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.
Best riverside cottages in Wales
Craig-Y-Dderwen, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy
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.
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Court Lodge, Gwaun Valley, Pembrokeshire
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.
The Huts in the Hills, Herefordshire
In the heart of Brecon Beacons National Park and alongside a splashing brook, sits The Huts in the Hills, 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.
Tyn Y Coed Cottage, Powys
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.
Rivercatcher Cottages, Denbighshire
Alternatively, stay in one of Rivercatcher’s five luxury cottages, which are dog and family friendly and have a private garden and hot tub.
These gorgeous cottages are on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park at the foot of Berwyn Mountains, the perfect location for active families who will also love the nearby National White Water Centre, Llyn Brenig and the Bala adventure and Water Sports Centre.
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.
Best riverside cottages in England
The Head of the River, Oxford
This home away from home overlooks the meandering River Thames – or Isis, as it is known along its upper course. Set out on foot through Christ Church Meadow, or experience the city’s rich history and art with a trip to Oxford Castle and Oxford New Theatre.
The Charlton Arms, Ludlow, Shropshire
This charming B&B offers nine en-suite rooms, all with private terraces and hot tubs. Step out for a morning walk beside the River Teme and breathe in the fresh air of Shropshire’s Whitcliffe Common Nature Reserve.
Riverside B&B, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire
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.
The Old Manse Hotel, Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire
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.
Mendham Mill, 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.
Best riverside cottages in Scotland
Falls of Dochart Inn, Killin, Stirlingshire
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.
The Boathouse, Dundas Castle, Edinburgh
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.
Luxurious Country House, Blairgowrie
This house would be ideal for a large celebration as it can sleep 11 people. It is situated on the Blackwater River in Blairgowrie, so expect dramatic and striking views. As well as five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a spacious living room, there is a sauna so you can treat yourself after a long day of exploring Cairngorms National Park. It would also be great fun in the Winter as you’re not far from Glenshee ski resort.
Riverside Cottage, Ballater
Situated just off the River Dee in Ballater, the Riverside Cottage promises a cosy and roomy stay. The house sleeps six people and has a lounge with a wood burning stove as well as a large kitchen so there is plenty of room to relax. There is also an eco-friendly hot tub in the garden which is sure to be a hit after a day of hiking, cycling, kayaking and fishing, along with the other many activities Ballater has to offer.