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13 unusual family holidays in the UK

If you’re on the lookout for unusual places to stay in the UK, then we’re sure these unique properties will catch your eye. From double-decker buses and railway carriages to Scottish castles and fairytale cottages, here are our top ideas for unusual family holidays in the UK. So, whether you’re planning a special occasion or simply looking to get away with the family, we hope these unique ideas will give you some holiday inspiration!

1. Go on safari…in Worcestershire!

Location: Worcestershire

Price: From £410 for three nights.

For glamping with a difference, this luxury safari tent in Worcestershire has everything you need to make your holiday a roaring success. Sleeping up to four guests, there’s a generous king-size bed for mum and dad, and a snug hideaway with bunk beds for the kids. Leopard Safari Tent also has a spacious outdoor area to enjoy a family BBQ. There’s even a private hot tub on the glamping site – perfect for stargazing once the sun goes down!

If you do one thing: Take the kids out to the West Midlands Safari Park, where they’ll be able to get up close with a huge range of wild and endangered animals, including lions, tigers, and elephants.

Where to eat: Ostlers At Number 1 is an easy-going eatery in Worcester, serving up traditional British dishes. Tuck into a juicy chargrilled sirloin steak or try the pan-fried duck breast.

Where to drink: Grab a drink at The Firefly, in the nearby city. Set across three floors, this pub offers a relaxed ambience, with plenty of good ales on tap.

Find out more about Leopard Safari Tent >

2. Stay in a converted railway carriage in Devon

Location: Devon

Price: From £739 for three nights.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an accommodation more unusual than this converted railway carriage in Devon. Brunel Boutique Railway Carriage is deceivingly spacious and is equipped with all the home comforts you’d expect to find in a holiday cottage. The carriage is just a short walk from the popular Blue Flag Dawlish Warren beach, where you can spend the day relaxing by the seaside. You’ll also find an assortment of cafes and amusement centres along the coast.

If you do one thing: If you’ve spent enough time on the beach, then head inland to Haldon Forest. Here, you can enjoy a variety of walking and mountain biking trails. Along the way, you’ll find play areas and designated picnic spots.

Where to eat: Boat House Tavern & Grill is a pub and Tex-Mex restaurant on Dawlish Warren. Its huge menu offers a variety of dishes, including chilli nachos, fajitas and lots of veggie options.

Where to drink: For a quiet drink, head over to The Ship Inn. This cosy country pub is great for refuelling after a busy day spent on the beach.

Find out more about Brunel Boutique Railway Carriage 3 >

3. Become royalty for the weekend at an Aberdeen castle

Location: Aberdeen

Price: From £349 for three nights.

The kids won’t believe their eyes when they arrive at their home for the weekend. This impressive castle in Aberdeen is ideal for a unique and memorable holiday and is ideally located for exploring the port city of Aberdeen and beyond. If you’d rather escape the bustle of the city, you’ll find miles of glorious beaches along the coast. You could even leave the car on the drive and explore the 30-acres of grounds that surround Skene House Cottage.

If you do one thing: If you’re still keen to explore more fortresses, then make sure to visit Balmoral Castle – the summer residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Go along to the Ranger’s Walk tour, where you can discover the fantastic grounds of Balmoral.

Where to eat: Moonfish Cafe is a chic bistro in Aberdeen, serving up a delicious selection of dishes made with locally-sourced seafood.

Where to drink: After a busy day around Aberdeen, head into The Wild Boar for a quick drink in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Find out more about Skene House Cottage >

4. Book a fairytale cottage in the Isle of Wight

Location: Isle of Wight

Price: From £569 for three nights.

Surrounded by lush valleys and fields in the Isle of Wight, this pretty thatched cottage is not your typical holiday lodge. Rossiters Cottage is a grade II property dating all the way back to the 1750s and has been lovingly restored with many of the old features still inside. Ideally located for families who love getting outdoors, you’ll find a range of walking routes right on your doorstep. Explore the Dinosaur Trail, or hunt for gold on the nearby Treasure Trail.

If you do one thing: Spend a day at the West Wight Alpaca Farm, located just a ten-minute walk from the cottage. Here, the kids can enjoy feeding the friendly goats and alpacas, along with all the other animals at the farmyard.

Where to eat: The Cow Bar and Restaurant in Yarmouth is set within a converted Swiss barn. It serves up a variety of dishes, including burgers and pub classics.

Where to drink: Pop into The Bugle Coaching Inn, a traditional 16th-century pub in Yarmouth. Here, you’ll find a good choice of cask ales and an extensive wine list.

