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The best Airbnbs in the UK

Dreaming of a UK adventure? Here's your one-stop shop for discovering the best Airbnbs in the country to book right now

Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott
,
Lucy Lovell
,
Rosie Hewitson
&
Rhys Thomas
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Dust off that suitcase: holidays are on the cards again! Especially in and around the UK. Yesss you might be hankering for a post-lockdown escape somewhere tropical and warm (and who isn't!) but given this whole panasonic or whatever it's called isn't yet fully over, self-catered accommodation within the UK is a fantastic way to get about and explore new places, whether you're looking for an alpine Airbnbs or summery campsites

There's actually quite a variety of climates and environments to discover on this little island, whether you decide to hit up gorgeous coastlines like Pembrokeshire in the summer, wander around the Lake District in that Romantic autumn, or curl up in the Highlands for winter. Realising just what choice is on this very island is quite exciting. Countryside, forests, secluded sandy beaches, there are endless opportunities to explore and relax right here.

Of course, more people than ever are planning holidays in the UK this year. The most popular locations are already filling up. So, if you want to go on holiday soon, it’s worth making plans. RIP spontaneity. Luckily, to save you precious time, we’ve rounded up some of the best Airbnbs across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Airbnb can be your key to discovering everything the UK has to offer. Not only does it offer a wealth of quirky alternatives to a more traditional hotel (sleeping in a treehouse, anyone?!) but you’ll often get tips from hosts on great and lesser-known things to do in the area. It's usually a whole lot cheaper too. 

We’ve found some real stunners for you here. From an otherworldly Scottish castle and a seafront retreat on the unspoilt beaches of Northern Ireland, to an elegant flat in Bath and a romantic riverside cabin in Cornwall. So without further ado, here’s our round-up of the very best Airbnbs in the UK.

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

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The best UK Airbnbs

This treehouse might appeal to the inner child, but rest assured the interiors are made for grown-ups. Perched among the trees, the circular cedarwood den is warmed by a wood-burning stove and features solar-powered lighting, fluffy bathrobes and a widescreen TV plus DVD player and bluetooth speakers. You could embark on one of the many walks through ancient woodlands, or just hole up in the trees like a boujie Tarzan. There's also a lovely decking space to get some morning forest air from. Getaways don't get much more idyllic than this, and to make the trip even more perfect – it's just a 45 minute drive away from the M25. Turns out there really can be nature on the doorstep, even in London.

Bath, not that kind, the city. It's easy to spot in pictures thanks to its elegant honey-coloured buildings, steamy Roman baths and beautiful historical surroundings. This flat is characteristically quaint, with them nice long windows, neutral colours and opulent features typical of show-home level spots in the area. Based in one of the city’s iconic Georgian townhouses, no less. It's located right in the heart of things, making it the perfect base to explore the city from, but the envy-inducing pad also has a rooftop terrace offering glorious views over the city. It's owned by an interior designer (no kidding) which is why it’s decked out with handsome antique furniture, a deep roll-top bath and pretty chandeliers throughout. Super tasteful, not crazy expensive luxury accomodation. 

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Imagine a place called riverside Cabain? This place is better. Situated next to a stream in the heart of prime Cornish countryside, this beautiful handmade cabin is the stuff of fairytales. It’s cosy, but it's somehow also open and airy. Up in the A-frame, there's a snug double bed (accessible by the stairs) and on ground level there are custom-built bunks. Beds aside, there's also a charming living space, a kitchenette, and (of course) a wood-burning stove! While we're on fires, there's an outdoors firepit that you can use for cooking, which is all very Hairy Bikers or whatever the Cornish equivalent is. If your idea of cooking isn't scrubbing potatoes though, it's just a 20-minute drive to Falmouth, an artsy coastal town, stocked full of small indiependent bars and restaurants. When you're indoors though, just marvel at the beautiful wooden A-frames, lovely wooden furnishings and heaps of natural light. While it certainly isn't home, it is the escape you've always wanted.

