Rare retreats

From tree houses to trailers, roulottes to railway carriages, these unusual escapes offer a chance to abandon bricks and mortar without sacrificing style or comfort.

Bluebell Shepherd’s Huts

The Bluebell Shepherd’s Huts, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
The Bluebell huts are two huts – one sleeps two with a double bed and a space for a cot, and the second contains kitchen and bathroom utilities.
What to bring: Wellington boots. The huts are in the heart of the Brecon Beacons – a rural environment that remains luscious even in the middle of summer.
What not to bring: Pets. But given that the huts are on a farm you aren’t far from four-legged friends.
Tel: 01873 890190.

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Railholiday’s 1950s compartment coach

Railholiday, St Germans and Hayle, Cornwall
An old luggage carriage, a 1950s compartment coach and ‘The Travelling Post Office’: staying in part of a former train makes for a totally unique holiday, especially as each has its own garden and is in walking distance of local amenities.
What to bring: The entire family. The largest carriage sleeps ten, although the smallest would make for a cosy getaway for two.
What not to bring: Your car. The carriages are on the iconic Great Western Railway line connecting London and Penzance, making rail travel easy and advisable.
Tel: 01503 230783.

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Balancing Barn

Balancing Barn, Walberswick, Suffolk
This feat of architecture has only just opened its doors to guests.
What to bring: Your friends and family. The barn sleeps eight people.
What not to bring: iPads or laptops. You’ll be on the edge of a nature reserve and near the beaches of Aldeburgh and Southwold – so the focus will be on simple outdoor pleasures.

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Inside an authentic gypsy caravan at Roulotte Retreat

Roulotte Retreat, Melrose, Scottish Borders
Most people have dreamed about living in a gypsy caravan, but it becomes a reality with these specially designed roulottes located in the Borders. Beautiful inside and out, this is a slice of simple, romantic living.
What to bring: An extra jumper. Dinner is eaten alfresco on your own private ‘terrace’, which includes ornate tables and chairs and a candle lantern that completes the thoroughly romantic atmosphere.
What not to bring: Children.
Tel: 0845 0949 729.

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A tipi at 4 Winds Lakes Land Tipis

4 Winds Lakeland Tipis, Lake District National Park, Cumbria
These campsites dotted around one of the most beautiful areas of natural beauty in the world, bring a playful innocence to the Lake District. They are colourful, authentic and above all, comfortable and cosy. You can go biking, hiking or boating and dogs are welcome to stay in designated kennels.
What to bring: Socks. In keeping with tradition, guests are not permitted to wear their shoes inside the tipi, so make sure you bring extra insulation to keep your toes warm!
What not to bring: Toys for children. Each tipi provides them.
Tel: 01539 822 935.

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Inside one of the Dandelion Hideaway’s canvas cottages

Dandelion Hideaway, Osbaston, Leicestershire
These canvas cottages in the heart of Leicestershire perfectly combine luxury and simplicity.
What to bring: Your dog. You will need to prearrange this, but Dandelion Hideaway promises a true celebration of nature and wants guest to feel completely at home.
What not to bring: Your Sunday Bests. Although the accommodation is classed as ‘glamping’ it is on a working farm.
Tel: 01455 292 888.

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The Bensfield Treehouse

Bensfield Treehouse, Wadhurst, East Sussex
What to bring: Your binoculars. The treehouse is a great vantage point and being up in the foliage makes spotting wildlife an easy pleasure.
What not to bring: More than one person. The treehouse is designed for just two people, making it the perfect romantic bolthole.
Tel: 01348 830922.

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The Beer Moth

The Beer Moth, Aviemore, Highlands of Scotland
This former fire truck from the 1950s has been transformed into a tiny but utterly extraordinary accommodation for two people (and any pets).
What to bring: A book. Situated on the Inshriach Estate in the north of Scotland, surrounded by nothing but fields, rivers and woods, a stay in the Beer Moth is gloriously isolating.
What not to bring: Technology. The Beer Moth is a hive of relics from the past, including a Victorian double bed and fittings from a Tudor House.
Tel: 01275 395 447.

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Happy Days Trailers

Happy Days Airstream Trailers, Wimborne, Dorset
These silver beauties, originally hailing all the way from America, are a perfect mix of modern and vintage. Sleeping four or five people, this set up is old fashioned and retro without sacrificing any of the comforts of the 21st century.
What to bring: Meat, fish and vegetables for the mobile fire pits that can be rented each evening.
What not to bring: Portable DVD players, as they are provided in the trailers, meaning even if it pours down, you’ll be entertained.
Tel: 01202 567606.

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The Suffolk Escape

The Suffolk Escape, Hintlesham, Suffolk
These four lodges built on farmland in the heart of Constable Country are the last word in understated luxury.
What to bring: The bottle of wine or champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion. With beautiful exterior decking jutting out across still waters, this is the perfect place to celebrate in style.
What not to bring: Children. The Suffolk Escape is designed to be a hub of tranquility for adults only.
Tel: 01473 652149

The full feature including more beautiful interior and exterior pictures, is in the latest issue of BRITAIN magazine, available here.

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