The economic downturn isn’t all doom and gloom; it could be a chance to get your hands on a dream property and a more leisurely lifestyle. Downsize to the coast where the only crunch is that of the sand between your toes. Or perhaps you prefer the countryside, where you can fling open the windows to a view of rolling hills? But before you take the plunge and sell-up, try out your new lifestyle before you buy, with a little help from Unique Home Stays. By staying in one of our unique properties you can get an insider’s view of the region through the eyes of your local, knowledgeable hosts. And – if you like what you see – we can put you in touch with experts who can help you find a special property to match your needs.
Here are just a few of our Unique Home Stays where you can whet your appetite for the good life:
SEAVIEW, Lynmouth, Devon
The house: This beautiful Grade II-listed building overlooking Lynmouth harbour has been converted into no ordinary B&B. Open the doors to its Georgian façade and you will be welcomed into an ambience of eccentric luxury: think shag-pile carpet, gold-smudged furnishings, champagne-corked toiletries and culinary excellence.
The hosts: Steve and Chris are flamboyant, creative types who both enjoy celebrating the finer things in life. As well as a flair for cuisine and a natural passion for hospitality, the pair welcome guests into their home and are keen to show off its surroundings. This is the epitome of try before you buy, as the property is currently on the market, go to www.harboursreach.uniquehomestays.com for further property details.
The local area: The property is in the heart of bustling Lynmouth, where you can lap up the atmosphere of this waterside village famous for its harbour and cliff railway. Staying on the flanks of Exmoor you can explore north Devon’s natural wilderness on foot or by 4WD, and you’re only 20-minutes from some of the area’s best surfing beaches.
The basics: Sleeps up to 9 guests
The cost: B&B from £35-55pp per night
DRYM FARM, Praze, Cornwall
The house: Lap up the lifestyle of a small Cornish hamlet, in this historic farmhouse dating back to 1128. A charming country abode oozing with character, here you can sample the treasures of a lush valley location between the north and south coasts of Cornwall.
The hosts: Your hostess, Jan, is brimming with knowledge that she loves to share with anyone interested in the area. Full of energy and enthusiasm, when she’s not busy looking after guests she is busy restoring the barns, creating new garden areas and working for the Cornwall Gardens Trust.
The local area: While tranquil countryside reigns on the doorstep, the hamlet of Drym is ideally situated between the arty hub of St Ives on the north coast and the chic harbour-side village of Porthleven on the south coast.
The basics: Sleeps 6
The cost: B&B from £35pp per night
COTON LODGE, Nr Silverstone, Northamptonshire
The house: Take up residence in a luxury farmhouse and experience a haven for walkers, nature lovers and artists. Decked out in traditional country-house style, Coton Lodge is surrounded by magnificent gardens (that are open to the public for charity days), arable farmland and grassland where rare breed sheep graze and.
The hosts: Your hosts will welcome you into a warm and homely atmosphere and are happy to give you the low-down on the area, point you in the direction of the local villages and recommend the best places for eating out.
The local area: Surrounded by a working farm this is countryside proper, offering an abundance of country pursuits from clay pigeon shooting to golf. Being so secluded it’s hard to believe the property is only 10 minutes from the M1, close to the famous Silverstone race track and just 45 minutes from Birmingham airport. With an abundance of quaint country villages on the doorstep, as well as being within easy reach of Market Harborough and Northampton, here you can acquire a real flavour for town and country life in the area.
The basics: Sleeps up to 6 guests
The cost: B&B from £70 (single) and £90 (double).
MARREN, Dorchester, Dorset
The house: With its lush coastal gardens and breathtaking views to the stunning coastline around Portland and Weymouth Bay, this is the perfect location from which to explore the Jurassic coastline. A classic 1920’s home, it boasts modern comforts fused with style (think antique pine floors and contemporary touches).
The hosts: Designers Peter and Wendy Cartwright converted their family home into a luxury B&B that exudes their flair for design and décor. They are more than happy to lend you maps, offer directions to local points of interest and introduce you to the gems of the Jurassic coastline.
The local area: Right on the Dorset coast path and minutes from secluded coves, this property sits on the edge of National Trust land rich in birdlife. Step outside and walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door, enjoy watersports at Ringstead Beach or Portland and visit some of Dorset’s nearby gardens including Abbotsbury.
The basics: Sleeps 4 guests
The cost: B&B from £90 per night
GREENSWOOD FARM, Dartmouth, Devon
The house: A traditional Devon longhouse situated on a small working farm in a secluded valley. In this luxuriously refurbished longhouse that still has many of its original features, you can enjoy views over beautiful gardens and ancient woodland from the comfort of your bedroom.
The hosts: Helen and Roger are keen gardener and walkers, keen to share their extensive knowledge about places to visit, places to walk and places to eat out.
The local area: Ensconced in a lush valley, the house is only a few miles from Dartmouth and the pearly beaches of south Devon. Despite feeling as if you are squirreled away from civilisation, there is an abundance of activities from watersports to golf available nearby in Dartmouth, and the location is ideal from which to explore the whole of south Devon, Dartmoor and southeast Cornwall.
The basics: Sleeps up to 6
The cost: B&B from £80 per room per night
MILLHAY, The Cotswolds, Worcestershire
The house: Bag one of just three utterly luxurious suites and let the stresses and strains of city life melt away in the arms of this elegant abode. A magnificent Queen Ann country house built adjacent to a 12th Century watermill, this B&B boasts bucket-loads of period charm and character that is bound to seduce you into swapping the rat race for the tranquillity of life in The Cotswolds.
The hosts: As well as introducing you to the local area and providing stacks of knowledge on the surroundings, you hosts are also happy to recommend a selection of country pubs and restaurants, some within walking distance.
The local area: Situated at the gateway to England’s largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – The Cotswolds – if you’re looking for a rural retreat, countryside locations don’t get much better than this. Other local attractions include the traditional country village of Broadway, Cheltenham for its racecourse and Stratford-upon-Avon for its connections to the country’s most famous bard – Shakespeare.
The basics: Sleeps up to 6
The cost: From £140 to £180 per room per night.
THE OLD GRANARY COTTAGE, Woodbridge, Suffolk
The house: Boasting a unique fusion of historic and maritime character, this luxury waterside retreat is housed in a converted 18th Century granary cottage. Bagging a prime waterfront location right beside Suffolk’s famous tide mill, the property also comes with boat moorings available at the quayside
The hosts: A font of local knowledge – from the best places to eat to the best places to visit – your hostess will make sure you get the best out of your stay and point you in the direction of other experts and sources of information if required.
The local area: As well as the backdrop to the marina and the popular riverside town of Woodbridge (renowned for its boutiques, antique shops and restaurants), you are also a short drive away from Sutton Hoo and Suffolk’s heritage coastline. The railway station is also within easy reach, offering easy access to Norwich, the East Coast, the Broads and London Liverpool Street (the latter being only an hour a half away).
The basics: Sleeps up to 4 guests
The cost: B&B from £90 per room per night (single occupancy from £62.50 per night)
For more information contact Sarah Stanley, Jen Morgan or Sarah Milligan
Tel: +44(0)1637 881183