The Landmark Trust have been restoring buildings for almost fifty years and now have nearly 200 buildings in England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, France and Italy. Here are some of our favourite unusual places to stay by the Landmark Trust:
Clavell Tower, Wareham, England
© David Jeffrey Morgan/Shutterstock
Rescued from the edge of a crumbling cliff along the Dorset coast, Clavell Tower has stood here since the summer of 1830. It was built by a 70-year-old Reverend John Richards Clavell and was sometimes inhabited by a young Thomas Hardy who used it as a frontispiece for his Wessex Poems and courted a local coastguard’s daughter here.
Clavell Tower: Sleeps two; four nights from £415
The Appleton Water Tower, Norfolk, England
This functional but beautiful building sits on the edge of the Sandringham Estate and was the result of a number of illnesses and a death in the royal family during Queen Victoria’s reign. After Edward the Prince of Wales fell ill with typhoid in 1871, it was discovered that a number of cesspools were contaminating the estate’s drainage system and infecting those drinking the water. This water tower was then erected in 1877 to supply the estate, and now provides a wonderful place to sleep and excellent views of the Norfolk countryside.
The Appleton Water Tower: Sleeps four; four nights from £217
Alton Station, Staffordshire, England
© Robert Ford/Shutterstock
Here you can sleep in the ticket office or cook in the waiting room of an old abandoned railway station. In its heyday, Alton Station took 12-coach excursion trains from the Potteries (Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton), but now you can stroll along the tracks, explore the countryside and rest up in the Stationmaster’s house at the end of a peaceful day.
Alton Station: Sleeps eight; four nights from £522
Swiss Cottage, Devon, England
Set along a stunning stretch of the River Tamar, the Swiss Cottage acts as an eccentric retreat, designed with a “nineteenth century passion for the Alps” as it's described by the Landmark Trust. Complete with an Alpine garden and Swiss furniture and crockery, this place has breathtaking views from the verandah across the Devon countryside.
Swiss Cottage: Sleeps four; four nights from £522
The Pineapple, Dunmore, Scotland
© Ulmus Media/Shutterstock
This rather grand structure is an “elaborate summer house with a fruity top” according to the Landmark Trust’s website. It was built as a one-storey pavilion in 1761 and sprouted its pineapple in 1777 when Lord Dunmore arrived home from serving as Governer of Virginia where sailors used to put a pineapple on the gatehouse of their homes to announce their return from sea.
The Pineapple: Sleeps four; four nights from £217
Robin Hood’s Hut, Somerset, England
A rustic cottage from the outside, but an elegant home on the inside, Robin Hood’s Hut is a perfectly romantic getaway. Dine al fresco beneath the umbrello on the front porch, where views stretch over the Bristol Channel and into the mountains of South Wales.
Robin Hood's Hut: Sleeps two; four nights from £522
The Banqueting House, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Sitting on the highest part of the National Trust’s Gibside Estate, the eighteenth century Banqueting House commands a fantastic view overlooking an octagonal pool, the Derwent Valley and beyond. The building was almost entirely roofless and collapsed when the Landmark Trust first found it, but walk now a walk to explore the gardens of Gibside is the perfect place from which to admire the castellated roof of this expertly renovated home.
The Banqueting House: Sleeps four; four nights from £522
Kingswear Castle, Devon, England
As if sprouting out of the rocks, Kingswear Castle stands right on the water’s edge near Dartmouth, Devon, and was built in 1502 to help defend Dartmouth Harbour. Thick walls give it a sense of fortification and the flagpole, with which you can lower and raise your own union flag, gives guests the regal feeling of royalty. From the battlements on the roof you can watch ships coming and going as the sun goes down behind the waters.
Kingswear Castle: Sleeps four; four nights from £522. The castle was recently damaged in bad storms – you can donate to help repairs here.
Astley Castle, Warwickshire, England
Astley Castle in England © Greg Storrar/Wikimedia Commons
Once upon a time just the ruin of an ancient castle, Astley is now a groundbreaking modern accommodation sitting inside a cocoon of history. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the estate had been owned by three Queens of England and its past inhabitants witnessed, or sometimes played part in, significant events in British history. Destroyed by a fire in 1978, the castle is now the wonderful blend of timeworn bricks and new modern materials.
Astley Castle: Sleeps eight; four nights from £769. Note that the accommodation here is now booked up until further notice. Visit www.landmarktrust.org.uk for more information on when the property will become available again.
Find over 250 of the best places to stay in England, Scotland and Wales with Rough Guides’ Best Places to Stay in Britain on a Budget.
Explore all corners of Britain with the Rough Guide to Britain, book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.
Top image © Ulmus Media/Shutterstock