The starting pistol has been fired on domestic holidays, with less than a month until the 12 April opening up of restrictions. And with so much pent up demand for being anywhere apart from one’s own home, there looks set to be a surge in demand for cottages, villas, eco-pods, Airbnbs and good old bed and breakfasts up and down the country.
Even with the ban on non-essential international travel ending a month later on 17 May, concerns about rising Covid cases in some countries and the possibility of quarantines being enforced at short notice, it takes a brave traveller to pull the trigger on that foreign beach holiday.
So to help you get ahead of the pack, we have found some of the most spectacular, charming and downright strange properties within an hour of London listed on Airbnb.
Spiral Straw Bale Studio, near Canterbury
A circular “hand-built straw bale studio” near Canterbury with a central skylight giving you a view of the stars, this is a lovely little cottage within driving distance of Canterbury’s historic centre and the nearby beaches. With outdoor space and plenty of greenery, it’s the perfect tonic for those who have spent 12 months in the city.
Treehouse retreat, Elham
It doesn’t get much closer to nature than being 20ft up an oak tree. This “treehouse retreat” is a studio with a view, with features including the trunk of an ancient oak growing through the living space. Set on the edge of a barley field, this property is the very essence of tranquility.
The Hideout and The Hut, both near Rye
Described as a “self-built shepherds hut inspired havens”, this pair of charming Airbnb log houses have two teensy floors with some lovely features including a central wood-burning stove. They are located on a farm and promise to refill your batteries after this rotten year.
Log Cabin On The Lake, Kent
Live out your Henry David Thoreau fantasies in this ridiculously pretty lake-side cabin. You’ll wake to the sound of waterbirds while evenings will be spent watching the sunset from the terrace. There are miles of walks in the surrounding area, making it perfect for an active couple.
The Lodge, Heathfield
If you want a little activity to go alongside your slice of bucolic paradise, try The Lodge, which has all your countryside-retreat features with the added benefit of a tennis court and ping pong table. Set in the grounds of a 1664 stone built Sussex farmhouse, it has beautiful views to the South Downs and coast.
The Buzzardry, East Sussex
This amazing house-on-stilts set in a forest in East Sussex is the perfect way to let the kids burn off some energy. With three bedrooms and spectacular views, it’s a haven of green space, and creature comforts include a luxurious copper bathtub to wash away the pandemic blues.
Undercover Woodland Treehouse, West Sussex
We’re clearly fond of treehouses at City A.M. although this one is a little more rustic – a halfway house between luxury and glamping, with a canvas cover high in an old oak tree at the top of a bank looking over a stream. But don’t worry – it has a hot shower and a pub 10 minutes down the road.
Airship 001, Sussex
The strange progeny of a caravan and a retro-futurist spaceship, this “architecturally designed aluminium pod” is located in a private woodland, overlooking a dew pond and the valley below. Inside is a little more down to earth, with lots of wood and natural fibres, with one end dominated by a bulging window into the forest.
The Old Bakery, Henley Hill
This one is a little more of a traditional Airbnb, a beautiful old building recently upgraded to include all the comforts of modern life. Although it only has one bedroom, it commands 60m2 of space across two rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrasse to enjoy the lighter evenings. And best of all it’s right in the heart of the South Downs.
Unique glamping experience, near Ely & Cambridge
Finishing with a flourish, this one looks like an architect’s fever dream of a tent, with a triangular wooden structure accessed by a giant port hole bolted onto an adjoining shack. It is in fact a converted 1945 boat, which houses the bedroom, with the “boat shack” home to an “eclectic industrial style” kitchen and bathroom with walk-in shower.