Five more well-designed UK holiday homes
With so much natural beauty to explore in the UK, it can be hard to know where to start. And then, where to end up. When you enjoy architecture as much as we do, narrowing down the search to well-designed homes can make the task of choosing a place to retreat to that little bit easier. Expanding on our previous article, we highlight five more of the UK’s most acutely designed holiday lets, giving them a shortcut to your shortlist.
Life House is located amidst the remote and unspoilt rolling hills of mid Wales, allowing guests to completely remove themselves from everyday freneticism. Designed by RIBA award-winning architectural designer John Pawson, in collaboration with Living Architecture founder Alain de Botton, it was created as a calm and reflective place to spend time in. Life House uses a succinct array of materials – brick, wood and terrazzo – along with a paired-back colour palette to create a supportive sense of warmth and intimacy throughout.
Set over one level, this spacious place is part submerged into the hillside and stretches across the landscape too, to form a warren of interior spaces. A cavernous chamber with retractable glazed roof provides one of many contemplation areas, whilst views over the Welsh valley can be enjoyed from large picture windows – and even from the bath. Adding further creative kudos to the area itself, Life House is located at a point where many of the routes undertaken by walking artist, Hamish Fulton, meet.
The London-based Rodić Davidson Architects are behind North Vat – a striking two-bedroom holiday home on the East Kent coast. Constructed to replace a former fisherman’s cottage, it is comprised of three cabins which are linked by a glazed entrance corridor. The main block takes shape as a two-storey space, with an open-plan living area and master bedroom, whilst the smaller huts contain a study and a second bedroom.
North Vat’s dark-stained exterior was inspired by the bitumen-stained walls of the area’s fishing huts. Situated in Dungeness, it’s in good company, as a handful of other architecturally appealing properties also reside within this unusual landscape. As Britain’s only desert, it’s easy to see why this vast stretch of shingle is a draw for artists, aesthetes and adventurers alike.
Architect Patrick Michell was so enchanted with this particular patch of secluded Norfolk that he decided to create the perfect lakeside hideaway here. He envisaged a modern structure, and took inspiration from chalets and boat sheds for Backwater’s pitched roof-line and cedar shingle cladding. His award-winning architect firm, Platform 5, undertook the project, and created a home that blends both contemporary and natural design beautifully.
The generous veranda includes a sheltered canopy area, so you can be outside whatever the weather, and connects to the wrap-around deck for instant over-water access. Huge picture windows ensure plenty of lagoon views, whilst a wood-burning fire make it an atmospheric retreat all year round. Backwater’s location in Broadland Carr woodland makes it a prime spot for wildlife too – keep an eye out for the family of otters who also call this lagoon home.
Rink Hill is situated on the 500-acre site of Rink Farm, which has been family owned and managed for three generations. Stuart Davidson Architecture undertook the award-winning project, which focussed on natural and local materials in its design. The build utilised recycled local whin stone, timber sourced from less than 400 metres away, and six specially selected Douglas firs that were stacked and seasoned for two years prior to construction.
Set on a south-facing slope in the scenic Scottish Borders, this contemporary lodge offers knock-out views over the Tweed Valley from its expansive curvature of windows. Indeed, Rink Hill has been designed with the views very much in mind; when you’re not enjoying them from the living room or bedroom, you could be taking them in from the bath or the outdoor hot tub. Meanwhile, a restrained interior colour palette and natural timbers invite a true sense of calm.
This RIBA-awarded construction perches over the River Ysgir in Wales, just a few miles from the Brecon Beacons National Park. Ty Hedfan was designed by Featherstone Young, who took inspiration from the traditional Welsh long house form for its design, whilst giving creative consideration to the site’s topographical constraints. The result is a three-bedroom holiday home that honours and explores its natural surrounds, whilst maintaining a markedly contemporary and comfortable aesthetic, inside and out.
The large living area floats over the river, with floor-to-ceiling windows giving views into the treetops, while two external decks offer riverside respite. A log-fuelled fire is on hand to keep things cosy in the winter, or paddle in the waters below over the summer months. Sustainable design was a key component of Ty Hedfan’s build, and so solar panels, green roofs, heat pumps and water recycling were fitted as standard.