With only four lighthouse accommodations throughout the UK, this truly is a unique experience. Set at the mouth of the river Usk less than a half-hour drive away from the Welsh capital, the West Usk Lighthouse B&B offers spectacular views from the nautical-themed bedrooms.
Owners Danielle and Frank Sheahan bought the lighthouse in 1987 and after taking two years to renovate they now live in and run the B&B.
“My husband did a course in hotel and catering,” explained Danielle. “For most guests, it’s their first time staying in a lighthouse. Most lighthouse accommodation only lets people stay in the cottage extension rather than the lighthouse itself. We bought it in a derelict state but my husband thought ‘I like DIY’ and renovated it.
“There is a hot tub and a Dr Who tardis on the roof. We also have weddings, hen nights and birthday parties.”
For more information visit www.westusklighthouse.co.uk
If camping isn’t quite your thing but you would like a bit more adventure than a hotel room, then a tipi could be right up your street. A cone-shaped tent traditionally used by North American nomads, this is both fun for the whole family and a romantic getaway for couples.
Just four miles from the historic town of Brecon and at the foot of South Wales’s highest mountain, Pen y Fan, Camp Cynrig Tipi Village offers an authentic experience.
Owners Rob Jenkins and Sara King have two family-sized tipis and one suitable for a maximum of three people. They are currently building a wooden eco-pod to cater for those who would like a little more luxury.
Sara said: “Rob built the tipis by hand while working full time about three to four years ago. We’re now in the middle of building the eco-pod.
“All tipis are well-equipped with cooking equipment, fire wood, a camping stove, candles and fire lighters. There are fire pits in the middle of the tipi which are very romantic. There’s plenty to do in the area and it’s very attractive for families with children. There is also a river bordering the site.”
For more information visit www.breconbeaconstipis.co.uk
Off-the-beaten-track is not always easy to find and usually only becomes known by word-of-mouth. Well, we may have found the adventurer’s gem. Surrounded by woodland and overlooked by the Black Mountains stand four shepherd huts which can only be disturbed by wildlife.
And no adventurer or nature-lover would be completely satisfied if the accommodation was not eco-friendly.
Owner of The Huts in the Hills, Steve Greenow, said: “We chose shepherd huts because of their minimal impact to the natural environment and they could ultimately be towed away and the site returned to a meadow. Also, the accommodation needed to be suitable for all weather conditions throughout the seasons in a relatively remote setting.
“Minimal environmental impact has driven every decision about the huts. A wood-burning stove provides hot water for the kitchen and shower room and guests are encouraged to collect their wood to add to the supplies. A hybrid system consisting of a wind turbine and solar panels provides power. Water is supplied by a nearby natural spring and grey water is treated via a compost toilet and sand filter.
“Biodegradable soaps and cleaning products are provided. To avoid contamination of the stream, only these biodegradable products can be used at the huts. Recyling bins are provided. They were awarded a Gold award by Green Tourism.”
The four huts surround an outdoor stone fire pit which has a barbecue grill and there is an additional sleeping hut in a separate field for those who wish to be more secluded.
The stunning woodland and Black Mountains location is ideal for walkers and mountain bikers and is less than half a mile away from the quaint town of Hay-on-Wye. Cardiff is only an hour and a quarter drive away.
For more information visit www.thehutsinthehills.co.uk
Curious travellers are more interested in knowing about everyday life in the area they visit than its tourist attractions. And there’s no better way of getting an insight into Cardiff life than by staying with locals at their home. AirBnB allows travellers to stay in people’s homes for a set price.
Reserving online and according to availability, in the same way as booking a hotel, previous travellers also leave comments on the site. Some hosts provide breakfast, either served or on a help yourself basis, some specify house rules such as no smoking or no dirty shoes on the white carpet. There is a house for everyone’s needs and the hosts often go out of their way to make you feel at home.
Richard Salter, 51, and his partner Phil started hosting travellers in their Whitchurch home last October. “People who stay with us are like-minded people who are interested in the way we live,” explained Richard. “We spend our evenings with some of them and have kept contact with quite a few. We exchange Christmas cards with some people who have been to stay and have been given invitations to go to their homes in places like South Africa and Australia.
“A lot of people come over for the rugby and we have had people from as far as Kuwait, Bangladesh, China and Hong Kong. The longest stay we have had is a lady who stayed with us for two and a half weeks.
“People are very respectful and nobody has ever left a mess or been noisy.”
For more information visit www.airbnb.co.uk
LUXURY BOUTIQUE HOTEL
This luxury Grade II listed four-star boutique hotel is only 20 minutes away from Cardiff’s busy city centre. Set in a tranquil 25 acres of grounds and award-winning gardens, the family-owned Miskin Manor oozes elegance and grandeur.
As well as offering spacious four-poster, suite or executive rooms which benefit from a wide range of services, guest can also relax at the health club which features a heated indoor pool, spa, sauna, steam room and personal training services at the gym.
The award-winning two rosette restaurant combines modern British and rustic cuisine. Seasonal and local produce are served in the 16th century original manor house and the chefs bake their own bread, cakes and after dinner petit fours on site.
For more information visit www.miskin-manor.co.uk