The 14 Coolest (and Cosiest) Cabins in the UK and Ireland

Staying in is the new going out, and cosy has become (whisper it) cool. Meanwhile, the humble cabin has graduated from back-garden potting shed to avant-garde architectural marvel. Bothies have been refashioned into boutique boltholes, beach huts have undergone a bijou facelift and log-clad lakeside hideaways have been upgraded with cubist edges and polished-concrete facades. With this in mind, we've lit the fires, toasted the marshmallows and slipped into our best Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas to bring you this definitive round-up of the UK's cosiest cabins.

Highland bothies, seaside cottages and the best cabins in the British Isles

Cabins to enjoy with friends

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Lost Cottage

County Kerry, Ireland

For 40 years this tumbledown cottage was home to nothing more than tufts of overgrown grass and a herd of mountain goats seeking refuge from the harsh Irish winter. That is until a local family rescued the ruins, gave the goats their packing orders (don't worry, they're still grazing on the mountain) and polished the red-roofed pad into somewhere we'd happily hunker down. Its timber cladding was foraged from the nearby forest, the mud floor stripped back and lime rendered while the concrete colour-matched to the wild Treangarriv landscape. We can't promise it won't rain but, when the clouds clear, Lost Cottage really does feel like the pot of gold at the end of the wild County Kerry's rainbow.

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Ammonite

Rye, East Sussex

If you explored this 30s beach cabin's postcode, you could easily be convinced that it sits on the sandy swathes of Ile de Ré. Spoiler: it doesn't. Nevertheless, the surrounding chocolate-box village of Rye is a worthy substitute, and Winchelsea beach is just around the corner from the cabin. Inside it's all rough-luxe whitewashed wood, log-burning stoves and benefits from a terrace that catches the morning sun. Ammonite is charming, informal and overwhelmingly wholesome, which is exactly what you want from a UK staycation with friends (and well-behaved dogs, who are also welcome).

Address

Winchelsea Rye

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Minetrack Log Cabin

Penton, Cumbria

Plumping for a chalet in the Alps might not be everyone's bag (or vibe with everyone's budget), but that doesn't matter when this riverside cabin in the Lake District is a dead ringer for some of the chalets you'll find in Europe's showiest ski resorts. Tartan throws, roaring fires and a hot tub illuminated by festoon lighting facing Liddel Water nail the Alpine look, while an outdoor barbecue is set up on the terrace should you fancy roasting a marshmallow or two. If you're lucky, it might even snow.

The Blacksmith’s Shop

Cheltenham, Cotswolds

Confirming that not all honey-hued Cotswold stone cottages have to receive an identikit Farrow & Ball paint treatment, this design-forward country pad strikes the balance between snug and Scandi minimalism. We're blurring the lines a bit when it comes to our definition of cabins (call it creative licence), but the timber extension clad in charred Siberian larch is definitely a nod to the traditional shed aesthetic. Nearby, in the homely village of Gretton, you'll find no shops but a proper pub - all the essentials are covered, then.

Cottages for you and your (current) beau

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Swallow Barn

Frome, Somerset

Let's be honest, the likelihood of you bumping into a former flame at Soho Farmhouse is very high and not what you want from a weekend away with your current partner. Sidestep the flushed cheeks and awkward intros and head to this idyllic bolthole instead. Freshly baked croissants are delivered straight to your bedroom door, bathrooms are stocked with Cowshed supplies and the bucolic Macmillan Way can be joined right from the garden speckled with wildflowers. Should you still be craving a Picante cocktail, then Babington House is but a short drive away.

Address

The Cross BA11 2QS

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Orlagh

Whitsand Bay, Cornwall

Sleeping in a rotten, drafty shed with a leaky roof and sub-par plumbing isn’t our idea of a great time, nor was it for the Burridge family. So, instead of going to bed wearing hats and thermals, owners Peter and Tracey decided to tear it down and start all over again. In the original hut’s place sits a design-centric cabin buried into the cliff nook with wall-to-wall windows, a hot-tub from which to wave-watch and an outdoor shower with views across Whitsand Bay. The only way to be more at one with the sea involves getting wet.

