It looks like staycations are here to stay, with bookings for UK cottages, campsites and hotels surging well into 2021. If you’re craving something out of the ordinary as an antidote to this year’s lockdown, you’re in luck. Our little island nation is packed with unusual hotels and B&Bs in fabulous locations, from converted fire engines tucked in the mountains to converted prison cells.
Augill Castle, Cumbria
Channel King Arthur at this genuine castle in Cumbria, one of the UK’s most unusual hotels. It’s only an hour from Lancaster, York and Newcastle and a two-hour drive from Manchester and Leeds, but it takes you back in time with its period claw-footed baths, Victorian leaded windows and four-poster beds. You can even hang your clothes in turrets for wardrobes.
Old doesn’t mean uncomfortable. Augill Castle’s 13 bedrooms, suites and cottages are kitted out with a mixture of contemporary and antique furnishings, giving it a boutique-slash-family home vibe. Then there are the communal spaces to retreat to – the Hogwarts-esque Great Hall, the drawing room, the library or the restaurant and bar – before getting lost in 20 acres of grounds.
Plus, this unusual hotel scores 5/5 on our new hotel cleanliness rating, providing extra peace of mind for staycations during COVID-19.
Lion Lodge, Kent
Unusual hotels don’t get much more unusual than this. Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve is Kent’s largest wild animal park and home to 900 animals, including the UK’s biggest herd of black rhino, plus gorillas, tigers, cheetah, leopards and bears. And this luxury lodge is set right in the heart of the lion’s habitat, transporting you right into the African Savannah just two hours outside of London.
Floor-to-ceiling windows on the side of the Manhattan loft-style lodges put guests almost within prowling distance of the pride – made up of lions Adras and Oudrika, and their three cubs. You could be lounging in the open-plan living space or soaking in the tub, with a mere pane of glass separating you from these magnificent beasts. It’s a spectacular way to ethically admire them close-up, while funding the park’s important conservation work.
Lock us up and throw away the key – Malmaison Oxford boutique is one of the UK’s most unusual hotels thanks to its crime-ridden past. Each of its 95 boutiques and suites are housed in the cells of a former prison, still bearing their window bars and original doors. Its metal-clad central atrium, spanning three storeys, retains a jail cell vibe – despite the fact that the rooms are markedly more comfortable than before the building’s conversion in 1996, with drench showers and super-fast WiFi.
Don’t miss the neon-lit cocktail bar, in what was once the visitors’ room, and restaurant championing local produce – and it would be a crime not to take your after-dinner drink outside to the former Exercise Yard (garden). The building was originally a Norman castle at the beginning of its many metamorphoses, so take the time to explore the complex’s history…
To read the full article, read the original post on unusual hotels on the Skyscanner website.