Four fantasy escapes in the UK
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
The managers of Atholl Estates, just outside Dunkeld, already have various small-is-beautiful self-catering options across their 145,000 acres. This summer Glen Glack Cabins joins the portfolio, five one- and two-bedroom classics elevated on stilts overlooking Cally Loch – all the better to leave the lightest of footprints on the land. Most are clad in the (sustainably harvested) larch for which Atholl is famous; all have large verandahs and contemporary interiors, with fully stocked kitchens, king-sized beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and plenty of well-judged hits of tweed (along with inconspicuous TVs, for anyone who’s not ready to switch off entirely). atholl-estates.co.uk, from £210
A little bit of Australia in Suffolk
Unyoked, the off-grid mini-cabin company founded in Sydney in 2016, lives by its name, with a mandate to give its guests high-quality access to unadulterated natural settings (the booking system asks if you’re looking for Calm, Clarity, Creativity or “Nothing specific – I just want a cabin”). After resounding success in Australia, it debuted in the UK in July last year, in north Norfolk, South Downs National Park and the Black Mountains of Wales. This month it’s adding three single-room cabins in rural Suffolk.
Isla, Sage and Rocco are an easy train ride from London (to Sudbury, from which it’s a 20-minute cab to the location). As with much of the Unyoked collection, they’re solar-powered, with composting toilets. There’s forest bathing in the surrounding woodland, cold-water paddling in the streams they overlook, and pizza ovens by the firepits for when a margherita, or some fire-roasted veg, is what’s for dinner. unyoked.co, from £154
Loch-side living with Japandi cool
Kabn Company’s business model aligns with the Atholl Estates’, on a smaller scale: two beautifully and sustainably designed off-grid cabins on the shores of Loch Fyne, one hour from Glasgow, two from Edinburgh.
The cabins, separated by 100m and reached by a private dirt road, marry Japanese minimalism and Scandi rigour; each has an open sitting room-kitchen (with small gas hob and a larder stocked with organic oils and spices), an ensuite bedroom (with chemical-free mattresses and toppers), fireplaces and outdoor ovens. This spring they partnered with Welsh chef William Hamer – fresh off a stint at Hiša Franko, Slovenia’s much buzzed-about culinary destination – who’s leading “wild” cooking courses and dining experiences around the Loch. kabncompany.com, from £235
Norfolk’s new cottage industry
Art dealer Ivor Braka put his name on the hospitality map in 2011 when he opened The Gunton Arms, his Robert Kime-designed pub with rooms, in north Norfolk. He followed it up in 2021 with the restoration of The Suffield Arms, which had been closed for nine years and across which, as at The Gunton – just a mile away – he displays a rotating collection of contemporary art.
To this micro-empire he’s just added Suffield Lodge, a cosy four-bedroom cottage inside Gunton deer park. Here again, the interiors are by Robert Kime, the pitched ceilings and diminutive dimensions made warm by printed wallpapers, quilts, and surfeits of chintz and block-print curtains and nubbly linens. It has been available for bookings since last month – self-catering, but easily provisioned by the staff at The Gunton in advance of your arrival, should you wish. theguntonarms.co.uk, from £900 a night, three-night minimum stay