Sunday, 15 February 2009

Unique places to lay our heads

At slowmoves, as we start thinking of our next escapade, we look for slightly unusual independent and personalised places to stay. They can be family-run bed & breakfasts or working farms or anywhere that has a large dose of charm. We take pleasure in finding a gem that we can later share with our friends and family (or write about on this blog).

What makes a place special?

  • Often a historical or period building that fits in with the local area
  • Set in beautiful surroundings: some of my favourites are set in the middle of the countryside or in a sleepy rural village. But it could be in a quirky part of a city or town
  • The owners are friendly and welcoming and real ‘locals’. They know the area inside out and can recommend the best local haunts
  • A non-commercial or manufactured feel to it. Every room has an individual personality. You feel like you’re staying at someone’s house rather than a chain hotel
  • It isn't everyone to their own. You integrate with the hosts and other guests at breakfast or tea time
  • Local, seasonal food where possible. I have great memories of seasonal fruits at breakfast and homemade jams and breads

Here are a few of the gems that I discovered in 2008 right here in the UK:

Bopeep Farmhouse, Alciston, East Sussex
Set at the foot of the south downs so perfect for walking. About half an hour walk from the gorgeous village Alfriston which has cozy pubs and cafes and one the best independent bookshops in England 'Much ado books'

Faerystone Bed & Breakfast, Carbis Bay, Cornwall
The highlight here was the amazing view from the balcony overlooking the sea. We had breakfast every morning on our balcony in our complementary robes. Perfect for a romantic getaway.

Fields Cottage, Bisley, Gloucestershire
The hosts were lovely and welcoming. They came to pick us up from the station, served tea and homemade cookies on arrival. In fact they made everything homemade which made the house smell amazing. So quiet and nothing to do but walk, walk, eat and sleep.

If you want a little help finding a special place to stay in the UK or anywhere in the world, a great resource is Sawday’s special places to stay website. He has a real knack for finding charming, unique and slightly odd places to stay.

We'd love to hear about the gems that you've found on your travels, so do get in touch and leave comments.



  1. I once stayed in a cave. It was quite cold and damp but much better than getting lost in the mountains. As it happened the stay was only short. We fed the Apu a carrot and he parted the clouds so we could descend. If anyone wants to stay there it's on the way to the top of Chimborazo, in Ecuador. I suggest you take an offering.

  2. I once stayed in Argentiere, a small village down the valley from Chamonix. It was a traditional house owned by a Swedish girl and her English boyfriend. They lived next door, and had both trained at Pru Leith's cookery school in London, so were excellent chefs. Everyday they would take us out skiing the special routes that only locals knew, then we'd get home and they had a freshly baked cake on the table waiting for us. They would then come over in the evening and cook an amazing dinner and sit and eat with us. It all made for a completely unique and very personal holiday. Shame I can't remember who they were, but my parents might remember. Ed

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