Britain’s Best Designed Holiday Homes

Britain’s best designed Holiday homes

For those who take joy in good design, a stay in one of these British holiday rentals will offer plenty to inspire and intrigue. Whether they are truly pioneering or simply perfectly put together, the personal touches and bursts of creativity of these properties are a world away from the paint-by-numbers interiors that often dominate holiday accommodation.

MVRDV, The Balancing Barn, Suffolk Coast

balancing barn

Commissioned by Living Architecture, who aim to change people’s perceptions about modern design, The Balancing Barn by MVRDV is something truly different. For one thing, it’s covered in silver tiles, features floor to ceiling windows in every room and (most importantly) half of the building isn’t even on solid ground. This makes for a “wow” factor you won’t find anywhere else, and you can marvel at the astute architectural decisions which allow much of the building to protrude out over a hill without toppling over when you all stand at one end.

The Hideaways Club Bank House Apartment, London


London has a reputation for world-leading design with a hint of British eccentricity, so if you have an eye for aesthetics this is a wonderful city to find yourself in. One stand-out holiday apartment is travel investment fund The Hideaways Club’s Kensington property, which perfectly encapsulates both old and modern London. Set in a period building that overlooks Kensington Gardens, the apartment has a sympathetic yet bold interior created by design company yoo Furnish, who founded by John Hitchcox and titan of the design world, Philippe Starck.

Partially open plan and spreading across three floor levels, the subtle colour palette of white, chocolate and café au lait is lifted with bright splashes and interesting features, such scarlet furnishings, chrome tables and Philippe Starck Ghost Chairs (a witty take on the classic Louis XVI armchair).

Victoria Road, North Berwick, Scotland


If you feel happiest surrounded by unexpected and nifty design, this holiday let in the seaside town of North Berwick is well worth the risk you’ll take with the weather by choosing a beach holiday in Scotland (a consideration that, to be fair, rings true throughout the UK). Approaching this 200-year-old cottage preconceptions about its interior – pleasantly old-fashioned but perhaps a little cramped and dated – are likely to form, making the reality a nice surprise.

The renovation of this property retained the original charm of the building while adapting it into something that’s unique and contemporary. Nearby building company Treewrights created a magnificent oak-framed design for the extension, much of which is glazed. It even allows visitors to pull back entire glass walls in order to blend the inside and outside space. Simple, carefully chosen furnishings, bright prints and sun-bleached wood complete the look.

Cheval Residences, Knightsbridge, London


Each of Chevals serviced apartments in Knightsbridge has it’s own style and character, and as they are designed for extended stays much of this has been conceived to help people feel welcome and as if they were in their own home. While every property has a design of it’s own, an overarching theme appears to be modern-retro, but the real cleverness comes in how they’ve created the illusion of homeliness. As you can see with small details like the inclusion of a few pillows that are ever so slightly (but very consciously) incongruous, every detail has been weighed up and considered to create a relaxed, yet extremely well chosen and attractive, final result.

Nord Architecture, Shingle House, Dungeness


Dungeness is an unusual landscape. An expanse of shingle that is both rich and desolate, many people find the area deeply compelling. This made designing Shingle House by Nord Architecture a challenge, as they attempted to capture the unique spirit of the place and create something that is sympathetic to it’s surroundings. Tarred black shingles encase the exterior of sparse, precise shapes, while the concrete and timber interior is stripped back but undeniably cosy. The combination of elemental, severe and poetic embodied here makes perfect sense in the context of Dungeness.

Grayson Perry, A House of Essex, Wrabness, Essex


Blurring the line between architecture, interior design and fine art, A House of Essex was created by the famous artist and all-round interesting chap Grayson Perry (in collaboration with FAT Architecture) in honour of a fictional Essex woman named Julie. Drawing inspiration from eccentric follies, his own childhood and Essex itself, the house is an artwork and also contains many of Perry’s pieces. The holiday home certainly isn’t minimalist, and won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the riotous colour and artistic intrigue of this property may well just draw you in.

Holly Ashby

Holly Ashby is a writer who’s interested in health, happiness and corporate wellbeing. She currently works for the meditation centre Will Williams Meditation, who help people tackle a range of issues and experience the benefits of meditation.