully-decorated bolthole sleeps two and has a beautiful view of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. No pets allowed.
Tel: 01969 663096.
The Hunting Tower, Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Part of the magnificent Chatsworth estate, the interior of this folly has been decorated faultlessly in keeping with the stately glamour of the big house. It sleeps four (six with an annexe) and pets are welcome.
Tel: 01246 565379.
Brynkir Tower, Garndolbenmaen, Wales
This Gothic folly complete is in the heart of Snowdonia in Wales. Its battlements offer a brilliant vantage point to enjoy the exquisite scenery. It sleeps four and pets are welcome.
Tel: 01248 430258.
The Shooting Folly, Cheswardine, Shropshire
A classic folly, this sleeps two with room for a cot. No pets are allowed but given that you will be staying in the middle of open farmland and can even request your own chicken cop for the duration of your stay, you’ll have plenty of animals to get acquainted with.
Tel: 01747 828170.
China Tower, Bicton, Devon
Once used as a place for Lady Rolle to display her china collection, the China Tower is the latest Landmark Trust property available to stay in. It sleeps four and pets are allowed.
Tel: 01628 825925.
The Temple, Badger, Shropshire
Starting life as both ornament and teahouse, this Greek Doric folly, which sleeps six and welcomes guests’ dogs, is beautifully decorated and perfectly situated in the midst of a 40=acre estate which includes topography designed by a pupil of famous landscape architect Capability Brown.
Tel: 0845 090 0194.
The Pineapple, Falkirk, Scotland
Inspired by the tradition in Virginia, USA, of using pineapples as a symbol of homecoming and celebration after Lord Dunmore returned to his family seat following a stint as Governor of the American state. The Pineapple sleeps four and dogs are allowed.
Tel: 01628 825925.
Hadlow Tower, Hadlow, Kent
Believed to have been built by a jealous resident of the former Hadlow Castle in order to spy on his wife, this formidable folly sleeps up to six over five storeys and offers stunning views of the Kent landscape below. Dogs are allowed.
Tel: 0845 090 0194.
The Folly, Middleton Hall, Northumberland
Like something out of a fairy tale, this higgledy-piggledy folley is situated in the middle of beautiful gardens. Sleeping just two and with no pets allowed, this is the perfect romantic retreat.
Tel: 01668 219 677.
The full version of this feature can be found in BRITAIN magazine.
Have you ever stayed in a fabulous folly? We’d love to hear about your experiences, so tweet us @BritainMagazine