From a building in Scotland decorated with a huge pineapple to a windmill in Norfolk, we round up some of Britain’s landmark lodgings
Built in the 18th century, The Pineapple is perhaps the Landmark Trust’s most famous lodging and it is often also dubbed Scotland’s most bizarre building. If you’re booking a stay, you can expect a comfortable holiday house, decorated in understated elegance, with two bedrooms on one side of the fruity monument, and the kitchen and living area on the other (you have to go outdoors to access the opposite halves of the property). The pineapple itself serves as a central tower, accessed via steps from the residence’s private garden.
In 2002, the Landmark Trust shifted this 187-year-old folly 80 foot inland to save it from crumbling into the English Channel. The 18-month project also involved a masterful restoration of the once derelict four-storey tower. Here one can wake to the sun rising over the sea and step out onto the bedroom balcony for unobstructed 360-degree views, while at night you can curl up in the attic sitting room by one of several roaring fires.
Set on Aldeburgh’s timeless shingle beach, the austere, Martello Tower belies a cosy abode within. Built between 1808 and 1812, it is one of several outposts along England’s coast built to keep Napoleon out. In the 1930s, Martello Tower was occasionally used for camping holidays by the Mitfords, the scandalous aristocratic family beloved of the British press. The current interiors blend the rustic character of the fortress with charming cosy features such as a log burner and comfy sofas. For sensational views, climb one of the two steep staircases to the roof.
Sandringham is HM The Queen’s country pile, an 8,000-hectare (20,000-acre) estate at which the Royal Family will often spend Christmas. It has been a home for British monarchs since Queen Victoria came here in 1862, after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, at Windsor Castle. The octagonal, red-brick Appleton was built to hold a 32,000-gallon iron tank, 60 feet in the air, to deliver the requisite water pressure. The second floor, which now houses the master bedroom of this four-person holiday let, was previously reserved as a viewing platform for the Royal Family.
Gibside, Newcastle upon Tyne
This bijou Gothic folly has sensational views of the River Derwent and was designed to be admired both inside and out. It perches on a grassy clearing on the edge of the National Trust’s 243-hectare (600-acre) Gibside Estate overlooking an octagonal pond and, inside, there are three spacious rooms that offer an enchanting bolthole for a peaceful holiday. The folly is part of the estate owned by coal baron George Bowes (an ancestor of HM The Queen on her mother’s side).
This two-faced Georgian folly makes its triple-domed Romanesque ruin part of its charm. The Ruin’s three tastefully decorated rooms each open out onto the front terrace offering some of the most splendid views in Yorkshire. The house itself is curiously charming with Gothic-arched doors, windows and interior alcoves, while wood-burners in the sitting room and bedroom add to its homely character. Its main draw, however, is its setting looking out over Hackfall Gardens. The estate dates from the 18th century and was designed by John Aislabie (former Chancellor of the Exchequer) and his son William, who also created the gardens at nearby Studley Royal Park.
Cley Windmill has nine B&B rooms, three of which are in the round of this five-storey, 19th-century mill. The low-beamed Stone Room opens out onto a balcony that encircles the mill, while the newly converted Wheel Room is a cosy hideaway in the roof with a four-poster bed, spectacular views and a ladder-climb to the bathroom. Situated near the pretty coastal towns of Cromer and Wells-next-the-Sea, the windmill is also surrounded by reed beds, marshes and the River Glaven, so it is the perfect base for taking in those big Norfolk skies.