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10 Of The Most Unusual Places To Stay In England


Whilst writing our two latest Travel blog articles - those being The Sea Fort Luxury Hotel, and Spend A Luxurious Night Behind Bars we noticed just how many unusual places there are to stay in England.
This led to us thinking that we should put together a more comprehensive list.
So in no particular order here are some of the most unusual places to stay in England.

Cley Windmill



Whilst many weird and wonderful places that are converted to accommodation have only had their work carried out in the last few years the Cley Windmill in Norfolk was actually converted in 1921. It has since had more alterations made, but there is no doubt it was a brilliant initial idea to turn this old windmill into a B&B / guesthouse.
The 5 storey building sits among the reedy marshes on the edge of the village of Cley and the interior is simply charming, its best guest rooms set beneath ancient beamed ceilings.
Two random facts about the windmill are that in the late 1990’s it was used by the BBC as a visual introductions to programs, and that it has been owned by the singer James Blunt's Granddad and then later his Dad.
For further information or to book please click here.

Belle Tout Lighthouse




Despite numerous petitions, requests, pleas, demands and umpteen shipwrecks it took well over 100 years for a lighthouse to be built at Beachy Head in East Sussex……Then it only lasted less than 70 years due to a combination or poor visibility for ships and severe coastal erosion.
In fact the erosion got so bad that the owners had the entire building jacked up and slid back 17 metres to avoid it tumbling into the sea in 1999, so let that be a note of caution to any sleepwalkers out there!
The old grey 1830s lighthouse, perched on a cliff near Beachy Head – the tallest chalk sea cliff in the country – couldn’t be in a more spectacular location. It was decommissioned in 1902 and damaged during the war, before being repaired in the mid-50’s, and then owned by the BBC where it was used in numerous series and films including the James Bond film The Living Daylights.
In 1996 the Belle Tout Lighthouse was adapted to live in, and then in 2010 it was again converted, this time into a luxury B&B.
Inside there are six smart, compact rooms: quirkiest is the original Lighthouse Keeper’s bunk room, with a loft bed accessed via the original ladder, but for the best views opt for the one of the first-floor rooms. Breakfasts are worth a special mention – Sussex-sourced and beautifully presented – but the highlight of any stay is the round-the-clock access to the stylishly converted lantern room, right at the top of the lighthouse. This tiny room, encircled by a balcony and buffeted by the wind, offers stunning 360-degree views over the cliffs, sea and rolling hills – the perfect spot to uncork a bottle of wine and watch the sun go down.
For further information or to book please click here.

Oxford University




This is an amazing opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gandhi, Bill Clinton, Hugh Grant, or the 25 British Prime Ministers who have passed through Oxford's colleges.
During the holidays, when students vacate their rooms, you can stay in one of the college residences, enjoy a stroll along the quads, and maybe enjoy a drink in the college bar.
Choose from one of 30 Oxford University residences including Keble college where you can enjoy breakfast in the magnificent Gothic dining hall, or perhaps Christ Church where parts of the first Harry Potter film was staged.
Whichever college you chose, you will be sure to receive a warm welcome. As mentioned rooms are generally available when students vacate during the holidays, although some residences have year round availability.
A word of warning is that you’re unlikely to find any double beds here – almost all are singles and twins – and not every room has en-suite, but this is by far the cheapest accommodation in this list.
For further information or to book please click here.

The Balancing Barn



The Balancing Barn in Suffolk is the first and still probably the most iconic of the houses available through Living Architecture Group, of upscale and unusual holiday lets. Their speciality is stunning contemporary architectural extravagances that most people wouldn't otherwise get the chance to experience, and this one, clad in silver tiles. The barn is cantilevered and balanced over a ridge to give panoramic views over the surrounding woods, ponds and meadows.
Sleeping up to 8 people, the Balancing Barn – not surprisingly one of the most unusual and unique holiday homes in Suffolk is situated very near the seaside village of Walberswick on the Suffolk coast – a relatively hidden part of the world that is well worth a long weekend break.
Inside, the barn is spectacular, greatly influenced by Dutch design, with crisp, modern bedrooms, living room and kitchen, with clean lines and bright yet soothing colours, and the walls decorated by the paintings of Suffolk artists Constable and Gainsborough . A truly outstanding and very different place to spend a few days for a family or group of friends.
For further information or to book please click here.

The Yellow Submarine



We all live in a yellow submarine……well that’s what The Beatles would have us believe. In reality we don’t, however if you head to Albert Docks in Liverpool, you can at least stay in one temporarily……after a hard day's night of course……ok no more puns.
A few years ago, eccentric businessman Alfie Bubbles changed the hotelier landscape by making a real life tribute to the iconic 1969 album in the form of a psychedelic floating Submarine hotel made from a converted narrowboat – a boat that actually belonged to Paramount Pictures and was used in the film The Hunt for the Red October. Now, with the help of a vat of yellow paint, the boat has been lavishly restored to a swinging 60s finish and fittingly parked slap bang in the middle of Albert Dock.
The Yellow Submarine sleeps 6, and inside the insanely mind-bending 1960s decor will have you tripping back through the decades, and the luxurious handpicked furnishings, imported from Italy, Paris and New York, simply add to the eccentric and fantastical character. The walls are lined with gold discs from The Beatles themselves, and the mod scooter from the film Quadrophenia is parked in the lounge.
There's a choice of three bedrooms, each with huge 3D TVs, stereos, computers and wifi; and you get a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. It's the ultimate indulge-all-your-fantasies hotel break, and a sure must for any Beatlemaniac.
For further information or to book please click here.

Bensfield Treehouse




If you are wanting to get back to nature the Bensfield Treehouse might just be the one for you. Set in beautiful Sussex countryside with far reaching views over the surrounding farmland, you walk to the treehouse on a 24 metre rope bridge across a pond.
Inside the treehouse, a circular, open-plan room is centred around the trunk of an oak tree, which rises up through the floor and out of the wooden ceiling, occasionally sprouting green shoots in the summertime. It is truly remarkable.
Surrounding it there’s a king-size bed, a comfy sofa, a small-but-sleek kitchen and a table and chairs – though undoubtedly the best place to eat is the glorious sun-deck out the back, overlooking fields and woodland (perfect for a lazy breakfast working your way through the hamper of local goodies provided).
The maximum number of daytime guests in 6, and the place sleeps a maximum of two and, unsurprisingly, is popular for anniversaries, honeymoons and other get-away-from-it-all romantic rendezvous.
For further information or to book please click here.

Fisherman’s Huts


The Fisherman’s Huts are just that, a dozen or so restored huts right by the beach in the seaside town of Whitsable on the north coast of Kent. It’s a romantic setting (especially if you have a sea view), though the facilities are as you might imagine in a huts that are 150 years old fairly simple.
This might well be, out of the list of venues here the one most suited for kids, whom are sure to love the loft beds and the pebbles and shells right outside the hut.
The huts sleep from two to six, and some have simple cooking facilities; all have fridge and TV while the largest, the Anderson Shed, has a fully equipped kitchen. An excellent breakfast is included, served at the Hotel Continental, about 10 minutes walk away, which is also where you collect the keys.
For further information or to book please click here.

Appleton Water Tower



This striking Victorian structure, was constructed in 1877 at the behest of the then Prince George, to improve the quality of the water supply to the nearby Sandringham House and its estate, and was still in use right up to 1973 when it was deemed surplus to requirements.
At this point it was leased to the Landmark Trust, a charity that specialises in rescuing buildings of architectural and historic importance.
It now sports one twin room and one double room. The building has been fully rewired, replumbed and redecorated, and a new heating system has been installed. The ground-floor shower room and kitchen have also been refurbished. Perhaps the most practical change has been that a way was found to bring part of the top floor – the old valve room beneath the tank – into service as additional living accommodation in the shape of a much needed extra bathroom.
The old sitting room next to the kitchen on the ground floor has now become the dining room, while perhaps the best room in the Tower – the viewing room on the second floor – has been redesigned as a bed-sitting room. As a result while you are staying in the Tower you can, if you choose, spend as much as possible of your day here, gazing at the Norfolk landscape spread out below you, and in the evening watch the seabirds quietly flying home to the distant sandbanks of the Wash.
For further information or to book please click here.

A Room For London




This is by far the most exclusive hotels on the list. In fact it could well by the most exclusive in all of London or even the country, and is the second building featured in this list (after the Balancing Barn) that is owned and operated by Living Architecture. Perched on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank, A Room for London is unusual, poetic and life enhancing – a boat as if left behind by retreating floodwaters.
The one-bedroom installation is intended to offer guests a place of refuge and reflection amidst the flow of traffic at this iconic location in the capital. The lower and upper decks offer extraordinary views, by day and night, of a London panorama that stretches from Big Ben to St Paul's cathedral. Inside, the boat is a beautifully crafted timber object, full of nooks and crannies to explore – and all the creature comforts that one would expect in a good hotel.
Built in 2012 to tie in with the Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee it was only ever meant to be around for a year, but such was the demand and rave reviews that it got an extension for 2013, and then again for 2014, and now it has been given the green light to stay open for all of 2015, but be warned if you do want to stay there you are only allowed to book for 1 night.
For further information or to book please click here.

The House In The Sea




We have probably saved the most picturesque of all the hotels to the end – The House In The Sea, in Newquay.
With its far-reaching views of the Cornish coast and suspension footbridge approach, The House in the Sea is a truly magical unique home stay on Towan Beach in north Cornwall.
The quirky interiors fuse a cool New York vibe with sophisticated coastal luxury making this iconic private island retreat the epitome of seaside chic. Just perfect for a romantic rendezvous, a unique getaway or luxury surf break, the footbridge access to your luxury self-catering accommodation is nothing short of breathtaking……you just have to have a head for heights.
The house sleeps up to 6.
For further information or to book please click here.

That's all for now, but be sure to check back next week when we will be switching our attention to unusual places to stay in Scotland, and if any of these have now got you in that holiday spirit be sure to check out our Men's and Women's Holiday Shops here at Cruise Fashion.