You could say England is a land of curiosities. In Devon, there is a ‘gnome reserve’ where visitors are given a red hat and fishing rod so they will fit in. In Conwy, there is a house which is only six feet wide; while at Cerne Abbas, there is a giant figure of a naked man, carved into a hillside. If you are interested in curiosities, there are also a number of very quirky places to stay…
Gatehouse, Tewkesbury Abbey, The Cotswolds
One such place is the Gatehouse at Tewkesbury Abbey. This building, dating back to the year 1500, had fallen into a state of disrepair until it was restored by its owner in 1849. Although it only has one room, with a small part of it adapted to house a bathroom, it is an excellent base from which to explore the Cotswolds. The room is high-ceilinged and boasts a Tudor-style tiled floor and period furniture, to set the scene. A great feature is the indoor balcony, which serves as a bedroom.
Castle Cottage, West Sussex
Whilst sleeping on a balcony in a Tudor gatehouse is somewhat unusual, it’s not quite as quirky as sleeping in a tree-house, which is what you can do at Castle Cottage in West Sussex. Built into a sweet chestnut tree, the accommodation is surprisingly comfortable, whilst acknowledging its link to nature, with branches growing on either side of the double bed and faux furs to give it something of a wild feel. The en-suite shower, TV and facilities for making tea and coffee reassure you that you aren’t actually living rough.
Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
One place that possesses a different kind of wildness is the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield, just 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport. This restored coaching inn, dating back to the 15th century, offers unique rooms that all share an air of opulence. The furniture is of a Baroque design and luxuriant fabrics dress the walls, floor and bed; with oak-beamed ceilings and free-standing copper baths, these bedrooms are as far from bland as hotel rooms can get. With three restaurants, a swimming pool and two bars, decorated in the same fashion, this hotel can give you a taste of life amongst the privileged set, particularly if your visit coincides with one of the Crazy Bear’s clay shooting sessions.
Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton, Sussex
This place gives a new spin on the naughty weekend away. Enjoying a great location on one of England’s best seaside city, this small boutique guest house offers nineteen stylishly themed rooms are inspired by pop culture, music and glamour – ranging from the unusual to the erotic. One room even has a swing suspended from the ceiling and a huge circular bed. You’ll also find a popular cocktail bar and karaoke lounge. A place to consider if you like your breaks to be a little bit different.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex
Not quite lord of the manor, much more king of the castle. Amberley Castle is a genuine Norman castle again located in Sussex (there must be something in the water) is your best bet for an English castle experience complete with king-sized beds, a moat and even a working portcullis. Amberley is a genuine Norman castle with 60ft sandstone walls and a dungeon. Of course, there are no dungeon-esque conditions here and all rooms contain the luxury conveniences expected of a four-star hotel.
Even in a traditional county like England you don’t have to stray too far from the beaten track to find some beautifully quirky places to stay!