Travel

Quiet and beautiful retreats in the UK

Pretend you’re living a different life for a few days

It’s cold and miserable. Luckily, you can retreat somewhere quiet and beautiful in the UK and pretend you’re living a different life for a few days. Go on your own

Escape

Knotts End

Sounding like an early 2000s reboot of Howards’ Way, Knotts End could be the setting for a Lake District-set mini-series melodrama. Could be, but wouldn’t, because it’s so secluded there would be no plot. The Boathouse, which sleeps two, is completely out of the way, with a private stretch of coast and no neighbours. It also doesn’t do Wifi or TV reception. We see this as a good thing. From £175 per night, i-escape

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North Norfolk

You might be more used to taking beachside breaks in Europe or down south where the water is warmer (or so they say). But coastal North Norfolk is beautiful and great for views and atmosphere at this time of year. And if you want to escape but also luxuriate, you could do worse than the Vine House in King’s Lyn – all fancy French décor and only eight bedrooms: cue solitude! From £185 per night, Mr and Mrs Smith

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Isle of Sheppey

For a British break that feels more like you’ve gone on safari (albeit one with less voracious animals), head to the Isle of Sheppey. It’s just out from Kent, but the Elmley Nature Reserve is a world away from your standard Home Counties fare. Here, you can stay in one of the unique lodgings (there’s an owl box and a shepherd’s hut!) and explore the working farm – or just stay cosy inside and look out the window. From £75 per night, Elmley Nature Reserve

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Sheffield Park

We’re not short of National Trust houses in the UK, but Sheffield Park doesn’t make the topline quite like Chatsworth. But the magnificent horticultural hotbed is home to four lakes, amazing plants and loads of wildlife. And you can actually stay in an old gamekeeper’s lodge on the estate, in a truly cute cottage decorated in 18th century print. From £52 per night, Airbnb

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The River Wye

Tintern is a pretty little village near Chepstow in Monmouthshire, home to the ruined abbey of the same name. Don’t know it? Even better; it’s a good spot for hiding out and pretending modern life simply IS NOT happening. So devoted to distraction is Tintern that it also boasts the Mistletoe Treehouse, a wooden hut hidden up high with beauty spots (and a brewery) a short wooden walk away. From £130 per night, Canopy and Stars

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