With the New Year comes a sense of possibility and a taste for adventure. It’s time to harness this feeling, plan an early escape from the city and start 2017 with some fresh air, gorgeous countryside walks and a bit of serenity. (Because, let’s be honest, 2016 had absolutely no chill). You don’t need to travel too far…
1. Float away on this sphere…
Set in spectacular acres of countryside within Dorset, hangs this spherical treehouse. This magical Airbnb is perfect for a romantic escape and you’ll feel like the sugar-plum fairy as you hop inside the floating bauble to go to bed. The pod sleeps two people and is quite the Tardis; it’s complete with mains power, water, toilets, a kitchen and double bed. It’s roughly £120 a night, as listed on Airbnb. Unfortunately, as it’s a little out in the sticks, the easiest way to get here from London would be to drive, which usually takes around 2 hours.
2. Stroll through this enchanted tree tunnel in Halnaker
If you want to take a dreamy winter walk outside of London (although we do have quite a good offering on our doorstep), then head to Halnaker in Chichester, West Sussex. This enchanted looking tree tunnel, which appears to be something out of a Grimm’s Brothers fairytale, continues along a path that leads on to the Halnaker Windmill. Within walking distance is a lovely country pub, The Anglesey Arms, for the perfect end to your rambling. The nearest main station to Halnaker is Chichester, which you can get to from Victoria Station.
3. Live like Tarzan and Jane in the Bensfield Treehouse, Sussex
If you fancy making your Sussex stay a long one, then this breathtaking treehouse is an ideal place to make camp. This particular treehouse is located in the village of Poynings, Mid Sussex, which is only about 5 miles from Brighton. So by day you can explore the seaside resort during its quieter, off-peak periods for some brisk promenade strolling and by night you can make like Tarzan and Jane in this jungle-like hideout. It sleeps two and is around £194 a night, so you should expect to be slightly more glamorous than Tarzan’s pad.
4. Housesit in Camber Sands
You might think going to the beach is a waste of good time and good money (the mere thought of sand in shoes alone *shivers*) but hear me out. With achingly beautiful sea views and five miles of untouched beach, Camber Sands is one of the quickest ways to escape the city and feel like you’re a million miles away. This incredible seafront stay accommodates 8 and costs £1200 for 3 nights (which divided between 8 of you is not bad at all!). So grab your most stressed out mates and jump on the first train from St Pancras: in under 2 hours you can be chowing down on some local fish and chips, wondering why you don’t do this more often.
5. Spitbank Fort, The Solent
This unique hotel off Portsmouth Harbour was originally a sea fort built as a result of the 1859 Royal Commission. It’s now home to a luxury hotel, complete with rooftop hot tub and fire pit, gorgeous lounging and dining spaces and, of course, breathtaking, one-of-a-kind nautical views. To get to this boutique getaway spot, you get whizzed over on a private boat and greeted at the other end with champagne. Maybe we’re dreaming a little too big for our escape, as a room here costs around £600 per night. But there’s no harm in looking… If you don’t want to pay the big bucks, Portsmouth Harbour – a two hour train journey from Waterloo – is a nice enough weekend escape.
6. Stay on a lakeside log house in the Cotswolds
Jump on the train from Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh and before you know it, you’ll be deep in the beautiful English countryside. The Cotswolds is the perfect place for long, rambling walks, stress-free (and traffic-free) cycle rides and a fantastic selection of ‘proper’ pubs. If you need some secluded, lakeside bliss, then check out Log House Holidays. You can stay in one of eight traditional Finnish log houses, complete with beautiful wooden panelling, private hot tub, access to the lake and rowing boats. They’re available to hire all year round; we’d quite enjoy nippy lakeside walks, knowing that we have a hot tub to warm up in afterwards.
Feature image credit: Steve Vacher Flickr