Anxious to grab a bit of adventurous “alone” time with the stranger across the table? Well, why wait until the kids have grown and wandered off to college? This is the “stuff” dreams are made of, and it could change your life in ways you can only imagine. Pull a little extra out of the savings account and take yourselves on a mini-vacation “across the pond,” for a boisterous and fascinating journey into America’s motherland.
From the United States to Europe and Africa, and throughout Australia and New Zealand, those who can, will always opt for the shear comfort and laid back atmosphere of a rental home. When you rent a vacation condo, cottage or house, instead of a hotel room, your accommodations become part of your destination. The stay affords both extreme privacy, home cooked meals if you choose, and a real living area instead of a bed, TV and a door with triple locks and a fire escape route glued to its face.
While you’re wandering, you might consider taking advantage of the down real estate market by investing in a vacation rental; you can vacation there at will, and meanwhile have a local professional maintain and manage your property in your absence. And who knows, maybe your high school graduate will consider a college just down the road—and just think of the money you could save on their boarding.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live amongst the royals, to throw your cares aside and quench a longing for luxury? Now you have your chance, read on.
The Watermouth Castle in southwest Devon, England, offers six different apartments all furnished with luxurious furniture, and a 50-acre estate. Just in case you give in at the last minute and decide to bring the kids and a nanny, this castle is a family friendly destination; there are castle treasures, Gnome Land, and the Water Show Extravaganza, to name a few. The castle has been exquisitely refurbished and even offers an indoor heated swimming pool.
The No.2 Martello Tower in Kent, England, was built in the early 1800s as a guarded lookout to evade the French. There are 25 of these towers still standing on England’s southern coast, but only 10 have been transformed into residences. The spacious interior with a clear view of the sea still retains aspects of the old watchtower: the vaulted brick ceilings and ammunition storage.
A little something different, a Gothic temple in Kedleston was converted into a gamekeeper’s cottage over a century ago. It’s a secluded place to experience a romantic vacation amid the lush gardens and dense forest. A short distance from the Peak District National Park, it’s the perfect place to relax at the end of a long day.
For a little more grandeur, consider the Manor House on Osea Island. This Edwardian seaside mansion was built around 1900 on a wide expanse of green lawn. Picture the Great Gatsby sipping a cocktail while you lounge on the private beach or play croquet in the yard. Once you have immersed yourselves in the charming views of the estuary and taken laps in its salt-water pool, you’ll never want to leave.
If you’re looking for something smaller and quaint, rent a cottage instead of a castle. Especially if you’re staying in the countryside, it’s nice to have a home base where you can rest and relax after a day at the beach or strolling through the shops of a nearby hamlet. You’ll find dozens of privately owned cottages available by Internet search.
* The Round House East in Veryan, England, is a thatched house situated on the stunning Roseland Peninsula; the round shape of the building makes for a unique view. It is close to both town and shores, and has a small garden where guests can dine or simply lounge in the beauty of another time.
* The Oak Tree Barn in Thurloxton, England, is tucked away in a rural country landscape. Built in 1767, this vintage barn has an open design and rustic furnishings; and it’s not far from sandy beaches, gardens, and historic towns. Pets are welcome.
Some people say a visit to England is like going back in time—to a place where history surrounds you and the local people’s friendly and fun-loving nature still draws visitors from around the globe. If you’re from the USA, the UK will surprise you, and there will be a familiarity you can’t quite put your finger on—and then, you realize these are the roots of America here under your feet, and you will never be the same.
Guest writer Shannon Sterling is the mother of three, and an insurance consultant from London who genuinely loves the British Isles.