Cabins are historically where people go to find peace, solitude, perspective, and if they’re lucky, a little R&R. But in the UK, you’re never really that far from, well, anything. Whilst you can disappear to the country for a few days, you’re always close enough to grab a little culture if you feel like it. We’ve rounded up a list of the cabins where, if you don’t feel like living in your own world (and you can if you want), you can pop out and see what civilisation has to offer round those parts.
700 metres away from the nearest building, Lynher Lookout is its own little world, overlooking the Lynher Viaduct. You could look in every direction, and just see green -- but you're actually only ten minutes from Plymouth, and five from Saltash -- site of the annual Saltash Regatta. At the start of September every year, residents from the two local metropolises meet to race boats (regular and carboard boats), listen to live music, and hang out browsing the stalls. Best of all, this year, single use plastics were banned from all vendors.
If you're coming or going via Plymouth, you ought to pop into KARST. Founded in 2012, it's an artist-led space producing and showing the best in international contemporary art, with nine artists in residence at any one time, and a constant flow of exhibitions. Swap miles of green for several floors of white and tour the ex-industrial space in search of inspiration.
This part of the Devon coastline is intersected with oodles of waterways, as the rivers Tamar, Tavy, Plym and Lynher meet in a series of lakes before passing out to sea past the Rame peninsula. There are several beaches round these parts, but many are small and less than perfectly formed. So, skip scooping sand out of your crevices, and jump to the good part -- head into Plymouth and hit up South West SUP to learn the basics of paddleboarding.
Cheese is the cornerstone of any great civilisation, and Ty Mamgu is round the corner from a cheesemaker -- Caws Teifi Cheese, where everything from Teifi cheese, to halloumi, to Caerphilly is made. As if this weren't enough, there's a gin distillery almost opposite called Dà Mhìle.
Should you manage to escape the incredible scenery, deep relaxation and gin-induced naps at Ty Mamgu, it's a 30-minute drive to Cardigan, where the Teifi River opens up to the sea. Pop into Canfas to tour their four gallery spaces and check out the very best of Welsh contemporary artists. If that inspires your own creativity, you can head down the road to Make It In Wales. Café, shop, and craft space, you can learn any manner of crafts, taught by professional artists -- from stained glass to sewing, to drawing -- there's a class for everyone.
A wise chef once said, 'I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.' And we tend to agree. When you travel, there's few better analogies for imbibing the culture than... well literally imbibing it. When you're done crafting your masterpieces up the road, head down to the Cambrian Quay to Pizzatipi for stone baked pizzas, appetisers & sweets rustled up from the local bounty, by local boys (founded by four brothers -- not a problematic hiring situation).
You're a 40-minute drive from Poppit Sands Beach, which sits just to the west of Cardigan. When the tide's out, it's a huge beach -- but when it's in, it almost entirely disappears underwater. Stay away from the right side of the beach, as where the river meets the sea, there can be some strong and dangerous currents. This powerful stream aside, the beach tends to produce consistent small waves, and is a great choice for beginner surfers hoping to rack up some knots. For the best, and safest choice, wait until July and August, when there are lifegaurds on duty. Or alternatively, hit up Cardigan Bay Active, local surf school, to take you out and carve the waves.
Though not strictly coastal, there's a magical experience you can't miss in this neck of the woods. Head to Cenarth, midway between Cardigan and Ty Mamgu, an unassuming village, where between October and November, salmon leap upstream to find a place to give birth. Come by in season to watch them make the acrobatic jumps up little waterfalls.
Sitting in northern Norfolk, The Woodcock is your very own slice of peace and tranquillity on the North Norfolk Coast, 20 minutes away. Most who come here enjoy disappearing into the grounds of the organic farm it sits on and forgetting the modern world, but it doesn't mean there isn't plenty to experience nearby.
Norfolk is an ever-evolving county that's kept young and spritely by the constant influx of youth attending the local universities -- and that can be a great place to start to see what counts for contemporary these days. Head over to the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia to browse not just the modern, but the ancient and ethnographic art. Or as darkness falls, The LCR (Lower Common Room) -- the student union's music venue, for live music (non-students welcome).
If creativity's on the cards, you can head to Norwich Pottery studio, and craft your very own pots, learning to hand build or throw on a wheel, as well as glaze, and create surface designs.
Word has it, Norfolk's surf is every bit as good as Devon's, so take the 20-minute drive to the coast to make use of Hunstanton, where you can pick up some lessons, rent boards -- either surf or paddle and make use of the massive beach. When you're worn out from the water, you can head back to the promenade and go in search of fish and chips, or perhaps something a little more carbonated.
Norfolk has 303sqmi of waterways, and 90 miles of coastline, so if watersports are your thing, well you might have just found your spot. There are numerous companies to either take lessons with, or hire kit from, and more than enough places to do it. And if you're lucky, you might just spot some seals too.
Jackson's Cabin was built by travellers, for travellers. If there was a spot to give up the social life, and become a hermit, this would be it. There's attention to detail, incredible craftsmanship -- and oh yes, a wood fired hot tub amongst the trees. There are plenty of place nearby to go grab a culture fix -- but we'd be hard pressed not to send you to Totnes.
Totnes has a kind of divisive reputation, some enamoured with it, others -- not so much. Like Glastonbury, Frome, or Hay-on-Wye, certain areas of the country tend to have a certain kind of person gravitate towards them. Whether you buy into the vibe or not, it makes for an incredible day or days out. If you're in search of food, you could grab a seat at The Bull Inn -- serving organic, locally sourced and seasonal incredible food. If you can get a reservation, Rumour -- designing dishes from the traditional to the creatively inspired. Gather -- foraging ingredients from the local biome, Ben's Wine & Tapas -- which does very much what it says on the tin -- and more. Just looking for a pick me up? The Curator serves coffee how it was supposed to be enjoyed. Stocking up? Pick up pantry stuffers at Eversfield Organic -- local organic supermarket. Something for after dinner? Try Totnes Wine Co, or Wine & Greene for a bottle to regret not buying two of.
If you're looking to get a taste of the local vibe -- try a little retail therapy, and hit up one of the vintage clothes shops, Revival or Butterworth's Vintage, or even the local market if you're there on a Friday or Saturday. Outfitted in suitable style, you can head to the Bowie Gallery or A Pickled Thought to view some art, and if you're in the market for some -- Famous Rebel to buy local artist's work. Top it all off with a visit to The Drift for a pleasing flick though vinyl records.
Wild swimmer? If it's somewhere between May and September, take the 45-minute drive out to Brixham to the Shoalstone Seawater pool, swim in its 53 metres of bracing water, and enjoy the fresh air Victorian style.
Partial to a little surf? Hit the beach at Paignton, where surf, when it does swell, can be quite spectacular. And there are rarely any hazards, making it suitable for all abilities.
Looking for what SUP? Head over to Torquay to Wesup, where you can get lessons, tours, and hire sessions, as well as rent kit. Even better, their sister company Solskinn sells speciality coffee and light snacks right next door, and 1km away in the centre of town, you'll find their harbourside gin terrace, which, well. Need we say more?