Thinking of taking a rural retreat break in 2024? The UK with its miles and miles of fields, farmlands, meadows and valleys, is a great place for a rustic break; and let’s not forget the National Parks and AONBs too!
What are the Best Destinations for Rural Retreat Breaks in the UK?
If you want to escape to the countryside on a cottage holiday in 2024, you may be wondering which are the best areas to enjoy a rural self-catering break? Britain’s National Parks and AONBs are always a good bet (although some of the best known parks like the Lake District do attract lots of tourists in peak season). If you want peace and tranquility, the AONBs which often offer just as lovely views but less people than the National Parks, can be a great choice.
Whether you are thinking of holidaying in Scotland, England, Wales or Ireland, each part of the UK has lots of areas offering wonderful rural vibes. You can find a slice of rural bliss in most parts of Britain, away from cities and large towns. Here we’ve selected our best picks of some of the areas we have found best for rural retreat breaks.
Our Picks of the Very Best Parts of the UK for Rural Retreat Holidays
Go Rural in Aberdeenshire in Scotland
Largely rural, Aberdeenshire with its relaxed laid-back vibe, could be a great place to discover the road less travelled. See animals grazing in fields, catch glimpses of birds of prey and maybe enjoy a spot of sea fishing or river fishing, or play a round of golf (Aberdeenshire is rich in highly rated golf courses including Donald Trump’s International golf course in Aberdeenshire. Both the Trump International course and Cruden Bay golf course are set by the coast, so you can enjoy breathtaking views whilst doing this sport.
Being right up in the North East of Scotland, Aberdeenshire is one of the UK’s more remote holiday destinations and as such you can enjoy discovering some beautiful coastline and countryside in isolation at some places. Holiday in Aberdeenshire, reconnect with nature and get your sense of inner peace back; at least for a little while.
Enjoy lazy days relaxing at your cottage hideaway or get out and explore some of the best of Aberdeenshire. Found within Aberdeenshire are parts of the Cairngorms National Park; an area ideal for enjoying the great outdoors whether you want to enjoy walking, hiking, horse riding or wildlife watching. Discover numerous charming towns and villages in the Cairngorms including Braemar, Crathie and Ballater, where you can dine out and enjoy a taste of Scottish cuisine.
If you want to explore the area’s attractions these are bound to impress too; discover history at Balmoral Castle or one of the other many castles in the area; Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s Castle country after all, or visit one of Aberdeenshire’s whisky distilleries and indulge in a wee dram or two. Whether you book a romantic retreat, a large country house or a farm cottage, you are bound to find a slice of rural bliss in Aberdeenshire.
Book an Idyllic Rustic Escape in the Scottish Highlands
Home to the Great Glen Way, vast wilderness, as well as gems like Inverness, Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle, the Scottish Highlands are a joy to discover on a rural retreat break. Although no well kept secret, with miles and miles of vast expanses of countryside, you seldom feel crowded in this beautiful and expansive area of Scotland. Drive along Scotland’s Route 66 for some of the best views.
Book a crofter’s cottage, a farm cottage or a rural retreat and hideaway for a while, recharge and reconnect with your nearest and dearest. Maybe even consider booking somewhere with no Wifi where you can truly get back to nature and escape from the stresses and strains of modern living.
For holidaymakers who love walking, hiking and wildlife watching this part of Scotland is an absolute joy. You can enjoy looking out for deer, eagles and who knows you may be lucky enough to spot a Scottish wildcat!
Discover the Garden of England on a Cottage Holiday in Kent
Dubbed England’s Garden of England, if you want lush greenery, charming historic villages and towns then Kent is the place to book a countryside holiday. Home to both the Kent Downs AONB and High Weald AONB, as well as vineyards and countryside galore, for footpaths, scenic views and natural beauty, Kent excels.
For peace, tranquility and to immerse yourself in nature, head to the parts of Kent further away from London. On a rural retreat break, you may want to stay near charming towns like Faversham, or Tenterden in the High Weald, both of which offer a rich sense of history, ample charm, as well as a choice of eateries.
