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Best Airbnbs in the UK: These breathtaking properties are available to rent right now

Matt Breen
3 Jul 2020
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Looking for somewhere magical to stay? You might need to get a new credit card, but here are the very best Airbnbs in the UK

It’s no understatement to say that Airbnb has completely revolutionised holidaying. Part of the so-called “sharing economy” boom, the property rental platform owes its huge success to delivering a service that’s both exceptionally simple and exceptionally convenient. 

Moreover, Airbnb tapped into the mood of a generation of travellers who are more interested in affordability than luxury: people who don’t mind bunking in a stranger’s spare room if it gets them a weekend in an exciting, far-flung destination, often via a plane flight that costs less than a meal at a posh restaurant.

That being said, not all Airbnbs are rough-and-ready: in fact, as we discovered after some searching and scrolling, there are some absolute showstoppers out there in the UK, from high-concept modern abodes to sumptuous medieval manors. We’ve put together a guide to help you find the perfect Airbnb, followed by a list of the crème de la crème of properties in the UK. Bon voyage!

How to choose the best Airbnb for you

What are the advantages of Airbnb?

Know where you’re going? Search for the location in the Airbnb app, and within a few seconds a comprehensive list of locations will come up (which are searchable by map too, if you know the district of a city you want to stay in, or you’re dead set on a sea view). A few taps later and the place is yours – and you’re put in touch with your host.

Airbnbs can often work out cheaper than private rooms in hostels or budget guesthouses. If you’re travelling in a large group, such as a stag or hen party, and you don’t mind bunking up together, you’ll be surprised just how cheap a spacious, well-kitted property might be. And if you’re trying to keep your travel costs to a minimum, you’ll save money by cooking meals in the kitchen instead of dining out three times a day.

What are the disadvantages of Airbnb?

Ultimately, you’re always in someone else’s home, and with it often comes a “lived-in” feel. Properties are almost always clean and tidy, but that turquoise wallpaper might not have been your choice of decor.

Similarly, when you're renting a room, versus an entire property, you might find the lack of privacy somewhat unusual. But it’s worth remembering that since they can be openly reviewed by previous guests on the property's page, hosts are accountable – as with Uber drivers, it’s in their interest to provide a good service. Hosts are also incentivised to deliver and bear in mind that you’ll also be rated as a guest. Be on your best behaviour!

What factors should I consider when choosing an Airbnb property?

Let’s skip the obvious: presumably you have an idea of where you want to go and how much you want to spend. After that, the devil’s in the details.

If privacy is important, make sure you search by “entire property” and not “shared”. If you or a fellow guest has mobility issues, keep an eye out for properties on high floors (especially in continental Europe, where lifts are by no means guaranteed in apartment blocks). Bringing your pooch? Check the place is pet-friendly. Luckily, these are all things that Airbnb have already considered: by hitting the “more filters” button, you can refine your search with dozens of different criteria.

Sometimes, what you don’t see reveals a great deal about a property: if a Paris apartment’s first image is a stock photo of the Eiffel Tower, you can assume that the place’s exterior isn’t much of a looker. Experience has taught us that any landmark advertised as a five-minute walk away might actually be a five-minute jog away.

Conversely, treat guest reviews with a pinch of salt. If one disgruntled previous visitor moans at length, they might just be nursing a grudge. But if a number of guests all complain about the same thing, you should take their comments more seriously.

How does payment work?

This is at the discretion of the host and varies from property to property. With Instant Book properties, you're able to place your booking straight away, without waiting for approval from the host (who is typically a Superhost). The rest of the time, you’ll part with a small percentage as a deposit and then get charged the rest at a later date. The website listing will advertise the property’s booking policy – and Airbnb will alert you via email when your next payment is due.

One thing you can be assured of is that during the whole process, your money is kept entirely secure by Airbnb itself. If your host unexpectedly cancels your reservation, Airbnb will fully refund you. Should things not work out with your property or your host, you’ll need to file an official complaint within 24 hours of check-in. Hosts and guests alike can send money via the Resolution Centre.

The best Airbnbs in the UK

1. Georgian country house, Suffolk

If you really want to live out your lord-of-the-manor fantasies, this country house in Suffolk provides the perfect backdrop. This truly enormous house boasts ten bedrooms, eight bathrooms and can accommodate 16+ guests – however, comments suggest that it actually houses more than twice that many, so contact the owner first. Besides all the suitably genteel activities you can get up to – bow shooting, boating on the lake, horseriding, birdwatching – there’s also 100 acres of surrounding land to explore. Book this place, and you’re guaranteed to have one spectacular country getaway.

