Editor’s Choice

It’s sleepover time! Host Unusual’s Top Ten great group getaways

Is there anything lovelier than gathering your favourite people together for a group break somewhere special? A group break that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your faces and a spring in all your steps?

There are so many fabulous reasons to plan a group getaway…family reunions, catch-ups with those friends you never get around to seeing, hen parties, birthday celebrations…or simply just because you can.

We know, we know…it’s all very well getting everybody together, but finding the perfect location for your group getaway can be tough. If you’ve got everyone excitedly blocking out their calendars, you’ll have to find somewhere really special – somewhere that offers a little something for everyone.

Now you need look no further than our Top Ten great group getaways, ranging from creative castles, to beachside party houses, to cool converted chapels. All of these spectacular spots are perfectly located, primed for you and your group to relax, reconnect, party…and stay up chatting all night long!

So, in no particular order, here they are.

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1. Callander Castle, Perthshire
Sleeps: up to 26
Best for: memorable large group celebrations

Set in twelve acres of lush grounds, Scotland’s Callander Castle is set in the Trossachs, right by the ‘gateway of the Highlands’ – making it ideally located to get out and explore.  

Not that you’ll want to! This jaw-dropping castle (above and main picture) is owned by artist Stuart McAlpine Miller and his wife Nikki, and is full of artistic flourishes ranging from iconic artwork to exquisite silks.  

Grab your popcorn for the cinema turret, unleash your inner rock god on the drum kit, go fishing in the lakes, or pump some iron in the gym, before gathering for an indulgent feast below crystal chandeliers in the dining room. Oh – and with bedrooms that feature four poster beds and a Jacuzzi with underwater music and lights, you can bet that this will be an indulgently special break for everybody to remember.

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2. Casa Kaleidoscope, Norfolk
Sleeps: up to 20
Best for: lively breaks with something for everyone

On the outside, Casa Kaleidoscope is a serene Grade II listed Georgian house, set pleasingly close to the Norfolk coastline. Inside, you’ll be greeted by a vibrant kaleidoscope of colour, eclectic style, and party touches that include a soundproofed den with a dance floor, DJ decks and a karaoke machine!

Throw in a six-foot cinema screen, a cosy lounge with roaring open fireplace, a hot tub and a pavilion room that’s ideal for pre-dinner cocktails, and your break is complete.  

Spend time exploring the stunning secret garden, or head out to the nature reserves and sandy beaches you’ll find nearby. There are plenty of walking trails and picnic spots in the area (not to mention a pub within strolling distance if you don’t feel like wandering too far!)

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3. The Bunkhouse Chapel, Powys
Sleeps: up to 14
Best for: relaxed sleepover-style hangouts with friends or family

Declared by GQ magazine as “perfect for passed-out stags” due to its dorm-style bunks and chilled out open-plan living space, in fact groups of all descriptions will enjoy worshipping at the Bunkhouse Chapel!

Perfectly positioned beside the River Wye, close to the refreshing Brecon Beacons and surrounded by the Black Mountains (meaning spectacular views and days out are both more than taken care of), this former chapel building has plenty to enthral.   

The grand, high-ceilinged building adds a touch of elegance, while you’ll find everything has been designed with communal comfort that incorporates privacy when needed. Fun is the order of the day here too, with quirks including a slide instead of stairs, and a private table tennis area.

Curl up in the sociable living area, before heading up to the 12-bunk communal sleeping area for late-night giggles. This is the teenage sleepover you never had!

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4. Glamping Thorpe, Oxfordshire
Sleeps: from 8 – 20
Best for: fresh-air breaks in a cool and creative setting

Secluded on a Georgian farm on the border of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, a stay at Glamping Thorpe is your ticket to rural R&R that’s utterly out of the ordinary.

Choose your setting from the Army Field or the Party Field, both of which are more than aptly named! The Army Field is home to five retired army vehicles transformed into two-person glamping cabins (the WW2 Home Guard trailer is a must for any Dad’s Army fans). Meanwhile, the Party Field is lively and fun-filled, with four completely unique glamping spaces that include a Love Shack and a hippy caravan.

Each field is equipped with a large communal tent for relaxing, chatting or disco-ing, a shower room converted from a horse trailer, and a composting loo. Whichever field you choose, fun is sure to follow!

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5. Walton Castle, Somerset
Sleeps: up to 16
Best for: ‘once in a lifetime’ celebrations in the countryside

Animposing 17th century castle in stunning Somerset, if you’re serious about celebrating something special, then this is the place.

Beautifullyfurnished throughout, there’s a genuine sense of historic elegance within the castle, which is listed in the Domesday Book. Think plush Chesterfield sofas, a granite dining table and achingly soft bedding, alongside contemporary luxuries that include a heated indoor swimming pool and a hot tub.

