Cancelled holidays have left us with a real sense of loss; for the places unseen, the food uneaten and the people unmet. And while the vaccine provides hope that we’ll soon travel again, the fact that Matt Hancock is summering in Cornwall this year does not. But even if borders do reopen, YouGov reports that 70% of people wouldn't travel abroad if it meant quarantining on return. It's time therefore, to reacquaint ourselves with the idea that England is glorious, and that we need nothing more. There are the flint villages of Norfolk and the wild and rugged coastline of Yorkshire, the chocolate box towns of the Cotswolds and the craggy coves of Devon. Bath has sweeping Georgian crescents while Brighton teems with eccentricity. And if you live outside of the M25 then there’s London… London, with its stately parks, hopefully open museums and assortment of neighbourhoods. So go on, haul yourself out of this hogwash by booking one of these eight rentals.
In rural Carmarthenshire, this cottage has, unsurprisingly, given its flag floors, ticking stripe linen and charming sleeping nook, been featured in design bible The World of Interiors. You won’t find remote controlled lights or a HD TV, but you will be plunged into rustic bliss.
Located just outside of Cambridge, this tiny and primitive cabin is as fashionable as they come. If you’re overburdened, addled by tech and pissed off with people, you must start packing now. Once there, strip down to your birthday suit and dive straight into the lake. Afterwards, sit on the deck with a cold glass of Sancerre, trying desperately not to get bitten.
The fact that this salmon pink cottage has a thatched roof and pistachio windows is only half of its charm. Yes, it looks like it belongs in a snow globe, but it's also perfectly situated, a 10 minute walk from Peppercombe’s rocky beach, where you can go and cast cobwebs asunder.
In Burford, one of the Cotswolds’ many lost-in-time villages, sits this quintessential, sandstone cottage. With low ceilings and oak beams, you’ll need to watch your head, but its green kitchen and terracotta tiled floor more than make up for it. Local shops sell antiques and homemade cakes and there are plenty of fields to walk off the latter.
Despite its unmistakably Cornish setting, in a fishing village on the southeast of the Lizard Peninsula, this eco-friendly hideout feels part Japanese, part Scandinavian. With silvery larchwood and polished concrete, you’ll do a lot of gawping, whether it’s out of the wrap-around windows, the tambour-covered bath, or the cedar hot tub.
In the heart of East London, this lofty and light-flooded penthouse is conveniently close to some of Shoreditch’s best restaurants, from St Leonards and Brat to Smokestak. It’s a stone's throw from Columbia Road which is famed for its flower market, and in the other direction there's Borough Market, where you can pick up fresh ingredients before heading home to cook up in the clouds.
Polish architect Marta Nowicka has ingeniously upgraded this former ambulance station into a four-bedroom holiday home, using brushed stainless steel in the kitchen, to nod to the building’s original function, and reclaimed timber from the beach, to make a dining table. And with a double-sided burner inside and a fire pit out, it’s a perfect place to entertain.
Situated in the Highlands, this lodge offers thrilling views onto the Muir of Dinnet, and has walking routes right out of the door. Oak beams and floorboards make it feel homey, which is a feat considering its grandeur (see the medieval lounge and chalet-style kitchen for proof). With Monty Python proportions, this is the Holy Grail of holiday lets.