8 weird and wonderful retreats your kids will love

Last updated 26th July 2022

the escape pod st ives

1/8 The Escape Pod, St Ives, Cornwall

Located atop of St Ives town, the pretty seaside spot in Cornwall, the Escape Pod is set in the middle of a private two-acre field where guests are treated to an undisturbed, panoramic view of the sea. Housing one double and one twin bedroom, this is the perfect family retreat – it even has a HD TV to snuggle up in front of in the evening. With its spacious open plan and modern interior, kids will be delighted to find that nature isn’t left at the door – the living area features a living 200-year-old olive tree.

It’s not surprising that the Escape Pod has featured in several publications and on ITV’s Holiday Home Sweet Home. Perhaps one of the coolest things about this quirky retreat is the incredible view night sky it offers. You can either sit back on your private decking and enjoy the sky, or hop in to the hot tub for some luxurious star-gazing. Plus, with the restaurants, cafes and charming shops of St Ives on your doorstep, families will never be stuck for something to do.


2/8 Big Green Bus, East Sussex

This West Midlands commuter bus retired in the nineties and has since been converted into a three-bedroom space that accommodates up to six guests. This unusual retreat was featured on the Channel 4 show, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, and is now enjoying its retirement days in rural East Sussex. With two double bedrooms and a children’s bunk bed, there’s plenty of room for the whole clan.

The bus is housed within it’s own private site in Sussex, giving you the peace and privacy you’re after. To make your stay extra special, you can take a dip in the wood fired hot tub and order yourself a campfire hamper, to snuggle down for the evening.

Price: The Big Green Bus can be rented out from £165 per night, with an additional £35 per adult, anyone aged over 15, and £25 per child. Children under the age of three are free

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the chapel walcot hall

3/10 The Chapel, Walcot Hall, Shropshire

This cosy restored chapel is tucked away in the grounds of Walcot Hall, a grand country estate in Shropshire. The chapel contains two double bedrooms, and has enough room for a family of four. It was showcased on George Clark’s Amazing Spaces, and is the perfect example of a building being saved from destruction and repurposed in to something truly magical.

Hidden among English Oaks and Chestnut trees, the entry way to this beautiful retreat is through an adventurous feeling foot path. It is probably best suited for more agile families, as you can only access the property through a 500-yard meander from the car park. It is also advised that you bring a torch if you’re planning on heading out for adventures after dark.

Price: For a two-night weekend prices start from £400

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The Dunmore Pineapple

4/10 The Pinapple, Dunmore, Scotland

This eighteenth century quirky summer house is the epitome of weird and wonderful – well, it does have a pineapple on the roof. As well as enjoying the walled garden, you’ll also have your private garden. Designed for the fourth Earl of Dunmore, this eccentric fruity creation was built in 1777. With open space and plenty of space, a twin room and a double room, there’s no better way to enjoy this building than to stay in it.

Close to the conservation village of Dunmore and the town of Falkirk, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day. Visit the working Georgian kitchen and exhibitions in Falkirk’s Callendar House. Stirling is a short drive away. This medieval old town is home to the National Wallace Monument and even some walking routes.

Price: For a family of four for four-nights prices start from £230

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old light lighthouse lundy

Credit: Landmark Trust

5/10 Old Light, Lundy, Devon

For your very own secluded retreat, why not stay in the Old Light lighthouse located on the highest point of Lundy island, on Beacon Hill in Devon? The lighthouse was completed in 1820 and has now been converted in to two separate living quarters for the lighthouse keepers. One of the quarters can sleep five, with a double and a twin bedroom.

During the winter months, November to March, there is a helicopter service during the week that will take you from Hartland Point to Lundy (how cool is that?). From the end of March until the End of October you’ll be able to use the island shipping ferry which travels from either Bideford of Ilfracombe. Even though natural rural beauty and seclusion are at the heart of this retreat, you’re only a short stroll to the village.

Price: For five people for four-nights, prices start from £328

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6/10 Knights Glampings, Leeds Castle, Kent

Leeds Castle, built by a Norman baron, is set in  500 acres of stunning parkland and gardens. A mere five minutes drive from the M20 it offers eight unique medieval-style tents that are perfect for families of up to four.

Inside your tent you’ll find an oak four poster bed, soft cotton linen, towels, snug furry rugs and warm lining., as well as a cosy wood burning stove, electric lighting and WiFi connection (this is glamping after all!). Each tent is also equipped with a dressing table and mirror, wooden storage trunk, solid flooring and a safety deposit box. Children sleep on camp beds with sleeping bag and snuggly blankets provided.

Breakfast hampers are provided, for £5 a head, which must be ordered in advance. The Castle’s Fairfax restaurant is also open to glampers to tuck into a full English. Dinner is available at the Castle View restaurant, although we recommend that intrepid families cook up a feast in the open air at the camp site.

Set in the pretty Kent  countryside, this quirky retreat is perfect for relaxing around the open fire, letting the little ones play in the children’s playground and enjoying the natural surroundings. Camping starts from May 2016, and runs until the end of September. Two children, under the age of 15, can be accommodated in bed for an extra £20 per night.

Price: Two adults and two children, staying for two nights in May, will cost £370

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7/10 Treehouse Loft Suite, Chewton Glen, New Forest

This luxurious treehouse is ideal for families, and fits up to two adults and four children, due to the secret galleried bunk area. Hidden in a leafy canopy in a wooded valley, the views of the surrounding forest are second to none. Nestled in the New Forest, you’re only a short walk away from dozens of nature treks and of course, the beach. If you’re looking to unwind, the outdoor hot tub on the terrace deck is just the ticket. On rainy afternoons, enjoy snuggling up in front of the TV and DVD, or beat the kids on the game console.

Breakfast is included in the price and is delivered every morning in a hamper. Hunter wellies and umbrellas are left for you to enjoy – so drizzle won’t stop you enjoying the New Forest. There are plenty of trails to walk, or you can hire bikes to get around the forest. For the ultimate relaxation, simply sit back and let the open top bus service do all the hard work for you. Open from mid June and mid September, there are three bus routes to guide you around some of the more popular attractions, such as the spectacular Exbury Gardens.

Price:  Treehouse prices start from £1150-1250

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8/10 Tom’s Eco Pods, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Located on Tapnell Farm – a real working farm – these eco pods are perfect for a good-life-seeking family. On the Isle of Wight everything is within close proximity, so you’re only a five–ten minute drive from shops, including the irresistable farm shop, and local cafe’s and pubs. Each lodge sleeps up to four people, and you’ll enjoy fabulous panoramic views of the sea and rural landscape.

If you fancy something a little roomier, you can stay in an eco lodge, which sleeps up to six guests. Only two of the lodges have hot tubs, so make sure you opt for one or five if you want the ultimate addition to a relaxing family break.

As this is a working farm, you’ll be able to take a farm tour – including a chance to meet the cows while they’re being milked. You can also help yourself to some fresh eggs lovingly laid by the farm’s chickens.

Price: For two adults and two children, a lodge will cost from £428.80 for a three-night stay

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