Seven Shipping Containers with Autumn Availability in the UK (or Not Far From It)

Practical, eco-friendly and architecturally mind-boggling, the humble shipping-container conversion has taken off in recent years. From a luxe hideaway in Devon to a wobbly number in County Donegal, we’ve pulled together a handful of our favourite units around the UK and beyond.

Nobody can quite pinpoint when it happened or why, but at some point over the past few years, shipping containers stopped being mere vessels and became the foundations of our social lives; places to clink glasses with friends, sweat out the subsequent hangover and bed down for the night.

Yes, the humble shipping container's most surprising volte-face is its transcendence into the realm of luxe accommodation. Okay, a shipping container might be lacking in spa facilities, under-floor heating or any other number of bougie add-ons that you'd find in a five-star hotel, but in 2020 it doesn't get more fashionable than an eco-friendly cabin located slap-bang (or near enough) in the middle of nowhere.

To save you the trouble, we've pulled together a handful of our favourite shipping-container conversions in the UK. At the time of writing, most of these tiny architectural projects have some availability in October and November. Book them now, or we might just beat you to it…

Seven shipping containers perfect for a close-to-home, autumn staycation

Frank the Shipping Container

County Donegal, Ireland

Sleeps: Two

Best for: Design-savvy introverts

Named after the late Frank Lloyd Wright, this shipping container puts the structural cantilevers made famous by its namesake architect to the test. In fact, if you jump while standing at the waterside end of this hovering unit, you'll actually notice it wobble slightly. Be not afraid. This unit, situated on a private coastal lake in Traighenna Bay on the Wild Atlantic Way, is a nature-lover's wet dream. As you might expect from the name, it's furnished rather exquisitely, too.

Cargo Cabin

Flintshire, Wales

Sleeps: Two

Best for: Animal whisperers and wannabe farmers

This cabin is about as fugu as it gets. It's situated on a working sheep and dairy farm, but along with the cattle and sheep you'll have chickens, pheasants and a coy Shetland pony called Alma for neighbours too. From this container, you can reach Moel Famau, the highest hill in the Clwydian Range, the banks of the River Dee and, with a car, Snowdonia. Spend your days getting in touch with nature in all of its mucky, messy glory before sitting out on your terrace (or in the outdoor bathtub, perhaps) as an embroidered veil of stars emerges overhead.

Barefoot Rusty

Porthleven, Cornwall

Sleeps: Four

Best for: Brave of heart beach bums

Charming or just plain grim? We're not sure where we stand on the name of this container, though after a couple of nights spent shacking up here, we suspect you'll fall head over heels. Barefoot Rusty presides over seven acres of rolling meadows in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, not far from Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula. In summer, it gets booked up by Cornish surfers eager to catch waves at nearby Porthleven and Mullion. Head here in autumn for windswept strolls along Loe Bar and coffee-fuelled rambles around the perfectly pocket-sized villages which are staggered along the seaside.

Huxham Hideaway

Huxham, Devon

Sleeps: Two

Best for: Bookish types with a penchant for fluffy, white robes

Three words: handcrafted reading chair. The moment we saw this chair, we knew we had to spill the beans. Perched atop a sleepy, private meadow looking out over the East Devon countryside, it's a dreamy spot from which to crack on with that self-imposed reading list. Huxham Hideaway comes with a king-size bed footed by floor-to-ceiling windows, a Pinterest-perfect kitchen and all of the white fluffy paraphernalia you'd find in a spa hotel. Feeling peckish after hiking the Exe estuary? The hosts can kit you out with a hamper of hyper-local produce too, should you so wish.

Shakas House

St. Ives, Cornwall

Sleeps: Four

Best for: Greedy gallery gannets

Don't be fooled by the tumbling greenery that surrounds this cosy metal shack; it might look like it's submerged in wilderness, but the thrum of St Ives is just a couple of miles away. The open-plan kitchen-lounge is kept cosy by a green, wood-burning ceramic stove and scored by retractable doors which open out onto a dining terrace. Spend the days pootling around the galleries and ceramics studios of St Ives, before cooking up a storm and snuggling down for long evenings by the fireside.

Ty Cwch

Ceredigion, Wales

Sleeps: Between four and 12

Best for: Outdoorsy travellers who've "done" Scotland

Safe to say, Cardigan Bay is having a moment. This sweeping inlet, home to Hiut Denim Co. and Fforest, is the place to go for outdoorsy types keen to explore what Wales has to offer. Built using upcycled materials and designed to be as low-energy as possible, Ty Cwch is an exercise in eco-friendly architecture and has the awards to prove it. Pack your boots; we're walking the Wales Coast Path - a route which traces the coast through secluded woodlands and vast, open countryside.

The Lake

Bodmin, Cornwall

Sleeps: Two

Best for: Loved-up, less-is-more romantics

Delicately positioned on the verge of a flooded quarry and surrounded by a tangle of walking trails which take you from roaring Cornish coastlines to somnolent old villages, this container is ideal for those looking to take some time out. It's off-grid in the truest sense of the term. Solar panels power the lighting and electricity sockets, and food is kept cold by way of a sub-aquatic cool box. This container comes with a steaming-hot outdoor shower for those brave few who fancy taking a mid-autumn dip in the lake, and an elegant rowboat for those who'd rather stay on the right side of the water. It's a recognised Dark Sky Landscape too, so prepare for some serious night-time skyscapes.

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