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Bryn Eglur in Carmarthenshire dates back to 1755
Bryn Eglur in Carmarthenshire dates back to 1755

The 20 best UK cottages to cosy up in this winter

Where to bed down and cosy up

Kate Hilpern
Thursday 28 November 2019 13:03
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As the cold creeps in, finding a snuggly bolthole to hibernate in becomes ever more appealing.

Here’s our pick of the 20 best cottages in the UK where you can wait out the winter weather.

Located in the heart of the Lake District just above Tarn Hows (one of Beatrix Potter’s favourite spots), this tranquil two-bedroom stone cottage is just the ticket for getting away from it all – including people (there are no neighbours) and technology (there’s no telly or wifi). There are fields and mountains aplenty to explore by foot and the shoreline is great for cycling. There’s a roaring log burner, small kitchen and plenty of restaurants, pubs and tea rooms in nearby Coniston and Hawkshead. Sleeps four.

Rose Castle Cottage in the snow

From £249 for two nights (minimum stay)
nationaltrust.org.uk

Locks Farm, East Prawle, South Devon

This roomy, four-bedroom traditional farmhouse with exposed beams and a mixture of flagstone and carpeted floors is a great base for winter walks along the coastal path at Prawle Point, a wild and rugged headland on the most southerly point of Devon. Afterwards, warm up by the log burner or head up to the quirky Pig’s Nose Inn, which serves great ales and good food. Despite being off the beaten track, you’re only a few miles from the resort town of Salcombe. Up to two dogs welcome; sleeps eight.

Locks Farm has a rugged charm

From £862 for seven nights (minimum stay)
toadhallcottages.co.uk

Sea Song, Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex

If you’re after a luxurious coastal cottage without breaking the bank, our vote goes to this striking California-in-feel, recently renovated five-bedroom beachfront home. It’s got a patio with hot tub, plus a gate right onto the beach, which has a mixture of pebbly and sandy areas. With wow-factor, coastal-themed interiors and plenty of open-plan space for a big gathering of friends or family, it would be particularly spectacular for Christmas or new year. On brighter winter days, the sunlight floods the house, with views to die for from both the two main bedrooms. One dog welcome; sleeps 11.

From £1,500 for three nights (minimum stay)
mulberrycottages.com

Water’s Edge, Beadnell, Northumberland

This coastline is an internationally recognised area of outstanding natural beauty, meaning you won’t be short of beautiful shoreline walks on crisp winter days. The region is also host to several award-winning independent restaurants, log fire inns and gastropubs serving big-portion cuisine from local produce. Our favourite bolthole is this five-bedroom seafront property with open-plan, tasteful interiors and a feeling of real space for larger groups – all a hop, skip and a jump away from the seaside village of Seahouses. Two (sometimes three) dogs welcome; sleeps 10.

Water’s Edge features light-filled, contemporary design (Water’s Edge)

From £671 for three nights (minimum stay)
northumbria-cottages.co.uk

YHA Coniston Coppermines, Coniston, Cumbria

Yes, this is a youth hostel – yet this five-bedroom abode manages to retain a cosy cottage feel. Perfect for mountain lovers looking for great climbing holidays, it offers a 500ft head start on the ascent of the Old Man of Coniston. YHA spent £100,000 earlier this year refurbishing this property, so nothing looks tired, and there’s a wood-burning stove in the lounge. Book it up as an exclusive hire and you’ve got yourself a nice cosy spot for a whopping 22 people – and an extra four if they’re feeling brave enough to sleep in the heated camping pod in the grounds.

The building was originally the home of the manager of the old copper mines

From £597 for three nights (minimum stay for exclusive hire)
exclusive-hire.yha.org.uk

Spring Cottage, Cliveden, Berkshire

For the ultimate in opulence, it has to be Spring Cottage, set in the stunning Cliveden estate. Built as a summerhouse for the Countess of Orkney in 1813, it is one of the most beautiful cottages on the Thames. It has seen many a royal party and was visited on several occasions by Queen Victoria. Following restoration in 1998 and again in 2012, it has contemporary country-house interiors and is dog-friendly. Dine in the main hotel, which guests have full use of and where the food is fantastic, or in the spacious, gorgeously decorated yet homely cottage itself. Sleeps six.

