Trying to book a self-catering property on your own is a minefield – but booking with companies that do the vetting for you often comes at a very steep premium. Unique Homestays have a selection of carefully chosen properties to rent, divided into collections to help you find the right property for the kind of getaway you’re after. They also act as a point of contact – pre, during, and post trip – so you’re never left guessing on your own. And as their fees are built into the rental, there are no hidden costs.
The Unique Homestays Service
Their well-designed website makes ‘shopping’ for getaways easy, and their involvement means that every property will be serviced with the same Unique Homestays touch which includes welcome hampers, local information, help with add-ons like booking massages or excursions, and all other necessary info like mobile signal availability and EV charger locations, to ensure you choose the right property.
Over Lemon River, Ashburton, Dartmoor
If you’re looking to truly escape, either alone or with someone, Over Lemon River is a great choice. Approx 2.5 hours from Paddington, arrive at Newton Abbot by train, and head straight through the winding country roads until you hit your destination: an old outhouse that’s been completely transformed into a light-filled barn that’s standalone but set on a working farm.
You’re in the country now! You truly can’t put a price on silence, and that’s what you get out here. The sky at night is pitch black, with stars if you’re lucky, and AMs bring fresh morning light. You’re surrounded by greenery (six acres of it) and you won’t see another person – unless you want to.
Small and perfectly formed is a phrase used too often, but here it truly fits. Everything has a place, and with the outside area – which includes a table for dining, wooden hot tub, and patio with outdoor festoon-style bulb lighting – it feels like you have a lot of space. The bed has luxe linens, the bathroom has underfloor heating and a tub for two, the attic is a living room / snug of sorts with a smart TV and library of guidebooks, and the wood fire has all the trimmings to be easily lit by city slickers. The kitchen is well stocked – seriously, it has more appliances than we have in our own home – and the welcome hamper has local edible treasures, like shortbread, eggs, scones and jams.
Ashburton is a bit of a foodie town. Ducksoup has a restaurant here, Osteria Emilia, and we have it on good authority (thanks Jade) that The Old Library is great for brunch. Look at the opening hours though before you go anywhere, as almost everything seems to be closed on Monday/Tuesday. You’re also on the border of Dartmoor National Park, and there are walking routes all around that take you through the moors, which Dartmoor is known for. The Rock Inn in nearby Bovey Tracey seems exactly like the type of pub you dream of – a roaring fire no matter the weather, low beams and slanted floors – while Bovey Tracey itself has a supermarket and a few restaurants.
No matter what property you rent, be sure to ask lots of questions pre-arrival. If it’s rural, you likely will want a car, as taxis can be hard to come by. It’s great to be on your own, but if you’re alone, a property like Over Lemon Tree is the perfect mix – you’re alone until you need someone, and should you need someone, the friendly owners are also on the land and are happy to help with anything you might need – help with the hot tub, fire, toiletries you forgot, directions, etc.