Always fancied staying in a cottage that’d remind you of your favourite Jane Austen novel? Contributor Grace Hui shares 5 beautiful abodes for those travelling to the British Isles soon.
Photos by Grace Hui
Rigid check-in and check-out times, cramped rooms, and tiny bathrooms where it is impossible to take a shower without wetting the entire en suite (and perhaps even part of the room itself) are not the most glamorous way in which to begin a journey.
As travellers get more savvy and demanding, why settle for the generic experience of a mundane cookie cutter hotel when one can enjoy the creature comforts of a home away from home while also savouring the experience of being a local?
Why argue over what time should be lights out when you can please everyone by having the luxury of space in an apartment?
For the traveller of the 21st century, chic and unique apartments at affordable prices are definitely the way forward. For anyone that is planning to navigate the British Isles, I present my top five choices of accommodation that range from the sublime to the quirky.
1. Wringapeak House, Devon
Devon is famed for its undulating coastal views, striking landscape and wildlife. Tranquil and serene, it is a retreat for the soul and a haven for walkers and nature lovers. Far from the madding crowd, surrounded by lush woods and confronted by the mighty sea, those who seek nirvana will surely find it in the hospitality of Wringapeak House and its hostess extraordinaire, Agnes.
Two well apportioned bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a well-stocked kitchen and a reception room that overlooks the harsh, forbidding but yet achingly beautiful coastline makes the weary traveller feel like he has checked into the presidential suite at a 5 star hotel without the sickening dent to the wallet.
Seemingly made entirely of glass, the panoramic views are spectacularly jaw dropping. One can sit transfixed from sunrise to sundown just watching the changing colours of the skies and seas.
At its doorstep are choices of walks replete with local birds and glorious and fauna. At night, you can even fall asleep to the hypnotic hooting of owls!
One particularly memorable evening was when Agnes kindly set up a barbeque with a fire pit outdoors for us. Eating well-marinated meats, drinking hearty beer while comforted by the cool breeze on a summer’s evening, under the canopy of a crimson red sunset was an evening that I will not quickly forget.
BOOK IT! http://www.wringapeak.co.uk
2. Writer’s Retreat, Ramsgate
To fully immerse oneself in quintessentially English charm, one cannot pass up a sojourn in the traditional seaside towns of yesteryear. Once popular with the bourgeoning middle classes who wanted a piece of the holiday action, Ramsgate still retains its vestige of grandeur and provides an insight into the modern history of the British Isles.
Ramsgate is home to a network of subterranean tunnels that used to shelter up to 60, 000 people during World War II. Open to guided tours, these tunnels are a fascinating opportunity to have a perspective of the Great War.
The Writer’s Retreat oozes romantic allure with its narrow winding stairs, working fireplace complete with original wooden floorboards and beams. For those who are captivated by the romanticism of days gone by, the Writer’s Retreat will certainly provide an enriching stay.
Despite retaining all of its period features, rest assured! The toilets and kitchen are all modernised! To provide for genuine nostalgia however, there is no WiFi! For someone who is constantly plugged in like myself, this was a welcomed respite from the hum of modern day activity.
3. Country living in the Cotswolds
Ever dreamed of living the country life in a luxurious stone cottage, a roaring fire, mature gardens and the country living essential – the Aga? Well, look no further then this lovely 18th century cottage set in the middle of the Cotswolds.
Lovingly refurbished and built with the famous Cotswolds stone that has attracted both local and international visitors alike in droves, a stay in this lush abode will transport the lucky occupant to a different time without having to sacrifice any of the modern day comforts that we now deem necessities.
Enjoying a cup of tea to the sound of birdsong and a babbling brook in the garden was a terrific way to begin each day. Reading a book in the beamed drawing room by a merry fire fulfilled all my Downton Abbey fantasies.
4. The Chapel, Hitchin
Attain enlightenment by staying in your own private chapel where your reception room comes with a floor to ceiling stained class panel.
Coming from modern Singapore, The Chapel is indeed a wonderful chance to spend a few days in a 2 bed 2 bath converted church! All of its original churchlike features have been retained and it was certainly a tad surreal to see a big flat screen TV placed in front of a historic panel of stained glass.
To add a modern twist amid the brick walls, there is even a large copper bath set in the middle of the bedroom! For those who are wondering, the bath is fully functional – I used it!
Coming from a country where living in a well-preserved historic dwelling is as unlikely as winning first prize at the Singapore Pools Sweepstakes, The Chapel will certainly check that box off your bucket list.
5. The Coach House, Dublin
Tourists always have to pay a premium to stay in a central location that is close to the city centre. Hotels in such vicinities are therefore usually able to get away with charging an arm and a leg for nothing more than a cupboard with a bed.
What if I told you that there was an ultra modern and elegantly refurbished house in central Dublin that very comfortably houses 6 adults?
Built in 1880, this old coach house boasts of 3 double bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a functioning fireplace and a long wooden dining table where up to 14 can dine like kings. My favourite part however is the large glass skylight above the dining area that lets in generous amounts of light. Don’t you love it when old buildings are given a new lease of life in such spectacular style?
With ample space, this extremely well kitted out house is truly what it markets itself to be – A True Home Away from Home.