Explore the British countryside with our guide to the best riverside cottages and B&Bs to stay at this summer.
Summer is a great season to be out exploring rural Britain – and what could be better than waking up by the water? Treat yourself to a little luxury with a mini-break in a Cumbrian cottage or a cosy B&B in the Scottish Highlands with our favourite riverside stays.
Craig-Y-Dderwen, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy
A 4 star Gold award winning Country House Hotel, nestled within Snowdonia National Park in North Wales
Found in the heart of Snowdonia on the banks of the River Conwy is Craig-y–Dderwen country house. This pet-friendly lodging is well placed to explore the many wonders of the famous national park, and offers rooms that combine modern facilities (such as hot tubs) with period character. snowdoniahotel.com
Cae Du is just five miles from Betws-y-Coed, making it the perfect base for outdoor adventures
Cae Du in the Snowdonia National Park provides a stunning location for an escape with beautiful mountain panoramas, quiet forest walkways, lakeside trails, and tumbling waterfalls all close by. Surrounded by around 14 acres and with the River Lledrrunning the full length of the land, the property is also only five miles from Betws-y-Coed, the principal village of the Park.
There are great walks straight from the door ranging from gentle strolls to a challenging hike to the summit of a distant ridge. Dogs are also welcome here. Enjoy a week’s stay for up to 12 people from £1120, and a three-night stay for £930. caedu-cottage.co.uk
In the pretty Gwaun Valley, surrounded by the Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills and just a short drive from the coast, sits Court Lodge, right on the banks of the River Gwaun itself. With south facing decking and free private fishing, it’s the perfect riverside base for those looking to explore Pembrokeshire. A traditional Welsh stone cottage, it sleeps four, has under-floor heating, a wood-burning stove and cosy rooms with exposed beams.
The cottage can be found within seventy acres of private woodland and just a short walk up the valley is the historic Dyffryn Arms, known locally as “Bessie’s”. This little time warp of a pub has been run by the same family since the 1840’s – ale is still served from a jug through a hatch in the wall, the walls are lined with WW1 posters and New Year is celebrated on 12th January, according to the Julian calendar. Further afield there are numerous outdoor activities are available including coasteering and sea kayaking, hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, or taking a boat trip to the offshore islands to visit the puffins, seals and other wildlife.
Quality Cottages offer seven night breaks at Court Lodge in April from £474, based on four sharing on self-catering basis. qualitycottages.co.uk
Visit Snowdonia National Park or the coast from Dysynni and Craig y Deryn
Dysynni and Craig y Deryn are two cosy cottages located on the River Dysynni within the Snowdonia National park and close to the beaches of Aberdyfi and Tywyn. Converted from a former 17th century cow byre and hay loft, they are just three miles from the sea and six miles from the old fishing village of Aberdyfi, with views across to Cadair Idris, the second highest mountain in Wales.
Each of the cottages has an open plan downstairs living area, with Welsh slate floors and modern kitchen, dining area and lounge with log burning stove.
Set on the edge of 30 acres of woodland and farmland, River Cottage is a pretty white stone cottage
River Cottage is perched on the banks of the River Nevern near Pembrokeshire’s north-western coast. Set on the edge of 30 acres of woodland and farmland, River Cottage is a pretty white stone cottage in its own garden with the river flowing gently alongside. The cottage sleeps up to eight in four bedrooms, is dog-friendly and offers fishing along a half-mile stretch of the river. There is a large family kitchen and a living room with log burner and views across the garden and river, plus a utility room that’s handy for muddy boots and paws after enjoying the riverside walks. Visitors can expect to see ducks, herons, dippers and brightly coloured kingfishers from their windows or the spacious patio and garden, and more wildlife on the fringes of the surrounding woodland. This idyllic spot is just two miles from the bustling coastal town of Newport, which has two beaches, a choice of pubs and several good restaurants.
Quality Cottages can offer seven night breaks at River Cottage in April from £1,555, based on eight sharing on self-catering basis. qualitycottages.co.uk
Tyn Y Coed provides the ultimate base camp for an adventure in the Brecon Beacons National Park
A truly peaceful retreat situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park Tyn Y Coed Cottage is surrounded by mature woodland and lush green fields. Built of Welsh stone, the cottage features exposed wooden beams, inglenook fire place and a large wood burning stove.
The cottage’s nearest neighbour is over 1.7 miles away so, seclusion is guaranteed. Ideal for nature lovers, walkers and cyclists, Tyn Y Coed provides the ultimate base camp for an adventure in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Children can also play safely on the rope swings, run free in the gardens or go exploring the surrounding fields. Prices for a three-night break start from £580 for up to six guests and from £1100 for a week’s stay. tynycoed-cottage.co.uk
Explore the Brecon Beacons in comfort from Offa’s Brook
In the heart of Brecon Beacons National Park and alongside a splashing brook, sits Offa’s Brook, an exclusive use group of off-grid huts, surrounded by wildlife and majestic mountain scenery. Three of the hand-made huts each sleep two, on comfy double beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and wood burners, grouped around a large fire pit. A fourth hut serves as a kitchen, with modern bathroom facilities at the rear, a compost loo and hot water heated by a wood-fired oven.
