Zoey Goto rounds up the most unique UK staycations for families…
Have the current travel restrictions left you yearning for a dose of adventure? Thankfully, our British shores offer plenty of fantastically quirky staycation options. Zoey Goto rounds up the best unusual minibreaks, from bedding down in a safari park to playing king of the castle at a regal sleepover.
The Coastguard Lookout, Kent (top image)
Ahoy there! Pirate spotting is a must in this stunning coastal tower, situated in Dungeness. The maritime lookout was originally built in the 1950s as a HM Coastguard radar monitoring station but has since been transformed into stylish accommodation, set out over four floors.
The views are fantastic and on a clear day you can even catch a glimpse of France. Throw open the patio doors and the beach is quite literally on your doorstep, with stretches of shingle and sea for children to explore. The lookout has a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering, or there’s local pubs within walking distance and Rye is a short drive away. A wood burning stove and underfloor heating makes this a cozy retreat in the winter months.
A 2 night stay sleeping a family of 5 from £562.
Warwick Castle, Warwick
If you’re looking to bring history to life for kids, then an overnight stay at Warwick Castle just can’t be beaten! Situated in the castle grounds, the Knight’s Village is a collection of modern wooden lodges decked out in a playful medieval style – think walls adorned with shields and faux-tapestry wallpaper in the kid’s room.
A full evening of medieval themed entertainment is included in the price of your sleepover, which involves learning jester skills, have-a-go archery and sword-fighting demonstrations. There really is never a dull moment at the Warwick Castle sleepover!
From £149 per night based on 4 people sharing a Woodland Lodge.
The Oakey Koakey Treehouse, East Sussex
Get a squirrel’s eye view of the world by staying at this chic treehouse hideaway. Set in its own patch of private woodland filled with deer, badgers and birdsong, it’s just an hour’s drive from London but feels like another world.
Inside, the treehouse is filled with creature comforts including underfloor heating, electricity, and a fully furnished bathroom and kitchen. The children’s forest-themed bedroom is a real crowd-pleaser and kids will love climbing the tree trunk ladder up into their bunk beds. Surrounding the treehouse, there are plenty of rambling fields to explore or a short drive away you’ll find the pretty village of Ticehurst. Huddle around the fire-pit in the evenings for marshmallow melting and stargazing.
From £188 per night for a family of four.
Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, Kent
If you can’t jet off to the wilds of Africa, then an overnighter at Port Lympne offers a wonderful alternative. The reserve combines a world-class safari park experience with luxurious overnight lodges, many of which overlook the animal enclosures. The lion and tiger lodges are the sleepover hot-tickets, as there’s only glass between your living space and the big cats.
The characterful conservation park is home to over 900 animals, including zebras, apes and lions, and dino-loving kids will enjoy taking a golf buggy tour through the model dinosaur forest. For an extra special stay book an animal encounter, where you can scatter feed gorillas or meet the white rhinos.
The hog deer creek shepherd’s hut sleeps 4 from £299 per night.
Stargazer Pod and Cabin, North Devon
Lie down on your backs, gaze up at the night sky and discover why The National Trust recently voted stargazing into their ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ list. This geodesic dome in Devon offers the perfect spot for kids to brush up on the constellations, whilst also providing a great play-zone regardless of the unpredictable British weather.
The sleeping accommodation is in the neighbouring cabin, which also has a modern kitchen and bathroom. Elsewhere on Loveland Farm, there’s a huge indoor heated salt-water swimming pool and further afield you’ll find surf spots and hiking trails. This is the place to come to connect with nature and soak up the vistas.
From £160 per night for a family of 6.
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