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Sea Sentry
Photograph: Unique HomestaysSea Sentry

5 tiny but perfectly formed UK hideaways

These cute boltholes are probably smaller than your flat, but definitely much more picturesque

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott
Sophie Dickinson

Most people’s dream post-lockdown holiday involves a whole load of space. Miles of deserted sandy beach or a whole mountain’s worth of untouched snow to explore. But we’re here to argue that sometimes the best things really do come in small packages. So why not have a mini adventure at one of these super-cute holiday properties, all of which are within easy-ish reach of London?

Having so little space might be teeth-grindingly annoying when you’re sharing it with four SpareRoomers, but it’s another thing entirely on a weekend break. 

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This mini cabin in the middle of Welsh woodland, which sleeps two in a snug bedroom, is just right for a day or two spent exploring the peaks and valleys of Snowdonia. It’s a ten-minute walk from the base of Snowdon, and close to the Hafod y Llan trail which you can hike to spot a waterfall. After making use of all that wide open space, retire to your bright green hideaway for a little hibernation.

The Chalet at Tan Yr Ogof, Beddgelert, Gwynedd. Sleeps two. From £211 for three nights

You’d never think this building – a tiny white dot on the coastal landscape – was a two-storey home for two. Though it wasn’t always. Bomb-proof Sea Sentry was built during WWII to house two soldiers guarding local coastal defences, but now it’s been transformed into a neat rental. Space might be seriously tight, but you won’t wish for more, thanks to clever design, big sea views from the sliding windows upstairs and the king-size bed they’ve somehow managed to squeeze in down below.

Sea Sentry, Shaldon, Devon. Sleeps two. From £585 for three nights


No square footage is wasted in this compact, single-storey cottage. It’s a former gatehouse guarding the entrance to Houghton Hall, which once belonged to Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first prime minister. Built in the 1840s, the modest lodge has everything required for a peaceful break – and nothing else. The bright bedroom is just big enough for a double bed; another room boasts an open fire and two armchairs, while big windows look out over a grassy track (once the hall’s grand drive) and acres of silent woodland.

Houghton West Lodge, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Sleeps two. From £280 for four nights. 

Wi-fi and phone signal are non-existent in this agricultural store-turned-comfy bolthole. Getting to know your surroundings won’t take long: there’s just a neat living area, with pint-sized kitchen, and a tiny bedroom. The stone cottage doesn’t have many neighbours, unless you count the lush Yorkshire Dales or a couple of roaming moorland sheep. But there is more than enough here for an ace rural escape. Ramble in the countryside before cooking up a feast or watching the light fade from the sky above the firepit in your petite patch of outside space. The epitome of good things coming in small packages.

The Little Barn, Richmond, North Yorkshire. Sleeps two. From £190 for two nights. 


This dinky, one-room ‘cottage’ on Lundy is a former lighthouse keepers’ store. Yes, that does basically mean it was a cupboard. Before that, the little outbuilding was a latrine and a pigsty, but (thankfully) you wouldn’t know it these days. Inside, there’s a single bed, a petite kitchen and an armchair. That’s all you need for a solo stay on the island, where you can find coastal climbs, rambles, puffins, a pub (just the one), a pay phone, no wifi and zero electricity in the middle of the night. It’s the ideal spot for finding peace, and avoiding the rest of humanity.

Old Light Cottage, Lundy, Devon. Sleeps one. From £150 for three nights.

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