Nine Great Self-Catering Stays for Reuniting with Friends and Family

Lockdown measures are easing and Europe is slowly opening back up, meaning a minibreak with our nearest and dearest might just be on the horizon.

Fingers crossed.

After isolating on our own for so long, we're hankering for breakfast debriefs, dinners that last long into the night and the odd washing-up-induced argument or two. Whether you're after a UK break with your support bubble or an international reunion with friends, these are the self-catering stays in Cornwall, Puglia and beyond that make for the perfect crash pad.

Everyone's invited: crash pads for reunited getaways

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Brownber Hall

Cumbria, England

A mere six months ago - before the world hoarded loo paper and pasta - Brownber Hall and owners Peter and Amanda Jacque-Walker welcomed stressed-out city folk, avid cyclists and loved-up couples into their converted Victorian abode. Now, as social distancing methods become the norm, they've pivoted from boutique bolthole to private rental and left enough snacks in the welcome hamper to keep your siblings from squabbling. Snug between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District's less-visited valleys, the house sleeps 15 guests across eight bohemian bedrooms crammed with the kind of antiques your granny would love, thrifty eBay finds and beds handmade by the neighbouring blacksmith. Just remember to pack your swimsuit - the area's known for its serene wild swimming spots - hiking boots and a few board games. Peter and Amanda will be on hand (via WhatsApp) to suggest the best walking routes and where to go to see the stars - Yorkshire's Dark Sky Reserve is just up the road - or simply settle in to scoff the welcome hamper. We'd suggest shotgunning Ma Walker's marmalade; it has won countless awards.

Address

Newbiggin-on-Lune Kirkby Stephen CA17 4NX

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Lundies House

Scotland, United Kingdom

Hygge: eat your heart out. This grown-up pad situated in the rural village of Tongue - a prominent stopover on the North Coast 500 - fuses Scandi minimalism with Scotland's rugged charm. Vintage chairs in muted velvet and oak furniture whittled by Edinburgh-based craftspeople sit beside standalone tubs; knick-knacks - the kind you'd find propped up artistically in a Ganni store - decorate iron fireplaces while murals by French artists can be found in the hall. There's no tweed and certainly no hunting memorabilia. In short, Lundies House is achingly cool. Sixteen people can take over the renovated 17th-century manse (a dwelling created for and lived in by a Christian minister) with its three double bedrooms, top-floor apartments and steadings converted into courtyard studios. Look outside and you'll see the ruins of Castle Varrich and vistas so calming and idyllic that they wouldn't look out of place on a shortbread tin - a great remedy if someone is sulking about the last-eaten slice of ginger cake.

Address

Tongue Sutherland IV27 4XF

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Cliff Beach House

Waterford, Ireland

As suitable for your girl gang as it is your granny, Cliff Beach House has a silhouette so striking it likely set local tongues wagging when it pitched up in Ardmore. Possessing all the attributes of a forgotten fishing town, this County Waterford enclave is one ruled by artists. Forget butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, Ardmore is the home of painters, potters and poets - many of whom can stroll up to the design-driven beach house and run creative workshops. Artistic energy aside, Cliff Beach House's amenities are more Miami Cribs than they are humble beach hut. Six rooms benefit from floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean, a sea-view hot tub sits on the terrace, a PT-approved gym in the basement and a grand piano in the living room. The best bit? Take-out has been given a Michelin-star upgrade. Guests have the option to pre-book a chef who'll catch oysters in the morning and shuck them on your doorstep for tea.

Address

Dysert Ardmore P36 DK38

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Fritton Lake

Great Yarmouth, England

The words "holiday park" have a tendency to conjure images of furry mascots teaching children the macarena or blue-rinsed ladies bellowing at the evening's bingo. Yet at Fritton Lake, a luxury holiday park in the wild East of England, the phrase takes on an entirely different meaning. We probably wouldn't invite the same friends we summered with in Mykonos, but if you're holidaying with younger family members in tow, then opt for the Farm Cottages and lake-side Woodland Retreats - they'll love the IRL Bambi that wander freely to your door. At-risk relatives are also well catered for thanks to a food delivery service - packed with produce sourced from the surrounding countryside - so you can self-cater without leaving your pad.