Queen Victoria frequented Spring Cottage 

From £2,055 per night
clivedenhouse.co.uk

Golden Oak Cabin, Blackwood Forest, Hampshire

Forest Holidays offers cabin breaks in 11 of the UK’s forests, where the aim is to reconnect with nature and disconnect from tech (although it is available). Our favourite is Blackwood Forest, where spacious four-person cabins (you can also get them for fewer or more people), located deep in the woods, are a great base for walking and biking. There are organised forest activities available – our kids loved the den building, fire making and toasting marshmallows. The log burning stove, huge outdoor hot tub and fluffy robes help keep things cosy and up to four dogs are welcome. There’s a family-friendly restaurant on-site, too.

From £425 for four nights (minimum stay)
forestholidays.co.uk

Shalfleet Manor, Isle of Wight

Larger groups can lord it up in their own Grade II listed manor house, with nearly 60 acres of land on the edge of the Newtown Estuary. There’s a nice cottagey feel with added lavishness. In fact, once you’ve got the fire going in the 17th-century fireplace in the drawing room and the roast on in the Aga, you won’t want to leave. On the downside, the pool and tennis courts may be wasted in the winter months, but the former is heated and the latter all-weather. One dog welcome. Sleeps 16 (22 if you hire the optional three-bedroom barn too).

A roaring fire at Shalfleet Manor

From £1,250 for two nights (house-only minimum stay); from £1,600 for two nights (house with barn minimum stay)
kateandtoms.com

Bryn Eglur, Carmarthen, Wales

No wonder this rustic Welsh cottage, which dates back to 1755, featured in The World of Interiors and on Channel 4’s The Perfect Home – every room is simply yet exquisitely decorated with antiques to die for. Walking inside is like stepping back in time and we found it surprisingly light, partly thanks to the neighbouring cowshed having been incorporated into the home. Great as a base for exploring rural Carmarthenshire, including beautiful local beaches, it has the welcome additions of underfloor heating, a Rayburn stove and an open fire for when you get home. Sleeps four.

Bryn Eglur features well-preserved Welsh cottage interiors 

From £53 per night
airbnb.co.uk

Rye Croft Cottage, Calton Lees Valley, Peak District

This is one of two cottages recently converted from Chatsworth Estate’s Grade II listed barns, both of which overlook the Calton Lees Valley from an elevated position. You can either book the three-bedroom (with three bathrooms) cottage on its own or combine it with Pingle Cottage, which sleeps an additional four. In both, the contemporary living area is up a spiral staircase that leads to a private garden. Two dogs welcome; sleeps six (with potential for an additional four).

Rye Croft Cottage has been designed upside down

From £680 for four nights midweek, from £852 for three nights at weekends
chatsworthcottages.co.uk

The Nightfly, Escley, Herefordshire

This rustic-looking, quirkily designed converted barn is a must for anyone with even the remotest interest in Spitfires. All fabrics, paint and wallpapers match the Spitfire colours, plus there are Spitfire prints with pilots’ signatures and over 60 Spitfire books. All of this aviation geekery is complemented by handmade furniture, cowhides and weather-beaten leather sofas. There’s even an original Spitfire propeller encased in the oak coffee table. Sleeps two.

The Nightfly is spitfire-themed

From £750 for three nights (minimum stay)
uniquehomestays.com

Spinnyfield, Isle of Skye

For a winter’s retreat in the Scottish highlands, this wooden cabin has panoramic views over the surrounding woodland. When you’re done exploring the unspoiled countryside, you can tear off those gloves, scarf and hat to snuggle up in front of the wood-burning stove in the open-plan sitting area. The village of Roy Bridge, with a cafe and two hotels, is a mile away, while Fort William can be reached in half an hour by car. Two dogs welcome. Sleeps four in zip and link bedrooms – one double, one twin.

Take in panoramic views over the surrounding woodland at Spinnyfield

From £458 for seven nights
sykescottages.co.uk

Dalehead Bunkhouse, Hope Valley, Derbyshire

This isolated cottage-turned-bunkhouse is great for multiple families or large groups of adventure seekers. Spend your days hiking and cycling over the wild moors or wait until night falls and take advantage of the dark skies to do a bit of stargazing (be sure to wrap up warm). Don’t expect luxury – this is no-frills, but the wood burner, wooden beams, low doorways, leather sofas and stone walls make for a cosy communal area and the kitchen is extremely well equipped. Dorms with bunk beds are spread across three bedrooms. Two dogs welcome; sleeps 20.