Key specs: Beds: 16; Bedrooms: 10; Bathrooms: 8; Maximum guests: 16+

Book now on Airbnb


2. Superyacht, Southampton

Not all Airbnb properties are to be found on dry land. You’ll find this sleek, luxurious yacht is moored in Southampton. Named with typical flair, the 60-foot “Temptation II” can only accommodate up to four guests. But alongside its two bedrooms, it offers a rear space for alfresco dining, a large deck-level lounge and a hot tub. There’s also parking available nearby, where you can berth your normal mode of transport.

Key specs – Beds: 3; Bedrooms: 2; Bathrooms: 2; Maximum guests: 4

Book now on Airbnb


3. Floating treehouse, Dorset

Such is its sylvan location and inordinate levels of cuteness, you’d be forgiven for thinking this Dorset Airbnb is rented out by Ewoks. A spherical treehouse suspended by wires, this property is clearly aimed at couples who are looking for a cosy, private, extra-special hideaway surrounded by beautiful countryside. Despite the simplicity of the property, its amenities nonetheless include mains power, heating, an outdoor toilet and shower, a simple inside kitchen, plus a barbecue and firepit for a spot of outdoor cooking. You might even spot deer roaming nearby.

Key specs – Beds: 1; Bedrooms: 1; Bathrooms: 1; Maximum guests: 2

Book now on Airbnb


READ NEXT: Best weekend getaways from London

4. Grade II-listed manor, Somerset

This 13th-century barn conversion in the West Country treads that perfect balance between quaint charm and contemporary style: its cobbled exterior gives way to an ultra-chic, open-plan interior that’s brought to life by the barrelled oak-beam ceiling. There’s also a large outdoor terrace that looks out onto the rolling lawn, where you’ll find a hot tub (a recent addition, we assume). For an extra fee, you can hire a private chef to cater all your meals during your stay.

Key specs: Beds: 14; Bedrooms: 4; Bathrooms: 3.5; Maximum guests: 16+

Book now on Airbnb


5. Aluminium pod, Scottish Highlands

This space-age property is available through Airbnb Plus, a recently introduced top-tier service in which hosts provide extra levels of hospitality – in other words, properties where you can enjoy a spot of luxury. We instantly fell in love with this strange, aluminium oddity that looks completely at odds with its surroundings, overlooking the Sound of Mull in the Scottish Highlands. Inside the AirShip, you’ll find a living room, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom, all decked out snugly and stylishly. Pets are also welcome: they have four acres of land to play in. 

Key specs – Beds: 1; Bedrooms: 1; Bathrooms: 1; Maximum guests: 2

Book now on Airbnb Plus


6. Three hundred-acre country estate, Argyll

There are very few Airbnbs in the UK that can lay claim to having a view anything like this one. Ballimore Farm Estate is nestled within 300 acres of stunning, wild land in Argyll, with the snow-capped mountains and rolling terrain forming an incredible backdrop. Inside the house, each of the five bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom, while the lounge can be kept warm by the open fireplace in chilly months. The estate’s very own cattle and sheep roam the surrounding land. The perfect Airbnb if you want to get some seclusion for a while.

Key specs – Beds: 9; Bedrooms: 5; Bathrooms: 6.5; Maximum guests: 13

Book now on Airbnb


7. Log cabin with hot tub, Dorset

This log cabin looks more like something you would more likely find in Denmark rather than Dorset. A charmingly pretty, Scandi-like property tucked away in the woods, it accommodates four guests and makes for an extra-special family getaway. Adults will appreciate the tranquility; kids will love the outdoor pool (heated from May to September). The interior of the cabin is elegantly sparse, with highlights including the cast-iron log burner and the open-plan kitchen/dining area. Once again, there’s a hot tub to enjoy out on the decking to the side of the property.

Key specs –Beds: 3; Bedrooms: 2; Bathrooms: 1; Maximum guests: 4

Book now on Airbnb


8. Jacobean manor, Yorkshire

The brilliantly named Crayke Manor looks like something that might have been written into a Brontë novel, such is its craggy charm and rural location. As you can see if you click from the images, each of the house’s many rooms have been playfully, tastefully decorated with modern needs in mind – we particularly love the den-like top-floor room that’s clearly aimed at kids. The pictures also show how the manor can be used as a wedding venue, with the adjoining barn being transformed into a stylish party space. 

Key specs – Beds: 18; Bedrooms: 9; Bathrooms: 4; Maximum guests: 16+

Book now on Airbnb


9. Twelfth-century abbey, East Anglia

The oldest property on our list and one that’s a Gothic masterpiece. Butley Priory is a former Augustinian abbey that’s characterised by gorgeous lancet windows and stone spandrels that climb up to the ceilings. Inside, that all-white decor does a fabulous job of, well, making the whole place a lot less creepy (seriously, no jokes about the ghosts of nuns, please). There are plenty of lovely walks to enjoy in the surrounding Suffolk countryside – and a number of excellent pubs, too, which may be a key booking criteria.

Key specs – Beds: 12; Bedrooms: 8; Bathrooms: 6; Maximum guests: 18

Book now on Airbnb

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