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Swap the city for a clifftop fortress

By Claire Webb

Need a break from the B-word? If the thought of barricading yourself into a fort seems appealing right now, we know just the place: a disused Victorian fortress with a drawbridge and a 20ft-deep dry moat that clings to a stunning corner of South Wales.

First, you’ll need to recruit a squadron of pals. West Blockhouse Fort used to house 34 soldiers and an officer, but now sleeps eight civilians in cosy, wood-panelled rooms. There’s no wifi or television, so you can disengage from current affairs and wage table-tennis battles, pore over old military plans, or flop by the fire with a book from the library.

A blockhouse was first built on the jagged cliffs of Pembrokeshire’s Marloes Peninsula by order of Henry VIII. This one has perched there since the 1850s, when it was fortified with 10ft-long guns to defend Milford Haven Waterway from Napoleon III. It was rearmed in the First and Second World Wars, and is now owned by The Landmark Trust – a charity that preserves historic buildings by converting them into holiday homes.

Photograph: Nigel Forster

Today West Blockhouse Fort is a blissful refuge from modern life. From the parapet and the musket-slit windows, you can watch circling ravens and gannets dive-bombing the Bristol Channel. While checking out the peninsula’s wildflower-dotted heathland, craggy bluffs and golden beach, you might spy seals, porpoises and dolphins, and lobster fishermen manning their pots. It’s a soothing spot to reflect on this small island’s turbulent history.

West Blockhouse Fort. Dale, Pembrokeshire. From £466 for four nights.

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