In a country where diversity is celebrated, it's only fitting that there's a huge variety of quirky and off-the-mainstream places to stay in Britain. From a Scottish pineapple to a remote lighthouse, here are some of the more unusual accommodation options that are just made for romantics with an eye for something different…
For booze fans: Stay in a gin distillery
On London’s famous Portobello Road (pictured above) is a 4-storey celebration of all things gin with a distillery, bar, visitor centre and ‘Lodgings’ in the style of a Victorian gin palace. In the Resting Room pub, shots are served direct from barrels above the bar and the Portobello Road Gin brand's signature spirits are distilled in a 400-litre still on-site. After a boozy day of touring and tasting (learn all about botanicals at the on-site ‘Ginstitute’), retire to one of the cosy rooms upstairs.
How to get there: 10-minute walk from Ladbroke Grove Underground station.
Beach fans: Bed down in a traditional English beach hut
Experience a most British of traditions and stay overnight in a beach hut – but with a luxury twist – at the Cary Arms boutique retreat in Devon, southwest England. Overlooking beautiful Babbacombe Bay the blue-and-white luxury huts each have a terrace with sun loungers. Other fun features include Smeg fridges, portholes, and sticks of rock (a classic British seaside souvenir sweet).
How to get there: Babbacombe Bay is a 4-hour drive from London. The nearest train station is Torquay, a 10-minute drive away.
For unusual architecture lovers: Spend the night in a giant pineapple
Where better to experience British eccentricity than in a house shaped like a giant pineapple set in the Scottish countryside? Built as a summer house for the 4th Earl of Dunmore, this quirky 18th-century building is now a fully equipped 2-bedroom retreat with a private garden. Close by is the picturesque conservation village of Dunmore, perfect for a wander hand-in-hand.
How to get there: Dunmore is less than an hour’s drive from either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
For old-fashioned romantics: Hunker down in a remote lighthouse
West Usk Lighthouse is a lovingly restored remote retreat on the edge of an estuary in Wales. Built in 1821, this unusual lighthouse is wider than it is tall and features a stone spiral staircase at its centre. It was formerly used as a lookout post, and the views over the Bristol Channel are stunning, especially at sunrise and sunset. There are 4 rooms (including one with a waterbed and one with a 4-poster bed) and an outdoor hot tub so you can’t help but get hearts in your eyes.
How to get there: The lighthouse is a 15-minute drive from Newport in south Wales.
For heritage buffs: Get away from it all in a converted railway carriage
On the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, The Old Station Allerton gives the term sleeper carriage a whole new meaning. On the site of a former working railway station, 3 1960s’ first-class carriages have been converted into self-catering units. The luxurious lodgings feature the original train seats and tables as well as necessary comforts such as central heating and mini kitchens. Each has a picnic table and a BBQ outside and you can explore the surrounding private grounds.
How to get there: The Old Station Allerton is a 40-minute drive from York.