Treehouses: We've opened a new branch

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Treehouses can provide a rustic retreat or luxury among the leaves, says Rhiannon Batten

What's the attraction?

From gourmet jellybeans in hotel minibars, to Connect Four and Trivial Pursuit in the lounges of boutique B&Bs, the hospitality industry has become sentimental about youth-evoking "frills". Now treehouses – once the preserve of excitable children – are fair game for adults, too. They take the nostalgic trend a step further, stirring an immediate sense of playfulness, not to mention the feeling of calm and wellbeing experienced by sleeping within creepy-crawling distance of nature – all without having to set foot in a tent.



Family trees

If you go down to the woods at Center Parcs' Sherwood Forest site this summer you'll be in for a surprise. Not only are there three new four-bedroom treehouses there, but they each come with dishwashers, games dens, hot tubs and Wi-Fi. Three-night breaks start at £2,249 for up to eight guests (0844 826 7723; www.centerparcs.co.uk). Further afield, six of Keycamp's French campsites – including Carnac Grand Metairie in Brittany, Le Château des Marais in the Loire and Le Val de Bonnal in Jura – offer more basic treehouse cottages, sleeping up to six. Rates for these start at £155 per treehouse for a three-night stay, including ferry crossings (0844 406 0200; www.keycamp.co.uk).



Nordic cool

If it's style you're after, look north. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Scandinavians are ahead of the game. Last summer saw the opening of the Treehotel in Swedish Lapland, a collection of six avant-garde treehouses, including a suspended mirrored cube, a bird's nest and futuristic UFO. Rates start from SEK3,500 (£346) for two, including breakfast (00 46 928 10403; www.treehotel.se).

New for this summer is a more traditional treehouse at Hotel Andrum, opening in south-west Sweden next week. Like Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house, only levitating among the treetops, "Seventh Heaven" is larger and more elaborate than the little red treehouse already in operation here. Rates start at SEK1,620 (£160) for two, including breakfast (00 46 515 720384; www.islanna.com).



Looking for a love nest?

What could be more romantic than holing up à deux in the trees? If that wasn't enough, some treehouses are branching out into wedding venues. The Lodge on Loch Goil is a sophisticated country retreat on Scotland's west coast which offers licensed ceremonies for up to 24 guests, up in the tree overlooking the lake (01301 703173; www.thelodge-scotland.com). Or, you could share your first marital kiss at the aptly named Mistletoe Lodge, a treehouse restaurant in the grounds of Amberley Castle, in West Sussex, that's newly licensed for weddings (01798 831992; www.amberleycastle.co.uk). The venue can be rented for £500, with doubles in the adjacent castle starting at £350, half-board. Finally, Austria is home to a very stylish treehouse suite designed with treehugging honeymooners in mind. Almdorf's cosy "wedding hut", in Carinthia, costs from €490 for two, including breakfast (00 43 4275 7201; www.almdorf.com).



The height of luxury

While some prefer the rusticity of a back-to-nature tree-top lodge, there are plenty more who prefer their treehouses with grown-up luxuries. If you're in the second camp, try Hapuku Lodge, a grove of modernist treehouses perched above the coastline outside Kaikoura, on New Zealand's South Island, complete with wood-burning fire and spa bath. Although it will be closed for refurbishment until 19 August, Hapuku reopens in time for the 2011 Rugby

World Cup, with treehouses starting at NZ$700 (£332), including breakfast (00 64 3319 6559; www.hapukulodge.com). More pampering is on offer at the Jalousie Plantation in St Lucia where guests can have a massage in one of seven new treehouse treatment rooms overlooking the Pitons. A four-night spa package starts at US$956 (£596) per person, including breakfast and either a massage, manicure or pedicure (0845 217 7844; www.jalousieplantation.com).

Closer to home the Treehouse, a glitzy five-star self-catering perch in Somerset that sleeps up to five, is available from £545 for four nights (01823 431622; treehouseholidays.com). Chasing at its tail is a new luxury treehouse set to open in July at Harptree Court, outside Bath. Sleeping two, it offers a two-night break for £350 (01275 395447; www.canopyandstars.co.uk).



Budget boughs

Try a tree tent at the Hertshoorn campsite in Holland. Designed by artist Dre Wapenaar for activists staging woodland sit-ins, these droplet-shaped pods hang from the trees like oversized, unripe figs and now offer basic accommodation to travellers. Each sleeps up to four and costs from €55 per night (00 31 577 461 529; www.ardoer.com).



Back to nature

The real attraction of staying in a treehouse is the proximity to nature. The Mighty Oak Tree Climbing Company in Cornwall takes this a step further with tree-camping trips. Learn how to safely shin up a tree and then spend a night suspended in a hammock for £140 per person (07890 698651; www.mighty-oak.co.uk). If warmer climes and comfort are priorities, the treehouse at the Rainforest Resort in Kerala should suit. Overlooking the thundering Athirapally waterfalls, the houses are also a great perch for birdwatching. Rates start at IR11,500 (£160), including breakfast (00 91 484 270 2222).

In France, treehouses have become le dernier cri in nature-friendly summer holidays. Go stargazing at Perché dans le Perche, outside Orne (00 33 233 255 796; www.perchedansleperche.com; €150 B&B); hop down to swim in a natural swimming pool at Orion, near Saint-Paul de Vence ( www.orionbb.com; €175 B&B); spot deer, badgers and woodpeckers from the terrace at Treehouse France in the Gers (00 33 562 708 084; www.treehousefrance.com; €120 self-catered); or keep an eye out for wild boar from the treetop rope bridges and zipwires before crashing out in a treehouse at Le Chêne Perché in the Ardennes (00 33 324 533 562; www.lecheneperche.com; €85).



What Google will tell you...

"The world's largest treehouse is in Crossville, Tennessee. Built by landscape architect Horace Burgess, at 10 storeys tall the tree house may be more aptly called a tree mansion," according to www.treehugger.com. "He says that since so much of the material used to build the house was given to him, the whole project has only cost him around $12,000, most of which was spent on nails. The 'tree mansion' has become quite the tourist attraction in Crossville since Horrace opened it to the public, with nearly 400 visitors a week."



What Google won't tell you... until now

The oldest documented treehouse perches on an ancient lime on the Pitchford Estate ( pitchfordestate.com), in Shropshire. It was first mentioned on a 1692 map, and was visited by Queen Victoria. What's less well known is that in the early 20th century, its eccentric owner, Lady Sybil Grant, used it as a breakfast room rather than eat alongside her husband in the Hall. There's no public access at present but guests staying in one of the estate's converted barns can enjoy a stroll beside it. Meanwhile, rental prices for the barns start at £1,000 for three nights for up to 14 .

Who said that?



"I expect I shall find it rather dull here after living in London. It seems so quiet. I shall miss the noise of buses and trams."

The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton, 1943)



"There are 4,000 or so members of the Kombai, most of whom live in isolated family homesteads in tree houses [in Papua]. As well as providing an escape from the heat and mosquitoes, the tree houses probably originated as their height is a defence against flooding during heavy rains as well as offering protection in times of conflict."

Bruce Parry, from his Tribe TV series.



"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."

John Muir

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum