The UK is well-known for its charming B&Bs, and perhaps infamously known for its cramped hotels (especially in London). But if you want a quirky, unique lodging experience, there are plenty of fantastically eccentric places to choose from.
Read on to hear some of my favorites!
1. Victorian Mansions
Are you a fan of the Brontes? Does The Young Victoria make you cry? Do you enjoy ghost stories and brooding stone houses?
Well, you’re in luck, because the UK has no shortage of Victorian mansions for you to visit, and there are plenty where you can even stay overnight.
For a luxurious night, there’s the Royal Exeter Hotel located in the seaside city of Bournemouth. It’s centrally located, with a seven mile strip of beach right outside the doors.
If you believe a good Victorian mansion must come with some ghosts, be sure to visit the Craig-y-Nos Castle Hotel in Powys, Wales. Built in 1843 by a family said to be cursed, this has operated a T.B. hospital, an opera diva’s mansion, and a home for the elderly. It’s considered Wales’ most haunted castle, and there are Ghost Tours every evening.
Though it’s a bit of a smaller mansion, YHA’s Hathersage Hostel is a lovely place to stay centrally located to the Peak District (and several Bronte, Austen, and Robin Hood sights). The staff are fabulous and the house is comfy, mostly frequented by families and hikers.
Where to begin?
How about Airth Castle in Stirlingshire? Built in the 15th century and expanded in the 16th and 19th, this looks like a classic keep from outside — but inside, it’s a luxurious hotel.
Then we have Amhuinnsuidhe Castle on the Isle of Harris, ideal for shooting parties and hiking trips.
There’s also sweet little Tullibole Castle. Originally built in 1608, this castle comes with spiral staircases, log fires, and family portraits stretching back four hundred years. Outside you’ll find a Celtic graveyard from the 9th century and the ruins of a medieval church.
And this is barely scratching the surface!
If you can’t get a hold of (or afford) a whole castle, you might have a look at the available towers. Options include: Appleton Water Tower (technically Victorian, but still cool—located in Norfolk), Liberton Tower (Edinburgh), Saddell Castle (Argyll and Bute), and Hen Wrych Hall Tower (North Wales).
The Guardian has their own list of Top 10 Scottish Castle Stays, while you can find a complete list of castle hotels and B&Bs on Historic UK. For a big list of follies (fake ruins/castle-like structures built by rich people) you can stay at, check this out.
As “glamping” becomes more popular, yurts are being offered in prime nature spots across the United Kingdom. These small houses were traditionally Mongolian, and created to withstand the harsh conditions on the steppe. They work perfectly to make a snug, warm, and dry shelter.