There’s a communal dining table covered by a canopy and a wood-fired hot tub at the water’s edge, which is just the thing for relieving tired legs after a day’s hiking, sitting back with a glass of bubbly and listening to the brook babbling by. Visitors can also enjoy evenings gazing at the stars as the whole region is a designated International Dark Skies Reserve. Visitors can cycle the popular off road bike routes, climb to the summit of the numerous peaks of the Brecon Beacons, or hike along the infamous Offa’s Dyke. Quality Unearthed offer three night stays at Offa’s Brook in April from £663, based on six sharing on self-catering basis. qualityunearthed.co.uk
Rivercatcher Cottages, Denbighshire
Spot salmon from the garden of Flyfisher’s Cottage
Alternatively, stay in one of Rivercatcher’s five luxury cottages, which are dog and family friendly and have a private garden and hot tub.
The River Dee meanders alongside the estate making for great views from the cottages and and their hot tubs.
The estate has its own short stretch of river and they can organise permits for some of the most prolific and beautiful parts of the river for Game Fishing. The local waters are world famous for Grayling fishing and have hosted World Commonwealth and European Championships over the years. Salmon fishing has always been a prominent aspect on the River and are usually caught from May onwards. They can occasionally be seen jumping out of the water from the garden of Flyfishers Cottage.
A week’s stay in Rivercatcher’s Flyfisher’s Cottage sleeps six and costs from £995 a three-night short break from £660. rivercatcher.co.uk
The Boathouse, Devon
With a beautiful garden that runs along the riverside and roaring log fires, it’s cosy in the winter and glorious in the summer
This quiet little country house on the banks of the River Avon offers nine delightful rooms with modern amenities. It’s perfect for a peaceful escape from the city, but still within a comfortable walk of Bath Abbey and The Jane Austen Centre. boathouse-bath.co.uk
Orwell View Barns enjoy views across the River Orwell
Set in 700 acres, Orwell View Barns has breath-taking and glorious views of the River Orwell. Set in a unique Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the eco barn conversions combine luxurious accommodation with charming character and the secluded, idyllic farm setting makes for the perfect escape. Guests can enjoy afternoon strolls on riverbank walks past hidden creeks to the Butt & Oyster pub and the Shotley Marina.
The riverbank also leads to internationally acclaimed bird watching sites, where 100 different species of bird have been spotted. A seven-night stay for four guests staying in Orwell’s Primrose property starts from £450 and a three-night weekend break from £338. premiercottages.co.uk
Tree Top Escape, North Devon
Enjoy panoramic views of the North Devon countryside from Tree Top Escape
Tree Top Escape is a luxurious hideaway offering accommodation for up to four guests on a private estate in North Devon.
The five star accommodation offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, open living space area with fully equipped Italian designer kitchen framed by panoramic views over the North Devon countryside.
Langridge stream runs through the property’s grounds and there are also three lakes on site.
A week’s stay for up to four people costs from £1999 and a three-night break from £999. premiercottages.co.uk
Riverside Caravan Park, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
Stay in one of the Riverside pods at Riverside Caravan Park
Sit amongst the weeping willows on the bank and watch the swans pass by or bring along your fishing rod to enjoy the mile and half of free fishing. The Riverside Caravan Park is just a mile away from Shakespeare’s town, with a river taxi transporting guests from the Park to Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Riverside Bar & Restaurant is the ideal place to unwind, with its elevated balcony offering stunning views of the River Avon, whilst the wide range of accommodation suits all camping preferences.
Camping and Beehive pods from £120; Two-bedroom static caravans from £250. Prices are based on three-night minimum stay; up to four people sharing, and include shared bathroom and shower facilities. Book online at pitchup.com
The Head of the River, Oxford
Situated besides Oxford’s scenic River Isis, The Head of the River matches its food, drink and accommodation to the beauty of its surroundings
A stunning three-story conversion of a corn mill, Steeles Mill sits in a quiet, idyllic setting on the banks of the River Lyvennet in the heart of the Lake District. Dating back to the 14th century, its restoration preserves the building’s history whilst embracing the modern comforts needed for a luxurious stay.
Underfloor heating throughout ensures a warm welcome at any time of the year and the original mill’s internal workings remain in place on the ground floor having been enclosed safely behind oak and glass, and uplit. The kitchen range stands within the beautifully domed stone-cut alcove where grain once dried.
