10 of the perfect cosy vacation cabins within the UK | Journey
ONEWinter is approaching and the world continues to sink into chaos. What could be more appealing than fleeing to a forest or secluded cliff for a few days where there is nothing else to do but go on frosty forays and soak in a wood-burning hot tub and sit comfortably in bed by a wood-burning stove.
It doesn’t matter whether you rave about sharply designed, stark, self-supporting black wooden huts like the ones seen on the iconic architecture website Dezeen, prefer the backcountry Americana of the successful photo book Cabin Porn, or are more interested in an off-grid atmosphere with homemade shed It has never been easier to find your solution.
“We’ve seen a huge surge in cabin searches over the past few years,” said Claire Wills of accommodation website coolstays.com, “and we now have our own collection of over 350.” Likewise, glamping specialist Canopy & Stars said 40% of its bookings this year were for cabins, the most popular type of accommodation, and that its collection had grown from 138 to 235 over the past year. “The popularity of cottage and tree house vacations is at an all-time high,” said spokeswoman Alice Cottingham, “and bookings for the rest of this year are expected to double what they were in the same period in 2019.”
That explosion in the reach and style of vacation cabins means there are hundreds to choose from – maybe one of these beauties will do.
The Log Cabin Studio in Carmarthenshire
Photo: Owen Howells
Turn into the secluded tree-lined fields at Cwm Farm near Llandeilo and feel like you’re in Scandinavia. The farm’s beautiful larch hut with a gable roof and covered veranda on stilts is authentically Swedish – owner Tim completed two log cabin building courses in Sweden before he built it himself – and cozy enough for Nordic climes. Logs crackle in the wood stove, paraffin lamps create a warm glow, and while the coffee is brewing you can curl up with a book on the ladder mezzanine or look at Tim’s paintings on easels in the seating area – it doubles as a studio when nobody stays .
• • From £ 110 per night for two people, £ 20 per person additional for up to two additional people on the mezzanine, canopyandstars.co.uk
Anyone who feels ready to break away from the world can look forward to a three-day digital detox at Unplugged, a sleek, chic black log cabin for two near Audley End. Life slows down when you hand your phone over to the hosts, stare through the huge picture window at empty fields, and return to old-school analog entertainment: tapes, cards, postcards, board games, and a Polaroid camera provided. Nearby is the Ax and Compasses Pub, where you can have dinner. Sights include the English heritage-run Audley End House and Gardens (book tickets in advance).
• • Three night minimum stay from £ 390 for two, hostunusual.com. Availability from November
Carswell Farm, South Devon
Photo: Joshua Williams
Cabin stays are not always about hiding in the woods. Looking at a wild, wintry sea can be a more exhilarating return to nature, especially if you brave swimming or surfing in the cold water. Carswell Farm Holiday Cottages’ new beach shack is in an incredible location, completely isolated right on the rocks of its own private cove – perfect for winter skinny dipping, with a wood-burning hot tub on the deck to warm up. Inside there is a double bed that can be reached via a ladder, a wood stove and two hammock places in the window.
• • From £ 358 for a two night weekend or four midweek nights for two, carswellcottages.com
Albion Nights, Norfolk
It might be called Albion Nights, but this funky, wobbly, handcrafted cabin looks like it belongs in the American west or the Australian outback. The off-grid cabin with a corrugated iron shower and outdoor bath on a covered porch was built from reclaimed materials and stands alone in a wildflower meadow in the Waveney Valley near the market town of Bungay, 20 minutes drive from Norwich. Inside, sheepskin carpets and a wood stove ensure that things stay cozy. Guests can order home cooked meals or buy supplies at the Old Hall Farm next door.
• • From £ 125 a night (two nights minimum) for two people, hostunusual.com
Carnish Cabins, Outer Hebrides
Something of a modern architectural slang has evolved in the Hebrides, and you can’t go more than a few miles without discovering a high quality black wooden hut in a simple wendy house shape. Two new huts in Uig Sands, a beautiful stretch of white beach on the Isle of Lewis, are even more futuristic. Carnish Cabin Flow and its sister property Ebb are surrounded by a long, curved metal quarter pipe, with wooden sundecks from which you can watch deer, golden eagles and otters on the beach.
