Cosy winter escapes outside the City of London

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Cosy winter escapes outside the City of London
credit Unsplash

Winter has arrived! And while the City is wonderful at this time of year, sometimes you just can’t beat an escape to the countryside.

There are tonnes of cosy cottages around the UK – with hideaways perfect for couples, families and friends; nature-lovers, luxury-seekers and those simply wanting peace and quiet.

But where to go? To help you find your ideal hideaway, we’ve rounded up some of the most idyllic spots in the country.

Soon enough, you’ll be waking up to gorgeous frosty mornings where everything sparkles; you’ll be warming your toes in front of a crackling fire after strolling around a beautiful landscape, and you’ll be enjoying a large glass of wine in your own private hot tub. Sounds great, right?

Read on to discover some of our favourite countryside hideaways outside of the City.

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credit Boutique Retreats, Matthew Heritage

Hartley Hare, Yorkshire

This one is for the wildly romantic – a gloriously renovated barn escape for two in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Think, exquisite views, sumptuous interiors, and – the oh-so-important – bubbling hot tub. Bliss!

The beautiful Grade II-listed hideaway dates to the 15th century, and so is brimming with both character and charm. Though old, it possesses all the luxuries you need to make your stay idyllic, including underfloor heating, two wood-burners (one inside, and one out), comfy velvet furniture, and a dreamy bedroom.

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credit Boutique Retreats, Matthew Heritage

Located near the market town of Settle, but away from the hustle and bustle, Hartley Hare is the perfect place to explore the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, as well as the Forest of Bowland and the Lake District – two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It’s a wonderful bolthole for those seeking seclusion and respite from busy City life.
From £828, boutique-retreats.co.uk

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The Tower, exterior ©National Trust, Mike Henton

Blickling Tower, Norfolk

Want to stay in your very own Rapunzel tower? Well, you can! Blickling Tower is truly something special, making it the ideal place for families and lovers of unique stays. Though it might not look like a cottage on the outside, it has all the cosy features of one on the inside – with an added touch of luxury.

Formerly the Earl of Buckinghamshire’s race stand, the renovated accommodation maintains its fine period style, with original features including large arched windows and a quirky spiralling staircase. If the weather is cold during your stay, we recommend heading into main sitting room, loading up the log-burner and whiling away an evening sitting by the flames reading or chatting with your companions.

To view the gorgeous Blickling parklands, head up to the Tower’s roof terrace – rolling fields and thick woodlands stretch out towards the wonderful Norfolk coast.

Beyond the Tower’s walls, there are plenty of walking and cycling trails to explore, as well as local ales to be sampled in the estate’s country pub, The Buckinghamshire Arms. Just a 20-minute drive away, you’ll find sandy beaches and cliff top paths along the coast, and 20 miles away, the idyllic Blakeney National Nature Reserve. If you fancy a trip into civilisation, The Georgian market town of Aylsham can be reached within a 30-minute walk or five-minute drive.
From £649, nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays

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Dover’s Rise credit Boutique Retreats, Oliver Grahame

Dover’s Rise, Chipping Campden

What can we say about Dover’s rise? Well, it’s charming from every angle, inside and out. Made from a gorgeous sand-coloured cobbled brick, the exterior is simply stunning – as well as the views.

Walk round to the back of the property, and you will discover a wonderful patio and terrace – complete with wicker sofas to socialise on, fairy lights for ambience and a simmering hot tub to chill out in, you won’t want to go inside!

You’d be missing out however, because the interiors are as beautiful as the outside – bright, airy and with modern features, all ten bedrooms are decorated with chic and rustic features, in harmony with the unique setting.

This calming retreat is ideal for large gatherings and families with dogs, perfectly located to explore the beauty of Cotswold life. Located just minutes away from a lovely 17th century inn and a short drive to the heart of Chipping Campden town, Dover’s Rise is a sanctuary for lovers of both comfort and the outdoors.
From £2,326, boutique-retreats.co.uk

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Ivy Cottage credit Boutique Retreats, Oliver Grahame

Ivy Cottage, Castleton

Set within the rolling hills of the Peak District’s Hope Valley, and with panoramic views, Ivy Cottage offers a retreat to nature that will have you never wanting to leave. From its climbing roses to its beautiful stone mullion windows, it’s picture-perfect in every way.

When you step inside, you’ll discover warmth in every room – three sumptuous bedrooms and a fabulous garden to kick back in. Inside, we suggest cuddling up in the living room in front of the roaring log burner, borrowing a boardgame and sharing some laughs with your loved ones! Also in the living room, you’ll also find two squishy armchairs, which are perfect for getting cosy with a book or your favourite music.

On your doorstep you’ll find a number of walks and bike rides to embark on, as well as activities like hand-gliding, rock-climbing and caving – for the super adventurous. If you love hiking, make sure to visit the imposing Mam Tor (known as the ‘shivering mountain’) and the limestone canyon of Winnats Pass.
From £1,275, boutique-retreats.co.uk

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The Apple Store – Exterior credit National Trust, John Miller

The Apple Store, Falmouth

Good things come in small packages, and that is certainly the case with The Apple Store, based in Cornwall. Tiny, but equipped with everything you need for a short break, it will win you over with its sweetness and charm.

Nestled in a large country estate above the Helford River, The Apple Store has just one bedroom, a sitting area, kitchen and bathroom, making it perfect for couples looking for a quiet retreat away from everyone and everything else. Dating back to the 19th century, the stone and slate cottage hides among the trees, and gives way to views of the river through a grassy glade.

If you want to wander into the surrounding areas, take a walk around the 11-acre estate of Bosloe, head to the beach at Durgan village, or visit the lovely town of Falmouth, just a 20-minute drive away.

Nature lovers should head further west to Penrose – a wooded area and open parkland around Cornwall’s largest natural lake, Loe Pool. There’s also a stretch of sandy coastline, if you fancy trying cold water swimming!
From £844, nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays

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The Lookout, Titchwell

This cottage escape might be newly built, but it’s packed full of charm and home comforts. Ideally located on the North Norfolk coast in the village of Titchwell (within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), it’s a great base for families wanting to explore the wild coastline and stunning broads.

If breezy beach walks aren’t for you, head west to the village of Thornham, a favourite with foodies – there are plenty boltholes to grab dinner and drinks in. Explore east, and you’ll find the popular towns of Brancaster, Burnham Market, Holkham, and Wells – to name a few.

Inside the property are three sophisticated bedrooms and a large and inviting open-plan living area with a contemporary kitchen, welcoming dining area and comfortable lounge. The master bedroom even comes with a Juliette balcony, the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and view the marvellous countryside.
From £900, barefootretreats.co.uk

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