If like us, you enjoy staying somewhere with a bit of character, somewhere different from the norm, then you’ll love these beautiful, quirky hotels in the UK. Perhaps you’d like to treat a loved one to surprise getaway with a difference. Which would be your idyllic quirky retreat? A log cabin by a lake, a historic castle or a lighthouse keepers cottage perhaps? Here are a few of our favourite unusual places to stay in the UK.
Our favourite quirky hotels and holiday homes in the UK
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London, England
by Dylan Jones, Shoot from the Trip
For an exceptional stay in the heart of London, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is the perfect destination. The gothic and majestic façade of this stunning red-brick building is awe-inspiring, dating back to 1873 and designed by George Gilbert Scott.
The five-star hotel is stunning throughout. With guest rooms located in the beautiful Chambers Wing of the main building as well as the newly built modern Barlow Wing, the décor is traditional yet contemporary. Some of the rooms and suites have views into the main concourse of the St. Pancras station.
Wandering the public areas of the hotel is where you see the true charm of the building come alive. The highlight is the Grand Staircase – a sweeping double stairway leading up from the ground floor to the fourth-floor gallery. Beautifully restored to Scott’s original vision, including an ornate vaulted ceiling above, it is something of a masterpiece.
Dining options include the cathedral-like Booking Office Restaurant in the old station ticket hall and chef Marcus Wareing’s distinctive dining experience in The Gilbert Scott Bar & Restaurant. The Hansom Lounge in the atrium lobby is the perfect place to wind down and relax after a long day.
Check current prices and availability at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
Log House Holidays, Cotswolds, England
By Jaillan Yehia, Savoir There
What could be quirkier than staying in your own private lakeside log cabin, built entirely with sustainable Finnish wood and complete with a private hot tub and a host of wilderness activities – yet all right here in the UK? That’s precisely what’s on offer at Log House Holidays, a set of eight unique luxury log houses, which bring pure Scandinavian chic to a secluded corner of The Cotswolds.
The eco-credentials of this family-run estate are impressive; the entire 130-acre site is a protected nature reserve and thriving wildlife habitat, with over 50,000 trees. It’s almost entirely self-sustained by solar power too. The cabins themselves are built for bitter northern European winters so staying cosy indoors is no challenge. They stay naturally cool in summer in case you want to stay inside rather than bask on your private deck or take your kayak out for a paddle. Plush interiors include all the mod cons you’d want from a luxurious holiday home, including farmhouse kitchens, roll-top baths, comfy sitting rooms and traditional log burners.
There are plenty of activities in the nearby villages if you do want to leave the total tranquillity behind, including country pubs and local sights, but it doesn’t get much better than contemplating the view of your private jetty with a glass of wine in hand.
Read Jai’s review in full on her blog, Savoir There.
Check availability and prices, Log House Holidays.
St John’s Point Lighthouse, Killough, County Down, Northern Ireland
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Set amongst some of Northern Ireland’s most dramatic surroundings, this delightful lighthouse keeper’s cottage, sleeping four, is perfect for a memorable family holiday. Just a ten-minute drive from the village of Killough the lighthouse has been lovingly restored with great attention paid to every detail transforming it into a comfortable and cosy hideaway. Wooden floors, whitewashed walls and traditional, country furnishings add to the charm and sense of history.
There’s plenty to do in the area too. Once you’ve tired of clifftops walks, head to Strangford Lough, just over half-an-hour away, set in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or enjoy the many attractions that Belfast has to offer only 31 miles away, including the outstanding Titanic Experience and it’s fabulous food and drinks scene.
Check prices and availability, GreatLighhouses.com.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex, England
Amberley Castle is a majestic castle that has been transformed into a luxury hotel in the charming little village of Amberley in the South Downs National Park. A sweeping driveway leads through the grounds and expansive lawns and inside the castle walls via the portcullis, dating back 900 years. What could make a more grand entrance? Amberley is one of my all-time favourites when talking about quirky hotels in the UK.