Curl up with a book in the well-stocked library, indulge in brain-taxing games including ‘Cluedo in the Castle’,or how about arranging an authentic Medieval Day to enjoy your surroundings to their greatest effect? In-castle catering can be arranged if you don’t feel like cooking (and why would you, when you’re in such a heavenly royal setting?), while a day trip to the iconic Thermae Bath Spa is just the indulgence you need before falling into your downy bed.

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6. The Oxford Yurt, Oxfordshire
Sleeps: groups of up to 8, 12 or 13
Best for: cheerful and cosy eco-friendly celebrations

Full of natural glamour that’s ideal for quirky hen parties, you’ll find the Oxford Yurt nestled in a stunning three-acre, wildflower-strewn Oxfordshire meadow.

Offering three independent accommodation venues – the expansive Geodome, welcoming Gertle or homely Yurtle – you’ll find vibrantly colourful décor including cushions, flowers and lanterns, along with comfy futons and warming wood burners. You’ll also enjoy your own wooden cabin, housing a kitchen, outdoor lounge/bar and covered dining area to enjoy deliciously catered or self-prepared meals.

Throw in hotel-suite worthy amenities, locally-sourced vegetarian catering served from a 1970’s caravan, and imaginative entertainment that ranges from Bollywood dancing lessons to drumming workshops, and your outdoor celebration is charmingly complete.

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7. Barford Beach House, Cornwall
Sleeps: up to 18
Best for: lively beachside family breaks

A large and luxurious Cornish home-from home, larch-clad Barford Beach House offers breathtaking views of the secluded Wanson Mouth beach from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Gloriously spacious, you’ll find reclaimed and vintage furnishings throughout, with each room more awe-inspiring than the last. The bespoke, Aga-equipped copper kitchen is a joy to spend time in, even for dedicated non-cooks, while past the sauna and the cinema room (yes, the sauna and the cinema room) you’ll find an archway that leads you straight to a secret underground party cavern, complete with bar, pool table and arcade games!

The kids will love the ‘Alice in Wonderland’-styled bedroom, while the grown-ups will be fighting over the 50m2 master suite, featuring its own woodburner, cocktail bar, kitchen, double rainfall showers and golden roll-top bath tub. Bliss!

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8. Fair Oak Farm, East Sussex
Sleeps: from 10 – 36
Best for: special occasions spent on an historic country estate

Offering luxury accommodation in historic farm buildings, treehouses and shepherd’s huts on a private 12-acre East Sussex country estate, you’re sure to find something to suit even the most discerning member of your group!

The Grade II listed farmhouse is over 400 years old, set over three floors and filled with original features including an inglenook fireplace…ideal for gathering around for catch-ups over evening drinks.

Meanwhile the Grade II listed barns and farm buildings offer three separate, cosily converted resting places to relax and unwind. Finally, the eco-lodge tree houses and shepherd’s huts are ideal for those seeking something a little more quirky!

Hang out in the Games Barn, take a dip in the large pond, or go out and greet the resident peacocks and alpacas. Activities include bird-handling sessions, while for those really special celebrations, why not hire a tendered bar service, or a catering and waiting service? All that’s left to do is await the popping of those champagne corks, and your celebrations can begin.

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9. Marine Villa, Isle of Wight
Sleeps: up to 19
Best for: opulent clifftop family breaks

You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped glamorously into the heady days of the ‘20s and ‘30s with a stay at Marine Villa, located in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight.

Bursting with opulent décor, art deco architecture, and unspoiled views of the English seaside, guests have compared the house to something from an Agatha Christie novel (without the crime!) Indeed, with so many original features, including wood panelling, parquet floors, a sweeping staircase and stunning stained glass windows, it’s easy to imagine yourself as a leading character. There’s even a walnut cocktail cabinet, said to have come from the Elstree Studios’ set for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Arrange catered meals for those really special celebrations, while during the day, the beach at Sandown Bay makes for an ideal family day out…before an energising cliff-top morning walk!

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10. Bedroam, York
Sleeps: up to 18
Best for: communal glamping breaks with a unique twist

Featured on George Clarke’s ‘Amazing Spaces’ TV show, ‘Holiday on the Buses’ just took on a brand new meaning with Bedroam.  

With its woodland glamping venue just 25 minutes from York, this is a supremely imaginative double-decker bus conversion with its creative inspiration drawn from contemporary Japanese design. Here you’ll experience all the indulgent comforts of home, and many more besides!

The stylish top deck includes individual Japanese-style luxury sleep pods, each with their own personal storage compartment and power socket – this is a fun sleepover at its most stylish.

The bottom deck is a cosy lounge area with comfy seating, a coffee machine and a fridge (don’t forget to pack a few bottles of fizz).

Outside, you’ll find Bedroam’s eight-metre waterproof awning will keep you covered throughout the most robust group celebrations! Local caterers can even be arranged, if you don’t feel like traipsing to the nearby pubs.

Have you picked your favourite yet? If you’re still undecided, why not head over to our website and browse through our Host Unusual categories? You’re sure to find the perfect group break inspiration…all you need to do now is find something to celebrate!

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