Top 10 Destinations for Rural Retreat Breaks in the UK and Ireland

If you are dreaming of taking a rural retreat holiday and want to find somewhere lush with plenty of greenery and tranquility then read our guide to help you find the right choice of destination.  It isn’t always easy to know where to find the quieter places in the UK where you can find a rural hideaway.  With our top 10 choice of destinations we aim to help guide you to find the best hidden away locations for getting away from it all.


1.  Northumbria

Northumberland countryside in our Top 10 for rural retreatsNorthumbria is one of the jewels in England’s crown when it comes to unspoilt countryside and tranquillity.  Also known as Hadrian Wall’s country, Northumberland is home to the UNESCO heritage site of Hadrian’s Wall and some excellent walking country in the National Park.  Hiking and walking can be some of the best ways to discover the landscapes of Northumbria.  With miles and miles of unspoilt country landscapes and countryside that seems to stretch on and on, Northumbria is an excellent choice for a rural retreat break.  Discover castles and charming market towns in Northumbria as well as an inspirational coastline.  



2.  Herefordshire

Herefordshire is known as one of the quieter, more unspoilt parts of England.  With the Brecon Beacons National Park within reach of many parts of Herefordshire and other parts of the county close to the Forest of Dean, Herefordshire could be a great choice for a rustic country holiday.  If you want to experience the country life then a cottage stay in Herefordshire could be ideal for you.



3.  Suffolk

Charming Suffolk country towns, perfect for country holidaysHead deep in to Suffolk for a sense of stepping back in time and to experience the sights and sounds of the countryside.  Enjoy country walks and experience rural life at its best where the only sounds you hear are the birds in the trees, bees and grasshoppers.  All this is possible in Suffolk where you can immerse yourself in a slower pace of life and leave troubles far behind you.  Add to this villages and market towns with splendid historical buildings, some of which are National Trust properties and you have all the recipes for an idyllic rural getaway.  Destinations such as Lavenham, Dedham and Long Melford come highly recommended.  Read more about Suffolk for self-catering holidays.

If you are planning a rustic holiday in England then click to view our excellent collection of places to stay for rural country cottages and retreats





4.  Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire perfect for rural retreat breaksIf you have in mind somewhere remote and the road less travelled then Aberdeenshire could be just right for your rural break.  With miles and miles of rolling countryside, forests and even mountains, Aberdeenshire has many hidden areas where you can truly relax.  Fishing, golfing, castles and whisky distilleries are the specialities in this part of Scotland and well worth sampling on a cottage holiday in this area of Scotland.  With vast rural landscapes and a wild unspoilt coastline with golden sandy beaches and impressive cliffs, this is a marvellous part of Scotland for a country cottage getaway.

5.  Highlands

Inspirational Highlands sceneryThe beauty of the Scottish Highlands is no well kept secret.  However, covering a vast and sparsely populated area, there are still plenty of opportunities to escape the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life and discover peace, tranquillity and the beauty of nature in the Highlands.  Generally speaking the Northern Highlands are more remote and less visited than elsewhere in the Highlands.   Sutherland in the very north of the Highlands comes highly recommended for unspoilt landscapes and offers plenty of opportunities to find peaceful places for holidays.  Read more about the Scottish Highlands for wonderful self-catering holidays.

6.  The Scottish Islands

Pick any of the Scottish islands, they all have in common some wonderful landscapes, inspirational coastlines and a relaxed pace of life.  To truly get away from it all, head to the more remote Scottish islands such as Shetland, Orkney, the Inner Hebrides or the Outer Hebrides.  As well as offering excellent opportunities to find hidden away rural idylls where you can really feel like you are in a world of your own, you can also experience some fantastic wildlife watching opportunities on the Scottish Islands.  Sea eagles, whales, basking sharks and deer are just some of the sights you may be lucky enough to see! 

Planning a country holiday in Scotland?  If so why not take a look at our collection of Scottish rural retreats.  




7.  Isle of Anglesey

Located in the North West of Wales, the Isle of Anglesey is probably best known for its seascapes and coastline, this area of Wales though also has countryside a plenty and lots of wonderfully rural areas.  On Anglesey even though you can enjoy a country stay, the seaside is never fast away meaning that with a break here you can find that delicious mix of both coast and country.

8.  Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia, excellent for rural cottage holidaysSnowdonia National Park comes highly recommended for a rural retreat holiday, particularly for keen walkers, hikers and mountaineers.  With a wealth of beautiful mountain landscapes, hills and valleys, Snowdonia offers plenty of hidden away country cottages and rural retreats.  What’s more, the park doesn’t just cover beautiful landscapes inland but also a stunning coastline, meaning that there is no shortage of fantastic scenery to discover on a holiday here.

We hope we’ve inspired you on places to holiday in Wales.   To search for somewhere to stay click for rural country cottages in Wales.





9.  Irish Lakelands

If it is peace and tranquility that you are after, it could be said that Ireland is the best place in the UK to go to.  Unlike the English Lake District which although awe inspiring in terms of its landscapes, can get really busy, the Irish Lakelands are more of a well kept secret.  If you love that mix of rustic landscapes, hills, waterfalls, rivers and loughs then the Irish Lakelands may be just perfect for you rural break.

10.  The Mid West of Ireland

Ireland’s Mid West encompasses Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary and this part of Ireland promises rustic landscapes as well as relatively easy access to a wonderfully rugged coastline.  What’s more, from here you can discover some of Ireland’s best attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher and Burren National Park.  Hill walking, fishing and horse riding are all on offer here amongst some wonderful scenery.  Although Ireland is just a short flight away, this is a barrier for some which can be great news if you want to take a peaceful rustic holiday.   For more information click to read our guide to Mid West Ireland.

We can help you find your ideal country holiday in Ireland, click for cottages in rural settings in Ireland.

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