Heavenly hibernation: ten of Host Unusual’s favourite cosy retreats
Baby, it's cold outside! Now it's the crisp, fresh month of November, we've definitely been noticing a nip in the air.
As we switched on the central heating and hauled our winter coats from the back of the wardrobe, it occurred to us here at Host Unusual that hibernation might be far more appealing at this time of year.
So we put our heads together, and we came up with a definitive list of the most ridiculously cosy UK places to plan your cold-weather escape to. We're talking crackling woodburning stoves, warming sheeps' wool insulation, soft candlelight, and downy duvets just begging to be snuggled under...all surrounded by dreamlike locations you can truly lose yourselves in.
We suggest you make yourself a hot cuppa, pull on those slippers, and settle down for a truly relaxing read!
We begin our list with the wondrous Walden Lodge, a unique Welsh retreat just moments away from the Glamorganshire coast.
Lovingly hand-built, this two-storey wooden cabin sleeps up to four people, and is found in the woodland amongst clusters of tall trees. Reminiscent of a classic American prairie cabin, you'll feel as though you've wound time back to a simpler age, one in which there's nothing for you to do except curl yourself up in a sumptuously cosy throw and just...relax!
StarBed Hideaways, found in the Tamar Valley's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, allows you to get up close and personal with nature, all the while indulging in the best of luxury living.
Aurora and Halcyon, two stunning hillside shepherd's huts complete with oak walls and glass ceilings, await your arrival. Each sleeping two people, the huts are insulated with sheeps' wool and come cosily equipped with a woodburning stove, a lime-washed king sized bed and an up-lit roll top bath with deluge shower. This is hibernation you'll definitely want to savour!
Always loved the idea of writing a bestselling novel in the cosy countryside? Then you'll adore Writer's Retreat, a handcrafted wooden cabin for two located at the foot of Monmouthshire's Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Here you can detox from a digital life, with natureful views to inspire plenty of creativity (as Robert Penn found when he wrote ‘The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees' here), and then snuggle up in front of the log burning fire with a glass of something lovely after a hard day's writing...or relaxing, whichever you prefer!
How about something a little more...out of the ordinary? The Mission, a glorious ‘tin tabernacle' secluded on the Isle of Wight, boasts cosy quirkiness in spades!
Sleeping up to eight people in four divine bedrooms, this windswept, wood-panelled escape will make you want to batten down those hatches and cosy up next to what must be the biggest woodburner we've ever encountered!
There's certainly plenty to marvel at inside this nineteenth century retreat, from the bath that was formerly a baptismal font, to the quaint ‘Sunday School' annexe that houses comfy bedrooms and a shower - this is one retreat you'll soon be saying your prayers to return to.
Fancy a spot of wintertime glamping? With its year-round, well-insulated glamping pods complete with infra-red heating, at Hoe Grange Holidays life in the Great Outdoors need not be consigned to summer!
Found on a working farm in the Peak District, this eco-friendly retreat has won numerous awards for its green credentials, and offers cosy glamping pods as well as wooden cabins complete with all the comfort of four-star hotel suites. Think whirlpool baths, double-glazing and log-effect fires for true winter wondrousness.
The Log Cabin, delightfully hidden away in Essex's soothing Colne Valley, is a stunning, lovingly hand-made creation by the renowned Browning Bros., sleeping up to six people in rural luxury.
Scenic to the last, the cabin's privately secluded woodland location, surrounded by whispering trees and a sparkling lake, is straight out of the pages of a lifestyle magazine. Inside, you'll find plenty of snuggle-worthy furnishings, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that mean you can revel in those wistful waterside views, whatever the weather!
Looking for something slightly more off-grid? No problem! Hex Cottage (above, and main picture), a thatch-roofed forester's hideaway for two in Suffolk's Sibton Park, is a blissful back-to-basics escape from modern life.
This fairytale cottage is set in its very own meadow, with plenty of authentic touches and no access to electricity - so why not unplug yourselves, too, and revel in all that natural luxury?
Supply heating and an Esse wood-fired range cooker take care of warmth and hot water, while you sit at the antique dining table and chat well into the night with your loved one, with nothing whatsoever to distract you from each-other.
We know only too well that true hibernation is only possible underground, so how about a trip to The Decoy Bunker?
Secluded, insulated, wood-clad...and underground, this authentic wartime bunker for up to three people, camouflaged in the heart of the Monmouthshire hillsides, is guaranteed to keep you cosy and undisturbed all winter long if necessary!
Inside, your open plan surroundings will feel immediately welcoming, while a three-sided log burner is the perfect place to swap war stories amongst dramatic mountain views.
If you've always harboured that ultimate childhood fantasy...to live amongst the leaves in your very own cosy treehouse, why not try escaping to one first?
You'll find Kinlochlaich Treehouse, an octagonal eco house for up to four people, set high amongst the leaves and against the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands.
Discovered within an enchanting 18th century orchard, you're guaranteed amazing panoramic views from the arched windows of this lime-walled, slate-roofed paradise. Why not snuggle in the spacious lounge with a warming snifter of Scotch whisky, and share tales of life and love?
Staying in Scotland, once you've experienced a holiday at Loch Ken Eco Bothies, you'll never equate off-grid living with anything but luxury again!
Featuring three timber-clad, wool-insulated bothies set on the refreshing shore of Loch Ken, you'll find plenty to discover in this beautiful part of the world that's teeming with local wildlife - whatever time of year.
The bothies come complete with solar panels and bottled gas for lighting and power, a wood-fired hot tub and a private kayak, and are furnished with recycled and refurbished materials. Fire up the woodburner and luxuriate in a much simpler way of life...you may never want to re-emerge in your hectic life at home again!
So, have we tempted you into snug hibernation this winter? Whatever your cosy preference, you're sure to find it listed in our selection of cool categories. Why not refresh that cuppa, and take a look?