Enjoy a memorable stay in holiday homes in England
There’s no need to dig out your passport and head to the airport to experience that carefree holiday feeling. Not when England is crammed with rugged coasts and golden beaches, glorious countryside and cities bursting with history and culture. Holiday lettings in England offer the perfect home base for your travels – whether you’re in the market for a weekend away, a mid-week break or a lengthy escape from the norm. Dive in to over favourite holiday destinations waiting to be discovered around England, along with the best places to stay once you get there.
Top article to explore holiday homes in England
Handsome Swanage hugs a wide bay on the Purbeck Heritage Coast. You'll find plenty to be getting on with on the sandy beaches and 19th-century pier that burst from the town itself. However, there's also the puffing Swanage Steam Railway to hop aboard and chug out to mighty Corfe Castle, not to mention the chic walks of Sandbanks with their enticing eateries and spas up on Poole Harbour.
Romantic cabins nestled in the woods around the banks of Lake Windermere can help you tug at the heart strings on a weekend to Cumbria with your other half. There are stone-built cottages huddled between the old taverns of Ambleside – perfect for hikers with their compasses pointed at Skiddaw mountain. And then there are the characterful boltholes in Bowness and Hawkshead, surrounded by museums to the region's literary greats. That's just a taster of the sorts of enticing lettings you can expect to find in the Lake District.
St Ives is up there with Padstow and Looe as one of the hottest places to seek out holiday lettings in England on the Cornish coast. But while its compadres take care of the culinary scene and the sandcastles, this little harbour prefers cutting-edge art exhibits in the form of the Tate and the Barbara Hepworth Museum. That makes its cottages perfect for aficionados of modern art and sculpture works, which is what's talked about in the chic cafes and bakeries along St Ives promenade.
A summertime jaunt to Salcombe is your chance to make a splash in the English Channel. Yachting clubs can teach you how to weigh anchor and tack with the prevailing breeze if that's what you're after. Alternatively, stunning coves like South Sands and East Portlemouth can be accessed by local passenger ferries, putting swimming and tanning on the menu to boot.
So, you've got your heart set on the lovely Lake District? Good choice. Now you just have to decide precisely where it is you want to go within this vast region of fells and stone-faced villages. The South Lakeland is tailor-made for fans of pastoral England, with crooked cottages nestled amid farm fields and chugging heritage railways crossing the countryside. Closer to Ambleside, the national park offers up some of its highest summits. Deeper in the north, quaint towns like Keswick have rings of prehistoric standing stones and secluded waters to explore.
Perhaps you're keen to boat down the Norfolk Broads from the spires of Norwich Cathedral all the way to the coast of East Anglia? Or are you just after a relaxing stint on the sands of Wells-next-the-Sea, with all the Victorian beach huts and charming confectioners that come with it? Whatever sort of escape you're searching for in this corner of England, you can rest assured there will be Norfolk holiday homes to suit.
Newquay is the home of Boardmasters Festival in summer and one of the liveliest escapes in all of Cornwall – just a stroll around the bar-fringed promenade by Towan Beach is enough to reveal that. The town is peppered with classy rentals that have a low-key air for the surfers and families that pass through between May and September. Some even stand high above Fistral Beach, which gets some of the best swells in England.
God’s own county is crammed with windswept stretches of coast, sweeping beaches and gorgeous rural landscapes. Classic family holidays by the seaside are found in coastal towns like Scarborough and Whitby – independent holiday cottages in the latter often boast a charming harbourside setting. For pet-friendly holiday cottages in Yorkshire, the towns and villages of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks offer a hard-to-beat setting for epic walkies. And if a splash of romance is on the cards, nothing says "I love you" quite like weekends away in Yorkshire cottages with hot tubs.
Kent's got loads of draws up its sleeve. Holiday lettings on the coast here could mean visions of the gleaming White Cliffs of Dover, or oyster-munching lunches by the quays of lovely little Whitstable. Going inland opens up the leafy reaches of the Kent Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty that's covered in meadows and walking trails that are perfect if you're brining the dog in tow. Another bonus is just how close to London the region is – a mere 2 hours' drive can transport you from the big city to the bucolic farms.
Choose to put amazing Viking history and daunting medieval castles on the doorstep of your holiday let in England this year by opting for a stay in the city of York. The whole centre of the ancient town is ringed by stone walls, occasionally punctuated by spires and turrets and palisades. You can walk those and drop down to see the great York Minster, all before getting lost in the higgledy-piggledy lanes of The Shambles.
There are few holiday lettings in England that come with such a dramatic morning view as the beach-side homes of Whitby. As the sun glows bisque and silver across the beige sands and frothing North Sea, it reveals a stunning stretch of shell-dotted shoreline. Behind that stands haunting Whitby Abbey, most famous for its role in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.
For truly classic holiday lettings in England, consider North Yorkshire's tried-and-tested seaside resort – Scarborough. A duo of beaches lines the town itself, with the buzzing South Bay coming fringed with enough ice-cream stands, casinos and gaming arcades to fill any summer's day. You could look for a stay there, or head for the clifftop Esplanade, where the homes have views over the North Sea and Scarborough Castle.
