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10 divine holiday cottages to book now for autumn

If you didn't have sharp enough elbows to get your summer holiday staycation nailed, fear not. Here are the holiday rentals to book now for an autumn weekend escape

Thinking of escaping for a sneaky little autumn stay-cay once the summer rush is over… Great minds! We’ve hand-picked some fabulous rentals, from coastal cottages to country manors, which are perfect for whatever you’ve got in mind, whether it’s a romantic bolthole for two or a party pad for 20.

If these don’t fit the bill, search our curated selection of accommodation around England with Muddy Stilettos’ Weekend Escapes. It’s our gift to you – the perfect tool for putting together a dreamy weekend away, including where to stay and eat and what to do while you’re not quaffing.

Just the two of us  

It doesn’t get any more private than a lodge for two on the edge of Exmoor… but don’t think we’re suggesting a tin shepherd’s hut on a hillside. We’re not! Kentisbury Grange near Barnstaple, Devon is a sumptuous country house hotel, with waterside cottages for lovebirds, complete with hot tubs. And if the ‘self-catering’ bit sounds too much like hard work, The Coach House restaurant is on hand to furnish you with British pub classics, including fish and chips and Exmoor burgers. It’s 20 minutes to the North Devon coast, and the likes of Woolacombe and Saunton so that’s accommodation, food and activities – sorted.

Continuing on the water theme, how about going one step further and sleeping in a floating cabin, surrounded by 130 acres of secluded lakes and forest? Chigborough Farm near Maldon in Essex, with its water-based cabins, camping and glamping, may feel remote but the site has a farm shop, tea room, pottery studio, fishing lakes, yoga studio and a Michelin Guide restaurant, Rubino Kitchen. Guests are free to row around and explore the lakes, but there’s also bike hire, with the option to head out all the way along the Blackwater Estuary to the sea. Specifics change from cabin to cabin but highlights include a hot tub, barbecue and fire pit, kitchen facilities, and telescope for stargazing.

Or if it’s a trip to the coast you’re hankering after, Admiralty Cottage in East Wittering, Sussex offers up a gorgeous getaway in the heart of East Wittering village close to shops, cafes, and the beach front. Originally built as one of the coastguard’s cottages, Admiralty Cottage has two bedrooms and sleeps four people – with a four poster bed in one room and bunk beds in the other. The feature fireplace and log burner keeps thing cosy – perfect for cool autumn evenings. It’s part of the Wellies and Windbreaks collection, which you can check out for other gorgeous options.

Wellies and Windbreaks, Admiralty Cottage, East Wittering

Need some R&R? We’ve got just the spot. At the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, Retreat Barn has luxe accommodation, hooting owls to soothe you to sleep and a wood fired hot tub. If you really want to ramp up the feelgood factor, you could book a private pilates session in the Retreat Studio (or just enjoy a coffee from the Nespresso machine while sitting on the deck and enjoying the views. There are fab gastropubs and eateries galore in the area and for keen walkers, there’s even a boot and coat dryer if the weather doesn’t play ball.

Nearest and dearest

When you picture ‘The Garden Cottage‘ at Bookham in Surrey, you’d be forgiven for imagining a modest little Hobbit-affair tucked away amid the dog roses, but this is more like a petite manor house. The three bedroom property also has two bathrooms, a kitchen/diner and sitting room with an open fire, and of course, its own private garden. You’re in the shadow of the main Edwardian house at Polesden Lacey, and guests have free access to Polesden’s house, gardens and grounds, which offer plenty of waymarked trails through woodland and over rolling hills.

Rutland Retreats offers two and three-bed self-catering accommodation in its gorgeous and sustainable lodges on the grounds of Barnsdale Lodge Hotel in Rutland. Each one has a log burner, patio, private gardens, and fully fitted kitchen. Plus dogs are welcome, and will no doubt appreciate the epic walking on offer in Rutland, which, did you know, is England’s smallest county?

If you’re looking for a luxury break, Braywood House is damn near perfect. The village of Winkfield is a stone’s throw from Windsor, Bray, Marlow, Ascot and more. In other words, its situated plum in Berkshire’s well-heeled gorgeousness. Flint-faced, with Bath stone detailing, the house itself is breathtakingly stylish and sleeps eight in four bedrooms. There’s 10 acres of forestry and gardens with a zip wire, treehouse and fire pit for nights round the campfire toasting marshmallows. If that’s not fancy enough, the on-site team can organise a private chef as well as spa therapists. Aside from the cool interiors and abundance of home tech, there’s a gym, outside dining with its own chandelier and you’re free to roam the Crown Estate forest (Shhh! Braywood has special permission to do this).

Party pads

The Hyde in the aptly named Stoke Bliss in Worcestershire is the ultimate party palace, with nine drop-dead gorgeous bedrooms sleeping 12, all beautifully decorated with antique furniture and full of period details – several have roll-top baths. A further eight people can be accommodated in the dreamy cottage next door. Expect massive kitchens with all the mod cons plus outside there’s a tennis court, ping-pong table and croquet set, ‘well stocked trout lake’ and – get this – a private miniature steam railway! They are both part of the 1,200 acre Netherwood Estate on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire borders, along with the sister house, The Freeth, which has its own indoor, heated swimming pool as well as nine bedrooms. Also on the Estate is the highly regarded Pensons, open from Wednesdays to Sundays. 

This rock ‘n’ roll glamour pad on the outskirts of Holt, near the North Norfolk Coast, is the stuff of disco dreams. It sleeps 42 people in 17 bedrooms – each as wildly eccentric as the next. Voewood was built in 1903 – the Arts & Crafts house is hidden in 11 acres of magical gardens and wild woodlands, so there’s beaches and walks galore as well as the pretty Georgian town of Holt with its bookshops, cafes and homeware goodies. The Banqueting Hall can seat up to 120, and did we mention the red games room/library, conference room/yoga space, large country kitchen with double Aga?

If the School House Rooms conjure images of a Victorian affair, with lines for bad behaviour, then we’re relieved/sorry to burst that bubble – no teachers to spoil your midnight feast here. Overlooking the village green in Waterbeach (four miles north of Cambridge) the main house has six ensuite rooms, plus there’s The Lodge, a two-bedroom detached property with its own garden. For good times, you could go racing at Newmarket, take to the punts on The Cam, check out a fabulous local place to eat, or cook up your own feast in The Lodge’s kitchen. For those staying in the main house, breakfast is included – and it’s got rave reviews (yay!).

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