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Discover our longings for exploration and discovery via this eclectic luxury travel blog, crafted to inspire the most seasoned of travellers.

The season inbetwixt

As the witching and wishing seasons collide in a flash of ribbons and rituals, we become something like seasonal chameleons. Shadow folk and festives, devotees of darkness but the first to stop fast beneath the mistletoe. Part Kate Bush, part Klaus, stacking fingers with mood rings and warming cookies for elevenses. We are custodians of tradition, curators of memories, wielding the sceptre of snugness and scouting for a homestay for the season.

Here, you’ll find lands where local lore and legends bring out the whippersnapper in the most septuagenarian of sages, places that'll see you through from Hocus Pocus to Home Alone, and shapeshifting homes where the devil (and the angel) is in the detail.


The Land of Dragons

A country rich with Arthurian legends and hand-me-down tales of Merlin’s wizardly youth, Wales’s rivers run thick not with water, but with a certain folkloric tonic. From the seventh-century invasions that led King Cadwaladr to threaten the wrath of red dragons, to the ghostly apparitions of the Grey Lady of Conwy Castle that still sit on the lips of locals, there are enough tales in this storied country to fill a thousand bedtime books.

Welsh properties: Hiraeth and The Milk Wood
Hiraeth and Huckleberry in The Milk Wood

Only in Snowdonia could stories of mythical creatures like the Afanc lake monster and Gwyllion mountain spirits be so cosy in feeling: despite their best efforts, they remain the kind of tales that excitable youngsters recount at the supper table over milk and crempogs. But on the Isle of Anglesey, where dits are spun about shipwrecks and patron saints, lives the eeriest of Welsh customs — Mari Lwyd — where decorated horse skulls are paraded through the villages by a band of merry carollers.

In Ceredigion, where the architecture on offer spans could-be castles and the most modern of glass-fronted river houses, it's whispers of phantom ships and mermaids that become the talk of the coast come All Hallows’. Those with a mind for nothing but the good life might opt to gather their kin in The Milk Wood instead, a minimaluxe labyrinth of cottages in Pembrokeshire where the only frights come from vanishing cocoa and sprites playing bold games of Knock, Knock, Ginger between the houses.


Spotlight: Celestia

A restored Welsh farmhouse on a Dark Sky Reserve

Meet Celestia, the restored Welsh farmhouse that House & Garden called “enviably placed”... and for good reason. This is a Dark Sky Reserve home in the Brecon Beacons that sits under a celestial spotlight — lit by the Milky Way, a myriad of constellations, glowing nebulas, meteor showers, and so many stars you’d be forgiven for thinking they were glitter on a blackboard. Come October, it’s one of the best places in the country to watch the long white tails of the Orionids; but in the rest of the winter months, there’s reason enough to wiggle out in sleeping bags with midnight snacks of hot buttered crumpets and sleep beneath the greatest show in space. Better yet, don a head torch and brave a midnight stroll through one of Britain’s few ‘Lost Rainforests’.


The Piskie’d Counties

With foggen moors, moonlit shadows, and whispers of Fair Folk in the underbelly of the nation, a spangled cloak of elfin lore and yuletide fables warms this nippy nation. These are dual-identity months, smudged with an eerie inkiness and aglow with the light of a thousand candles. And with them comes a new rhythm of living, one that keeps a boot in ancient forests and a slipper in Dickensian Christmases. The best of both worlds.

Botania and Pearl's Place

In the north, tales of the Cottingley Fairies and The Green Man (a guardian of the forest who roams the county’s forested borders) still ripple through Yorkshire; in the south, there's oft-rumoured sightings of a pack of ghostly dogs, said to be led through the New Forest by a spectral huntsman. Those with literary leanings will flock to Tolkien's collegial streets, gorging on a legacy that brings Nazgûl, Norse mythology, Sauron, and the Shire to the same Oxfordshire countryside where elder tree witches hold spells over Kings petrified in stone. But a glug of Frank Cooper's marmalade on sugared Banbury cakes ought to sweeten the sorcerous deal.

Meanwhile, in the west country, it’s not all pasties and sand dunes and big-as-your-head cowrie shells. Those with their finger on the pulse of local prose know Cornwall to be the home of the piskies: capricious little wildlings with sticky fingers for foodstuffs. Leave an offering of milk or bread, and these elfin folk might just help with a chore or two. Though, the county next door is a darker affair: on Dartmoor, the gnarled bibelot in Devon’s mossy crown, stories of escaped convicts, shadow people of the quarries, and Sherlock's demonic hounds are shared over Sunday lunch as the sun sets on England's wildest chapter.