Address

+44 1493 484 008 Beccles Road NR31 9HA

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La Maison de Constance

Provence, France

Lavender season in Provence is what cherry blossoms are to Kyoto: unmissable. Planting itself in the centre of the bucolic surrounds with views across the Luberon valley is the five-bedroom La Maison de Constance. Set within the grounds of Airelles, the Provencal house takes on a more contemporary feel than the chintzy main house. Here, pink tulle and four-poster beds are replaced by whitewashed beams, a neutral palette and soaring ceilings that wouldn't look out of place in a monastery. The view across from your private pool equals those last seen on the Jacquemus runway and are big enough for an outdoor movie theatre, which can be set up at your request. Plus, for every online reservation made, Airelles will donate 15 per cent to L'Assistance Publique, a campaign set up to thank the medical professionals at the forefront of the pandemic. Philanthropic and family-friendly.

Address

Hameau du Dattier 83240 Cavalaire-sur-Mer

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Bibury Farm Barns

Cotswolds, England

Coated in butterscotch-hued Cotswold stone and bordering a working farm, each of Bibury's barns - named after the livestock they once housed - are decorated with rustic touches such as thick beams and wood burners, with discrete slick city influences (read: Sonos speakers and barista-worthy coffee machines). Most have film snugs (yes, there's Netflix) and an outdoor barbecue space. We've got our eye on The Stables, thanks to its moody seaweed hues and the freestanding bathtub in the master bedroom. Gather the gang for Sunday walks - post-roast courtesy of The Wild Rabbit - along the River Coln or a drive into Tetbury to trawl its collection of vintage stores. Extended the holiday invite to your cousins, second cousins and their cousins? No problem. There's a total of five barns that'll sleep 38 altogether. Book the lot.

Address

Bibury Gloucestershire GL7 5PB

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Sa Punta de S’Aguila

Mallorca, Spain

Ok, we confess. After binging White Lines on Netflix, we're itching to lose ourselves in the ochre-coloured cliffs and coves of Mallorca, and Sa Punta de S'Aguila resembles the Calafat's family villa - sans the weird mother-son relationship or murderous plotline, of course. Set high on a hilltop, it's every bit the stereotypical Mallorcan finca. Terracotta tiles can be found throughout, iron chandeliers hang in the corridor and the bar comes pre-stocked with botanical-infused gin. Each of the five bedrooms benefits from a private terrace - most with pool views - so slipping off from the in-laws is a breeze. Nearby, you'll find the pebble shores of Son Bunyola beach. It's not the prettiest of coves, but the walk from here to the fishing port of Port de Canonge is one of the island's best. The area is known for its cultivation of the prized malvasia grape, so visiting the vineyards of Bodega Ca'n Pico is worthwhile, as is opting for full-board dining should you want someone else to look after the Mother. For the sourdough, we mean.

Address

Banyalbufar Mallorca

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Nautilus

Cornwall, England

We (and the whole of the UK it seems) have our sights set on a late-summer beaches-and-cream getaway, preferably one that involves afternoon tea and spadefuls of soft-serve ice cream. Cornwall has everything our Balearic neighbours offer without having to bundle everyone onto a budget flight, pretty ideal if you're travelling with gen X, Y, Z and every age group in between. Backing onto Pendower Beach on the Roseland Peninsula is this bleached-blonde wooden beach hut - although "hut" makes it sound far too humble. A short stroll from the idyllic village of St Mawes and an easy cycle from Porthcurnick - arguably the best beach in Cornwall - Nautilus is your launchpad for days spent bobbing between beach and back garden. Plunder the welcome supplies and pack off on a picnic before returning with pasties in a paper bag.

Address

St Mawes Cornwall

Villa Deliziosa, Borgo Egnazia

Puglia, Italy

We get it; organising a harmonious multigenerational holiday isn't the easiest of feats. You're catering for different budgets, tastes and boredom levels. Thankfully, Borgo Egnazia has catered to, well, everyone. Family members and friends can flit between private pools, secluded beaches or tee off on the coast-side golf course, while those keen to flex their culinary skills after months of watching live cooking demos can enrol in a pasta masterclass. More akin to a Puglian village - there's even a central piazza - Borgo Egnazia has 20 hectares of grounds that are so spacious you'll barely see another soul, let alone have to worry about standing two metres apart. Sugar-cubed, three-floor villas sleep six with three en-suite bedrooms all modelled on the holiday homes of Apulian landowners. Expect lots of white limestone (even the home cinema is hewn from local volcanic stone) and stracciatella-coloured four-poster beds. Larger groups should book two neighbouring villas.

Address

72015 Savelletri Fasano BR

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