• • From £ 595 per week (shorter breaks available) each can accommodate two people: unique-cottages.co.uk
The Old Forge, South Heighton, South Downs
This studio sits at the foot of Rhoda and Christian Funnell’s wild garden, which is filled with its bold modern sculptures. It feels wonderfully secluded and cozy, with a wood-burning stove and lots of thick blankets, but also has a touch of luxury – the soft down comforter, towels, and walk-in shower are five-star hotel quality. And the couple’s flawless artistic aesthetic is evident in everything from mid-century furniture to old turntables (with an eclectic vinyl collection), boldly printed pillows, and art magazines. There is a G&T honesty bar with local Ditchling Gin and Folkington’s Tonic to enjoy on the small terrace overlooking the River Ouse. South Downs National Park is a minute from your front door, so there are plenty of walks (there are guidebooks and an OS map in the cabin) including a 1½ hour walk to the Ram Inn, a sprawling 500 year old pub with an open plan Fire in the pretty village of Firle. Or it’s a short drive to Lewes, Glyndebourne and the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters on the south coast.
• • £ 95 per night (minimum two nights, reduced rate for single occupancy), including organic breakfast of eggs, juice, cereal, berries and bread, theoldforgeopenhouse.com
Quirky cottages, Northumberland
When climbing holds are screwed into every wall in the nursery so they can boulder to the top bunk, you know you’ve booked a place where the emphasis is on fun. Kip Hideaways’ spacious Quirky Huts on a farm in Northumberland National Park are built from reclaimed oak and come with wood burners, solar-powered showers, a large, cast-iron outdoor bath and fire pits. Since it is tempting to hang out there all weekend, there is plenty to do nearby: visit Alnwick Castle, roam the woods and moors, or watch the Aberdeen Angus cows and herds of Swiss Valais black-nosed sheep on the farm.
• • From £ 130 a night for four, kiphideaways.com. Membership (£ 10 per year) is required to book
Howgills Hideaway, Yorkshire Dales
Many UK campsites and farms have added collections of basic wooden camping pods in recent years. In Howgills Hideaway on the Cumbrian side of the Yorkshire Dales, one of the four standard pods has been expanded to include its own open-fronted bathing shed with a deep, wood-clad bathtub that is big enough for two people. (The guests of the other pods share a shower and toilet block.) Each pod has a kitchenette and a private terrace for outdoor grilling and dining. However, grocery baskets can be delivered with every meal. There is a trampoline and games for children, but the real joy is the wonderful walking of the Howgill Fells, Alfred Wainwright’s “Sleepy Elephants”.
• • From £ 90 a night for four people, howgillshideaway.co.uk
Dragonfly Hut, Cambridgeshire
A private swimming pond just outside the door is only for those staying at Dragonfly Cabin, a new, remote feeling lodge five miles from Cambridge that opened in August as part of the B & B Crafts Hill Barn at certain times of the day. The hut started out as a bird hideout, but is now elegantly decorated, with a floor-to-ceiling picture window overlooking a small pebble beach and a boardwalk from which to jump. The kitchen does not have a stove but there are fire pits to reserve and the B&B can provide baskets or a “fire pit pack” of burgers, kebabs and salad (£ 30 for two).
• • From £ 100 a night (two nights minimum) for two people, coolstays.com
Cuan Mor Lodges, county below
Strangford Lough, the UK’s largest estuary, is one of Northern Ireland’s greatest attractions and an important sanctuary that is home to seals, porpoises and all kinds of waders, cormorants and terns. Cuan Mor, a peaceful private estate on its banks, has a collection of red wooden huts for nature lovers to hide in. The cabins are spread around their own, smaller, lily pad-strewn lake, and feature wooden decks and sharing a black boardwalk, the perfect place to sip a nightcap and toast S’Mores over the fire pit. Breakfast baskets are delivered to the door, preparing guests for a day exploring the Castle Espie Wetland Center next door, home to exotic geese and ducks.
• • From £ 150 a night for two, £ 180 for four, cuanmorlodges.com