Spotlight: Margot's Townhouse


There’s something of a Peter Pan meets Jane Austen energy about this weaver’s studio-turned-heritage home in Bradford-on-Avon where guests become scholars of artisan chocolates and have great long naps by the fire. And while the town might come with a lingering legacy of ghostly apparitions on the River Avon and idle talk about monks who wander manor grounds, there’s a cosy Georgian underbelly to these coordinates that bids adieu to any thoughts of spookiness. All this a stones’ throw from Bath, with its thermal springs, elegant crescents, and perhaps the country’s most enchanting Christmas markets come November (think mulled wine, sourdough pizza, and a ferris wheel that reveals an illuminated city).


The Folkloric Isles

While the sun leapfrogs the celestial equator and autumn equinox ascends, myth and magic trickle down on Ireland like rain from a mountain. This is the home of saints and scholars, where the great indoors and the wild outside collide; here, tricksy green cobblers hide pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, and the mournful cries of banshees might erupt in the night (whatever you do, they say, don’t look out the window).

On the left, a modern cottage in rural Ireland; on the right, a whitewashed living space with the side of a green kitchen and a lounge with fire at the back
Sienna and Limehouse Cottage

From natural inlets to temperate rainforests, there’s something encyclopedic about these landscapes. At the gateway to the Ring of Kerry, all wrapped up in pine and spruce and fir, there’s cottages that offer plenty of places to play “Pass the Pinot” with sloshing carafes, keeping far away from the infamous Pooka of Dingle, a shapeshifting goblin that could bring good or bad fortune, depending on its mood.

From hearsay of nocturnal headless horsemen to the Celtic festival of Samhain (believed to have inspired Halloween), it’s no wonder the island's literaries Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde wrote the words they did: this is the home of Dracula, The Canterville Ghost, and the supernatural world of Dorian Gray. The Greeks and Romans called it Hibernia, meaning the Land of Winter, but from the Wild Atlantic Coast to Westmeath, it's warmed by rich stouts the colour of coffee and pubs that split at the seams with accordions and tin whistles.


Spotlight: Lost Cottage


A wilderness stay in an International Dark Sky Reserve that has a touch of Banshees Of Inisherin energy, Lost Cottage is one of those places in the world where all the things on your mind wouldn’t fill a post-it note. Places where you come home after getting happily lost in the mountains, drizzle hot honey on the burrata, then coddle teacups as the fog rolls in. If brandishing foamy stout moustaches and counting clouds of sheep beyond the glass walls sounds like paradise found, might we remind you of the mystique of the region: these parts are said to be inhabited by magical misfits the Aos Sí, and the county is said to be the place to stumble upon "The Old Woman of the Roads," a ghostly figure who haunts the old highways.


The Wuthering Highlands

We’ve known it as the home of Nessie since the 1930s, but those serpentine legends can be traced as far back as Celtic and Norse folklore; and you needn’t be a cryptozoologist in possession of a sonar camera to dive into the mysteries of Scotland’s underwater world. Away from those dark lochs, a spellbinding history of witch trials, lore of “wise women”, and ballads of healers with herbal remedies make their mark on the Highlands.

 Scottish properties: Usonia and Little Eden
Usonia and Little Eden

With villages as sweet as sugared shortcakes and landscapes that pack a burly punch, Scotland is a place unto itself. There are lochs, hills, and forests as far as the eye can see, sweeping trails that dip between deer-inhabited valleys, and always a cosy pub to be found in the backwoods. It’s a place to read Brontë in a converted chapel, or get a taste of cottagecore on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

This is the land the Highland Games, where real-life Thors set about hammer throwing and tug-of-warring from Perth to Pitlochry, fuelled on nought but shortbread, whisky, and the rhythmic stirring of bagpipes. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find dramatic torchlit processions that culminate in the burning of Viking longships, candlelit readings of Robert Burns’s poems, and stories of ancient warriors shared over sips of Drambuie.


Spotlight: Solas


This is Solas, a Scandinavian-meets-blackened steel outpost on Luskentyre Beach that begs the question, “could this really be Scotland?” The Hebrides, with their rich traditions of myths and legends, are one of the supposed homelands of the lyrically-named kelpies and selkies. Stories of water horses luring travellers into the depths and seals that shed their skin to roam the shores as humans shroud the Isle of Harris in mystery; so while you sip espresso and snack on Scottish tablet, you'll be side-eyeing the waterway beyond the window.


Browse the full collection of homes in the UK and Ireland.

Properties featured in this article: Lost Cottage, Pearl´s Place, Little Eden, Sienna, Limehouse Cottage, Solas, Hiraeth, Usonia, Celestia, Margot´s Townhouse, Botania, The Milk Wood, Huckleberry

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