Looking for extra special autumn weekend break ideas? From eco-friendly treehouses to quirky pods suspended from woodland, Natasha Holt rounds up the best treehouse stays in the UK. Because staying on the ground is so last year.
We all love a room with a view, right? So why not give one with bird’s eye view a chance? No matter how old you are there will always be something magical about a treehouse and even better, when they come with all the mod cons. Check out these quirky abodes to help you get back to nature and find your inner Tarzan.
1. The Eco Friendly One, Fair Oak Farm, Sussex
Throwing open the blinds first thing in the morning, we were greeted by the sight of our neighbours – a herd of grazing deer and a peacock. As lovely as the treehouse is (and it really is) it’s definitely the uninterrupted view of the Sussex countryside that’s the drawcard at Fair Oak Farm. Set on the estate’s 12 acres, complete with resident alpacas, there’s plenty of countryside to explore but for those who would rather bunker down for a few days the luxury self-catering treehouse lodges are the ideal cosy retreat.
The curved lodges both come with queen-sized beds, en suite wet rooms and their own sheltered balconies. Plus they all boast a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, flat screen TVs and central heating which keeps them toasty even in the depths of winter.
Guests can pre-order a wooden trug full of local produce, or even hire in a local chef, but we chose to check out The Middle House in nearby Mayfield. Locals rave about the home-cooked food and after sampling it, it’s easy to see why.
While Fair Oak Farm is the perfect romantic getaway it also caters for large groups, with further accommodation in the farmhouse, coverted barns and shepherd’s huts. More accommodation will be available this year, making it ideal for hen, stag or birthday parties. And guests need never be bored as the owners, Ian and Penny, can help arrange anything from falconry sessions, horseriding or fishing to pampering sessions on site.
Best of all the treehouses are made from sustainable materials and were built with an environmental protection plan in mind, which included the planting of more than 500 trees and the introduction of rare owl enticement nests. A guilt-free, yet luxury, countryside getaway. Sounds like a win to us.
Hire a car to take in the local area's uninterrupted forests, fields and valleys nearby.
The Cost: Prices start from £200 for two nights including linen and towels. Weekly stays start at £450 per treehouse. Visit Fair Oak Farm for more information.
Other treehouse stays in the UK include…
2. The Romantic One, The Woodsman Treehouse, Dorset
Make no mistake, the Woodsman Treehouse is all about luxury touches but it also has a playful side which makes it the perfect place for a romantic escape. Set on an adult-only campsite the two-person treehouse is totally secluded and offers beautiful views through the Dorset woodland. And what that means is that you can enjoy the open air tree shower without worrying that you are giving a neighbour an unexpected view of their own.
The treehouse also includes your own hot tub and sauna on the upper spa deck plus a revolving wood burner for a cosy night in. Playful touches include a double-ended copper bath, a window set into the floor to view the stream below and a ceiling window for some perfect stargazing. There’s also a wood-fired pizza oven and a barbecue so you don’t even need to leave your love-nest for meals. And who could resist the ‘alternative exit’ option – a metre-wide stainless steel slide which takes you to the ground level? Perfect for big kids everywhere.
Plus, there's plenty to do along the coast so you might find it worthwhile renting a car to get around during your stay.
The Cost: Prices start at £310 per night. To book, head over to Mallinson's website.
3. The Pod One, Lost Meadow Treepod, Bodmin, Cornwall
Rather than nestling gently in the trees, at the Lost Meadow Treepod you’ll find yourself sleeping in a wooden globe suspended from the branches, three metres above the ground. The pod is a cedar clad ball of quirkiness hung from strong cables but rest assured it’s designed to support huge weights, so there will be no rolling around the woods like a football.
At night you can watch the stars, and maybe an owl or two, through the ceiling window and during the day you can make like Bear Grylls and fish in the river, explore 20 acres of woodland then light a fire and cook in the outdoor kitchen. Or if that all sounds a bit too caveman then you can always just skip across the stepping stones in the river as the water bubbles around your ankles. The pod is accessible via a staircase and a wood burner means it will provide a cosy winter retreat too. To get to the Lost Meadow Treepod, you can catch a train to nearby Bodmin Parkway from where host Ed can pick you up for a small fee.
For a list of things to do in the area, Tripadvisor has a handy list.
The Cost: The pod sleeps two and cost from £95 per night. Visit Canopy and Stars or call on 0117 204 7830.
4. The Fairytale One, Sherwood Forest, Thorpe Forest, Forest of Dean, Keldy and Blackwood Forest
Forests and fairytales go hand in hand, so to help you recreate those childhood memories Forest Holidays have given some of their Golden Oak treehouse cabins a magical makeover. With framed drawings from tales like Alice in Wonderland and ‘rope swing’ beds you can recapture the magic of your youth. And when you’ve had enough of your inner child you can slip into the private hot tub with a glass of bubbles in hand. Bliss.
Accessed via walkways through the trees, Forest Holidays Treehouses are ideal for group holidays as they can sleep up to 10 people and have a spacious lounge with a wood-burning stove where you can all get together (if you can tear yourself away from the hot tub that is).
The Cost: The fairytale cabins start from £495 for a three-night stay. Visit Forest Holidays website for further details.
5. The Wildlife One, Uplands Treehouse, Bristol
Ok so it’s not the lions of the Serengeti but waking up as the sun rises on a herd of alpacas happily munching grass comes a pretty close second. Uplands Treehouse is built in the trees at the back of the owners’ house and as you scale the ladder from the mezzanine level you’ll find a king-sized bed and incredible views of the Mendips through the floor to ceiling windows. Thankfully, Uplands is a little easier to get to than the Serengeti too: if you're coming by train, the nearest station is Yatton from which you can book a quick taxi to the Treehouse, usually costing around £10.
And if you want to get even closer to nature try the outdoor shower which overlooks the aforementioned alpacas. During the day there’s plenty of woodland to explore and afterwards you can hole up in front of the wood-burner in the living room or relax with a glass or two on the huge balcony. There’s also a compact kitchen with all the essentials, a compost loo and an eclectic library at your disposal. If you want to make your trip extra, extra special, the treehouse is not far from Ashton Court Mansion House where you can take to the skies in a hot air balloon for an unforgettable adventure with views for miles and miles.
Bristol's got so much to offer, so make sure you head into the city if you have time, or if you'd rather not, there's plenty of gorgeous walks to venture on.
The Cost: The treehouse accommodates two people and costs from £155 per night. Visit Canopy and Stars for more details.