Five Unspeakably Brilliant Places to Stay in the UK in 2016

As a rule, we love school holidays.

And this time around, we were SO ready for half-term.

But it’s fair to say it hasn’t gone quite the way I imagined it would. Actually, it’s pretty much sucked up one side and down the other.

Is it just us?

Anyway, to cheer myself up I am planning for our future (more successful) holidays – Easter and Summer are on the horizon, and we’ve got some exciting plans.

During August, we’re heading off to Canada for our summer road trip, and I’ve got a few shorter trips in Europe booked in at various points in the year. Then there was our trip to Copenhagen last week, which I’ll blog about very soon.

But I’m also hoping to add some long weekends in the UK this year – and some of the top destinations on our wish-list are listed below – including a REALLY cool special offer if you book a Medieval-style luxury break at Warwick Castle before the end of the month!

Warwick Castle Medieval Lodges (with a 10% discount!)

warwick castle medieval lodges

We’re big fans of Warwick Castle already – there are always great demonstrations and activities here – far too much to fit into a day, really. Last time we visited, with LEGO, we had the most gorgeous day.

swords soldiers warwick castle

So how exciting that from this summer, you can stay overnight at Warwick Castle in one of these medieval-style lodges?

These one and two-storey lodges offer all mod-cons in a gorgeous, historic setting. For around £200 per night, per lodge, you’ll get wet rooms, TV, central heating and more. You’ll also have a hearty breakfast in the banqueting hall, 2 days access to the Castle itself, and evening entertainment.

warwick castle medieval lodges discount

And I’ve got details of a special offer – if you book a 2016 stay at the “Knight’s Village” before the end of March, then you can save a whopping 10% off the total booking cost – just visit the website here ( more details and full T&Cs.

ZSL Lookout Lodges, Whipsnade

zsl sleepover lodges

Last summer I was invited to sleep at one of these gorgeous lodges at Whipsnade Zoo but we were already booked to go on holiday – I’m not sure who was more disappointed, me or Flea! This summer, ZSL Whipsnade is definitely on our shortlist. Each lodge sleeps up to 2 adults and 2 children (aged 5 and over, only) and your booking includes two days entry to the zoo, a sunset tour of the zoo with the keepers, a two-course dinner and  – OMG – a torch-lit walk through the zoo. How perfect is that? Lodges aren’t cheap, costing from £300 upwards per night, but this feels like a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Retallack Resort, Cornwall

We first visited Retallack Resort two years ago on a family break with fellow blogger Lindy from Squidgyboo. Sadly, our trip was cut short by an emergency at home, but the short time we spent there was enough to be truly impressed by the top-quality cuisine, on-site watersports and gorgeous countryside. But this summer, Retallack has gone one step further in the journey to awesome – check out this inflatable water park!

retallack water park

How completely awesome does this look? I’ve tried (and mostly failed) to conquer one of these babies in Jamaica, and it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had.

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

I’ve always had a thing about tree houses. When I was a kid, my Dad built a tree house in the back garden and being allowed to sleep there was basically my number one life goal. A couple of decades later *cough* and I still hanker after sleeping in a tree house.

chewton glen treehouse luxury

Only this time I want my tree house to look like these luxury models at Chewton Glen in Hampshire, with floor to ceiling windows offering gorgeous light and views over a forest. And there’s a wood burner. Seriously, who doesn’t want to curl up in front of that, in a luxury tree-top den, after a long day’s exploring?

The Scout Hall, Isle of Wight.

We absolutely LOVE the Isle of Wight, it always feels like stepping into a quieter, kinder version of England, somehow, with village greens and white beaches, and quiet, winding roads (providing you don’t drive into Cowes during mid-summer, of course!). We’ve previously stayed at a yurt in an apple orchard on the island, and also at the rather lush West Bay Club, but this summer, I have my eye on The Scout Hut, which is available for rent via Vintage Vacations.

the scout hall isle of wight

I love the quirky styling and what’s not to love about the location, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with views over the green towards the ocean? Perfection.

the scout hall interior

What destinations are on your UK wish list this year? I’d love to know your recommendations! 



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Nikki
    19th February 2016 / 8:41 am

    Great suggestions! We love the Featherdown Farm breaks but also (and perhaps surprisingly) we’ve had several brilliant breaks with Hoseasons! We tend to go for their small and high end lodges – hot tub at the lodge – and onsite pool a necessity. Their go active sites are super too and they’re all set in super locations for exploring. We’ve enjoyed their cheddar woods site, Knighton Wales, Matlock Derbyshire, Hastings and also warmwell in Dorset with its on site ski slope! A great base from which to explore.

    This year we’re trying ones in chard (lux two story lodge with cathedral Windows!) and another in derbyshire near Alton Towers. They really are great for long weekends away with our parents who come along for some family fun too.

    Then we are off to Florida in the summer – excited muchly!

    • Sally
      19th February 2016 / 9:30 pm

      Oh, yes, Featherdowns looks amazing! Great tip 🙂

  2. 19th February 2016 / 11:25 pm

    OMG I nearly just fainted looking at the cost on the ZSL page – that’s per person… definitely once in a lifetime 😀 Love the idea of doing something a bit different though, and am definitely thinking Isle of Wight this summer….

    • Sally
      22nd February 2016 / 10:59 pm

      It definitely is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I’d LOVE to do it though.

  3. 20th February 2016 / 11:48 am

    Oh Retallack is on my wish list! The lookout lodges are ace – amazing fun for the kids. We have a tree house booked for a weekend this summer too and I’m way more excited than I ought to be about sleeping in a tree!

    • Sally
      22nd February 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Retallack is great generally but that water park — oh my… Flea would LOVE it.

  4. 22nd February 2016 / 8:47 am

    All of those are on my list Sally! I tried to book Warwick castle glamping last year, but left it too late. Retallack looks fantastic too and I’d love to try Lookout Lodge.

    I’d like to try a night at the Science or Natural History Museum this year and can second Feather Down Farm as being awesome too.

    • Sally
      22nd February 2016 / 11:00 pm

      Ooh, you have to book Warwick this year – do it while there’s a special offer!

  5. Joanne Mallon
    22nd February 2016 / 10:23 am

    I LOVE the look of those medieval lodges, definitely going to look into booking that. I think we’re going to go to Scotland this summer (or as I’ve christened it – the Iceland we can afford to visit). Although we live in a city and wouldn’t change that, I do like a bit of remoteness on holiday. As long as there’s wifi.

    • Sally
      22nd February 2016 / 11:00 pm

      hahaha – Scotland was where we went on hols every year when I was young. It’s a tad warmer than Iceland. A tad. But beautiful, though, and just what you need when you live in a city.

  6. 24th February 2016 / 8:36 pm

    Ooh! I especially love the look of the Warwick Castle lodge and the Chewton Glen treehouse. I never had a treehouse when I was young, and it has left a permanent longing in my heart.

    • Sally
      24th February 2016 / 9:01 pm

      The Warwick Castle lodges are definitely on my to-do list – aren’t they gorgeous?

  7. 11th April 2016 / 4:47 pm

    Love your suggestions. Want to stay at lodges at Whipsnade but children too young still. Thank you for sharing.