Pretend that one of these beautiful homes are your own for the weekend. Cook a feast in the self-catered kitchens, go for long walks to get to know the local countryside and neighbours, or cuddle up by the fire and hide out in your very own foodie holiday cottage.
A Pinterest-pretty, one-bedroom architect conversion in the Cairngorms National Park Loch an Eilein Cottage was built in 1813. Today this old stone cottage is light and contemporary inside, with a double-fronted wood-burning stove (that’s back-to-back fires in the bedroom and living room), a quirky pencil point bed, white tongue-and-groove walls and a charming window seat looking out onto the neighbouring loch.
The open-plan kitchen is well kitted-out for cooks (although a private chef can also be spirited in) but if you want to eat out, the cottage’s website has a whole section for foodies, listing the local culinary hotspots. Right on your doorstep there’s The Druie in Rothiemurchus, a rustic café (decorated by the same designer as the cottage) with a wood-burner, delicious homemade soups and a farm shop selling produce from the Rothiemurchus Estate.
Legendary homemade cake stop The Potting Shed in Inshriach is just ten minutes away by car while you can tuck into Alpine staples such as belt-busting tartiflette at the Mountain Café in nearby Aviemore – or hunker around an open fire with a plate of beetroot and dill-cured salmon or a steak at the dog-friendly Old Bridge Inn.
Sleeps two, from £1,050 per week; lochaneileincottage.com
In the craggy Lakeland fells above Coniston you can bed down in Beatrix Potter’s old home, Yew Tree Farm, and eat at her original dining table. The cosy 17th-century, Grade II listed farmhouse has bags of character and is still decked out with some of her furniture – think dark oak panelling, roaring fires and a traditional kitchen – as well as more contemporary additions, including a barbecue and hot tub.
You might recognise the farmhouse from Miss Potter, the 2006 film adaptation of the author’s life, starring Rene Zellweger and Ewan McGregor (Yew Tree Farm was used as one of the set locations). Today it is still a working farm and Herdwick sheep and Belted Galloway cattle graze the meadows and fells outside its door.
Stay over and you can collect eggs for breakfast from the farm’s hens – and put in your order for dinner from Heritage Meats, which is based on the farm and specialises in Herdwick hogget and mutton and Belted Galloway beef.
Sleeps six, from £587 per week; heartofthelakes.co.uk
The Fish Store, by the harbour at the tiny Cornish fishing village of Mousehole, was once a pilchard-packing factory. These days – in fact for the last century – it has been the characterful holiday home of the same family – one of whom is food writer Lindsey Bareham.
For the ultimate holiday cottage cookbook, turn to Bareham’s book, also called The Fish Store, which features recipes relating to the house and harbour. Unsurprisingly, this coastal retreat, with its seaside-chic vibe, has shelves crammed with cookery books, a sprawling open-plan kitchen and a barbecue outside perfect for a seafood grill.
The house is a short stroll down to the harbour where you can pick up crab fresh off the boats. Guests also receive a gourmet welcome hamper on arrival and there’s no shortage of places to eat out in this foodie corner of west Cornwall. In Mousehole there’s The Old Coastguard Hotel, for a start, while in Newlyn, just round the coast, you’ve got Ben Tunnicliffe’s gastropub, the Tolcarne Inn.
Sleeps 10, from £1,550 per week; thefishstore.uniquehomestays.com
If the idea of an eco cottage conjures images of composting toilets and windows slung with dreamcatchers Nantwen will challenge your preconceptions. This one-bedroom converted cowshed, surrounding by wildflower meadows outside the seaside village of Newport, may have solar panels and a biomass boiler but it’s also smart and stylish, with a slate-tiled wet room, restful white walls, goose-down duvets and heated wooden floors.
Owned by a jeweller and a cellist, there’s a creativity about Nantwen that extends to the food. The couple have won awards for their handmade chocolate (their raw cacao-based bars come in five different flavours, including peanut butter, fig and raspberry) and, while a carefully hand-picked welcome pack is still provided, guests also now have the chance to pre-order homemade cakes and breads, artisan hot chocolate, local apple juice, granola, eggs, bacon, cheese, milk and more.
Sleeps two, from £495 per week; nantwen.co.uk
You won’t need to swing by a supermarket on your way to the handful of farm cottages at Lodge Farm. They’re set on the same estate as the award-winning Suffolk Food Hall. The “Champion of Champions” in what have been dubbed the Countryside Alliance’s Rural Oscars, this cattle barn turned farm shop is within walking distance of all three cottages here – The Dairy (sleeps 6), the Parlour (sleeps 4) and the Buttery (sleeps 2).
The shop stocks everything a hungry holidaymaker could want, with an on-site butcher (selling pork from the farm’s pigs and beef from the farm’s Red Poll cattle), baker, deli, fishmonger and chocolatier to choose from. No fewer than 222 local suppliers sell their good there, among them an old dairy farm down the road that prodices Mature Shipcord, a traditionally produced cheese.
Also on site is a café and restaurant with seasonally changing farmhouse menus. There’s even a cookery school if you fancy putting on an apron for a bread-making workshop.
From £305 per week for The Buttery, £520 per week for The Parlour, and £760 per week for The Dairy; lodgefarmsuffolk.co.uk
A cosy, two-bedroom traditional farmyard cottage with its own hens (that’s breakfast sorted), a wood-burning stove and an orchard outside the door, The Piggery is one of three self-catering options on TV presenter Kate Humble’s farm in rural Monmouthshire – other choices are the converted Hayloft and the Humble Hideaway, an off-grid shepherd’s hut; both sleep two.
If solitude is what you’re seeking there’s no obligation to muck in but if you want to learn a few new kitchen or animal husbandry skills while you’re there it’s a good opportunity to join one of Humble’s smallholding or cookery courses. These are held on the farm and range from hedgerow foraging to sausage-making and cooking on a wood-fired oven. As an added bonus, guests staying in the cottages get a 10 per cent discount on the courses. The farm also hosts occasional supper clubs.
Sleeps four, from £475 per week; humblebynature.com
Written by Lucy Gillmore, January 2017