Want to mini-break in a magistrates court, laze in a lighthouse or kick back in a castle? Then scroll around these sites, which offer all the self-catering curiosities a traveller could hope for.
Under the Thatch
This is a brilliant idea, founded by Dr Greg Stevenson in 2001, which brings together an assortment of places often renovated by Stevenson himself and including rail carriages, whitewashed bothies and old caravans. The kind of places that bring on an Inner Child rush. It’s based in Wales, and now has places in Ireland and France. Visit Under the Thatch.
This link-site has a basic graphic design that undersells it. Which is a shame, as it’s gold dust: a compendium of the oddest hospitality ventures around the world. From its index of countries, you can click into a world of holidaymaking creativity: a punk rock hotel on the Romanian Riviera, a German observation tower in Jersey and recycled boxcars outside Buenos Aires. Great for inspiration. Visit Holiday Pad.
Since 2003, this link-site has been compiling odd B&Bs and homestays in the UK (and abroad, accessed through a button called Foreign Affairs). With its friendly, homely tone it rightly celebrates eccentricity in restaurants as well as guesthouses. But one eccentricity cannot be overlooked in this otherwise useful site: it uses the typeface Comic Sans. Sorry guys, not a good look. Visit Distinctly Different.
The slightly gloomy name belies a great offering: a selection of unusual self-catering holiday homes. It’s mostly focused on Cornwall, but also has properties in Wales, France and Ireland. All are “carefully selected for interest for their location, architecture or history”. Nooks and crannies available here. Visit Forgotten Houses.
The Landmark Trust
The daddy of architectural conservation tourist organisations, the Landmark Trust, is sailing towards its 50th anniversary; it was set up in 1965. The LT has retained an air of concerned paternalism, as well as a signature decor of old maps and rattan. That’s no criticism: the LT’s programme of rescuing historic buildings and securing funds through tourist letting remains groundbreaking and admirable. It has a special feel – and space on-site – for the more unusual building. And its visitors’ books are hilarious reads, as any Landmarker can testify. Visit The Landmark Trust.