If you’re dreaming of escaping to a thatched cottage in a storybook village surrounded by rolling hills, then you’re probably imagining the Cotswolds. Its idyllic landscape is peppered with charming Airbnbs that give you a taste of quiet country life in England. Here are Culture Trip’s favourites.
Hidden away in a thicket of trees on the edge of a private fishing lake, this striking contemporary lodge sleeps two and promises a peaceful getaway. A deck hovers over the tranquil waters so you can cast a line, crack open a beer and settle in to wait for that telltale ripple. The sleek interior is drenched in light through floor-to-ceiling windows, though there are no curtains, so be sure to bring an eye mask if you’re not an early riser. Romantic evenings can be spent cosying up by the log burner before crashing in the king-size bed.
Hole up in this converted Georgian barn, where you can wake up to the clucking of roaming hens and dig into fresh eggs in a farmhouse-style kitchen. Set on manicured grounds among green shrubbery, the building retains its historic charm with original stonework and wooden beams. Inside, a light and airy bedroom decked out with antique pine furnishings can sleep two, while the sitting room includes a TV, DVD player and iPod docking station for evening entertainment. Take a wander over to the nearby Lamb Inn for a hearty pub lunch and a pint of hoppy Real Ale.
This elegant townhouse is larger than it looks, with five stylishly decorated rooms, an open-plan kitchen and dining area and colourful living room with a wood burner for chilly nights. One bedroom sits at the end of the garden, with an en-suite bathroom and heated floors, while the rest span the upper floors, each with eccentric touches like monkey wallpaper, duck-leg-shaped lamps and large velvet headboards. Escape here with family or friends, and tuck into dinners on the extendable dining table or head out to explore the city.
Set high on a hillside overlooking the Forest of Dean, this cabin is handcrafted from reclaimed wood. Within its snug interior (sleeping only two), you will find vintage decor and furnishings – think an old suitcase tucked under the Victorian bed, shelves overflowing with books and old-world photos on the walls. There is an electric hob inside, or you can make the most of the deck, which is kitted out with a wood-fired pizza oven, fairy lights and rattan furniture so you can spend an idyllic evening making and devouring pizza under the stars.
Wedged between delightfully crooked roofs in the sleepy market town of Bradford-on-Avon, this 18th-century property exudes classic elegance. Up to four can stay in its bright rooms, sinking into plush memory-foam mattresses, reading a book in a studded leather armchair or savouring long lie-ins (thanks to blackout blinds and original wooden shutters). Gaze out of the large windows at the town’s medieval stone bridge or head down to explore the picturesque canal paths, award-winning restaurants and traditional pubs that sit a stone’s throw away.
Behind the sandy-hued stone walls of this 17th-century cottage, you’ll find a whitewashed interior with curved timber beams, botanical art and plants blooming from rattan pots. Sleeping four in total, the two snug-but-airy bedrooms look out onto the postcard-worthy village of Kingham and are filled with natural light. In the mornings, you can wake yourself up with a coffee from the blush-pink kitchen’s espresso machine and soak up the sun at the garden’s bistro-style table and chairs. On rainy days, the living room’s pheasant-patterned sofa offers a pillowy spot to lounge in front of the wood burner.
Put yourself in the pointed Regency-era shoes of Jane Austen as you descend through a floral courtyard into her former family home. Curiosity-clad shelves, artfully distressed cupboards and a vintage gallery wall await you inside the living room – which also doubles as both study and dining room with its leather-topped Victorian writing desk, antique rosewood dining table and Indian caned chairs. Deeper inside, you’ll find a marble-topped kitchen with a wine cooler and espresso machine, and two bedrooms, one housed in Austen’s old kitchen. Typewriters, original Georgian panelling and stone floors all nod to its storied past, while modern amenities like smart TVs, sound systems and rainfall showers keep it practical and luxurious.
Wake up to the sound of gushing water cascading over the weir and look out at the Palladian-style arches of Pulteney Bridge in this 18th-century flat. Set on the riverfront in the heart of Bath, this elegant property can sleep up to six people soundly with room-darkening shades, plush beds and tufted headboards – one also includes an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower. Hours are sure to be lost lounging on the velvet sofas and zebra-print chairs in the living room, sipping on champagne (kept cool in a copper ice bucket from the adjoining kitchen) and catching up with your friends or family.
This honey-hued sandstone cottage, set in the peaceful village of Long Compton, is an enchanting combination of exposed walls, weathered wood and neutral tones. A sky-blue door framed by thick ivy and flourishing shrubbery welcomes you in, leading to a bright kitchen-dining area with a reading nook and breakfast table. Recline in the cosy living room – decked out with a beige sofa, stag-patterned armchair and aged-leather chaise longue – or head up for forty winks in one of the two bedrooms. Out back, the bucolic garden includes a BBQ grill and picnic table for dinner under the stars.