This self-isolation business, eh? Talk about a double-edged, thoroughly-sanitised sword. During the working week, it’s been something of a revelation. With no commute or co-workers to distract us or eat up our time, we’ve been getting a lot of work done — even if it has been a struggle to slide out of our slippers.
But when the weekend comes — and it is rumbling ominously towards us — being stuck inside will start to feel less focused and productive, and more like a crushing, monotonous prison. Saturdays and Sundays are for socialising, not sitting inside and watching re-runs of The Sopranos on Amazon Prime (although Bezos has stuffed his streaming service with some great content this month).
It’s Easter we’re worried about. The longest weekend of the year will feel even longer stuck inside. But we’ve also got a solution: why not self-isolate in style? If you live with your nearest and dearest anyway, what’s stopping you from upping sticks and decamping to a more glamorous British bolthole for the duration of the bank holiday? We’ve rounded up seven of the best below…
On the windswept Isle of Skye, Kyn
Now this is isolation. On the south easterly shore of the Isle of Skye, overlooking the Five Sisters of Kintail and the Kylerhea Straits, Kyn is a small cabin with enough room to sleep four lucky guests. Built to blend in with the surrounding rough, rugged landscape, its design mimics the farmhouses that dot the Hebridean island — and bright white design, exposed wood and animal hides create an authentic, yet modern feel.
Outside — because you’ll definitely be allowed to go for a wander if you escape to the wilds of Scotland — the island boasts crystal-clear Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Cuillins, high cliffs and secret plateaus at The Quairing and even a whirlpool bath on the timbered deck. It’s also close to the Talisker Distillery — which may be closed, but there’s likely a bottle or two on hand somewhere…
In manicured Suffolk, Sibton Park Estate
If the small cabin above didn’t do it for you, how about some grand, sweeping opulence to blow away those self-isolation cobwebs? In Suffolk, by the charming market town of Saxmundham, sits Sibton Park — and the estate’s manor, built in 1827 by Fleet Street heir Robert Sayer. Set in 5,000 acres, and boasting some of the cleanest air in England (that’ll come in handy), the manor’s dramatic, pillared portico entrance may look impressive — but it’s once you’re inside that things get really exciting.
There’s a games room, a gym, a cinema room and a scarily well-appointed wine cellar within these walls. 12 bedrooms feature Hypnos beds, eclectic furnishings and large sash windows — not to mention en-suite marble-floored bathrooms with underfloor heating, luxurious fittings and roll-top baths. But the best part? A vast kitchen, complete with wood-burner, Aga and deer-antler chandeliers.
On the Wilderness Reserve, the Walled Garden hideaway
If you’re looking for something a little more understated — and a lot more fun — Wilderness Reserve has ‘Britain’s coolest party pad’ on site; the ultimate superluxe escape that is the Walled Garden. An eight bedroom retreat, the focal point of this property is surely the three elegant glasshouses inspired by the neoclassical designs of the celebrated architect Sir John Soane. You can almost hear the Instagram likes rolling in from here…
There’s underfloor heating, if you had any qualms about those glasshouses, and a fully stocked wine fridge in the largest of the three — which also serves as the Walled Garden’s kitchen. There’s a games room complete with pool, table tennis and table football, and a cinema if you want to curl up, hole up and dive into a movie marathon. But we’d recommend exploring, either cycling on the Pashley bicycles, rowing around the serpentine lake or holding your own tournament on the property’s nearby tennis court.
On the sunny Cornish coast, Raffia Beach House
If we didn’t know otherwise, we’d say that Raffia Beach House wasn’t in Britain. And yet, despite its setting amidst lush Monterey pines and overlooking the open sea, this is South East Cornwall. Look down off the balcony and you’ll spot Polperro harbour, a quaint fishing village with a warren of narrow alleyways, fishermen’s cottages and boat houses ripe for exploring. That is, if you can tear yourself away from Raffia itself…
The house doesn’t have a television, and instead encourages you to read, paint or simply recline on the sofa listening to the radio. Huge windows make the most of the stunning views, a wood burner is on hand to take the edge off any chilly nights and the beachy, Scandinavian style will help you relish the views, refocus your mind and — most importantly — relax.
On Kent’s calming south coast, Jagger
It’s got a cool namesake — but this contemporary homestay more than does its moniker justice. A full-stop at the end of a winding beach road, this luxury architect-designed retreat on Kent’s marshy south coast is a rare geometric gem. It’s the perfect place to escape to; an energy efficient home built with recycled concreted and clad with wood to ensure a comforting stay even in these troubling times.
Jagger sleeps up to six guests, and a cantilevered balcony hovers inside — offering a set-up that encourages you to ditch your devices and actually talk to one another. Smooth, zen-like living zones and built-in Bang & Olufsen speakers will lull you to sleep and the garage is even hiding a table tennis set-up for those rainy days. Because, let’s be honest, if it’s your first time off work in a while — it’s probably going to rain…
In the lush natural haven of Devon, Linea
Blending into the dramatic coastal landscape and perfectly positioned for watching the sun journey across the sky, Linea is a luxurious labyrinth of clean lines and shifting shadows near Ilfracombe in North Devon. With an infinity pool stretching out to the horizon and vast beds peering across the Atlantic, Linea is the ideal escape for any creatives wanting a blue-sky thinking coastal retreat.
But it’s set up for larger gatherings, too. With enough bedrooms to sleep up to 10 guests, this is a south-western haven in which to self-isolate. And, if you are feeling too cooped up, you can amble away from the property for a wander north or south on the well-trodden coastal paths. Then, when you’re all walked out, there’ll always be a chilled Salcombe gin G&T waiting upon your return.
In Somerset’s Mendip Hills, Thornemead Castle
The best saved until last? We certainly think so. Where better to spirit yourself away to this Easter weekend than a bona fide, genuine, bells-and-whistles castle? Thornemead Castle is a nod to a bygone era of burgundy smoking rooms and vaulted ceilings — a 240-year-old Gothic architectural masterpiece perched on the Somerset coast.
Inside, it’s a treasure trove of antiques, history and romance. Brass chandeliers, curved oak bookcases and Pugin-designed wallpaper give the place unrivalled levels of character — and each of the five bedrooms feature Victorian fireplaces to ensure your stay is never anything less than cosy. Outside, your land features a wildflower meadow, Victorian walled garden and even your own beehives. You’ll never want to leave.
Looking to buy somewhere new instead? Here’s what you could buy for the price of a Mayfair flat around the world…
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