Who hasn’t dreamed of a seaside vacation in the south of England? Whether you’re planning to travel to London for the Olympics or yearning for a fieldstone manor house or a rustic thatched cottage, there are an abundance of options for the intrepid traveler who doesn’t want to stay in a hotel. Here are a few ideas for the castle and cottage fan who seeks a romantic escape offering panoramic outdoor vistas and quaint yet comfortable accommodations.
Who can resist the lure of an authentic beamed ceiling and wattle roofed abode, with wild roses trailing up the facade in the midst of a secluded village? Try an eclectic tour to the south of England, where the ‘semi-tropical’ climate in areas like Torquay have attracted royals and elite travelers for decades. Winter temperatures are in the high 50’s. Portsmouth is home to the Dickens 200th anniverrsary celebration and Dickens Museum. Nearby Portland Bay will host the summer 2012 Olympic sailing competition. And, the area is #1 on the 2012 Lonely Planet Guide of top travel destinations.
Where to stay in Dorset: The Lulworth Coastline has many fine beaches, accessible from London and overlooking the sea. To the West are the beaches of Middle Beach and Durdle Door. Just east are the beaches of Mupe Bay and Arish Mel. The beaches to the west are open to the public, and convenient to the Durdle Door Holiday Park. Sailing Cottages provides accommodations for visitors to Portland for the 2012 Olympic sailing competition.
Take time off in Ivy Cottage, a testament to medieval life! This rustic, thatched holiday cottage dates from the 1600s and sits on a village road which leads down to the sea at Lulworth Cove. Furnished tastefully with modern comforts, yet retaining much of its original character, it features rustic beams, fireplaces and a wood-burning stove. West Lulworth has a village store and cozy, local inn. Surrounded by the Purbeck Hills and close to the Dorset Coastal Path, it is ideal for country walks and bird watching. Shopping is steps away.
Where to stay in Wales: West Lynch, a fully thatched, snug cottage home, has been in the same family for three centuries. It lies on the sunny side of Porlock Valley. Inside, relaxation and modern comforts abound – it is beautifully furnished with arts and crafts, sitting areas, plus high-tech Wii and a big-screen TV, a games room and indoor pool table. Near picturesque Ilfracombe Cove, it sits in National Trust woodlands from the former Acland Estate. Stroll across the open moors to spy large herds of red deer and Welsh ponies along the Welsh coast.
Also within walking distance are the romantic villages of Bossington, Selworthy, Allerford, bustling Porlock and the colorful Minehead’s farmers’ market. There is horseback riding nearby, surfing at Lynmouth, Croyde and Woolacombe, and golfing at Minehead or Saunton for the intrepid sportsman. Just across the waters lie stunningly beautiful and historic castles of Wales, where you’ll want to lodge in Anglesey for Royal-spotting near Cardiff.
Where to stay in north Cornwall: Rolleshayes Farmhouse, a picturesque, historic building, was completely renovated in 2002. Situated in a quiet hamlet near Exmoor, this thatched cottage is set in a stunning location overlooking the bucolic hillsides. The charming holiday cottage is ideal for couples and is in a wing of the owner’s home, a charming listed thatched cottage dating from the 16th century with original features including beamed ceilings and an inglenook fireplace.
Enjoy magnificent views as you hike the Quantock Hills and Brendon Hills, with many local attractions within easy reach. West Country sights such as Bath, Wells and Exeter Cathedrals, and Glastonbury are nearby.
Another popular getaway is the nearby Isle of Wight. In summer, it hosts a hugely popular rock festival. Virgin America flight deals to Heathrow in London start at under $400. Train travel is easy too. So, take a walk on the rustic side and enjoy Britain’s version of an upscale B&B with all the comforts of home.
© Copyright 2012 Mary Holman. All rights reserved. This article and content may not be republished, rewritten or excerpted.