You can't beat a good British BBQ... unless the weather has other ideas. Thing is, up in the Lake District, you're surrounded by such beautiful scenery that you'll find you have a hard time complaining about a bit of drizzle on the home-made brugers. To take those outdoors grilling goals to the next level, how about this awesome BBQ shack where you can flame-grill sausages in the comfort of your own Scandi-style cabin? Thought so. The central fire pit comes with charcoal and firelighters, so all you need to bring is the food (maybe raincoats too). And when you're done with the feast, simply take a long hike, or a lakeside bike ride; there's a warren of cycle paths which can be started quite literally on your doorstep. So yes, have that extra cheeky sausage. 

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A full-on castle, that's where Airbnb comes into its own: it lets you stay in an actual castle. Also, while not an official review on their website, back in the sixteenth century (that's even pre-Internet Explorer) Mary, Queen of Scots loved staying in this regal residence with her husband. The hospitality has remained top-notch since then, different staff though, you'd imagine. Dating back to around 1190, Neidpath Castle is full of original features which mean you'll be vacating in legit history. Other features include a private chamber boasting an original open-log fire, antique four-poster bed and roomy rolltop bath – a combo that guarantees a right royal night’s sleep. Literally. You're also just a ten minute walk to Peebles, a medium sized town in the Scorrish Borders, which has plentty of shops and restaurants, along with a museum and an award-winning chocolatier. 

Live out your ‘Bridgerton’ fantasies by frockling, sauntering, waltzing, and parading around the East Wing of this red brick Regency-style private estate in the lovely Norfolk countryside. Your new temporary home goes by the name Wolterton Hall, and was built by one Horatio Walpole in 1724, brother of the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole (good one to remember if you happen uon a pub quiz). The building has retained many a historical feature. From original artwork and crystal chandeliers, to period furniture and marble bathrooms. It happens to be a Grade I listed building, which is pretty elite. Wake up in a four-poster bed to views across the rolling parkland and humongous lake could be far worse. There's room for 14 people to enjoy the facilities, and in-houe catering can be arranged on request if you're feeling especially lavish about life! Herringbone corset optional. What's more, you're a small drive away from some brilliant beaches. 

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It's you (hello!) and you just so happen to be on holiday, waking up to the sound of water crunching into the sand, right outside the french doors at the foot of the bed. When you open the door, a gentle gust of salty sea air fills the room better than any candle could. Then, you retire back to the queen-sized bed, indefinitely. Maybe someone brings you a cup of tea, why not, it's your holiday. When you decide the morning is over, you can gaze at the breathtaking views of the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough. From there, you have an honesty bar stocked with prosecco and a stash of good books (and a 42" Smart TV if preferred) there’s no need to leave this tiny waterside retreat – ever. Well, other than to take a dip in the big blue, perhaps. There's more than a dozen golf courses near by too, including the famed Royal County Down. Now there's a low-key seaside retreat you'll want to return to again and again. 

So, here's a story from A to Z, listen carefully. Trust us, it's information you'll really really want. Ready? Well, you know that iconic Spice Bus in the 1997 cinematic masterpiece, 'Spice World'? Yeah, well, you can actually stay in it. No seriously! Not only has that Union Jack-covered bus undergone a seriously luxe makeover inside, but it's also situated permanently on the gorgeous Isle of Wight, via Airbnb. The double-decker now sleeps three people (the other two spice girls can go in a tent or something, it's fine). Inside there's loads of cute touches that will thrill any Spice Girls fan. These include an old-school CD player for listening to Spice on repeat (there's a copy in the player already!), a dressing room area for '90s makeovers and/or mid-day outfit changes, disco balls a plenty, and Union Jack chairs. The bus is overlooking the marina too, so while Meatloaf won't be making an apperance, there will be wonderful views. Zigazig-ah! 

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If an entire Scottish castle is a feels a bit much (or is a little out of your budget because you know, that's a lot) but you like the royal old castle-y vibe generally, this might be a bit more you. A sixteenth-century stone dovecote (originally used to house pigeons and doves but it's not tiny don't worry) has all the charming historical vibes, but on a less grand scale (it sleeps four). The conversion is perfectly cosy yet full of natural light, with hand-made cedarwood furniture, a spacious rain shower and a double bed surrounded by ancient coves that once hosted them pigeons. They make nice spots for putting things like books and whatnot now though. Through the french doors lies a private and secluded stone patio and gorgeous rose garden. Just beyond is the real surprise, it'll be hard to remember, but this priory is next to some of central Edinburgh’s coolest districts.