Find out more about Rossiters Cottage >

5. Relax in a traditional log cabin in Monmouthshire

Location: Monmouthshire

Price: From £335 for three nights.

The Garden House is a cosy log cabin in Monmouthshire, ideally located for exploring the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. With uninterrupted views of the open countryside, The Garden House is perfect for those who want to get away from it all. While mum and dad soak up the views, the kids can have free reign of its spacious garden and surrounding land. For a memorable family day out, pack a picnic bag and take a stroll down to the River Wye.

If you do one thing: Head over to Puzzlewood, an ancient area of woodland with magical mazes, farm animals and outdoor play areas. Its unique atmosphere has made it the setting for many major films.

Where to eat: The Whitebrook is an upmarket Michelin-star restaurant in Monmouthshire. It serves up a selection of beautifully-presented gourmet dishes. Great for a special treat while you’re away.

Where to drink: The Anchor Inn is a cosy pub in the nearby village of Tintern. Sit around the open fire, or grab a drink and sit out in the spacious outdoor terrace.

Find out more about The Garden House >

6. Explore Wales from a shepherd’s hut in Powys

Location: Powys

Price: From £413 for three nights.

If a traditional cabin isn’t quite unusual enough for you, then this cosy shepherd hut in Powys might be. While compact, Hillside View has everything you need for a memorable holiday in the pretty surroundings of Mid Wales. Make sure to pack your walking boots, as there’s plenty of nature reserves, mountains and valleys to explore nearby. The shepherd’s hut sleeps up to four guests, but you might have to decide who gets the top bunk before you arrive!

If you do one thing: Visit the medieval Powis Castle, where you can discover its glorious gardens. Take a stroll through its beautifully maintained Italianate terraces, the formal garden and the ‘wilderness’ woodland.

Where to eat: Visit Old Barn Inn for a relaxed pub atmosphere. The inn is loved by locals and visitors alike for its hearty Sunday roasts.

Where to drink: The Bull and Heifer is a traditional country village pub in Newtown, serving up a selection of local ales and beers.

Find out more about Hillside View >

7. Stay in a historic 17th-century cottage in Wiltshire

Location: Wiltshire

Price: From £369 for three nights.

This small, yet family-friendly cottage is an ideal base for exploring the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire. Dating back to the 17th century, Small Cottage has kept many of its traditional features. From its thatched roof to the original wooden beams, staying here is like taking a step back in time. It’s also pet-friendly so your four-legged friend can join in on the adventure too!

If you do one thing: Visit the impressive Bowood House and Gardens in Chippenham. The award-winning gardens are home to a huge collection of plant and tree species from across the world.

Where to eat: Head over to Fay’s Bistro in Calne for a tasty home-cooked meal. With its welcoming and laid-back atmosphere, it’s a great place for the whole family (including the dog!).

Where to drink: Talbot Inn is a dog-friendly country pub in the nearby town of Calne, which often hosts live music events throughout the year.

8. Experience total seclusion at a luxury Sussex cottage

Location: West Sussex

Price: From £880 for two nights.

If you’ve ever complained about wanting to escape the bustle of everyday life and retreat to the countryside, then Swallows Bottom can offer you just that. This rural cottage hideaway in West Sussex is surrounded by dense heathland, green woodland and is situated within South Downs. There’s so much to discover without even leaving the grounds, and you could easily spend a whole day exploring the glittering streams and ponds dotted all along fields.

If you do one thing: Take the kids on a day out to Marwell Zoo. The zoo is home to over 135 animal species from across the world, including snow leopards, wallabies and lemurs.

Where to eat: The Prince of Wales is a classic country pub, serving up tasty burgers and pub classics with even a few vegan options available. Pop in after a day of exploring the South Downs.

Where to drink: Located in the nearby market town of Haslemere, The White Horse offers a wide selection of cask ales and craft beers. They often feature limited-edition beers on tap from local breweries.

9. Enjoy the countryside from an eco barn in Kent

Location: Kent

Price: From £869 for three nights.

Located in the Kent countryside, this bright and airy eco-barn offers a unique twist on the typical holiday cabin retreat. With its luxury features and cosy furnishings, you might not want to tear yourself away from Bumble Barn. If you do, you’ll find a collection of quaint local villages to explore around the area. The world-famous cathedral city of Canterbury is also just 10 miles away, where you can roam its historic cobbled streets.

If you do one thing: Make sure to visit Canterbury Cathedral, one of the oldest Christian structures in the whole of England. This impressive cathedral was rebuilt between 1070 and 1077, but it was originally founded in the late 6th century.