There’s also a viewing balcony where guests can watch the inhabitants of the River including: kingfisher, dipper, brown trout, heron and the occasional otter. A week’s break for four starts from £925 and a three-night short break from £550. premiercottages.co.uk
This hiker/walker friendly B and B is situated in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales
Riverside B&B overlooks the rumbling cascades of the Bain – one of the shortest rivers in England. Ideally located in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Riverside is a leisurely walk from 14th-century Bolton Castle and Wensleydale Creamery. dales-cottages.com
The Old Manse Hotel, Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire
Set against the backdrop of the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water, the Old Manse Hotel is a country inn which was built in 1748
Enjoy a relaxing weekend at this 18th-century hotel in the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. Take a stroll beside the effortless flow of the River Windrush, then return to the country inn for fine wines, ales and traditional English food. oldenglishinns.co.uk
River Dart Country Park, Ashburton, Devon
A popular retreat for young families with plenty of outdoor activities to try
This peaceful, eco-friendly site by the River Dart offers a relaxed riverside break perfect for the whole family.
Set in Dartmoor National Park, the River Dart Country Park is open from late March through September and includes a toddler beach to try sandcastle building and Pirate Ship for setting the children’s imaginations free. For older guests, fishing, kayaking and other water-based activities are available, with an on-site shop and café where you can enjoy a bite to eat or prepare a picnic.
Non-electric grass or trailer tent pitches from £33. Electric grass or trailer tent pitches and Electric hardstanding pitches are also available, starting from £41. Prices are based on two-night minimum stay; two people sharing, and include shared bathroom and shower facilities. Book online at www.pitchup.com
Mendham Mill, Norfolk
Mendham Mill is ideally placed to explore Norfolk
With over 1,000 years of history and in perfect harmony with its surroundings, Mendham Mill has often been described as Narnia. The enormous watermill and slow moving river transports families to a world of relaxation and adventure. Artist Sir Alfred Munnings PRA, the focus of the film Summer in February, was born here and the surrounding water meadows are virtually unchanged since he painted them. The river can be explored by canoe or rowing boat and the kids can see wildlife up close, including otters, kingfishers and other birds.
Mendham Mill is ideally placed to explore Norfolk. The neighbouring Harleston offers a mixture of both high street and independent shops, and those with a sweet tooth will be delighted to visit the award-winning chocolatier. Southwold’s famous beach and lighthouse is nearby, and Norwich and Thetford Forest are also within easy reach. A seven-night stay in Mendham Mill’s property The Lodge costs from £630 for four. premiercottages.co.uk
The famous wandering Wye flows along the border between England and Wales. Birds fly overhead, trout swim upstream, fishermen throw out their rods and, secluded on its banks, sits the aptly-named Riverside Lodge. Only eight miles from Hereford, this luxury wooden lodge sleeps four and is perfectly equipped for spending days and nights watching the river go by. It has an outdoor cooking and dining area with a pizza oven and barbecue and a bubbling hot tub nestled into the side of an old oak.
Inside, the cosy cabin is equipped with log burning stoves, a Belfast sink, beautiful slate floors and even a roll top bath. This stretch of the river Wye meanders past the Neolithic Arthur’s Stone, a chambered tomb dating from 3,700 BC, and through the beautiful rural village of Monnington on Wye. A few miles from the lodge, in the village of Eardisley, is the CAMRA award-winning Orgasmic Cider Company which is set in hundreds of acres of orchard land and produces the perfect local ciders to take home and sip by the riverside. Quality Unearthed offer three night stays at Riverside Lodge in April from £563, based on four sharing on self-catering basis. qualityunearthed.co.uk
Falls of Dochart Inn, Killin, Stirlingshire
This enviable location overlooks the spectacular Falls of Dochart, nestled in the heart of Scotland
Set in the heart of Scotland, this traditional dog-friendly lodging overlooks the unspoilt River Dochart and its scenic falls. Enjoy a full Scottish breakfast then take a trip to Finlarig Castle and the haunted burial ground of the fierce Clan Macnab. fallsofdochartinn.co.uk
Accommodation in this early 19th-century mill nestles amid the threshing machine, millstones, shoots and wheels. The west coast climate can be damp at the best of times, so grain was dried before grinding and the building still features a two-storey kiln with a revolving ventilator, known as a ‘granny’, on the roof – it’s now one of the bedrooms. The building is on the north bank of Tangy Burn, near to the point where it runs into the sea – past visitors have reported seeing dolphins off the beach. Sleeps up to six people. landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/tangy-mill
Situated on the River Teviot in the Scottish Borders, Heiton Mill House is a restored 18th Century Mill. This tranquil, generously sized property, promises to leave its visitors fully relaxed. If you so wish, the property even comes with its own cook to cater for your every culinary need. And there’s plenty to do in the surrounding area, including horse riding, fishing or clay shooting. Sleeps 10, from £1765 per week. crabtreeandcrabtree.com
A secluded boathouse in the heart of the Dundas Estate, with beautiful views of the loch, and only 8 miles from the centre of the charming city of Edinburgh. There is roughly 500 acres of wood and parkland around the lake, plenty for the guests to take in. Sleeps 2, from £220 per night. dundascastle.co.uk/the-boathouse