Forget that windmill you normally kip in, this is a boutique windmill affair. A meticulously restored Grade II-listed windmill, that's your newquirky-quaint getaway spot. Inside this tall one-bed tower you'll find a charming hotch-potch of old wooden floors, huge original cogs from the mill and its machinery, along with chunky beams, and modern-cottage decorated rooms that make it feel like some sort of Town and Country retreat. For those curious about the building's history, have a nosy up through the trap door which leads to the mill machinery preserved as it would have been 200 years ago. You'll get breath-taking views over the rooftops of Woodbridge and the River Deben from here too. Might be windy though. Spiral staircase, of course. 

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Looking for a rural hideaway? There's not many places better than the Howardian Hills (the name alone!). They're in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty located between the North York Moors National Park, the Vale of York, and the Yorkshire Wolds. Located super remotely within those wonderful areas, is this rustic, wooden shepherd’s hut. A pro for some and a con for others: this sheperd's hut is so remote, you will need to trek across muddy (weather dependent but you know, the North) fields to reach it, so good boots or wellies are required. When you do so though, you'll be greeted by a copper roll-top bath, cosy wood-burning stove, fire-pit and bubbling outdoor hot tub. That'll soothe them feet in no time at all. Given that it's nestled nicely between everything (and within an area of outstanding natural beauty, as we've mentioned) it’s also perfectly situated for exploring the sublime North Yorkshire countryside, the East coast’s stunning beaches, and quaint villages around the North York Moors National Park. Not to mention the ancient city of York. Assuming you'll even want to venture beyond the cosy hut! 

What's better than a stunning spot of land on a Scottish lakeside unhindered by light pollution, other people, and well pretty much anything? The same beautiful bit of land with a sort of glass-panelled airship popped on it, of course. It's sustainably made, don't worry. And despite looking like something from another planet, it looks like a sort of allotment shed more than a Star Trek prop. Besides, what do you care, while in there, your view of the outside is exceptional. The architect-designed home features a stylish modular living space, compact kitchen and super-soft queen-sized bed. At either end of the airship, glass-panelled noses offer heart-melting views of mountains and lochs, reaching as far as the Isle of Mull. A load of natural light pours through the big glass ends and (aero)nautical circle windows throughout the accommodation too. The interior is a surprisngly chic blend of futuristic chromes and alpine woods. 

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Pretty, pastoral and pleasingly austere, this cottage is as wholesome as a hug from your gran (or mamgu, as they'd say in Wales). The Grade II-listed thatched roof beauty is one of the best surviving examples in the entire country of Wales, dating back to the 18th century (1750 to be exact). Its limewash and oak beams have been untouched for over 250 years. The bathroom has been updated with a fancy double-ended bath and the kitchenette is stocked with tea and coffee, but the rest of the house is 100 per cent back-to-basics. A tiny TV, a roaring fire, and peace and quiet. Just like it used to be (the TV aside, can't fully escape the modern world can you). You can also cut the fresh roses and herbs from the garden to add some perfume to the place (herbs are useful for cooking, too). 

Haven’t set foot inside a church since you had to dress up in the school nativity play? Either way, you'll be praying you never have to say goodbye to this one. Situated just a quick drive from the historical town of Billericay (just 25 miles East of Central London), this grade II listed church conversion is a sight to behold. With stunning original stained glass windows, huge wooden beams and carved marble slabs set into the floor. Though full of those lovely period features, this property also has a modern and vast open-plan layout, and it's bright with natural light. High ceilings and white-washed walls are pretty timeless, after all. The property can sleep up to eight so is perfect for a group getaway in prime Essex territory. Take us to church! 

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Combine the fun of camping with the comfort of a hotel by checking into this six-metre wide "geodesic dome" on the edge of the South Lakes of Cumbria's Lake District. Before we go further, geodesic basically means it's a sort of spherical dome, as far as you're concerned. It's situated in a secluded garden with its own log-burning stove, plush furnishings and a private deck area from which to enjoy the rolling hills and breathtaking views. There's plenty of them given you're right on the edge of the Lake District. You can just saunter around the dome taking in the wonderful scenery, but Windermere (and its nice lake) are just a mere 10 minuntes away. You can also venture ever so slightly further and stock up on mint cake in Kendal, both are just a short drive away. We reckon old William Wordsworth himself would have gone mad for this place. One thing, there's no shower there, but there is running water, you'll figure it out! 

