Local vegetable boxes from community growers, uninterrupted views across the moors and quiet coastal rambles with nobody for company other than the seabirds gliding overhead; if there’s anything we’ve learnt from the past 12 months, it’s that the answer to a happy life lies within its uncomplicated moments.

This month we celebrate minimalistic living; humble homes which embrace honest materials and grasp the beauty of life far from shining city lights and 24/7 fast food deliveries. Where gathering around roaring fires under starlit skies, wrapped in wool blankets and cradling steaming mugs of mulled cider trumps any evening in front of the TV. Crooked timber beams, winding country lanes and foraging hedgerows for bursts of wild flavour to add to supper take us all back to our most natural state. A state where we reside in handmade dwellings and live off the land, taking only what we need and allowing nature to flow through us.

Below we shine a light on homes, and their owners, who have embraced such a life, inviting you to release from the treadmill of housework and deadlines by borrowing these authentic spaces for short breaks, week-long getaways or even a full season of escapism.

Alchemy Hill

On the lookout for a retreat surrounded by like-minded creative souls, the owners of Alchemy Hill fell in love with the Welsh farmhouse one snowy, sunny day in March 2012. Hidden in the hills above Hay on Wye, every decision to make Alchemy Hill what it is today has been to reflect nature, for guests to feel as though they are a part of the hills and valleys that surround. “The expanse of nature just beckoned and informed most of my decisions,” says owner, Juliette about the design behind her homestay, “I have been committed to nurturing this feeling of space and tranquillity.” With nothing to even tempt checking in on emails, this understated retreat will leave you truly rested.

The Beach Hut

Rescued from development into a holiday park by a location manager and film producer, The Beach Hut has been lovingly refurbished to create a calm escape from the everyday. Simple and honest, the interiors consist of reclaimed finds with a laid-back, Scandinavian appeal. The epitome of seaside living, The Beach Hut is as close to the sea as it’s possible to be without getting wet. “We never take for granted throwing the windows open and falling asleep to the sound of the sea, it’s bliss” says the hut's owner. Sleeping up to two guests plus one dog, it’s the best antidote to cooped-up lockdown living we can think of.



Continued with love through the family, Charity sits in the remote Olchon Valley at the foot of the Black Mountains. Restored to far greater heights than its former rickety glory, this Herefordshire farmhouse has been sympathetically brought back to life with both clever stone and woodwork. Throughout the house, hand-carved spoons, slipware pottery and farm tools decorate the oak shelves and huge wood-framed windows allow all those glorious mountain views to come rolling in. Honest to its very core, spend days firing up a feast on the stone island barbecue and nights beneath the rushing clouds in the wood-fired hot tub.

Lost Cottage

Once a shelter for a herd of mountain goats, Lost Cottage is a simple Irish retreat designed around the elements in County Kerry’s untamed heart. Wake with the sun in the master bedroom, brew a pot of coffee and slink back into bed to watch the weather rumble over the mountains in the distance. With the rafters foraged from the surrounding forest and furnishings crafted from local Douglas Fir, there’s no doubt that Lost Cottage will bring guests right back to the power and beauty of Mother Nature.


For groups who are truly on the hunt for a retreat away from the hum of everyday life, it has to be Whimplestone. Settled on the Cornwall-Devon border in the Tamar Valley AONB, there are 50 acres of private woodland for guests to explore, a natural swimming pool to cool off in after summer hikes and roaring fireplaces to cosy up next to with a glass of red on winter evenings. Inside celebrates pared back living at its finest, with flagstone floors, whitewashed walls and an abundance of natural materials, all echoing the simple beauty of both time spent with those you love and the landscape outside.

Faraway House

Growing up just over the valley from Faraway House, the owner took up the challenge of renovating what once were crumbled ruins and uplifted her life from London to create an escape settled in the wild heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. A home which feels as far from city life as it’s possible to get, Faraway House has the power to set all stresses free. A vegetable patch, mountain views and a colour palette which matches the shifting seasons (often within one day!), and there’s every reason why you would want to arrive at Faraway House and never return home again.