Where to eat: Cafe du Soleil is a Mediterranean restaurant, set within an 18th-century mill. To get inside, you’ll need to walk across the restaurant’s own drawbridge.

Where to drink: Located in Canterbury, One Pound Lane is Kent’s number one rated cocktail bar. You’ll also find a big selection of beers, ciders and ales.

Find out more about Bumble Barn >

10. Sleep in a double-decker bus in Devon

Location: Devon

Price: From £1,645 for three nights.

Bertram’s Hotel is certainly one of our most quirky offerings. This double-decker London bus made its way to Devon, where it has been lovingly transformed into accommodation for up to five guests. Inside, you’ll find everything you need for a comfortable stay, including its very own cocktail bar! Situated in a two-acre field, the kids will love getting to know the alpacas, goats and donkeys that live in the fields. 

If you do one thing: For a relaxed day out, make a trip to the Docton Mill Gardens and Tea Rooms. Discover the beautiful and vibrant gardens, before enjoying freshly-baked scones and a warming pot of tea in the cafe.

Where to eat: The Hart Inn is a 14th-century pub, offering a big choice of home-cooked meals. Its Sunday carvery is particularly popular with the locals.

Where to drink: Pop into The Kings Arms, a traditional village pub in Hartland. Here you can enjoy live music acts and a nice choice of beers and ales.

Find out more about Bertram’s Hotel >

11. Stay in a historic manor house in North Wales

Location: Criccieth

Price: From £1,796 for three nights.

This stunning country house in Criccieth certainly has the wow factor. Grade II listed, Talhenbont Hall is a 17th-century manor house situated in the centre of a 75-acre estate. The interior is decorated with lavish period features and furnishings, including four-poster beds and a gorgeous copper bathtub. Outside, kids will enjoy the tennis court and the giant outdoor chess board. Make sure to keep a lookout for the resident peacocks who roam the grounds!

If you do one thing: If you’ll be heading over in the summer, pack a picnic and head over to the popular Criccieth Beach. It’s great for dipping your toes in the sea and discovering sea creatures in its many rockpools.

Where to eat: For fresh seafood dishes, visit Dylan’s on the seafront of Criccieth. Try some local Menai mussels, sourced straight from the coasts of North Wales.

Where to drink: Warm up after spending all day on the beach at Cadwaladers. This cafe serves up a delicious selection of freshly brewed loose-leaf teas and coffees.

Find out more about Talhenbont Hall >

12. Book a stay in a quirky chapel conversion in North Yorkshire

Location: Harrogate

Price: From £2,192 for three nights.

Harrogate Cottage is a luxury yet quirky chapel conversion just outside of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Sleeping up to ten guests, it’s ideal for big families, special occasions and gathering your friends together. The vintage furnishings throughout the house makes it a unique and memorable place to stay; you’ll probably spend ages looking at all the intricate details of every room. The chapel is ideally located for those who want to explore the Yorkshire Dales, so pack your walking gear!

If you do one thing: Ever fancied having a go at llama trekking? At Nidderdale Llamas you can explore the picturesque Yorkshire Dales, with a friendly llama as your walking companion. It’s great for children but we imagine parents will love it too.

Where to eat: William & Victoria is a modern restaurant in Harrogate, serving delicious British classics. Smoked Scottish salmon, pan-fried venison and roasted hake fillets are just a few of the tasty dishes available.

Where to drink: All Bar One is a lively chain bar in Harrogate with a great choice of cocktails, beers and wines.

Find out more about Harrogate Cottage >

13. Stay in a former coastguard lookout in Kent

Location: Kent

Price: £1,159 for three nights.

Coastguard Lookout is a luxury seaside retreat with a difference. This former lookout has been converted into a stylish and comfortable accommodation for five guests, with gorgeous sea views from every level. The great thing about this holiday home is that you are just steps away from the water’s edge. Enjoy a hearty breakfast on the patio, and then spend the rest of the day splashing about on the beach – great fun for families of all ages.

If you do one thing: If you’ve got good weather while you’re away, make sure to take a stroll along the scenic Dungeness National Nature Reserve. In the spring and summer months, it’s home to beautifully vibrant wildflower meadows.

Where to eat: After a day of exploring the coast, head over to the Dungeness Snack Shack to refuel with a nice selection of freshly-cooked fish and seafood dishes.

Where to drink: For refreshing beers and ales, or simply just a good cup of coffee, pop into Britannia Inn. Its homely atmosphere makes it a great place to relax and refuel.

Find out more about Coastguard Lookout >