Britain’s quirkiest holiday homes

The dovecote

The Ducket, Bamburgh, Northumberland (sleeps 2, from £630 per week)
01668 213336;
Overlooking Budle Bay and the approach to Holy Island, this 18th-century dovecote takes the form of a 65ft-high watchtower. Restored with a specially designed staircase, it recently scooped Unique Holiday Cottages’ Best Unique Retreat award

The pigsty
The Pigsty, Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire (sleeps 2, from £431)
01628 825920;
Inspired by his 1880s Mediterranean travels, Squire Barry of Fyling Hall built this rustic temple to house his pigs, with a Gothic cottage nearby for their keepers. ‘The “rooting-up” habits which pigs no doubt have inherited from their progenitors… must be counteracted by sound work… and the use of the strongest materials,’ instructed A. D. Clarke in 1899. Minimal additions and the insertion of glass have transformed it into a cosy house with wonderful views through the colonnade towards the bay

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The walled garden buildings
The Pineapple, Dunmore Park, Stirlingshire (sleeps 4, from £411)
01628 825920;
This delicious confection, dated 1761, was built for the 4th Earl of Dunmore as a pavilion overlooking the south walled garden flanked by gardeners’ bothies. The prickly dome was added in 1777, after Lord Dunmore had been expelled by rebellious colonists from his post as the last governor of Virginia. The pineapple was a popular artistic and symbolic motif, and here also refers to the New World tradition of sailors putting one on the gatepost to announce their return home.

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The water tower
The Water Tower, Trelissick, Near Truro, Cornwall (sleeps 2, from £471)
0844 800 2070;
With a circular room on each of four floors served by a narrow spiral stair, this former reservoir for Trelissick House, built in about 1865, stands in wooded gardens, amid 400 acres of National Trust land, above the estuary of the River Fal

The arms store
The Magazine, Sedgeford, Norfolk (sleeps 5, from £795)
0845 090 0194;
It was built in 1642 by Royalist Sir Hamon le Strange of Hunstanton Hall to resemble a chapel, thereby masking its purpose of storing arms during the Civil War


The lighthouse
Beacon Cottage (sleeps 6, from £924) and Landward Cottage (sleeps 5, from £862), Start Point, Devon
01386 701177;
Built in 1863, this operational lighthouse and former lighthouse keepers’ cottages stand on the headland above Start Bay between Dartmouth and Salcombe. Beacon Cottage is on the left; Landward Cottage adjoins the tower

The apple store
Wood Cottage, Durgan, near Falmouth, Cornwall (sleeps 2, from £357)
0844 800 2070;
Built in 1912 for the Glendurgan estate, this thatched timber cabin stands on the edge of a small wood with views through the trees to the Helford River. The estate, with its beautiful valley gardens, is now owned by the National Trust. The hamlet of Durgan, on the north bank of the Helford, retains the atmosphere of old-fashioned seaside holidays

The dairy
Pond Cottage, Endsleigh, near Tavistock, Devon (sleeps 5, from £499)
01628 825920;
Jeffrey Wyatville’s dairy cottage, about 1809, with octagonal dairy on the knoll above, is set in Repton’s Dairy Dell

The banqueting house

The Summerhouse, Eyton-on-Severn, Shropshire (sleeps 2, from £697)
0845 090 0194;
This Elizabethan octagonal banqueting tower, originally one of a pair, was built in about 1595 for Sir Francis Newport of Eyton Hall

The rabbit catchers’ house
The Warren House, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire (sleeps 2, from £425)
01628 825920;
Built in about 1620 for Kimbolton Castle, which has kept warreners since the 14th century, the eyecatcher façade may be by Vanbrugh, Thomas Archer or Robert Adam

The boathouse
The Boathouse, Rosehaugh Estate, near Fortrose,
Ross-shire (sleeps 4, from £570)
01723 373461;
Huge Rosehaugh House was demolished in 1959, but many of its model estate buildings survive in wooded grounds overlooking the Moray Firth. The boathouse, about 1900, was restored in 2005

The estate laundry
Red Kite House, Rosehaugh Estate, near Fortrose, Ross-shire (sleeps 10, from £560 for Osprey, £400 for Red Squirrel)
01723 373461;
Dating from about 1900 in William Flockhart’s English Arts-and-Crafts style, this laundry has been divided into Osprey (ground floor, sleeps 6) and Red Squirrel (first floor, sleeps 4)

The water mill
Brinkburn Mill, Near Rothbury Northumberland (sleeps 4, from £472)
01628 825920;
Built in about 1800 on the site of its medieval predecessor beside the River Coquet, this former cornmill serves as an eyecatcher for 19th-century Gothic Brinkburn Manor. Wheel and grinding stones survive

The poultry yard
Poultry Cottage, Leighton, Powys (sleeps 4, from £346)
01628 825920;
Built 1861 on John Naylor’s model estate, the poultry keeper’s cottage stands beside the (now disused) fowl house that inspired the royal poultry house at Windsor

The stable block

Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire (sleeps 49 in total, from £540 for four-bed cottage)
01948 662876; Edward Blore’s Eliza-bethan-style stable complex of 1837 has been divided into nine cottages sleeping between four and 10

The windmill
Cley Windmill, Norfolk (sleeps 20
in total, from £139 per night B&B)
01263 740209;
On the quay looking out over saltmarshes to Blakeney Point, the windmill of about 1810 (sleeps 12), its longhouse (2) and boathouse (2) are B&Bs, with self-catering at Christmas/New Year. The Dovecote (4) is self-catering

The kennels
Kennels Clubhouse, Goodwood, West Sussex
01243 755132;
Built for £6,000 by James Wyatt in 1787, the central cubic block was the huntsman’s house and the wings heated ‘lodges’ for the Duke of Richmond’s Hounds. Now a clubhouse for all Goodwood’s sporting members, its restaurant is also open to guests of the estate’s Goodwood Hotel

The hunting tower
The Hunting Tower, Chatsworth, Derbyshire (sleeps 4, plus 2 in an annexe, from £1,117)
01246 565300;
Built for Bess of Hardwick in about 1582, possibly by Robert Smythson, this turreted tower perched high above Chatsworth House was a grandstand for hunting spectators and was probably used for banqueting, too

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