The Original Hut Company, East Sussex
Hand-built by farmer Nick on a farm in the tiny village of Bodiam, the Original Hut Company’s shepherd’s huts are made with reclaimed timber and locally sourced materials. Fire pits and log-burners keep the four-berth huts snug year-round, and an on-site cafe and wellness space – The Hub – provides somewhere warm and dry to hunker down. Pizza nights, picnic hampers, pop-up taco vans, and homemade local produce take the pressure off catering. Flanking the National Trust’s Bodiam Castle estate, with the River Rother flowing at the bottom of the farm (outdoor adventure company Epic Life can organise kayaking or SUP adventures), the site lends itself to car-free days and mini adventures. For those who want to explore further afield, Camber Sands, Brede High Woods, Rye and Hastings are all a short drive away.
• A three-night stay for four costs from £329; original-huts.co.uk
Big Sky Lodges, Highlands
These six pine log cabins dotted across a 17-acre traditional Scottish croft provide everything you need for a big family adventure on Scotland’s epic North Coast 500. The cabins are designed with cosy evenings in mind: wood-clad rooms, wood-burning stoves, sheltered timber verandas and leather sofas. Outside, each cabin has a private lawn running down to paddocks where Highland cattle and horses graze. Muir of Ord is the closest town, and home to the Fairburn Activity Centre, which can organise everything from climbing to archery for family groups. Loch Ness, the Black Isle and Spittal Wood are also nearby. Only 10 miles from Inverness, Big Sky is doable by train and ideal for making the most of the Caledonian Sleeper service from London.
• A seven-night stay for six costs from £810; bigskylodges.co.uk
Fforest Coast Cabins, Ceredigion
A few miles outside Cardigan, surrounded by woodland and meadows, and not far from the wild swimming spot at Teifi gorge, Fforest is home to more than 500 acres of continuously evolving hospitality. The sprawling site includes glamping domes and tents, a tiny 200-year-old stone cottage-cum-pub, streams and gorges, bushcraft activities, and hours of wholesome, outdoor fun. There are activities for those who want them, including pizza nights and canoeing, but its possible to be completely independent. The National Trust Penbryn beach is a 10-minute walk away, as is the Ceredigion Coastal Path to Llangrannog and Tresaith. Although there are pubs and a cafe within walking distance, there is no wifi or phone signal, and the idea is to switch off.
• A four-night stay for four people costs £450; coldatnight.co.uk/manorafon-coast
Wheatland Farm, Devon
This multiple award-winning eco-farm in Devon has five lodges and cottages scattered among 21 acres of meadows, lakes and woodlands managed with wildlife in mind. According to the owners, “you’re more likely to stumble upon butterflies and wildflowers than cows and crop spreaders”, and hot water and electricity come from the on-site wind turbine and solar panels. Guests enjoy free access to bikes and boats, alongside barbecues, campfires, outdoor chess, a badminton lawn and fishing or pond-dipping equipment. There’s baby and toddler kit to borrow, and Wheatland’s website lists extensive accessibility details for each lodge and the surrounding area. True to its sustainable ethos, Wheatland Farm makes car-free holidays as easy as possible by picking up guests from the nearest station (Eggesford, four miles away), organising electric bike rental and recommending deliveries of local produce.
• A seven-night stay for four in Otter Cottage costs £422; wheatlandfarm.co.uk
Fir Hill Estate, Colan, Cornwall
Close to the coast but tucked away in a wooded-estate that feels miles from anywhere, Fir Hill Estate’s yurts are a top spot to squeeze the last of any autumn rays. The estate has been owned by the Hoblyn family for centuries but was mainly abandoned until, in 2012, current owner Charlie decided to turn things around. Today, orchards, woodlands, and fields are thriving with birds and critters, and the adjacent Porth Reservoir is teeming with fish. Each yurt has a deck, BBQ, firepit, and cooking area with a gas stove, cool box, and running water. The games barn hosts various wellness workshops but otherwise is available to guests, which is handy for rainy days (a TV is available on request). The Cornish Way cycle route passes by the estate, and Newquay’s many beaches are three miles down the road.
