The best rural retreats and large country houses in the UK holiday cottages

Places to Stay

The best rural retreats and large country houses in the UK

Sarah 25 November 2020

An enticing blend of tranquillity and rejuvenation with fun and frivolity, a luxury rural retreat in the UK is the answer to your high-stress levels and busy schedule – it’s time to adopt a slower pace of life with a little harmony. Apart from anything else, it’s a liberating feeling, breaking away from the crowd and heading into the countryside with your nearest and dearest.

Feel that? It’s freedom. Picture long walks through crisp autumn leaves or visiting beautiful gardens full of spring flowers, delicious pub lunches in charming country inns, cosy evenings in front of roaring log fires and warm bowls of soup after hours of countryside adventures. 

We have handpicked some of our finest large country houses to rent in the UK, spanning England, Scotland and Wales, including magnificent manor houses, fine barn conversions and impressive houses with enjoyable extras such as tennis courts and swimming pools. Whether you have a week to spare or you're looking for large country houses to rent for weekends, we're confident our collection will satisfy your dreams. 

Rural retreats in Norfolk  

norfolk coastal marshes

Home to the magnificent Sandringham Estate, the royal residence of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Norfolk is a gold mine of stately homes, resembling the likes of Downton Abbey. Striking buildings rise from within perfectly manicured gardens, guarded by ancient forest and beautiful parkland. Discover their illustrious history against a backdrop of colours, take brisk country walks, dine in cosy country pubs in front of roaring fires and devour delicious local dishes.


Where to stay 

The Old Barn - Norfolk Broads | Lingwood, Norfolk

Sleeps 12 + 2 dogs

Like many large country houses to rent, The Old Barn – Norfolk Broads is a converted farm building boasting a blend of charming traditional features and modern touches. Sleeping up to 12 people and complete with a game’s room, it’s perfect for families who are seeking somewhere to call home after a day of adventures in the Norfolk countryside. Floor to ceiling windows both upstairs and downstairs will treat you to beautiful countryside views, as you enjoy a morning coffee or settle down with a good book.

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Rural retreats in Scotland

autumn in Scotland

You can’t get much further from the humdrum of city life than deep in the heart of the Scottish countryside. A rural retreat in Scotland lends itself to a few rounds of golf on the nearest course, whisky tasting at a world-renowned distillery or outdoor pursuits under the expert eye of a professional. We particularly love Scotland in autumn, when a carpet of auburn leaves and a landscape rich in wildlife makes it an even more magical setting.

Where to stay

Downie Park House | Cartachy, Angus

Sleeps 18 + 2 

Downie Park House

Play lord of the manor in this spectacular country house to rent in Scotland, hidden deep in the Angus countryside, close to the Cairngorms National Park. From the tree-lined driveway to the stone-flagged, galleried hallway and Corinthian pillars, a warm and grand welcome awaits. Decorated with a traditional country style with open fires in many of the reception rooms, the house is complete with a games’ room for healthy competition. Sip the finest malt whisky in front of a roaring fire, feast together around the grand wooden dining table and take afternoons ambles through 18 acres of manicured lawns, woodlands and the Victorian walled gardens.

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Rural retreats in Yorkshire

Yorkshire in autumn

Stay deep in the Yorkshire countryside to find the peace and quiet you have been chasing, but be sure to take an excursion into Harrogate for the Turkish Baths, the traditional café of Betty’s and York for the minster, one of the most striking in the country. Discover the colours of Yorkshire on National Trust Estates such as Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal or Beningbrough Hall Gallery & Gardens.

Where to stay

Olliver House | Richmond

Sleeps 18

Olliver House

Originally the family home of the Earl and Countess of Ronaldshay, this elegant country house to rent combines period charm with contemporary comfort. Live like a royal and indulge in the extravagance of three dining areas, a grand drawing room and beautifully-kept walled gardens. Set on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, this grand Victorian farmhouse is the perfect base to disconnect from your busy life and reconnect with your family.

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Rural Retreats in the Peak District

A riot of colour throughout the year, whatever season you visit the Peak District you're sure to fall in love with it, from the warm orange glow of autumn to the lush greens and vibrant flowers of spring and summer.  Feast your eyes on the striking countryside scenery, visit stately homes such as Chatsworth House with its opulent interior and stunning gardens, and soak up the beauty of charming towns and villages such as Bakewell, Tissington and Hartington.