Norfolk's a county filled with surprises. Its heart is dominated by rolling farm fields and old wool towns with long histories. Many of those will offer English cottages just a whisker from the Norfolk Broads – a web of waterways, wetlands and lakes that's home to countless bird species and creaking windmills. Heading to coast opens up the possibility of classic bucket-and-spade holidays, with lively piers and beaches at Cromer and Great Yarmouth.
If you're really looking to escape the city and break into England's untamed backcountry, few counties can oblige like Northumberland. A huge cut-out of the region is taken over by the Northumberland National Park, where endless expanses of the Cheviot Hills invite dog walkers and ramblers to the local cottages. That's also the area where you can stumble upon Hadrian's Wall, to hop between the ancient boundaries of the Roman empire.
With mile after mile of coastline, brooding mountains, glassy lakes and acres of woodland, England’s Lake District boasts a postcard-perfect scene for outdoor adventure – whether that be boat trips on Coniston Water or hiking Scafell Pike. A slower pace comes easy courtesy of holiday lettings in market towns like Keswick, while romance abounds in Lake District cottages for 2 in William Wordsworth’s Grasmere. Rural retreats in the Lake District can also be enjoyed in Ambleside, where the National Trust’s iconic Bridge House is perched above the rippling Stock Beck
UNESCO-tagged Bath could just be the perfect place to stay in luxury holiday homes in England – home as it is to iconic attractions like the Royal Crescent and Thermae Bath Spa. City centre holiday apartments are readily available, as are bohemian-style lettings in edgy Walcot. To experience a different side of Somerset, check out the holiday homes in Porlock Weir – a tiny seaside village near the rolling hills of Exmoor National Park. Elsewhere, the Mendip District serves up outdoor adventure at the Cheddar Gorge & Caves and live music a plenty at the annual Glastonbury Festival.
For sailors, surfers, cliff walkers and beach bums alike, Devon comes replete with quaint English holiday lettings and cottages. You'll find that the south coast is very different to the north, with lively port towns jostling with yachters and cafes instead of salt-washed surf schools waiting to teach you how to ride the Atlantic swells. Inland, Devon is blanketed in beautiful moors, while historic cathedrals and Roman relics await between the city streets of Exeter.
England’s south-westernmost county is home to some of the country’s most popular seaside getaways. Whether you want to learn to surf in Newquay or enjoy a pet-friendly holiday in St. Ives, you’ll find Cornish holiday lettings the perfect place to call home. Choose a holiday rental in Penzance to soak up the views of the tranquil St. Michael’s Mount, head to Looe to feast on fresh seafood or check out the luxury Cornwall holiday lodges near the county’s landmark Eden Project and rugged South Coast Path.
There are plenty of reasons why the county of Cornwall still reigns as one of England's top staycation destinations. High up on the list are the beaches, which shimmer with white-hued sands at Carbis Bay or come drenched by frothy waves in Polzeath. Then there are the traditional marinas, which are crowded by pasty shops and chic seafood restaurants – check out Padstow and little Looe for those. Meanwhile, inland cottages could put you near Bodmin Moor and its rolling scenery of heath and pre-historic standing stones.
Hailed as one of the most handsome towns in all of Devon, Dartmouth straddles the low hills at the end of the River Dart with its crooked half-timbered mansions and creaking rows of sailboats. A cottage here might be your ticket to the powdery beachfronts of Blackpool Sands, where summertime lazing sessions by the English Channel are on the menu. Or, they could offer up the elegant Art Deco interiors of Coleton Fishacre House, which stands majestically between manicured gardens past little Kingswear to the east.
One of England’s best-loved holiday destinations, the Cotswolds covers 5 counties and close to 800 square miles. Discover the half-timbered town of Winchcombe, where Sudeley Castle tells the story of centuries of royal history, or wander over to Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the Venice of the Cotswolds thanks to the stone-built bridges slung low over the streams that wind their way through town. Rentals in the Cotswolds might be romantic cottages for 2 or smart city centre holiday apartments on the doorstep of serene spa experiences in Cheltenham.
Bath is steeped in ancient history, though its regal Georgian rowhouses built from honey-coloured local stone give it the air of a royal 19th-century town. A holiday let in the city centre will put you just a few steps from the 2-millennia-old Roman bathhouses and museum exhibits laden with gold-glimmering Roman coins and carvings. They also mean waking to visions of Gothic Bath Abbey and its grand medieval spires.
From cheap London apartments to luxury London penthouses, England’s capital boasts a medley of self-catering holiday apartments – and a host of cool neighbourhoods to boot. You might check out the apartments in colourful Camden, home to London Zoo and the bustling Camden Market, or perhaps look for London party pads in vibrant Covent Garden. The West End is a top pick for culture vultures, while there’s superb shopping and sightseeing to be had right across Central London. Then come student neighbourhoods like Shepherds Bush, filled with cheap eats and lively bars.