Sleepovers are good, aren't they? Thing is, this is better than all the sleepovers you ever had, we promise, because... in this semi-converted barn on a picturesque 60-acre grounds next to a 17th-century manor house, in Nottinghamshire, you’ll be roominh with Basil the adorable miniature horse!! Don't worry, this is a list of the best Airbnbs, so you won’t be bunkering down on a bed of hay or anything like that. The way it works is Basil’s stable is attached to the bedroom, just conveniently separated by a wall. The wall is short enough that you can peer over and sneak him some carrots without having to worry that you’ll wake up in the night with a lamb (there's lambs too) trying to spoon you, or the horse jumping over to say hello. The ‘humans only’ side of the barn features a warming indoor fireplace and kitchen area. Basil’s guests (you, not the lambs) also have an outdoors log fire, complete with a BBQ grill and tiki hut seating, ideal for late nights and al fresco fans. Although there's plenty of lovely walks in Nottinghamshire, and Nottingham itself is just half an hour away by car, it'd be silly to not get a tour of the nearby paddocks to meet Basil’s extensive group of farmyard friends. 

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Houseboat holidays always sound like a great idea, but what tends to come of it is you've paid double the price of a nice appartment, spent the entire time having freezing showers, banging your head every time you stand up, and looking forward to getting home to have a rest. This floating home does things a little differently. The charming getaway is bobbing within a small village of floating homes, on a nature reserve by the Sussex coast. Ooft. It's a wonderful one bedroom retreat designed to provide the houseboat experience you've always wanted (it's warm and cosy, but also more). Lovingly crafted with painstaking attention to detail, from the light-maximising curved roof and elegant deck space right down to the swanky polished brass fittings, this floating haven has a truly luxurious feel. Rafts just got a new benchmark. Sussex is nice too, lots of great pubs, country walks, restaurants, quaint towns and more. 

It's a surf shack, a really nice one. It's a minimalist haven, cleverly crafted from an old shipping container and then decked out (literally) with old wood, vintage surf boards and other reclaimed and repurposed accessories. Eco but make it chic. It’s surrounded by Antrim farmlands, which offers glorious greenery and scenery, and is generally an ideal place to stay if you're planniing on exploring the Causeway Coast. It's also a tiny fifteen minutes drive to Giant’s Causeway itself, as well as the village of Bushmill and its famous whiskey distillery (maybe get a cab). If the Irish weather is a little too chilly for a dip in the actual sea, you can always relax with a glass of single malt in your own private hot tub, just outside the shack. Great craic all round!

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Channel your inner Samwise Gamgee (or maybe Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po?) with a trip to this underground cave house built into a secluded hillside on Loch Tay. Holidays don't get much more idyllic. Even the journey there – you access the underground retreat via a wooden bridge, across a babbling stream. The charming hideout is called The Warren, and along with being built in a unqie way, there's also a host of features including a duck pond (ducks not guaranteed), circular windows and curved doors (a lot of things are curved actually). Also, in one of the few departures from the authentic hobbit lifestyle (it's tastefully modern inside we're kidding), you'll also get to enjoy a private river pool and a hot tub with beautiful views of the sweet sweet countryside. One Airbnb to rule them all? Possibly!

This seaside getaway will be restorative and relaxing, and we're not just saying it to sound all cliche like a half-decent body wash does. This pastel-coloured apartment has quite literally been designed with a view to promote wellbeing for its guests. That's true from the colours on the walls to the features. This apartment has, for instance, its own meditation area with soft cushions, yoga mats, relaxation masks, and aromatherapy oils selected for their chilling-out properties. It also benefits from views of the beach, spacious rooms, a seaside breeze, and nice not over-stimulating decor. The kitchen has all the equipment necessary for preparing long, slow-cooked, gut-friendly lazy meals, and includes great coffee and cocktail-making facilities (mental health is all about balance!). As the beach views suggest, the appartment is right on the seaside and is therefore ideal for exploring Margate’s many independent shops and art galleries too, including the famed Turner Contemporary art gallery, a mere five minutes walk away.

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