If you want to enjoy days out on your rural break, visit Kent’s country houses or castles such as Leeds Castle, Hever Castle or Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
For charm and a chance to enjoy a more peaceful self-catering break, Kent has so very much to offer. Book a thatched cottage for a completely dreamy hideaway holiday or a secluded retreat where you can hide away, relax and unwind.
Northumberland for Hadrian’s Wall and Hills Aplenty
Best known for its coastline, Northumberland is also home to some beautiful and fascinating countryside. Book a rural retreat break in the Cheviot Hills and hide away for a while and recharge your batteries.
Or, book accommodation close to Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall country (a UNESCO recognized site) and explore this area with its fascinating Roman forts on days out. Northumberland National Park is also where you can find one of the UK’s largest dark sky parks for stargazing on holiday. Book a rural hideaway and don’t forget to look up at the sky at night!
For dining and eating out, the town of Alnwick is worth a visit, and is also well worth visiting for its castle which starred as the Magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in one of the films.
If you want to enjoy walking, hiking and wildlife watching, as well as walking back in time as you discover about key points in England’s history, there is nowhere quite like Northumberland.
Hideaway in a Shepherd’s Hut or Country Retreat in Shropshire
Home to the Shropshire Hills AONB, if you want to escape to a county with farmlands galore, magnificent high hills, vast farmlands and stunning countryside, Shropshire is the place to be. Sharing a border with Wales, you can even pop in to Wales for day trips from some parts of Shropshire too.
Discover attractive market towns like Knighton or Bishop’s Castle and enjoy some of the local fare, or discover one of the area’s delicious gastro pubs. Enjoy a good hike in Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd and soak up some of the most spectacular views to be found in the whole of Shropshire.
For days out, don’t miss the UNESCO heritage site of Iron Bridge and marvel at this magnificent feat of architecture. Blists Hill Victorian village at Ironbridge also makes for a fascinating day out where you can step back in town and let your imagination run wild.
For rural heaven, Shropshire is the place to be on holiday.
Immerse Yourself in Historic Charm, Nature and Farmlands Galore on Holiday in Suffolk
Suffolk can be an ideal choice for holidaymakers keen to escape London but not wanting to travel too far. Just an hour and a half’s drive from some parts of London, Suffolk is not that far, but with its scenic countryside and quaint historic towns and villages can feel like a world away, and as if you have stepped back in time!
Book a country retreat and discover some of the best of Suffolk’s charms on day trips out.
Not to be missed is medieval Lavenham, Sudbury with its Gainsborough Museum and beautiful water meadows, and Clare and Hadleigh with their coffee shops, eateries and quaint historic charm.
Other places to enjoy country walks are near the Bures Dragon (a well kept secret and quite a drive down windy roads but a truly fascinating place) and the Dedham Vale AONB with its riverside walks and Flatford Mill.
Discover Denbighhire from a Holiday Hideaway
With hills, farmlands and countryside galore, along with a rich history, Denbighshire is a rural retreat dream. Holiday by the Clwydian Hills or in the Dee Valley and enjoy walking, hiking and wildlife watching during your escape.
Or maybe you prefer to hide away in the Berwyn Mountains? Book a rural cabin or country cottage with good walks from the doorstep and explore the area on foot. For keen walkers, much of the Offa’s Dyke Path crosses through Denbighshire, guiding you to some of the best of the areas.
For dining out, the charming historic market towns of Denbigh, Ruthin and Llangollen await.
Get Rustic in Gwynedd
Home to Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors. Walking, hiking, white water rafting and wildlife watching are all on offer in Snowdonia National Park where you may be lucky enough to spot birds of prey like peregrine falcon whilst exploring the area. For historic attractions, Gwynedd with its castles including Caernarfon Castle and Harlech Castle has lots to offer.
Book a rural escape in the mountains, or a secluded cottage nestled in a valley or by a river, and reconnect with nature on your break away.
Quaint Welsh villages like Beddgelert and charming historic market towns like Bala are worth a visit for their quaint charm, country inns and eateries.
Wherever you opt to book a tranquil rural cottage break or farmstead holiday, we hope you find our rural retreat holiday ideas helpful in guiding you to some of the best destinations and options.