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Photograph: De Vere House

13 amazing Airbnbs near London you’ll want to book right now

Dreaming of escaping London for a post-lockdown break? Here are some amazing Airbnbs within an hour or two of the city

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott
&
Rhys Thomas
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This is the year of the UK getaway, for obvious reasons. However, it's a blessing in disguise for many of us, as our country is packed with incredible scenery, gorgeous villages and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered – given you'll be jetting off abroad most other years, why not lock in some UK travel while it's the only real option! With the country inching back to normality, it's a great time to get booking a staycation. For something a bit left-field, we suggest booking a cool and quirky Airbnb near London. 

From seaside shacks to cosy cottages by the forest, there's no limit to the incredible places to stay within an hour or two from London. They boast a load of amazing beaches, walks and lush stretches of countryside to explore while you’re there. Seriously, you’ll wonder why it took a global crisis to make you discover these sweet spots.

Note: please check the latest travel guidance before booking your trip 

RECOMMENDED: The 10 best places to visit in the UK in 2021

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The best Airbnbs near London

What better way to restore yourself than a wild swim in your own private lake? None of that chaos you get on the ponds in London. Ditchling Cabin, which is north of Brighton and smack in the middle of the South Downs National Park, is perched on the edge of a lake that is all yours during your stay. There's even wetsuits for all-weather fun. When you're on land, you'll have a lovely cabin complete with a charming little fire, an outdoor fire pit and wonderful views. 

Chill the eff out at The Well on Margate’s seafront. It’s got bohemian charm by the bucket (and spade) load, and has been designed to promote wellbeing. We're talking a meditation area with soft cushions, yoga mats, relaxation masks, and aromatherapy oils. Go with the flow. Soak in the tub – handily located just a metre from your bed – or venture outside to watch the waves. The chic retreat is located right on the seaside, and is also close to the famed Turner Contemporary art gallery. 

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Recognise this wonky old building? This stunner, right in the middle of LavenhamSuffolk, is one of the most remarkable medieval villages in the UK. If you recognise it a little, that might be because it stood in for Harry Potter’s birthplace in the movies. It was also a five star B&B before its pivot over to the Airbnb world. Book a room in the historic building for an otherworldly break from modern life. Marshmallows for the fire included. You'd be a mug(gle) not to consider this place. 

Fill your London lungs with fresh sea air at this two bedroom cottage situated on the seashore. Tides Cottage looks out on the shingle and surf, with beach access from the front door. Whitstable and The Old Neptune pub are just a short walk away along the beach, but we wouldn't blame you if you spent your entire stay sipping tea and watching the waves. As calm as it gets. 

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It's very easy to see why this oak cabin for two in Hertfordshire was one of the most-wishlisted Airbnbs in the UK during summer 2020. Who wouldn't want to fall asleep under hooting owls and lightly swaying trees? When you're not snoozing, you can step out of the beautiful space and right on to the National Trust Ashridge Forest. After getting semi-lost in the woods, stop off at the cute and cost Alford Arms for a tipple. Bliss. 

Not quite done with that isolation vibe? Head to bleak and beautiful Dungeness for a quiet stay in this modernist paradise of a cabin. It’s all timber and glass, looking out over the area’s trademark wildflower-studded shingle. The price may seem a little eye-watering, but this true spectacle of a house sleeps ten people across eight beds. So it's ideal for a super-sleek and peaceful getaway with some loved ones. 

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Swap city life for the tiny hamlet of Waterstock. There's a golf course and horse riding center for those luxe countryside activities, and a good pub. However, this perfect Grade II listed thatched country cottage is also near Oxford so you can happily venture into the city if you like. Assuming you even want to leave this 14th century property. 

The low-key seaside town of Deal is one of our favourite places to visit. The massive pier and bronzy stone beach are one of the South East's best secrets. This seventeenth-century cottage is the ideal spot from which to soak it all up. The decor is stunning, there's no other word for it. Opulent, townhouse chic galore, with a quaint garden. It's also just a few steps away from the stones and sea air, for movie-level tinnies and chips as the sun goes down.

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You won't have stayed anywhere quite like this before. It's a unique shepherd’s hut-style cabin on a decking above a load of chopped up logs, on a farm. The Hut has a neat living space and two tiny bedrooms upstairs (access via ladder!). The spot looks out over lush fields, and the beach is also within easy reach. Here, in your forest green hut, just a small drive away from gorgeous locations such as Rye, Camber Sands and Dungeness. 

Need to seriously switch off? Swap Zoom meetings and virtual hangs with sweeping views of gorgeous greenery and an expansive fishing pond. There's no WI-FI here anyway, so that's that. Embrace it. Open those large bi-fold doors and bring the sunshine in. If you want to venture beyond the beautiful abode, you're in prime Buckinghamshire, so won't be short on things to do. 

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We all like to be beside the seaside, the song goes. It's true, to be fair to it. Here's a seaside stay. A period Victorian townhouse in Hastings. With solid wooden flooring, big arched windows and, yes, that view of the blue, there's nothing more you need to get away from the big smoke. Sit there, watching waves and palm trees through the window, a 90 minute train journey from London Bridge. 

For the full rural experience (not to mention stunning flagstone floors) book The Buttery. The Grade II listed hideaway comes complete with a log burner, seriously cosy vibes, an honesty bar, and incredible countryside views. Not to mention a very cute name. THE BUTTERY. Melting just thinking about it. The cottage is set within 23 acres of private parkland. It’s within very easy reach of Cambridge if you fancy less peace and quiet for some reason. 

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This impeccably designed beachfront house is about as close to the waves as you can get, with its giant glass doors spilling out into the sand dunes. The wood and glass combination is both very stylish and practical, giving you seaside views from the master bedroom, ensuite, and lounge. It's close to Rye, with its lovely cobbled lanes. The east Sussex retreat can accommodate up to eight guests, making it perfect for a multi-family getaway – assuming you don't get into a fight over who gets the room with a view. 

Fancy venturing further afield?

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