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Our little black book of enchanting places


Romantic boltholes for Valentine's Day

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Our friends at Sawday’s Special Places to Stay have just reminded us that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. But don't panic: there's still time to book a romantic bolthole for two. Fortunately, Sawday’s excels at this sort of thing, offering everything from secluded cottages to lochside boathouses. Here are five that have brought out the old romantic in us.

Boat Houses, Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross

There are two boltholes on this enchanting spot on the banks of Loch Tay: a bothy called Sky Cottage, and Dipper (above), a stylish wooden boathouse right on the the loch. Cosy and comfortable though Sky Cottage looks, we’ve set our heart on the latter which has a wood-burner and a raised bed for star-gazing. Sawday’s says the studio-style boat house is perfect for midnight skinny dipping. We’ll probably give that a miss in February. From £768 per week/£298 for a three-night break. No pets.Nantwen, Newport, Pembrokeshire

Five minutes’ drive from Newport (that’s Newport, Pembrokeshire rather than Newport, Gwent), then down a pot-holed track, and you come to this cosy eco barn overlooking a green Welsh valley.Inside, underfloor heating, plenty of logs for the wood burner, and goose down bedding ensure you’ll be cosy whatever the weather, and there will be no chilly dashes from bath to bed either – there's a claw-foot tub in the bedroom. From £430 per week/£190 for a two-night break. Peasecroft, Coniston, Cumbria

Set in eight acres of woodland, fields and orchards, this former coach house looks rather, well, shed-like from the outside. Inside, it’s a different story: snug and stylish, with a vaulted ceiling and an open-plan living area with a well-equipped kitchen tucked away at one end. The bedroom is on a mezzanine, reached by a ladder (something to bear in mind as you tuck into that second bottle of Champagne). The walk to the 'Old Man' mountain starts at the gate and peaceful Coniston Water is just a 15-minute stroll away. From £650 per week/short breaks from £495.

Beach Cottage, Skegness, Lincolnshire

it’s a case of love me, love my dog, then this sky blue fisherman’s cottage on the sand dunes at Anderby Creek is perfect – it even has a designated dog-drying area. The cottage is pretty but compact, with an open-plan living area and an under-eaves bedroom.But you won’t be indoors much: you’ll be taking long walks along the beach, eating fish and chips from a nearby café, and watching the sunset on the decking or from the little summerhouse. From £400 per week/£290 for a three-night weekend break.The Linhay, Wadebridge, Cornwall

This former cart shed is the perfect bolthole for foodies as it’s just a short distance from the gastro delights of Padstow. It’s what Sawday’s calls a ‘Scandi studio’, which means there is just one room open to the eaves (with a separate bathroom), decorated in a light, bright Scandinavian style.There’s a wood burner to keep you warm and an enormous sofa to snuggle up on. The studio is one and a half miles from the beach at Polzeath and has easy access to the South West Coast path (dogs are permitted). From £639 per week/£530 for a three-night weekend break.

By Maggie O'Sullivan

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