Ten weird and wonderful properties to stay in near London

Gagging for a weekend somewhere that’s not London? Try one of these quirksome options, all of which can be reached in no more than two hours
By Time Out editors |
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Getting the heck out of London is an essential summer ritual – just 48 hours or so away from the city is all it takes to decompress and lessen the urge to tell your boss to shove it. But where do you plan on spending these precious moments away from the rat race? A dreary, corporate hotel? Don’t even think about it. We’ve hand-picked ten great places to stay with bags of style and oodles of charm, guaranteed to make you less likely to burst into tears the next time you can’t get a seat on the tube. 

Why not stay in one of these six weird and wonderful Airbnbs in the UK: 

The one with its own vintage cinema

Nobody goes on holiday just to sit in a dark room and watch ‘Ghostbusters’, but anyone booking a stay at this restored Georgian coaching inn would be a fool not to pack a few DVDs. As well as five bedrooms, a library and a pool table, it’s also got its own 30-seater, vintage-styled cinema. Bring popcorn.

Where? Axbridge, Somerset.
How much? From £375 a night.

The one that used to be a windmill

Eager to live out those ‘Jonathan Creek’ fantasies? Get a load of this lovingly restored three-storey windmill, which looks just the place to ponder over your latest head-scratching murder case. Or, y’know, crack open a bottle of pinot grigio and gaze dreamily at the Kentish countryside, if that’s how you roll.

Where? Benenden, Kent.
How much? From £175 a night.


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The one that puts the ‘glam’ into ‘glamping’

With not even the prospect of bumping into rock royalty to keep you going, non-festival camping is a complete arse-ache. Chuck in comfy-but-rustic beds, log-burning stoves and campfires for cooking locally reared meat, however, and the great outdoors suddenly seems a much more inviting place.

Where? Westcott, Surrey.
How much? From £600 for three nights during summer.

The one that you won’t believe floats

Is it a boat? A house? Both, sort of. Or possibly neither. What we do know is that it’s got all the standard facilities you’d expect of a weekend break bolt-hole, as well as its own hot tub (accessible by row boat) on the bank opposite. It presumably fares pretty well in a flood, too.

Where? Chigborough, Essex.
How much? From £195 a night.

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The one you can't say neigh too...

If the thought of bedding down where horses once hit the hay, this glorious stableyard conversion in Surrey is the Red Rum of quirky stays. Sure, it's expensive but it does sleep ten guests, so you won’t get nagged on the price too much...

Where? Surrey.
How much? From £1,250 a night.

The one that’s up a tree

Sure, we’ve all spent school summer holidays building tree houses in our parents’ back gardens, but none of them were a patch on this mighty, leaf-shrouded abode. A weekend living like an ewok not enough for you? In true wild-as-a-forest-fairy style, the shower is outside, and the only neighbours you’ll need to worry about catching you in the buff are a field full of alpacas.

Where? Uplands, Bristol.
How much? From £140 a night.

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The one that’s a little bit Downton

We know people who went to schools smaller than this twelfth century manor house. It is, simply, gigantic. But should you somehow bore of wandering around the same eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and Aga-equipped kitchen, it’s also got a garden to explore. If you can call an eight-acre patch of Suffolk countryside a ‘garden’, that is.

Where? Butley Abbey, Suffolk.
How much? From £600 a night.

The one that’s comfier than the No 38

The average Londoner spends more than enough time on buses, but it turns out that once you get rid of the gum-encrusted seats and kids playing music on their phones, they’re not such a bad place to be. As well as thoroughly fancy decor, this one sports a log burner, shower room and space to sleep up to six people. Take note, TfL.

Where? Lewes, East Sussex.
How much? From £160 a night.


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The one that complements your hipster stylings

You’ve got the beard, you’ve got the checked shirt, now all you need is a properly rustic bolthole in which to fire up your pipe and blast a bit of Mumfords. And this miniature shack – made from locally sourced timber, of course – is pure Instagram gold.

Where? Beckley, East Sussex.
How much? From £100 a night.

The one that’ll definitely float your boat

We hate to break it to you, but there are canal boats out there that are nicer than your flat. Head downstream to the Kennet and Avon canal (between Reading and Bristol) for proof. Here you’ll find Moonraker Canalboats, a selection of five cutely made-up narrowboats that’ll make landlubbers contemplate ditching dry land for good.

Where? Pewsey, Wiltshire.
How much? From £1,065 for three nights during summer.

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