Dalehead Bunkhouse is great for large groups

From £420 for two nights (minimum stay)
nationaltrust.org.uk

Hay Cottage, near Wadebridge, Cornwall

The snug living room of this 18th-century stone Cornish cottage is as cosy as they come, complete with a wood burner to warm you up on cold evenings. The spacious kitchen sports an Aga and the three bedrooms feel welcoming even on the chilliest of nights. It’s tastefully decorated throughout and set in spectacular surroundings in the hamlet of Polmorla, close to the coast, where there are breath-taking cliff-top walks and a gentler trail for cyclists that takes you all the way to Padstow. Up to three dogs welcome; sleeps seven.

Hay Cottage is set in spectacular surroundings

From £365 for three nights (minimum stay)
toadhallcottages.co.uk

Purton Green, Stansfield, Suffolk

Purton Green is an oasis of calm in a remote corner of Suffolk, but you have to walk through a field to reach your front door. It takes you by surprise, hidden by tall hedges until you round a corner and reach a clearing. The medieval-feel hall is an ideal hideaway in winter, and a perfect setting for a lavish Christmas tree. Furnishings are simple, standard Landmark linen-covered armchairs and hessian lampshades – all you need. Two dogs welcome; sleeps four.

From £313 for three nights (minimum stay)
landmarktrust.org.uk

Stable Cottage, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire

This picture-postcard romantic Cotswolds cottage has it all – great views, idyllic grounds, wood-burning stove and cosy, elegant interiors, with fabulous walks on tap in the Coln Valley, Bibury and local villages. The one-bedroom cottage is located next to the owner’s farmhouse, but don’t let that put you off – it’s completely private and they’re hands-off hosts (but still accessible if you need something). Try the honey from the farm – divine – and the local pubs are worth a visit too. Sleeps two.

Find elegant interiors at Stable Cottage

From £78 per night
airbnb.co.uk

Burdock Fox, near Chippenham, Wiltshire

Once you’ve passed through the village of Tiddleywink (yes, really) you get to chocolate-box Castle Combe where this old Cotswold cottage with Georgian facade is located. It’s bigger than it looks, thanks to the original village forge now forming the rear of the house. It’s steeped in history – from the garden you can see the medieval wooden struts holding up the first floor and the basement is one of a few undercrofts left in Britain. Renovated in 2015, the interiors are chic yet homely. It’s family friendly – they’ve even created a special space for prams. Two dogs welcome; sleeps six.

The basement at Burdock Fox is one of a few undercrofts left in Britain

From £1,250 for three nights (Friday to Monday) or four nights (midweek)
uniquehomestays.com

The Shell Seeker, Mousehole, Cornwall

This bijou fisherman’s cottage is located on an attractive cobbled street in the heart of the picturesque village of Mousehole in west Cornwall, just a minute’s walk away from the harbour beach. The decor is modern, but has oodles of character, with exposed beams, flagstone floor, thick stone walls, stained glass windows and a granite hearth with a log burner. The kitchen is surprisingly roomy for a cottage this size and is well equipped with top-notch appliances. One dog welcome; sleeps four.

Shell Seeker has oodles of character

From £388 for three nights (minimum stay)
beachretreats.co.uk

Philham Water Cottage, Bideford, north Devon

You’ve got it all here – babbling brook, thatched roof and rustic Elizabethan charm including original cob-built walls, flagstone floors and a huge stone fireplace with a wood burner. During the day, we recommend the six-mile walk between Hartland Quay and Hartland Point, which includes some of the most dramatic and challenging sections of the South West Coast Path. For dinner, head to the Wreckers Retreat Bar at the Hartland Quay Hotel – honest pub grub and a spectacular backdrop of unspoilt north Devon coastline. Sleeps two (plus two at a pinch).

There’s Elizabethan charm at Philham Water Cottage

From £140 for two nights (minimum stay)
coolstays.com

Updown Cottage, Shaftesbury, Dorset

Gold Hill, where Updown Cottage is located, is the backdrop to Ridley Scott’s classic Hovis advert and offers incredible views over the Blackmore Vale. The cottage dates from the 16th century and original beams run throughout; the decor combines traditional features and contemporary comfort. Wonderful countryside and fantastic local eateries are all nearby. Phil Spencer describes the cottage as “iconic” and “simply one of the most charming houses in England” – and who are we to argue? Sleeps six.

Updown Cottage is described as ‘simply one of the most charming houses in England’

From £545 for three nights, or four nights midweek
updowncottage.co.uk

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