Where to stay

Hope Valley Farmhouse | Foolow, Derbyshire

Sleeps 20 + 1 dog

Hope Valley Farmhouse

Full of charm and period features, this country house to rent for a weekend or a whole week is located on a rural farm perfect for a family get together or a big celebration. Inside, the impressive farmhouse features a cinema room and pool table and with plenty of comfortable rooms to relax in there is lots of space to find that peace and quiet you were hoping for. Enjoy a game of cricket on the vast lawn, hike directly up on to the beautiful Peak District hills or stroll down the lane for an indulgent pub lunch. 

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Rural retreats in Wales

Castell Coch Wales

With some of the most spectacular scenery in all the UK, a rural retreat in Wales promises to be something special.  Rolling valleys are interrupted by imposing mountain ranges and secret lakes hide away in wildlife-rich Vales. A break in the Wales countryside is a retreat, in the true sense of the word. It’s a destination perfect for adrenaline junkies who seek daring outdoor adventures but who also crave the high life.

Where to stay

Strawberry Wood Barn | Abergavenny 

Sleeps 11

strawberry wood barn

This luxurious barn with far-reaching views across the Black Mountains, offers sumptuous furnishings, stylish details and ultimately, a truly comfortable base in the heart of rural Wales. With a playroom and trampoline, children have been well considered to ensure a luxury family holiday without compromise. While the interior of the property delivers a decadent feel; outside, it is the views that are sure to be the showstopper at this rural retreat.

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Rural retreats in the Cotswolds

Cotswolds in autumn

Famed for its honey-coloured villages and glorious rolling countryside, the Cotswolds is a firm favourite for holidays in the countryside. The Cotswolds offers excellent shopping opportunities in the dazzling towns of Bath and Cheltenham and the quirky boutiques of quaint villages like Bourton-on-the-Water. Home to the Cheltenham Races, it’s worth checking the event schedule to see if you can fit in a fabulous race day during your visit.

Where to stay

Cotswold Grange | Dursley, Gloucestershire

Sleeps 20

Cotswold Grange

Outdoor swimming pool spa, home cinema and a games room. Need we say more? You asked for a ‘retreat’, and we have delivered. This exceptional Bath stone Georgian manor, covered in wisteria, has been styled with elegance and opulence to deliver a lavish holiday home that offers luxurious extras to help you fully unwind as you take time away from your busy lifestyle. Set in 8 acres of gardens and woodland with far-reaching views across the Uley Valley and direct access on to the Cotswold Way, it’s sure to satisfy your cravings for fresh country air. Whether you're seeking a week-long holiday or a country house to rent for a weekend celebration, this impressive property will tick all the right boxes. 

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Rural Retreats in Cornwall

Cornwall, Lerryn RIver

Out of season, the pace in Cornwall slows down and the crowds disperse. That doesn’t mean the county grinds to a halt though. In autumn foodies will be delighted with delicious feast nights held at venues such as Knightor Winery and it's easier to book into Michelin Starred restaurants, like Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac. While spring brings a whole wealth of colour and beautiful flower to see throughout the stunning gardens of Cornwall. Its also a great time to visit the finest towns in Cornwall such as St Ives, Fowey and Looe. Wherever you stay in the county, the coast is never far away.

Where to stay

Stennack Barn | Carbis Bay

Sleeps 10

Stennack Barn

Set on a working farm, a holiday at Stennack barn allows you to embrace life in the countryside. With plenty of extra luxuries such as a hot tub, quirky BBQ hut and climbing frame with swings and a slide, children right through to the grandparents, will feel just at home in this large country house to rent. As soon as you step inside the cool and calm interior will instantly relax you into these tranquil surroundings, and you will forget the stresses of everyday life in a flash.

More rural retreats in Cornwall

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in Cornwall 


Inspired to down tools and take a relaxing rural retreat in the UK? You deserve it! We have a whole host of beautiful large houses across the UK in peaceful rural locations. If you are still looking for the perfect rural retreat to hide away in, you can browse our full collection of large country houses to rent for more ideas.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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