Spring breaks – where to wake up surrounded by green…

…Or in the case of Scotland’s Isle of Eigg, a bit of rust and brown too. I don’t know about you, but the unexpected threats of snow during what was meant to be early spring has prompted a lot of dreaming about more clement times. In truth, we’re rarely not thinking about the next great escape, but when crocuses are meant to start poking through the ground and the light starts to stick around later in the day we start seeking out the perfect places to wake up surrounded by nature. In this spirit, below are our pick of the best British hideaways for getting a big hit of treehab.  Places to sleep where design plays as important a role as what Mother Nature has put on outside the windows.

Brockloch Treehouse, Dumfries and Galloway

Image from Brockloch Eco Retreat

If the words ‘treetop’ and ‘hideaway’ aren’t enough to get you filling out the booking forms for  Brockloch Eco Retreat, then surely the sight of this curvaceous timber structure on stilts perched over a field of bluebells is. Have the ultimate off-grid experience in Dumfries and Galloway’s sweetest treehouse for two. With one very cute timber clad bedroom, a bijou kitchen, a bath beneath a skylight and what’s described as “a Hobbit log burning stove” you can also use the lack of wifi as a great excuse to get out and mingle in the woods with the local red squirrels. Details here.

Image from Brockloch Eco Retreat

Fforest Farm, Cilgerran

The Lodge at Fforest Farm, photo Fforest Farm

The owners at Fforest Farm in Cwmplysgog, Cilgerran – James Lynch and Sian Tucker – come from art backgrounds and were Hoxtonites before the term hipster came into being. So whether you’re bedding down in a dome tent or the main Georgian Farmhouse, you’ll be snuggled under beautiful Welsh blankets, reading on vintage chairs, under well considered lighting. There’s even a Peter Doig painting in one of the bedrooms. You can head to the River Teifi for kayaking and there’s a tiny onsite pub and plenty of beautiful spots for throwing a blanket down to watch the sun dip.

Fforest farm in dome 3 by Spell designs

Image from Fforest Farm

Sweeney’s Bothy, Isle of Eigg

Sweeney’s Bothy, photo by Allan Pollok-Morris

You might need to book quite far in advance judging by our own attempts at heading to this beautiful bothy on Scotland’s Isle of Eigg, but it’s worth planning for.  Sweeney’s Bothy was designed by architect Iain MacLeod & artist Bobby Niven in collaboration with artist Alec Finlay as part of Creative Scotland’s Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and it delivers on all the three items on our check list – cabin envy inducing on the outside, cute and cosy on the inside, surrounded by Scotland’s best wildness in all shades of rust.

Sweeney’s Bothy, photo by Allan Pollok-Morris

The bed is essentially a grown up bunk built over the living space, which has a neat kitchen, library, stove and table. The shower is outside and hot water comes from the solar panels on the roof, plus a back boiler in the stove for when the sun isn’t readily available (this is Scotland). Instead of a fridge there’s a cool box and ice and all in at Sweeney’s you’ll get a proper bothy experience, albeit one very nicely designed. Find out more here.

Sweeney’s Bothy, photo by Allan Pollok-Morris

Humble Bee cabin, Devon

Photo from Canopy & Stars

Presented as a human-size beehive, this bizarre but brilliant cabin in woods not far from Dartmoor, sleeps two people – cosily, at the top of the house, surrounded by fur skins. The house is part of a clutch of properties known collectively as Honeysidedown and if you are thinking it’s the stuff of weird dreams, you should also know that there’s an outdoor bath.  You can also use the shared hot tub at Honeysidedown. A stay at Humble Bee with Canopy & Stars costs from £120 per night, sleeps two people and there’s a three night minimum stay.

Photo from Canopy & Stars

Five Acre Barn, Suffolk

Image, Sarah Blee / Blee Halligan

Probably the most upscale property on our list, the new Five Acre Barn in Suffolk is a lovely B&B venture from two former Peckham-ites – Bruce Badrock and David Woodbine – who worked with architects Blee Halligan to remodel what was a family home. Bedrooms are designed to be comfortable and smart with choice art on the walls and nice ceramics and oddities dotted around. The large plywood lined hallway doubles as a gallery space for work by local artists and  the newly landscaped grounds are gorgeous – the duo are gardening enthusiasts. The house, set in woodlands, is on the edge of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and happily, the sea and seaside towns Aldeburgh and Thorpeness are a short walk away.

Image, Sarah Blee / Blee Halligan

Image, Sarah Blee / Blee Halligan

 

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Jill Macnair

About

Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.


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