Right now, summer holidays in the UK are looking pretty likely right now. And you know what? We're all for it. The UK is packed with incredible scenery, gorgeous villages and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered – so why not make 2021 the year you do just that? Booking a holiday for when lockdown lifts will help raise your spirits; and 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, and 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.
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The best Airbnbs near London
Ditchling Cabin, South Downs
Wash the last few months right off with a wild swim in your own private lake. Yeah, you read that right. Ditchling Cabin, which is north of Brighton 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 are even wetsuits for all-weather fun.
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, so just go with it. Soak in the tub – handily located just a metre from your bed – or venture outside to watch the waves.
Recognise this wonky old building? This stunner, in the medieval village of Lavenham in Suffolk, stood in for Harry Potter’s birthplace in the movies. Book a room in the historic building for an otherworldly break from modern life. Marshmallows for the fire included.
Fill your London lungs with fresh sea air by snoozing right on the seashore. Tides Cottage looks out on to 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 it would be equally lovely to stay put and sip tea in bed while watching the waves.
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 to the sound of owls and swaying trees in a soft king bed on the mezzanine level of a cute cabin? Not only that, but it's located at the foot of the National Trust Ashridge Forest and close to the cute pub, the Alford Arms.
Not quite done with that isolation vibe? Head to bleak yet beautiful Dungeness for a quiet stay in this architectural cabin. It’s all timber and glass, looking out over the area’s trademark wildflower-studded shingle.
Swap city life for the tiny hamlet of Waterstock. It’s near Oxford if you want to venture into the city, but there’s no need really. You can head off on walks, maybe grab a pint from the local pub or admire the grand, fourteenth-century cottage you’re temporarily calling home.
The low-key seaside town of Deal is one of our favourite places to visit. This seventeenth-century cottage is an ideal spot from which to soak it all up. It’s stunning inside, as well as being just a few steps away from the stones for tinnies and chips as the sun goes down.
An unique shepherd’s hut-style cabin on a farm, The Hut has a neat living space and two tiny bedrooms upstairs. The spot looks out over lush fields, but the beach is within easy reach too. You’re just minutes away by car from pretty Rye, Camber Sands and Dungeness.
Need to seriously switch off? Swap Zoom meetings and virtual hangs with sweeping views of gorgeous greenery and expansive fishing pond. There's no wi-fi in this cute waterfront cabin, which is exactly why people love it. Open those large bi-fold doors and bring the sunshine in.
If sea views are what you’re after, following months of looking at the same inner-city view, this elegant townhouse on the seafront in Hastings is the one. You can spy the waves – and a bobbing palm – from your front window.
For flagstone floors and the full rural experience, book The Buttery. The Grade II-listed hideaway comes complete with a log burner, seriously cosy vibes and incredible countryside views, plus it’s within very easy reach of Cambridge if all the peace and quiet gets too much.
This impeccably designed beachfront house is about as close to the waves as you can get, with giant glass doors opening out to the dunes and sweeping views of the water from the master bedroom's bed and bath. It's close to lovely Rye, and can accommodate up to eight guests, making it perfect for a multi-family getaway.