Instead of staying in an impersonal hotel, why not spend at least part of your visit to the UK in an interesting or unusual historic building?
Whether you long for the hustle and bustle of a city or the peace and solitude of secluded countryside, a wide variety of short-term rental properties are on offer to suit all tastes and budgets.
From Thatched Cottages to Country Castles
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in an idyllic English village, rent a picture-perfect thatched cottage and enjoy the peace and quiet of a quintessentially English cottage garden.
Other types of countryside properties include lodges and gatehouses at the edge of large estates, toll houses, coach houses, converted barns, converted mill houses, windmills, watch towers, farm cottages, and apartments in converted stable blocks.
If you’re traveling with a group of people, your options extend to rambling rectories, manor houses dating from the fifteenth century, medieval farmhouses, and even castles.
Stay Close to Nature in the National Parks
Interesting properties abound around the protected areas of outstanding natural beauty known as the National Parks.
These include Exmoor in Somerset and Devon, Dartmoor in Devon, the Peak District in Derbyshire, and Snowdonia in North Wales.
You may find yourself on the edge of woodland, forest or moorland, close to babbling brooks or streams, or quite literally off the beaten track.
The other benefits of renting accommodations in the country include the proximity of a variety of outdoor activities, such as fishing, cycling, walking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.
Sometimes free admission to adjoining country houses and gardens is included in the cost of the rental.
Sun, Sand and Ice Cream at the Seaside
At the seaside, you’ll find interesting apartments in Victorian buildings on the promenade, beach-side cottages, or houses perched on the side of cliffs.
Many of these properties were occupied in the past by people doing a specific job, such as coastguards or lighthouse keepers, and they often retain the name and character of their former residents.
Period Features in Historic Buildings
In towns and cities, you can rent apartments in historic Victorian, Georgian, and Tudor houses. They are often furnished in keeping with the period, either with antiques or modern fixtures and furnishings that are in step with the property’s original features, such as Victorian brass bedsteads and roll-top baths.
The historic buildings for rent have been sympathetically restored to include many original features, such as beamed ceilings, latticed windows and flag stone floors.
In some properties, open fireplaces, inglenook fireplaces, wood burning stoves or solid fuel stoves help you to achieve a warm, cozy atmosphere reminiscent of the past.
Your property may have other features that evoke a sense of history and give you an insight into how people used to live, such as old bread or bakery ovens, spiral staircases, galleried landings, and courtyard gardens.
You may even be lucky enough to rent a property with a highly unusual or unique feature, such as an octagonal room or a fifteenth century screen made from oak.
How to Find a Property to Rent
Many websites offer interesting, unusual and historic properties for short-term vacation rentals. In most cases, you can view photos and book online.
Standard stays usually last from two to seven nights. Longer stays are often also possible. Some properties accommodate just two people. Others are suitable for larger parties, sometimes up to twenty people or more.
A good way of finding the properties available is to type “holiday cottages UK” into an search engine.
The National Trust, for example, offers more than 400 interesting, quirky and unique properties on its website.
A further benefit of staying in these historic buildings is that a proportion of the rent you pay will go towards their future conservation.
If you decide to stay in a rental property for at least part of your vacation, you’ll gain an insight into real life both in the present and the past, and you’ll encounter places far off the beaten tourist track.
Learning more about the UK’s long and varied history will make your vacation a more enriching and memorable experience.