New to Host Unusual: Ten unique Rural Retreats holiday homes
If there’s one thing we appreciate here atHost Unusual it’s how precious and hard earned holiday time is, and thoseimportant breaks from the norm have to be just perfect. Luckily we have justthe ticket with our recent additions through Rural Retreats. Innovativerestorations, buildings of historical significance and truly enviable settingsin some of the country’s finest scenic spots – need we say more? So hereis a brief overview to help you find out a bit more about these unique holidayproperties – and don’t forget that each offers a free welcome hamper to get youquickly settled into holiday mode!
Sally Port Cottage
Perhaps the most talked-about property ofthe moment, Sally Port Cottage is located at St Anthony’s Lighthouse whichfeatured as the external location for the popular 80s children’s TV show by JimHenson ‘Fraggle Rock’. The show has just been confirmed for a highlyanticipated small-screen comeback, so here’s your chance to stay in the samelighthouse for a nostalgic overload! The cottage has an observatory,perfect for stargazing or storm watching, and since the lighthouse is stilloperational, you can even listen out for fog signals. Check out the latestdrone footage from the property here – that’s if you weren’t already sold:
The Old School
So we’ve told you how to relive yourchildhood TV memories, but what about going that extra mile and staying in aconverted village primary school, complete with features such as the old schoolbell (so you can signal when lunch is ready!), vaulted ceilings and mullionwindows. The Old School‘s grounds are idyllic, with a pond and private gardens, andyou can even arrange for spa treatments within the cottage itself. Gold starsall round from us!
The Gate Lodge
There is always something quite specialabout a property that fully utilises its environment and setting instead ofjust removing it. At The Gate Lodge you’ll find exactly that; its GradeII listed lodges deftly extended and built into the undulating hills they areset in. You cannot get a much more sympathetic property conversion thanthat, and this is a great example of neoclassical design by architect JamesWyatt. Access to a stunning outdoor swimming pool within Sibton Park grounds isthe icing on the cake.
You’d be hard pushed to find a more uniquethatched hideaway than this former forester’s cottage. What also makesHex Cottage so extraordinary is its off-grid, serene setting. It’s notlocated in a British village somewhere with a post box and tea rooms as you’dexpect. This is peace and quiet as its most extreme artistic creation, within a4000-acre wilderness reserve in Sibton Estate in Suffolk and comes with noelectricity – so if it’s digital detox you’re after, you’ve definitely come tothe right place.
Another historic gem, Higher Lodge is a thatched cobcottage which dates back to the 17th Century, and is the former gate house of the elegantCockington Estate which Agatha Christie regularly visited during her youth.Close to Dartmoor and the Devonshire coast, there is a lot to explore here bothinside and outside of the Manor, including galleries, Norman churches and theancient monastery – a real life history lesson in English heritage!
Temple of Diana
A favourite of ours here at Host Unusual,the historic Temple of Diana inWeston Park is a grand design of epic proportions anda true one-off. Originally created as a multipurpose garden room, the style here is very much classical, designed byarchitect James Paine who is also known for his work at Alnwick Castle and Chatsworth. An octagonal former music room, now a greatdining and hosting space, elegant columns and a truly awe-inspiring ornateceiling design are just some of the features that make this building reallystand out from the crowd.
The Knoll Tower
Also set in Weston Park, the Knoll Tower is a visuallystriking old hunting lodge built in 1865 so the sense of history ispalpable. From the tower’s roof you’ll even manage to spy Temple of Diana inthe distance! The buildings are actually in two halves, joined by aconnecting hallway. Once inside you’ll be teleported back in time, navigatingspiral staircases joining rooms of the tower, which are packed with old worldfeatures; stone walls, arched doorways, long drapes and fireplaces await you.
A shining example of how something with asomewhat chequered past can be brought back to life again, the distinctive Llancayo Windmill was originally built in 1813 and stood abandoned for over 150 yearsdue to a fire which engulfed it 17 years after construction. It wasn’tuntil the 1990s again that it was bought for restoration, reopening in 2009 – andwhat an end result! Set over 5 floors, this secluded retreat is ideal fora group party or event that everyone will remember.
We’ve all seen enough period dramas andepisodes of Game of Thrones to fantasise over being king or queen of our ownempire, looking out from the castle turrets. Well dream no more! TawstockCastle occupies a gorgeous spot, close to some of the country’s mostpicturesque Devon beaches. Tower bedrooms, spiral staircases and brick featuresabound, and on the off-chance you own your own helicopter, you can arrive atthe property’s own helipad – just saying!
An indoor spa, outdoor hot tub, huge brickbarbecue and sleeping space for up to 14 people – these are ingredients for anincredible group holiday, and that’s before you’ve even clocked the buildingitself! Dating back to 1849 The Pumphouse (there’s a clue in the name!) was used to pump water toRiver Wessey, but was forgotten about when a newer pumping station took over inthe 1970s. It’s refreshing to see new life put into a restoration likethis, meaning guests can now enjoy and experience this exceptional space in theheart of Norfolk for themselves.