If the idea of lording it in a real castle, snuggling up in a converted railway carriage, or staying in a windmill by the sea appeals, these unusual UK hotels are for you. Dotted across the country, they also include former newspaper offices, an ex-prison and an eco hotel.
If you want to get away to the coast but fancy staying somewhere a little bit different, try one of these unsual UK hotels.
Our first choice would have to be Cley Windmill in Norfolk. You'd be hard pushed to find somewhere more romantic than a windmill to lay your head, and this has to be one of the finest. This 18th century example has been well restored and now houses an upmarket B&B, with self catering options in the old stables and boat houses. An excellent chef provides dinners on request.
For those who prefer the west country, try The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. This purpose built eco friendly establishment overlooks the beach and is the perfect grown up retreat (no children allowed at all!)
Luxury comes as standard here; most of the rooms have balconies or terraces and the infinity pool appears to stretch right into the sea. For complete pampering chill out in the spa with some Ayurvedic treatments.
Slightly further afield, in the Scilly Isles, you'll find the Star Castle Hotel. This family run property has been created from a fantastic 16th century star shaped castle on St Marys. The owner's two great passions are lobster fishing and wine and luckily you can experience both here!
Characterful windmill B&B overlooking marshes of Cley, a pretty village near shingle coast where locals swim. Good birdwatching nearby.
Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
Relaxing, purpose-designed eco-friendly hotel overlooking Mawgan Porth beach, for fabulous sunsets. No children.
Isles of Scilly
Delightful family-run hotel set in a star-shaped castle on St Marys.
Many a hotel has been created from a drafty old castle. Our two choices prove how good these can be when you get it right.
First up is Augill Castle near Kirby Stephen in Cumbria. This place is stuffed with antiques, four poster beds and roll top baths, but it is the ambience that really gets you.
More like a home from home, children and dogs are welcome (they run a kids cookery school), and dinner is taken round a huge communal oak table.
Swinton Park in Yorkshire is a more traditional affair, though it too boasts a cookery school (for adults this time). Family owned and run, it is set in 200 acres complete with lakes and walled garden.
The focus here is on luxury without the pretentions. Food is award winning and the spa is perfect for relaxation after a day exploring the moorland Dales.
nr Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
Eccentric, fabulous family castle hotel stuffed with antiques and four posters in pretty rural setting midway between the Lake District and the Dales. Good base for expeditions if you have a car. Excellent for children and families.
Impressive castle hotel with a relaxed atmosphere and award-winning cuisine and cookery school. Set in a 200 acre park, ideal for families, packed with activities, plus a spa.
The idea of a themed hotel usually conjures up nightmare scenarios, where tastelessness predominates. Our selection of unusual UK hotels with a theme would beg to differ.
The Scotsman has been created from the offices of said newspaper in the heart of Edinburgh. The hotel maintains the newspaper theme (you can even spend the night in the Editor's office), but effortlessly combines old and new - think Victorian oak panelling along side ultra modern glass and steel and you'll get the picture. In addition it has fabulous food (Michelin starred), great health club, spa and private cinema.
The Avaitor at Farnborough airport is another highly successful example of a theme hotel. With top end design throughout it is an unusual getaway for urbanites not wanting to stray too far from the big smoke! A must is the Sky Bar where you can watch the planes with a glass of something bubbly in your hand.
If railways are more your thing, then we can suggest the Old Railway Station in West Sussex. Situated just outside Petworth, this is as close as you'll get in a B&B to the Orient Express! Book a room in one of the carriages or the old station for the full effect.
Former HQ for the Scotsman newspaper, large-ish on North Bridge road. Come for Michelin star restaurant, close promiximty to Princes St and a world-class gym. Chic interiors in traditional rooms.
Designer hotel at Farnborough airfield, booked full during the Air Show. Sleek and opulent, it's an unusual luxury getaway for urbanites, as well as an impressive conference location.
As close as you’ll get, in a b&b, to the romance of the Orient Express. Quirky property for train lovers, just outside Petworth. Book a room on the old station or in a carriage.
While most of our unusual hotels have been scattered across the country, we managed to find a couple in Oxforshire.
The first is in Oxford itself. The Malmaison has been created from what was originally the prison. Imaginatively transformed this is now a quirky, yet luxurious hotel in the centre of town.
Converted cells are now modern bedrooms with original doors and window bars still in evidence! The Exercise Yard has become an attractive outside space and you can enjoy pre dinner drinks in what was once the Visitors' room. An experience to say the least!
Our other selection here is the Crazy Bear Hotel in Stadhampton. This eccentric creation was originally an old coaching inn.
Now the reception is a double decker bus, champagne flows from a tap in the bar, there are pink padded walls and leopard print carpet in the restaurant and bedrooms are quirky to say the least. It is a must see, if you like things slightly out of the ordinary!
Oxford (3 New Road)
Spectacular central atrium in this classic Malmaison, a castle and former prison. Sleep in converted cells, ultra modern with some original fittings. Good brasserie food.
Padded pink walls and leopard print carpet. Eclectic, eccentric – a one off converted coaching inn just outside Oxford, for wacky weekends away.
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