• £120 per night in a yurt sleeping four in October; thefirhill.co.uk
The White Lodge, Snowdonia
One of the National Trust’s newest holiday cottages, White Lodge is a two-bedroom, 19th-century gatehouse at the entrance of Dolmelynllyn Hall in southern Snowdonia. Although the cottage is close to the main road, guests have access to acres of space and peace among the Dolmelynllyn Estate’s streams, waterfalls, woodlands and goldmine remains. Budding conservationists may be interested to find out about the recently reintroduced polecats and pine martins, and explore the ancient, lichen-clad oak woodland. Nearby Coed y Brenin Forest Park has miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, and geocaching activities to suit all ages, and the expansive sands of Barmouth and Cardigan Bay are a 20-minute drive away.
• A seven-night stay costs £899, and a three-night stay £590; nationaltrust.org.uk
Drifters Canal Boat, West Yorkshire
Drifting along century-old waterways in a traditional canal boat offers a naturally socially distanced way to soak up West Yorkshire’s hills and historic mill towns. Drifters’ 48ft Suffolk 4 narrowboat sleeps four and is based at an industrial wharf at Sowerby Bridge. From there, the canal runs through towns and wooded valleys towards Hebden Bridge. After getting the hang of the locks and looking out for poetic connections (Mytholmroyd is the birthplace of Ted Hughes ), there’s the chance to moor at Hebden Bridge for hikes to Hardcastle Crags and the remote village of Heptonstall. All users of Drifters’ canal boats are provided with a short tutorial, lifejackets, linen, parking, kitchen equipment and fuel.
• 48ft Suffolk 4 costs £617 for four from 26–30 October; drifters.co.uk
Dove Cottage, Shropshire
This timber-clad cottage kitted out with antiques, William Morris fabrics, a wood-burner, terrace and fire pit, offers up to four guests a mix of village life and wilderness in the green heart of Shropshire. Head 10 minutes down the hill for Church Stretton’s deli, butchers, antiques, markets and pubs; head 500 metres uphill and the heath and moorland of Long Mynd, Shropshire’s longest hill, stretch as far as the eye can see. Also nearby, Picklescott is home to a 17th-century, award-winning pub and a fishing lake that charges £6 a rod. The four-mile Portway walk loop is a much-loved local hike among families, and the jagged rocks of Lawley and Stiperstones national nature reserve create a natural playground.
• A three-night stay for four costs £263; sawdays.co.uk
Drover’s Rest, Herefordshire
Offa’s Dyke hikes, cider orchards, farm shops and steep-sided valleys , the Wye Valley is a wonderfully bucolic spot for an October escape. Drover’s Rest is an organic farm just a few miles from Hay-on-Wye with three cottages and seven safari tents spaced across a vast paddock. The tents each have two bedrooms, fully-stocked kitchens, and underfloor-heated monsoon showers in a converted stable block. Chickens and ducks roam the farm’s 40-acres, and kids are invited to feed the alpacas, ponies and goats. Owners Paul and Kesri can organise everything from horse-riding to climbing excursions, and occasional pizza nights and the onsite organic farm shop takes the pressure off catering.
• A three-night stay for four in a safari tent in October costs £450; droversrest.co.uk
The Coach House, Lake District
With fewer people, cooler air and the fells ablaze with autumn colours , October half-term is a great time of year to don hiking boots and head to the hills. Locally owned Good Life Lake District Cottages still has availability, including a new two-bed on family-owned Brackenthwaite Farm in the Yealand area of outstanding beauty. Besides hill walks and windswept beaches such as Morecambe Bay, RSPB Leighton Moss , and home to a variety of birds alongside otters, deer and water voles. Kids will love looking out for little folk at the nearby Fairy Steps – a walk up through giant limestone rocks – in Gait Barrows national nature reserve, and there are enough country pubs in neighbouring Yealand, Beetham, Arnside and Silverdale to while away any rainy days.
• A seven-night stay for four during October half-term costs £590; goodlifelakedistrictcottages.co.uk
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