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Portchester Cabin

Portsmouth

Portsmouth Harbour probably isn't the first place that springs to mind when you're hankering for a weekend away with your other half, but hear us out. Far removed from the boats and wannabee sailors is a snug, boho cabin with unobstructed, million-pound lake views. Seriously. This cabin is prime Portsmouth real estate. Breakfast baps and brunch are served from the Salt Café on your doorstep and paddleboards are available to rent. It's an ideal spot for if (when) your other half steals your toothbrush, simply give them a gentle nudge overboard.

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Little Eden

Loch Lomond, Scotland

Knee-weakeningly adorable Little Eden sits on a wild and untamed inlet on the glistening banks of Loch Lomond, miles away from the nearest town and surrounded by little else than the odd osprey and a tangle of Acer trees. Rise with breakfast in the secluded cove; your evening will likely involve a glass of fizz in Little Eden's claw-footed tub. We're struggling to think what could possibly be more romantically whimsical than this moss-covered Hansel-and-Gretel cottage.

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Firefly

Newquay, Cornwall

Wannabee lumberjacks take note: this is not your DIY shed at the bottom of the garden. At once ramshackle and refined, this Cornish cabin was clearly constructed by someone who is a dab hand with a whittle. A sprinkling of Texan ranch aesthetics - antlers, upcycled furniture and a shower surrounded by corrugated iron - adds character but not chintz. It's perched on the fringes of Newquay's wave-riding shores, so renting a board is a must - novices can zip up their wetsuits at one of the many schools that litter the sands. Should the storms set in, there's ample vintage reading material, classic board games and a hidden television.

Off-grid hideaways

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The Beach Hut

Carswell, Devon

Like an architectural ode to Enid Blyton's Famous Five, this rugged beach hut peers out from its own salt-lashed cove. Yet it's every bit a grown-up hideout: there's no phone signal and certainly no WiFi, so power down, swing in the hammocks and clamber up to the ocean-view bedroom that's accessed via a ladder. The cabin comes stocked with all the weekend morning essentials (tea, coffee and fresh milk) and you can arrange for an organic barbecue hamper (packed with Devonshire produce) to be delivered. We think it's a wise idea, as the climb back up to reality is a steep one.

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AirShip 2

Drimnin, Scotland

A cross between a submarine and a tardis plonked on the bonny shores of Drimnin should be considered an eyesore, but somehow the eccentric, slightly wacky AirShip 2 works. Raised off the ground on metal legs, the sci-fi structure is kitted out with domed-glass windows that peer across to the Sound of Mull. Inside, interiors resemble a retro Airstream with aluminium fittings and porthole windows - on a clear night the stars are visible through the ones in the bedroom.

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Kudhva

Tintagel, Cornwall

Campsites typically conjure up childhood memories of tinned beans and stiff necks from sleeping on the floor. Kudhva is here to change your mind. This millennial-friendly campsite throws in free yoga sessions, foraging for wild strawberries (there's an on-site Kud book to identify any other edible wares), a spot of stargazing and morning lake swimming. There are no tents, just wooden pods and strings of rain-proof hammocks which sway between the trees.

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Bell’s Bothy Bunkhouse

East Lothian, Scotland

Bothies have outgrown their humble beginnings. The once simple abodes have been refashioned into a smattering of design-driven lodgings that can be found scattered across the Scottish Highlands. Keeping an element of the traditional bare-bricked bothy without scrimping on the modern-day upgrades (read: hot showers and a fully equipped kitchen large enough to cook a decent meal), this smart bunkhouse sits in an pin-drop quiet stretch of countryside that's known for having the sunniest climate in Scotland.

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The Hide

Perranporth, Cornwall

If Grand Designs created a sandcastle you could sleep in (albeit one sculpted from concrete), this would be it. Mixing architectural stamps you'd usually see in Ubud or Tulum - think rattan lamps, trough baths and foliage-studded walkways decorated with fairy lights - along with British countryside and windswept shores, this minimalist lodging suits those looking to go (moderately) off-grid. Don't expect a cold-turkey digital detox here; there's still a phone signal, Netflix and a plethora of other urban amenities to hand.

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