Buck The Hotel Trend! Unusual Stays Near Popular Cities

7 June 2023

Browsing city breaks?

We don’t know about you, but it seems the closer we get to popular cities, the blander the choice of places to stay.

A traditional hotel room can be just fine, especially if you want to get out and explore the city. But if you’re someone who loves making the most of every last holiday moment, an unusual retreat can be the difference between “just fine” and “amazing”!

Case in point: think elegant shepherd’s huts with self-contained facilities and wood-fired hot tubs, secluded around a tranquil lake on the edge of bustling York.

Or a 19th-century brewing-hall near the historic city of Bath, fascinatingly transformed into an indulgent retreat with vast, barrel-vaulted ceilings… and gardens that were once tended by the late Princess Margaret.

Then there’s the architectural hideaway secluded in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on a 3,000-acre working sheep farm that’s also just a short drive from Edinburgh. Boasting a wood-fired Finnish sauna and spectacular views, you’ll never believe how close you are to the city.

In fact, each of these exquisite escapes is set just half-an-hour’s drive (or so) away from a popular city. So you get to choose… head out and explore, or stay in and savour?

Either way, your surroundings will be suitably new and exciting!

Author: Nina Jervis
Main Image: Hart Lake Escapes nr York

Hart Lake Escapes

York, North Yorkshire, England
Exquisite self-contained shepherd's huts for romantic couples, with luxurious detail and individual wood-fired hot tubs, secluded around a shimmering private lake on the edge of York.
Bedrooms: 1 per hut
Sleeps: 2 per hut
£141 / night
Nearest city: York

The Brewery Vaults

Freshford, nr Bath, Somerset, England
For a very special escape to stunning Somerset, the Brewery Vaults provides stylish luxury for four in the gorgeous village of Freshford.
Bedrooms: 2
Sleeps: 4
£785 (7 nights)
Nearest city: Bath

Eastside Cartshed

Nr Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Escape to a blissful, detail-rich architectural hideaway with an effortless blend of old and new (and a wood-fired Finnish sauna!) beautifully surrounded by Scotland’s magical Pentland Hills.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
Nearest city: Edinburgh

ÖÖD Hötels Rannamõisa

Rannamoisa, Harju Maakond, Estonia
A romantic ‘mirror-house' escape plucked from the pages of a fairytale, secluded in dense pine Estonian forestland close to Tallinn.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
£133 / night
Nearest city: Tallin

Trullo Fico

Ostuni, Puglia, Italy
A unique blend of contemporary style and ancient tradition awaits, in a family-friendly Puglian haven you won't want to leave.    
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 8/9
£999 / week
Nearest city: Ostuni

Glamping Canonici di San Marco

Mirano, Venice, Italy
A pioneering taste of nature and luxury await, in a glamping paradise set just 20 minutes from Venice.
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: 2-6 per tent
£108 / night
Nearest city: Venice

Amsterdam Windmill

Abcoude, Amsterdam, Netherlands
An authentic, operational nineteenth century Dutch mill, with easy access to the city and expansive green views all around.
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 6
£171 / night
Nearest city: Amsterdam


Allauch, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Attrap'Rêves is an incredible, unusual and romantic retreat in the French countryside, which will certainly have you and your loved one bubbling over with excitement...
Bedrooms: Studio
£133 / night
Nearest city: Marseilles

Reykjavik Domes

Reykjavik, Iceland
Savour Nordic nature at its most beautiful, from the comfort of a sumptuous retreat with a log-burning stove, an al fresco hot tub, and snow-capped mountain views.
Bedrooms: Open plan
Sleeps: 2 (+1)
£234 / night
Nearest city: Reykjavik

Dartmoor Express

Exeter, Devon, England
View the Devon countryside in all its glory, from the first-class comfort of an exquisitely restored Victorian railway carriage for two.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
£350 (7 nights)
Nearest city: Exeter

