Unusual British Holiday Lets
Great Britain is full of old and unusual buildings, many of which are hundreds of years old.
In order to preserve and maintain these historically important buildings, British trusts and organisations are ever on the look out for ways of implementing an income to cover the extortianate running costs of our precious heritage.
One ingenious way that has come to light in recent years has been to turn many of these landmarks in to hotels, guest houses or holiday lets.
Now adays in Great Britain you can find yourself holidaying in anything from a village church to a city prison, from a medieval castle to a royal palace.
Not only does this method give back the building's original purpose, but it also enables the owners of the buildings to eke out an income in order to keep the buildings from falling into disrepair and preserving the buildings for future generations.
Although there are hundreds of these types of unusual holiday lets up and down the country, I have found what I consider to be the most interesting for this article.
ALTON RAILWAY STATION, STAFFORDSHIRE.
Built in 1849, this Italianate railway station was constructed for the Earl of Shrewsbury who lived at nearby Alton Towers - now a world famous themepark - so as he could have his own private station for using during his many sojourns abroad.
The grade II listed building has been turned into an apartment, which must be an absolute dream for railway enthusiasts.
Situated in England's industrial heartland and positioned just a stones throw from Alton Castle, Alton Towers and the Staffordshire Potteries at Stoke on Trent.
CLAVEL TOWER, DORSET.
This beautiful Tuscan style tower situated on England's Jurassic coast in the county of Dorset, was built in 1830 as a folly and observation tower by the Reverend John Richards and is situated on the Isle of Purbeck - which is actually a peninsula not an island - not far from the ancient ruins of nearby Corfe Castle.
The tower commands stunning views out across the English Channel and the Dorset countryside.
CLYTHA CASTLE, RAGLAN, SOUTH WALES.
Set in the beautiful Welsh countryside, Clytha Castle was designed by John Davenport for William Jones in 1790, who had it built as a memorial to his dearly departed wife.
Refurbished to a high standard the interior of this huge castle can accommodate the largest of families, and is set in rolling countryside that is a haven for nature and animal lovers.
HAMPTON COURT PALACE, SURREY.
This just has to be the most prestigious holiday let in the land.
Hampton Court Palace is situated just 18 miles south west of London and was built in 1514 by King Henry VIII for Cardinal Wolsey.
Obviously you wont get to stay in the main palace building, the holiday accommodation is an apartment just off the palace's main kitchens, but you would be onsite to view this beautiful palace with it's magnificent gardens, as well as it's world famous maize and exhibition areas.
HOUSE OF CORRECTION, LINCOLNSHIRE.
The House of Correction is located in the flat and marshy fenlands of East Anglia and situated on the site of a former medieval castle.
This recent addition was designed by local architect Bryan Browning in the 1800's as a prison building for minor offenders and disturbers of the peace.
In recent years the building has been used as a coach house and stables.
Now owned and run by the Landmark Trust, it has been turned into a tasteful apartment with easy access to Lincolnshire's North Sea coast with it's fishing ports and historical market towns and it's flat, fenland countryside.
LIGHTHOUSE, LUNDY ISLAND.
The Island of Lundy is situated in The Bristol Channel off the coast of Devon and the whole island is owned and maintained by the National Trust.
Most of the buildings on the island have been refurbished for use as holiday homes or hotels and the island is reknowned for it's regular volunteer holidays that it encourages to run and maintain this unusual and interesting location.
The lighthouse on the island is one of their more unusual holiday lets, situated on the island's north coast, with stunning views out to sea and across to the coastline of South Wales.
MARTELLO TOWER, ALDBURGH, SUFFOLK.
A martello tower is a small defensive fort built in the 19th century to guard the coast during the Napoleonic Wars.
This particular quatrefoil tower is one of 103 towers built along the south English coast at that time.
The towers are round in shape and constructed from thick, solid masonry in order to resist enemy cannon fire.
The tower stands 12 metres high and has a flat roof that would have housed a platform for a cannon and other artillery.
Today the towers have been given a new lease of life, and in the case of this one, is now a beautifully refurbished holiday let owned by the Landmark trust.
THE PIGSTY, YORKSHIRE.
Yes, you read that right it does say pigsty, but as you can see from the picture, it is like no other pigsty you have ever seen before.
Apparantly built in the late 1880's by Squire Barry of nearby Fyling Hall, it spent some part of it's life as a pigsty and therefore still goes by that title.
This Grecian temple lookalike is made entirely from wood with a brick base and is situated in rolling hills not far from the scenic Yorkshire coastline at Robin Hood's Bay.
THE BAR CONVENT, YORK.
Situated in the ancient walled city of York is The Bar Convent.
Now it is a hotel run by real nuns of the Bar Convent Charity, after a decline in their order's numbers forced them to think of other ways in order to maintain their beloved convent.
This beautiful Georgian, Grade I listed building was built in the 1760's, although there has been a convent at this site since the late 1600's.
Today this former Catholic convent houses a museum, a chapel, a cafe, meeting rooms and 18 bedrooms for the use of their guests.
Situated in the dramatic Cornish countryside at Stoke Climsland is Whiteford Temple,originally built in 1775 along with a country manor house which has since been demolished.
However, this elegant, Coade Stone temple, built by owner Sir John Call for use as a venue for elaborate dinner parties, has weathered the test of time and is now another of The Landmark Trust's unusual and tastefully refurbished holiday lets.
OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT UNUSUAL BRITISH BUILDINGS, BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
© D.B.Bellamy. July 2010.
All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.