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12 of the UK’s most unusual and unique places to stay
From a green bus in the middle of a field to a fort in the middle of the ocean – take your pick from these weird and wonderful accommodation options, writes Simon Heptinstall.
1. A water tower
Where: Sandringham, Norfolk
How much: From £500 for four nights (sleeps four)
Queen Victoria had this 60ft (18m) octagonal water tower built on the edge of her Sandringham Estate, topped by a 32,000-gallon (145,500-litre) cast-iron water tank and viewing platform.
Now you, too, can stay like a queen – the octagonal tower is available for hire. You’ll find three modernised rooms beneath the huge water tank.
Book it: Appleton Water Tower
2. A big green bus
Where: Chiddingly, East Sussex
How much: From £320 per night (sleeps six)
Literally take a busman’s holiday aboard this double-decker bus parked in a field next to a wood.
A carpenter bought the number 2464 Coventry bus for £4,500 on eBay, then created this barmy holiday home.
You’ll spot original seats, metal stairs and rubber-framed windows, but the used chewing gum and discarded tickets have been removed.
Book it: The Big Green Bus
3. A rooftop retro trailer
Where: St Nicholas Street, Bristol
How much: From £90 a night (sleeps two)
From below this appears to be just a smart three-storey guesthouse in central Bristol.
What you can’t see is the trailer-park’s worth of retro shiny steel American caravans parked high up on the roof.
The sleeping options had to be hoisted into position using a 30m (100ft) crane, giving guests anything but a trailer-trash view across the city rooftops.
Book it: Brooks Guesthouse
4. A giant pineapple
Where: Dunmore, Stirlingshire, Scotland
How much: Four nights from £237 (sleeps four)
Who are you calling a fruit loop? Just because you want to spend your holiday in a 14m (45ft) stone pineapple.
The Fourth Earl of Dunmore had heard that Scottish sailors would display one of the then-exotic tropical fruits to announce their return home.
So, returning to Scotland himself, Dunmore went large on the custom, so to speak. Very large.
Oddly, The Pineapple (as the accommodation is called) has no internal doors, so you have to go outside to get from one room to another – a bit of a prickle.
Book it: The Pineapple
5. A WW2 (Nazi) lookout tower
Where: Rue de la Corbiere, Jersey
How much: From £31pp per night (sleeps six)
Your romantic retreat could be this six-storey cliff-top lookout tower built by teams of forced labourers as part of Hitler’s defence system during World War Two.
Its concrete walls are 2m (6.5ft) thick and have observation slots to help the residents guide artillery bombardments.
Today you enter through the blast-proof steel door and climb a narrow military spiral staircase to find three modernised bedrooms.
Book it: Radio Tower
6. A circus wagon
Where: Llandysul, Ceredigion, Wales
How much: From £80 per night (sleeps two)
Dolly is a restored 1940s wooden caravan, originally towed by a travelling circus from site to site and used as accommodation for performers.
The brightly decorated oddity is now parked in the garden of an old farmhouse in southwest Wales, alongside a shepherd’s hut that houses the bathroom.
Book it: Ffynnon Fendigaid
7. A wizard’s treehouse
Where: Eggesford, Devon
How much: From £250 per night (sleeps four)
It looks as though a fairytale character might have built this rambling treetop hideaway to escape wicked goblins.
It’s actually perched in a 250-year-old lakeside oak tree in a hotel garden. You stay in a warren of connecting rooms and turrets designed around the branches.
Book it: Fox and Hounds Country Hotel
8. An Edwardian railway carriage
Where: Aberporth, Ceredigion, Wales
How much: From £531 a week (sleeps five)
Stay here if you agree that travel is as much about the journey as the destination.
This charming example of Edwardian rolling stock is not only stuck in time; it’s also stuck on a cliff-top overlooking Cardigan Bay.
Some guests don period costume to match the atmosphere of wood-panelled compartments and corridors, decorated with Great Western Railway signage and pre-war adverts.
Book it: The Aberporth Express
9. A fort in the middle of the sea
Where: The Solent
How much: Rooms from £375 per night (including boat transfer)
No Man’s Fort was built using huge granite blocks in the middle of the sea off the Isle off the Wight 150 years ago.
The 22 bedrooms are conversions of gun emplacements around the sides – your window was once where the cannons poked out.
In contrast to its militaristic past, today’s guests can drive a golf ball aimlessly into the sea from a rooftop tee. (The balls are specially made from fish food.)
Book it: No Man’s Fort
10. A horsebox
Where: Stone-in-Oxney, Kent
How much: From £90 a night (sleeps two)
The manure and straw have thankfully been cleared away and you can now relax in style in this Bedford TK horse lorry standing in a remote field.
You enter the horse transporter via an original ramp designed for horses to trot up. The toilet is in the pony trailer alongside.
Book it: Waypost Farm Glamping
11. The Joker’s boat
Where: Albert Dock, Liverpool
How much: From £159 per night (sleeps six)
The Joker is a boat originally built for the film Batman. It was to be where Jack Nicolson’s Joker character would live in Gotham city, although the boat scenes weren’t used in the end.
The boat was rescued from an LA scrapyard, brought to Liverpool and turned into a purple floating holiday home.
Book it: The Joker
12. Britain’s remotest B&B
Where: Fair Isle, Scotland
How much: From £135 a night for a double room
Just a pretty seaside cottage? What you don’t see is the journey to get here.
Auld Haa stands on the south coast of Fair Isle, Britain’s most isolated community. The tiny windswept lump of rock is found in the North Sea, to the east of Orkney and Shetland. It’s the only settlement for 50 miles (80km).
To get to Britain’s remotest bed and breakfast you either book a flight in a tiny plane from a remote field on Shetland or take a three-hour journey in a small converted fishing boat that brings the island’s mail.
Book it: Auld Haa Guest House
Please note: All prices were correct as of March 2016 and are subject to change.
Have you stayed in any of the hotels above? Have we missed somewhere great off our list? Leave a comment below to let us know.