Each of the 19 bedrooms is uniquely designed and furnished with antiques and fine fabrics. Dripping with luxury and history, the hotel remains unpretentious, and the staff are simply superb, as is the restaurant where the food is as beautifully presented as it is tasty. And the gardens and grounds are a joy to explore – keep an eye out for the magnificent resident white peacocks.
Check prices and availability, Amberley Castle.
Skye Shepherd Huts, Isle of Skye, Scotland
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Perfect for couples, these adorable former shepherd huts make a cosy hideaway in an idyllic location of the Isle of Skye surrounded by glorious views. With a comfy double bed, electricity supply, 3 G mobile coverage, a wood-burning stove and tea and coffee making facilities in your hut and a high-quality toilet and shower close by just 50 m away, you’ll have everything you might need for an intimate escape for two.
Check prices and availability, Skye Shepherd Huts.
Hotel Portmeirion, Wales
by Sally Akins, SallyAkins.com
Wales doesn’t get much quirkier than Portmeirion! The village nestles into the coastline of Ceredigion Bay, with the mountains of Snowdonia providing a dramatic backdrop. But this colourful Welsh village is filled with Italianate buildings and houses built in the Arts and Crafts style. And down by the coast, you’ll find a hotel that’s every bit as quirky as the rest of the village.
Hotel Portmeirion offers guests a luxurious getaway from the world outside the village. The bedrooms are beautifully and individually decorated, and many have stunning views out over the estuary. Downstairs, there are plenty of distinctive features like the intricately carved Renaissance marble fireplace inside the main entrance hall. The sitting room is filled with sumptuous leather sofas and armchairs, and the grand fireplace is supported by knights. And in the Mirror Room, gilt-edged doorframes and a multitude of curios add to the opulent style. But the jewel in Hotel Portmeirion’s crown is the Art Deco style restaurant, with its swooping curvilinear front and luxe interior. The menu features fabulous creations using local and seasonal ingredients, all with a little twist in keeping with the spirit of Portmeirion.
If you want to see the quirky side of North Wales, a stay at Hotel Portmeirion is a must.
Read Sally’s review in full at SallyAkins.com.
Check prices and availability, Hotel Portmeirion.
Knockinaam Lodge, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
By Amanda O’Brien, The Boutique Adventurer
Dumfries and Galloway is the least visited region in Scotland. Most visitors associate Scotland with Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands but the south-west of the country is a beautiful but unexplored region.
Tucked away in this little-visited region of Scotland, Knockinaam Lodge is a wonderful surprise. It is impossible to see the lodge until you are literally right on top of it as the lodge is virtually on a beautiful white sand beach.
This 19th-century house has only 10 bedrooms, a 3 AA Rosette restaurant and while it may not look quirky on the surface, it does have a rather unique history. The lodge featured in John Buchan’s book The 39 steps. It was the boyhood home of Royal Navy submarine ace Lieutenant Commander Malcolm David Wanklyn VC.
Most excitingly, Knockinaam Lodge was one of the locations where Churchill and Eisenhower planned the D-day landings.
Today, Knockinaam is often frequented by writers and artists, including Michael Palin as it provides the perfect location to escape and explore one’s creativity. Also, the soft light of the Scottish south-west coast lends itself perfectly to artistic inspiration.
There is something unique and special about this beautiful lodge that is hidden away on a private cove heading out to the Irish Sea.
Check prices and availability, Knockinaam Lodge
Malmaison, Oxford, England
by Lucy Dodsworth, On the Luce
Twenty-five years ago, anyone spending the night in the Malmaison hotel in Oxford didn’t have a lot of choice about it – it was the city’s prison. But the cells have been transformed into luxurious hotel rooms, and today’s guests are lining up to get locked up. The central atrium still has the original stairs and walkways, and there’s a restaurant and bar in the old visitors’ lounge. You can choose from a range of styles of room, but for the full prison experience, go for one of the cell double rooms in A-wing. Each room is made up of three former cells – one is now the en-suite bathroom and the other two make up the bedroom. They still have the original heavy cell doors so you do feel like you’re being locked up for the night – even if you get to keep hold of the key now.
Read Lucy’s review in full. OntheLuce.com.
Check prices and availability, Malmaison