Gothic Temple, Bucks
This exquisite temple was built in 1741 and now belongs to Stowe School. It has one of the most important and beautiful landscape gardens in the country: it is one of the last additions to the garden at Stowe formed for Lord Cobham by Charles Bridgeman and his successor, William Kent. That same year, Capability Brown arrived as gardener, to begin his own transformation of the landscape. It’s got modern conveniences, though in odd places, but the heating has never really been up to much – a small price to pay for such a place, but perhaps it is best to avoid staying in winter. Three nights from £597. To book, go to bookings.landmarktrust.org.uk.
Field Cottage, Worcs
This story-book thatched cottage is set on the slopes of Bredon Hill in idyllic fields in Worcester. In addition to beautiful rural views, the cottage offers a superb chance to spot deer and other wildlife.
Surrounded by some excellent walking country, it is also close to the lovely little village of Elmley Castle – it’s not for nothing the area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The cottage is done up with comfortable luxury and is fitted with all mod cons, including a tumble dryer, TV/DVD and microwave. Perfect for an autumnal rambling holiday. Sleeps two. Rural Retreats offers three nights at Field Cottage from £386. For more information or to book, visit www.ruralretreats.co.uk or call 01386 701177.
This Grade 1 listed Doric temple rises above the lake in the famous folly gardens of Stancombe park, about 35 miles from the city of Bath.
The legend goes that in 1815 the Reverend Purnell-Edwards, the original owner of Stancombe, fell in love with a local gypsy girl and built the temple as their love-nest. The only access was through a labyrinth of tunnels which were too narrow for his plump wife to pass through.
The views are various and interesting: North Nibley Church and Tyndale’s monument, and the grounds include a Chinese tea-house and an Egyptian-style ice-house. Sleeps two, prices from £828 for three nights. For more information or to book, visit www.ruralretreats.co.uk or call 01386 701177.
Kingswear Castle, Devon
Built between 1491 and 1502 as an artillery tower, the fort at Kinsgswear was designed to work alongside Dartmouth Castle on the opposite bank so that between them they could form a complete cover of the entrance to Dartmouth Harbour.
The Trust has restored the ground floor to look as it did in 1502, with the living quarters above. The tower stands on the water’s edge and the rooms are filled with shifting reflected light. The view is the rocky coast, river, woods of maritime pine, and, of course, the sensational sea. Sleeps four. Three nights from £674. To book, go to bookings.landmarktrust.org.uk.