Natalie French

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From its long stretches of golden sand and rugged clifftops to dramatic moors and subtropical gardens, the West Coast of England has UK holidays licked. Whilst there’s heaps of luxury hotels in the region - spanning Somerset, Devon and Cornwall - sometimes you just want rest your head somewhere a bit more… private. Here’s our pick of the best self-catering accommodation in this beautiful corner of Britain.

Perched on a hill, overlooking Fistral Bay, you’ll find the red-bricked stunner that is The Headland. Beyond the hotel, there’s coastal cottages offering everything you’d expect from the five-star hotel but with your own private space. Sea views come as standard here, what’s more you’ll enjoy unlimited use of the Five Bubble Spa, gym and new £10 million Aqua Club, complete with six pools; top tip: order an espresso martini from the infinity-edge pool and watch the sunset over the Atlantic. Upgrade to the new breakfast package to feast on a delicious 3-course breakfast on The Deck restaurant.

With its golden crescent of sand, turquoise tinged shores and the odd palm tree, the harbour town of St Ives does tropical vibes with aplomb. Art lovers flock here, too, to visit the studio and gardens of sculptor Barbara Hepworth, or take in an exhibition at the Penwith Gallery or the Tate St Ives. High on a hill, you’ll find the 72-acre Tregenna Castle Resort complete with a choice of cottages, lodges and coach houses dotted along the woodland walkways. Some occupy the castle’s original outbuildings, others have private saunas and Jacuzzis for optimal toasting. Travelling with an entourage? Properties in the Signature Collection sleep up to 12 guests. 

Forest Holiday’s Deer Park ticks all the boxes: hot tubs comes at standard – some cabins have log-burning stoves and outdoor kitchens; wildlife is in abundance - native roe deer roam the forest and Kingfisher can be spotted by the water’s edge. Plus, it’s just 15 minutes from the pretty fishing villages of Looe & Polperro on the Cornish coast. Once you’ve had your ocean fix, retreat deep into the forest to wander winding wooden trails and explore the hidden valley that lie just outside your cabin door. The best thing? Four-legged friends can come too – just ask for a pet-friendly cabin. 

Sitting in the sheltered and sunny spot of Babbacombe Bay, the views from this charming English Inn-cum-boutique hotel are breath-taking. Adjoining the Inn you’ll find the Beach Huts and Beach Suites; think: wall-to-wall glass doors, a large sunbathing terrace and uninterrupted views across the Jurassic Coast from Lyme Bay to Portland Bill. Inside mixes up coastal charm and contemporary design with bold artwork. Curl up with a glass of something sparkling by the feature fire or, if you can drag yourself away from the view, nip into Cary Spa for a heavenly Gaia treatment.

Fancy a big family getaway? Then look no further that Woodlands Farmhouse. This luxurious seven-bedroom renovated farmhouse – (sleeps up to 16, with two pull-out beds) is set in 100-acres, near Glastonbury. When it comes to aesthetics, expect restored original features, inglenook fireplaces and flagstone flooring. Along with the designer kitchen and games room – complete with table tennis and table football – activities such as cocktail making and clay pigeon shooting can be organised for you. If all the peopling gets too much, sneak off to the Sedum Spa and make a beeline for the Nordic hot tub – the perfect spot to watch the sun sink behind Glastonbury Tor.

When it comes to location, Woolacombe Beach Retreats have got it in the bag. The 30 flats and apartments, complete with patio or balcony, are just a stone’s throw from three miles of uninterrupted golden sands, arguably one of the finest beaches in the West Country. Dogs are welcome here too and tails will wag when they realise they are welcome on (parts) of the beach all year round. In the unlikely event you get bored of beach-life, there’s a heated outdoor Mini Lido to splash about in. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of running away to a secluded cabin in the woods (just me?) then this one’s for you. Located in lush Somerset countryside on an organic farm, this open-plan space is all glass and vaulted ceiling - designed to take full advantage of the nature that surrounds it. Outside, your own private garden features a fire-pit for cooler evenings and complimentary marshmallows for toasting. There’s also a wood burning hot tub offering uninterrupted views of Castle Hill. If you can manage to extract yourself from this little piece of heaven, a 15-minute stroll from the cabin you can feast at a gastro-pub, The Lord Poulett Arms. 

Built in 1872, Wyndham Trenython Manor is a grand country estate set within 24-acres of private grounds in St Austell. Dotted around the estate’s natural grounds there’s a collection of well-equipped lodges (sleeping 4-6 people), each with their own private patio – the perfect spot to sit and listen to the resident birdsong. The Eden Project is close by and well worth a visit; the futuristic biomes – effectively giant greenhouses - house an array of tropical plants from around the globe. On lazy days, the leisure club is a good shout with its heated indoor pool and cedar-clad sauna. 

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Lower Marsh Farm, the sustainably-run Kingfisher Barn has its own nature reserve and river frontage – making it a must for wildlife lovers. The stunning stone-converted barn is named after the unmistakable bright blue and orange bird found on the Salt Marsh. After a day walking along the river, woodland and shingle river tidal beach, head to the orchard to bagsy the hammock with views over Tamar Bridge. Come dusk, your own private garden has a hot tub; keep an eye (or ear) out for the resident bats and owls. 

Some of the earlier hand-built, bespoke, eco lodges in the area, Rosehill lodges come complete with grass roofs, bamboo flooring and solar-assisted water heating. Beyond their eco credentials, the Five Star Gold awarded lodges have hot tubs as standard; bubble away under the glass covered decking, counting the constellations above. Set in a wooded valley on the North Cornish Coastline, you’re just a 5-minute stroll from Porthtowan’s blue flag beach - a surfing hotspot praised for its powerful ‘hollow’ waves. Whether you’re surfing – or simply watching the surfers bob about in the Atlantic – The Blue Bar beachside après-surf café bar is worth a stop. 

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