Ah, the ends of the Earth. All explorers have their ideas on the matter. Some call to Ushuaia, the gateway to the land of icy tundras. Others claim the title belongs to Svalbard, Siberia, or even the Pacific Ocean habitue of Easter Island. From Zhang Qian’s pioneering journey along The Silk Road, commissioned by the Han Dynasty, to Borchgrevink’s first footstep on the Antarctic continent, there’s an invisible thread that pulls us to the most desolate of places on the planet. But the notion that an “end” exists reveals a truth so often missed. Let them say what they will about Ittoqqortoormiit or Alaska, wise are those who can find Earth's edge beneath their own two feet. Here, we take inspiration from 4th century BC, a time when the British Isles were the object of ends-of-Earth affection; when the Greek geographer Pytheas sailed from Dover to the Orkneys, remarking on tin and tribes and temperate climes. There's places of expeditionary extremes close to home. Call it a reawakening.


The Signal Station

The Signal Station in Cornwall: a white maritime home on a cliff on the Lizard Peninsula

An extreme coastal home on the Lizard Peninsula, reimagined by two lovers of the natural environment, The Signal Station happens where wild maritime history meets the most southerly holiday home on the mainland. A white spectacle that sits at the end of wildflower fields, there’s a “see it to believe it” quality about this Cornish cube that keeps it worlds apart from reality. Standing since 1872, and leased from the National Trust, to stay here is to join the ranks of Britain’s most exclusive travel club — with herringbone bathrooms and battlement rooftops to boot.



Ukiyo in Cornwall: a bedroom with a large window with sea views

Here is a place hiding on Cornwall’s southern tip, a Coverack-meets-Kyoto cube on the wild Lizard Peninsula that’s backed by the haze of the deep blue sea. With its own microclimate — keeping it two or three degrees warmer, and never catching a frost — Ukiyo is a celebration of Scandinavian classics and Eastern European folk, made from a material palette of timber, clay, hessian, and just a pour of reconstituted marble.


Found Tower

Found Tower in Suffolk: a Martello tower in a marsh field

It is at those remotest pins on the map, those places of complete detachedness, that we often find connection: in open heathland, on windy bluffs, with our feet on indestructible terraces and our heads in the clouds. Places like Found Tower, the coastal defence designed to keep Napoleon’s army out, which became a RIBA award-winning, rooftop partying, “laughter-contained-in-three-metre-walls” stronghold on Suffolk's Deben Peninsula.


The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse in Wales: a glass A-frame interior with views onto a river landscape

This inside-out “sunglobe” on Cardigan’s River Teifi gives new meaning to going where the crowds don’t. With a past life as a water bailiff´s cottage — who spied illegal salmon poachers from a tangle of jungle-like gardens — The Glasshouse has a giant winch for pulling in boats, a hidden lagoon, and a secret willow bench that appears at low tide. These days, enormous skies replace wallpaper and glossy-blue house martins inspect you as you flip the morning pancakes. With a wildlife reserve setting that brings water shrews and red deer to the glass walls, there’s few places in Britain that so thoughtfully balance Attenborough wilderness with A-list luxury.


Little Red Lock

Little Red Lock in Oxfordshire: a red brick property on a canal in the English countryside

No roads lead here. Reachable by narrowboat on the Oxford Canal, there’s something apocalyptic about a stay at luxurious country pile Little Red Lock. Let’s call it apocaluxe. A dwelling that brims with wood beams and arty oddities, tucked away on a grassy bank, it’s the kind of place you arrive at with sacks of provisions (think sweet Banbury cakes and Frank Cooper’s marmalade), throw a match into the firepit, pop a cork in the hot tub, and stay put for a while on England’s finest waterway.



Fjall in Dorset: a living room with faded pink plaster walls and a blue sofa

A Wabi Sabi meets Moroccan riad hideaway made up of faded pink plaster walls and swirling micro-crete floors, Fjall is the envy of the Dorset fold. With an elevated decking that’s brushed by the tops of trees, and with far-reaching views to the petrified forests and fossil beaches of the Jurassic Coast, there’s something about it that harks to a treehouse lookout; the type of soot-black fortress one dreams about as a child. Still, even as grown-ups, it doesn’t take much imagination to swing in the egg chair and imagine the gulls as pterosaurs.


The Hide

The Hide in Cornwall: a concrete and glass building in a secret garden

It’s the sort of structure that wouldn’t look out of place on some Arctic archipelago. A could-be wildlife hide made up of poured concrete, wooden shingle, and sloped window boxes that bring the outside in. Modestly concealed by an assortment of herbage and shrubbery, yet close to iconic Perranporth Beach, this is a slice of safe bunker aesthetic on a quiet stretch of the Cornwall coast. Made for humble foraged feasts cooked over flames and enormous bubble baths big enough for two to wash the wild away, this is The Hide.


Filly Island

Filly Island in the Cotswolds: an elemental wood and metal country kitchen with a beamed roof

Who knew that the ends of the earth could exist so close to the milk and honey hillocks? With humpback bridge access to its tiny island setting, it’s hard to imagine that Filly Island sits within the clutch of the Cotswolds. It has “last two people on Earth” energy, but with all the bergamot-scented tea rooms, bouncing inns, cookery classes, indoor markets, and artisanal bakeries that we’ve come to associate with the not-so-wild ‘Wolds. Think of it as a miniature citadel, complete with the gentlest of duck-floating moats.



Skyros in Ireland: a modern, sloped roof and glass-sided cottage with distant sea views

Ireland’s wild seascapes and inland valleys have made it one of the most sought-after places in the world of expeditionary-feeling travel; and at the foothills of Mount Gabriel in Schull, Skyros is a minimalist retreat in the centre of Star Wars’ country. Wraparound glass walls and telescopes make it a birders’ paradise, but the sci-fi scenes and clear waters of the Mizen Peninsula make this knuckle-end of Eire the ideal place to breathe in the heady nostalgia of authentic coastal living, without so much as a Jedi in sight.


Browse the full collection of luxury homes in Britain and Ireland.