Four of the best get-away-from-it-all retreats
When the lockdown ends, head to these remote retreats for rejuvenation, says Nicole Garcia Merida.
An eco-home in the Lakes
Aquila, a lakeside home deep in the mountains of the Lake District, might just represent the future of British housing, says Daniel Pembrey in The Sunday Times. But for now you can experience it as a luxury holiday rental property. A host of ingenious gadgets from electric-car maker Tesla make this house “one of the most eco-friendly homes in the world”. The stone walls blend into the beautiful rural surroundings and inside it has a New York loft-style aesthetic, with “striking steel beams, concrete ceilings and smoked oak floors”.
Modern yet homely, six guests can call the retreat home and enjoy relaxed evenings of wining and dining off the grid. Haweswater reservoir lies below, a “stunning 100 square mile wildlife haven right on the doorstep”. But remote as it might sometimes seem, Askham Hall is only a short drive away, a hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant. Further afield, the local area provides “a playground for outdoor activities”,says the property’s booking website. “Motorboat across Lake Ullswater, take a 4x4 over Gatescarth’s rocky hairpins, or climb Cumbria’s dramatic eastern fells.”
Up to six guests, from £1,495 per week. Book via uniquehomestays.com
A self-sufficient retreat near Land’s End
The Look Out is a tiny house in Prussia Cove, a former wartime coastal observation station “sitting close to the edge of the cliffs in the idyllic Porth-en-Alls estate”, says The Guardian. The “only disturbance you’re likely to get is the wind, which howls banshee-like around the tiny, exposed house at all times of day and night”. The property stands alone beside the South West Coast Path in a “commanding position” at the head of Great Cudden Point, overlooking Mounts Bay and with views of St Michael’s Mount and the Lizard and Land’s End peninsulas. The house is entirely self-sufficient, with a small windmill and solar set-up providing just enough electricity to charge a phone and a laptop. It sleeps four and has a cosy wood-burning stove and an alfresco bath from which to enjoy the views of Mounts Bay.
The Lookout sleeps four, from £132 a week. See prussiacove.co.uk
A phone-free idyll in Ireland
Set “right on the edge of Europe”, windswept Inis Meáin is the least visited of the trio of Aran Islands off Ireland’s west coast, says Jane Knight in The Mail on Sunday. Those who venture here will discover “a landscape of limestone contours and dry-stone walls, cliffs and beaches”.
A stay on Inis Meáin will, however, be proof that “isolated doesn’t necessarily mean rough and ready”. The five sleek suites – all wood, limestone and granite – have an “air of Japanese simplicity”. They all have a ten-metre glass wall, revealing panoramic views of the island and sea. Breakfast is delivered in the morning, a picnic lunch is provided, and dinner is “a tasty affair of Atlantic fish or home-reared meat”. Put down your phone (you have to, anyway, as there’s no signal) and instead go fishing, cycling, or walking. The island’s landscape, culture, and history can be explored “in peace and at the visitor’s own pace” thanks to its remote and woefully overlooked location.
Four nights’ full board for two costs from £2,130. See inismeain.com
Forage for your dinner in the Scottish Highlands
“Centuries ago, much of Scotland was swathed in the ‘Great Forest of Caledon’,” says Paul Bloomfield in The Daily Telegraph. Only a fraction survives today, but the Alladale Wilderness Reserve has set itself the mission of restoring that habitat, while providing luxurious, remote accommodation to boot. The Alladale team is working hard to “rewild” this part of the Highlands and restore it to its former, historical glory.
The Reserve is a 23,000-acre gem in the Scottish Highlands and it has been kept as true to its wild origins as possible. Trees have been planted to recreate lush forest and original Highland plant and animal species have been reintroduced. “Alladale’s rugged terrain, dramatic glens, colourful hills, glistening rivers, and herds of majestic red deer will take your breath away,” says the Reserve’s website. There are three types of accommodation available: a luxury Victorian lodge, two comfortable self-catered cottages and a rustic bunkhouse tucked away deep in the reserve. Activities include guided hikes, mountain biking, foraging for and catching your dinner, whisky tasting, massages and beauty treatments, and traditional Scottish entertainment, with enough bagpipes and kilts to go around.
Sleeps 4 to 18, from £1,695 per week. See alladale.com