Made-for-purpose Air BnB’s, generic villas, Ikea furniture…be gone! These are three beguiling places to stay with personality and style:
The most stylish shepherd’s hut we’ve seen (and there’s a pool too)
There are shepherds huts and then there are shepherds huts. This little gem of a place has been hand-made by Richard Becher and sits near his family home at Nettlebeds Farm in Hampshire. Richard makes bespoke shepherds huts to order – so it’s no surprise that this has been immaculately designed with Barneby Gates wallpaper and textiles, a homely details like a butler sink and woodburning stove. Sleeps 2 and guests can use the pool.
Getting there: Under 2 hours’ drive from London. From £150 per night, airbnb.co.uk
A family home in Provence
Full disclosure, this house belongs to my parents who rent it out for just a few weeks’ a year. A family home rather than a chi-chi villa rental, this house is a very happy place that’s full of Provencal charm. Throw open the green shutters in the morning to vignerons tending the vines and spectacular views over the Dentelles mountains. Set on the edge of the small village of Sablet, it’s a short walk to the boulangerie to fetch fresh baguettes and croissants. Stay in summer and spend your days lazing about in the garden or by the swimming pool, and exploring the local brocantes and markets. In autumn there are countless walks from the house, and the famous Gigondas & Vacqueras wine domaines are close by with vineyards open for tastings. The house sleeps up to 9 and would work especially well for two families sharing or a large family with mixed generations as there’s plenty of space to spread out.
Getting there: Train London to Avignon (then 45 mins drive) or fly to Marseille (1.5 hours drive) or Nimes (1 hour drive). €3,200 per week in summer, €1,900 from 7 Sept-21 Dec. gite.com/france/four-chaux
The closest thing you’ll get to Charleston
The former home of Quentin Bell and his wife Anne Olivier, this Dower House is the closest thing to Charleston that you can rent. It’s been kept largely as it was, and is full of books and art treasures including pottery, sculpture and tiles hand painted by Quentin Bell, lamps and textiles by Cressida Bell (their daughter), paintings by Roger de Grey, Julian Bell, Adrian Stokes and Winifred Gill and more. Beyond the house and its pretty walled garden there are endless walks on the South Downs to enjoy. It’s very comfortable – but not modern, instead of power showers think bathtubs with hand-painted tiles. A rare chance to live like the Bloomsbury clan in their idyllic stomping ground. Sleeps up to 7.
Getting there: Train from London Victoria to Lewes, or 2.5 hours by car. From £250 per night airbnb.co.uk