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The Big Six: Welsh holiday cottages

Front Barn, Snowdonia

There are two properties to choose from on Gesail, a working sheep farm near Dinas Mawddwy – a homely farmhouse or the swankier Front Barn that has been nominated for an architecture award. It is a vision of white walls, wooden floors and glitzy bathroom fittings. Surrounded by woodland, streams, waterfalls and wildlife, it is an escape for those who want access to unadulterated countryside as well as comfort.

Front Barn, Gesail Farm, Cwm Cywarch, Dinas Mawddwy, Powys (07989 822049; snowdoniaescapes.co.uk). Three nights' rental starts at £190; sleeps four.

Gothic Villa, Carmarthenshire

This elegant four-bedroom property is different to the Welsh holiday cottage norm in several ways. For a start, it is a detached 19th-century villa rather than a rustic stone farmhouse or restored barn. It looks out over an estuary to a Norman castle. And rather than being either ultra-contemporary or dyed-in-the-wool traditional, Gothic Villa combines the two with its own sophisticated but cosy take on seaside chic. The stylish family bathroom has a roll-top bath and locally made cold-pressed soaps.

Gothic Villa, Ferryside, Carmarthenshire (01267 267122; gothicvilla.co.uk). Three nights' rental starts at £395; sleeps seven.

Copper Beech Cottage, Pembrokeshire

Make like a film star at this stone cottage, one of a terrace of four self-catering properties where Cate Blanchett stayed during the filming of the latest Robin Hood. Set within the grounds of immaculately designed country house hotel The Grove, its frills include oak beams, Melin Tregwynt woollen throws and cushions, REN bath products and a private terrace. If you really want to relax, there's also access to The Grove's restaurant, or just stroll through the hotel's 26 acres of grounds.

The Grove, Molleston, Narberth, Pembrokeshire (01834 860915; thegrove-narberth.co.uk). Four nights' rental starts at £290; sleeps two.

Hafod Glan Gwy, Powys

This contemporary summerhouse outside Hay-on-Wye is marketed by a new Welsh cottage company, Sheepskinlife. It is typical of the firm's focus on style, comfort and honesty. An information pack for guests lists "home truths" (no Wi-Fi, cooking on a two-burner hob) alongside the positives (cosy Welsh blankets, fresh coffee, iPod docks). It's the perfect romantic rural bolthole.

Hafod Glan Gwy, near Boughrood, Powys (01865 764087; sheepskinlife.com). Three nights' rental starts at £270; sleeps two.

Cefnmeurig, Carmarthenshire

Families or groups looking for Welsh style and lashings of comfort need search no further: Cefnmeurig ticks all the boxes, from wood-burning stove and Smeg fridge to flat-screen TVs and a welcome hamper of local produce. It's also close to the Pembrokeshire coast – and some of the best beaches in Wales.

Cefnmeurig Cottage, Llangynin, near St Clears, Carmarthenshire (07765 250230; visitwestwales.com). Weekly rental starts at £528; sleeps seven.

Blaentrothy Bach, Black Mountains

As peaceful as can be, Blaentrothy Bach looks out over the Black Mountains. This quirky cottage is the former stable block of a 17th-century farm and mixes rustic wooden beams with a roll-top bath and central heating to provide a soothing slice of Welsh life. If you have friends in tow, a neighbouring Romany caravan sleeping four can be added on.

Blaentrothy Bach, near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire (01239 851410; underthethatch.co.uk). Four nights' rental starts at £250; sleeps two.