10 wild weekends
Yurts, eco-lodges and retreats, by James Ellis
1 The Roundhouse, Cornwall
Penzance’s Bodrifty was an Iron Age settlement thought to be the first place in Britain to be mentioned in writing; it featured in the works of the Greek explorer Pytheas as far back as 325BC. Now a farm on the wild Penwith Moors, camping couples can bed down in an Iron Age-style replica roundhouse (although there’s a four-poster bed with Egyptian cotton sheets).
Prices from: £135 per night for two, self-catering; 01179247877, canopyandstars.co.uk
2 Livingstone Lodge, Port Lympne Kent
If the country’s financial state is still crunching your credit, how about heading for a safari inKent? At the Port Lympne Safari Park you can stay in African-style tents and be regaled with safari tales by a Zimbabwean ranger. Where it gets really wild, though, is when you unzip your tent the next morning and find Grant’s zebra, blue wildebeest, Rothschild giraffe and ostrich munching away outside your flap.
Prices from £115 per adult, £110 per child per night, dinner, B&B; 08448424647, totallywild.net
3 NaturalRetreats, Yorkshire Dales
Set in rolling countryside just outside Richmond, these 12 three-bedroomwood and stone self-catering cottages (each sleeps six) are far enough apart not to spoil your solitude. Booking through GorgeousWeekend gets you a concierge service, too.
Prices from £670 for each residence for two nights, self-catering; 08447366276, gorgeousweekend.com
4 Ecopod Boutique Retreat, West Highlands
You may be hard pressed to find this newly opened eco-retreat in Lettershuna as it’s so well hidden among beech trees. With amazing views of Loch Linnhe, Castle Stalker and the mountains of Mull, your pod (sleeps two) comes with many of the usual mod-cons, as well as eco-features such as a wood-pellet biomass stove.
Prices from £995 for seven nights self-catering; domesweetdome.co.uk, visitscotland.com/perfect
5 Cragside, Caernarfon Wales
At the end of a remote dirt track outside Caernarforn is this gorgeous two-bedroom (sleeps four) stone cottage with views over Tremadog Bay to Snowdonia.A huge log burner keeps things toasty, even in summer when the wind can blow up a stormover theWelsh mountains.
Prices from £510 for three nights, self-catering;01865764087, sheepskinlife.com/cragside
6 Slack House Farm, County Durham
Head toWeardale in the north Pennines for craggy moors, towering fells, valleys carved by the River Wear and Slack House Farm. The farmis run from 100 per cent renewables: there is no mains electricity, no telephone — and, of course, the loo is a composting one. You stay in either an adjoining byre (one double and one twin) or the farm’s yurt.
Prices from £30 pp per night, B&B; 01388537292,fleecewithaltitude.co.uk
7 The Cabin, Rowbrook, Dartmoor
This one-room cabin (sleeps two) has uninterrupted views ofDartmoor and the RiverDart. Sit on the balcony andwatch owls, foxes, buzzards and herons. Accommodation is unpretentious and linen is not supplied—but there is a fire withwood aplenty.
Prices from £236 per week, self-catering (available April,MayandSeptember only);01747828170,hideaways.co.uk
8 Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Dumfries
The wetland centre is a 1,400-acre nature reserve near the north Solway coast that attracts a huge array of birds, including barnacle geese, ospreys, barn owls and wild whooper swans. Stay in the Wildfowl andWetlands Trust’s self-catering farmhouse in the middle of the reserve (sleeps 15, but rooms can be rented individually) and youmay meet up with your nearest neighbours, a colony of badgers.
Prices from £25 per person per night, £200 for exclusive use, self-catering; 01453891900,wwt.org.uk
9 Fforest Farm, Cardigan, West Wales
This eco-campsite claims to be “camping, but just the best bits”. Tents sleep up to four; pick a style fromNomad (traditional tunnel style), Threepis (like “teepees but better”), Bell (19th-century military tents) and 20m geodesic domes. Or if you don’t do canvas, opt for a stone crogloft. All have cooking spaces but a central lodge serves evening meals.
Prices from £365 per week for two, B&B; 01239623633, www.coldatnight.co.uk
10 Hunger Hill Yurts, East Devon
These four yurts on a small farm in the Otter Valley sleep up to four adults and come with comfy beds, wood-burning stoves, Moroccan storage boxes and kilim cushions, plus bathrooms, kitchen areas and hammocks. PebbleHeath common, withwoods, streams and views to the coast, is a short walk away.
Prices from £300 per yurt; 01395 568454, yurt-holidays.co.uk