Holidays Travel

The UK’s cosiest cottages for a winter escape

Snuggling up in front of a fire is the ideal way to spend a winter weekend – especially after days spent hiking over craggy cliffs or through thick forests. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to find wilderness or a cosy place to rest; both are right here under our noses.

Photographer Holly Farrier has scoured the Cornish coast, Scottish Highlands and Welsh countryside to find the best and most beautiful huts, holiday homes and cottages for switching off. Taken from her new book, British Cabins and Hideaways, these words and images are guaranteed to spark a warm glow.

Storybook sanctuary on the Welsh border

Waterfall Cabin, Cambrian Mountains, Wales

Waterfall Cabin
Waterfall Cabin (Holly Farrier/PA) (CAR )

If it’s full-on fairy tale magic you’re after, head to this enchanting off-grid hideaway, whose setting is so idyllic you half expect a community of anthropomorphic mice to emerge from tiny doors in the trees. Positioned within the 1,000-acre Hafod Estate, this filmic stilted cabin offers everything you could possibly need for a romantic getaway, with a wood-fired outdoor hot tub, inviting hayloft bed and a suspended stargazing net where you can make like the Welsh and cwtch (that’s cuddle) under a twinkling sky. All stays last for three or four nights, giving you ample time to sample the local pottery’s throwing lessons, the nearby pubs and spectacular hikes around the estate, though if you’d prefer to spend the duration enjoying a lack of obligations, phone signal and other humans…well, it’s perfect for that too.

How: From £160 per night (sleeps two). Visit kiphideaways.com

Unique treetop camping pods

Kudhva, Tintagel, Cornwall

Kudhva cottage
Kudhva cottage (Holly Farrier/PA)

Perched peculiarly above the trees like the abandoned spaceships of some technologically advanced alien race, this quartet of two-person cabins is unique to say the least. Part of Kudhva’s self-labelled ‘landscape hotel’, the treehouse-like structures offer a dramatically different way to camp in the wild. Providing the feeling of sleeping in a tent while being infinitely more interesting (and lofty), their huge windows look out across a lush woodland canopy or the beautiful Cornish coast. As you’d expect of a regular campsite, the shower and cooking facilities are communal and located a short walk away, but that’s all part of the Kudhva experience, which feels like something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. Great if you’re looking for somewhere a little (or a lot) different.

How: Two-night stays for two from £200. Visit kudhva.com

Classic log cabins in a theatrical Highland setting

Eagle Brae, Struy, Scotland

Contemplating a Highland fling? This handsome collection of ten rustic log cabins is perfectly placed for an authentic Scottish getaway, immersed in 8,000 acres of rugged scenery close to both Inverness and Loch Ness and with traditional designs that are crafted entirely by hand – down to their chunky tree-trunk frames. Cabins sleep two to six guests, making them as great for couples’ retreats as they are family holidays or mates’ escapes, but the capacious Loxia, Aquila and Buteo cabins are particularly suited to groups (boasting mezzanine log beds that are ideal for kids), as well as a peaceful pond-side location. In addition to daily visits from the resident deer, guests can expect surround-sound birdsong and cinematic scenery, with bountiful on-site outdoor pursuits to choose from. The real McCoy of Highland holidays – kilt optional.

How: A seven-night stay for two from £1,518. Visit eaglebrae.co.uk

Understated cabins with natural connection

Trees at Tughall, Northumberland

Trees at Tughall
Trees at Tughall (Holly Farrier/PA)

With their wooden construction, ancient woodland location, and powerful connection with the ever-changing surroundings thanks to their huge view-framing windows, it’s not hard to see why the owners of this handsome trio of cabins named them after trees. All identical – though with diverse views – and all following Tughall’s guiding principle of distraction-free luxury, these two-person retreats offer everything you could need from a country escape and absolutely nothing you don’t, being gloriously free from clutter both inside and out. Magnificently remote, located on a working farm an hour north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on the edge of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the cabins Ash, Hawthorn and Willow all offer a superb base from which to explore England’s northernmost county with its dramatic coastlines and magnificent fortresses.

How: From £310 per night (sleeps two). Visit treesattughall.com

Tiny cabin with impressive eco credentials

Architect’s Hut, Dorset

Architect's Hut
Architect's Hut (Holly Farrier/PA) (CAR )

This striking cabin’s contemporary facade and trend-lend Scandi interior somehow perfectly complements its ancient, unspoilt surroundings, as befits its eco-friendly design, which aims to make sure that the beautiful countryside remains unspoilt. Ideal for weekend sequestration, this retreat comes surprisingly well-equipped for its size, with built-in furniture to maximise space and a focus on minimising the carbon footprint as much as the physical one. A super king-size bed, top-of-the-range waterless toilet and restaurant-grade pizza oven (with ingredients provided by a local pizzeria) elevate the experience to the point that you could happily stay on site for your entire trip, though the proximity to novelist Thomas Hardy’s house and the nearby vineyard’s tours and tastings might be enough to tempt you from hiding.

How: From £115 per night (sleeps two). Visit kiphideaways.com

British Cabins and Hideaways by Holly Farrier is published by Hoxton Mini Press, £22.95. Available now.