Hideaway Heath Hollow

Colchester, Essex, England
A unique, quirky cabin-for-two with an al fresco hot tub, rich in luxurious detail and beautifully secluded on the edge of ancient Essex woodland.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
£225 /night
Nearest city: Colchester

Albion Nights

Bungay, Norfolk, England
Escape with your loved one to a hand-crafted, off-grid retreat with a sumptuous outdoor bath, peacefully secluded in a Norfolk wildflower meadow.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
£155 / night
Nearest city: Norwich

Macaronesian Eco Suites Caves

San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Live in harmony with the natural world in a Tenerife cave suite steeped in rustic luxury and just a short drive from the beach.
Bedrooms: 2
Sleeps: 4
£158 / night
Nearest city: Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Nomad Xperience

Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Unleash your inner wanderer at Nomad Xperience, where four incredible, nomad-inspired glamping abodes wait on the edge of Spain's breath-taking Sierra Nevada National Park.
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: 2 or 4 per unit
£70 / night
Nearest city: Granada


Stockholm, Stockholm County, Sweden
Jumbostay is a totally out-of-this-world hostel at Sweden's Stockholm Arlanda Airport, where guests can sleep in an original Boeing 747 and
Bedrooms: Varies
Sleeps: 1-4 per room
£40 pppn
Nearest city: Stockholm


Antigua, Central Highlands, Guatemala
Experience the fantasy world of storybooks, set high above the Antiguan hills with breathtaking volcano views.
Bedrooms: 1 per casita
Sleeps: 4 or 6 per casita
£60 / night
Nearest city: Antigua

El Coyol Private Island

Lake Nicaragua, Granada
A breathtaking and beautifully refined private Nicaraguan oasis that's just for you and your favourite people.
Bedrooms: 4
Sleeps: 8
£600 / night
Nearest city: Granada

Laurel Canyon Box House

Los Angeles, California, USA
A unique, glass-constructed architectural marvel, set high above the Los Angeles hills for stunning natural views.
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 6
£680 /night
Nearest city: Los Angeles

The Bloomhouse by Lodgewell

Austin, Texas, USA
Experience a unique celebration of creativity and magic, secluded in the tranquil hills of Austin for a holiday that lives in true harmony with nature.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 4
£565 / night
Nearest city: Austin

Bangkok Tree House

Bangkok, Thailand
A selection of three-storey fairytale retreats, with free ice-cream and a mouth-watering on-site restaurant, minutes away from Bang Namphueng Floating Market. 
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 2
£77 / night
Nearest city: Bangkok

Birdholme Glamping

Stanton-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire, England
Unwind in a luxury safari lodge with its very own hot tub, surrounded by 15 acres of woodland and lush wildflower meadows in rural Nottinghamshire.
Bedrooms: 3 per lodge
Sleeps: 4 (+2) per lodge
£640 (4 nights midweek)
Nearest city: Nottingham

HappenOak Treehouse

Balsham, Cambridgeshire, England
A hand-built oak haven with an elevated Finnish-style sauna and indulgent al fresco bathtub, beautifully secluded in peaceful Cambridgeshire countryside.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 2
£270 /night
Nearest city: Cambridge

Classic Yacht Nadine

Poole, Dorset, England
Live like a millionaire, aboard a 60ft luxury motorboat that’s styled for pure holiday opulence (complete with a jacuzzi hot tub!) beautifully based at Cobbs Quay Marina in Poole, Dorset
Bedrooms: 2
Sleeps: 4
£380 /night
Nearest city: Portsmouth

The Iron Chapel

Ryton, Tyne and Wear, England
A unique and authentic retreat, lovingly restored and divinely set in a peaceful Northumberland border conservation area with a nature reserve next door.
Bedrooms: 3
Sleeps: 6
£149 / night
Nearest city: Newcastle

Smithy Lodge

Prestwich, Greater Manchester, England
A charming Grade II-listed former gatehouse, ornately designed and beautifully positioned within the grounds of Manchester's vast, historic Heaton Park.
Bedrooms: 1
Sleeps: 4
£335 (7 nights)
Nearest city: Manchester


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