It’s amazing how restored and rejuvenated a walk in the woods can make us feel. Apparently, as little as 20 minutes in a forested space is enough to produce positive changes. The Japanese understand how spending time in nature is good for us and call it ‘forest bathing’ or ‘shinrin-yoku’. The UK is full of wonderful nature reserves, woodland walks and national forests to explore on your next holiday cottage weekend getaway. Here’s a list of our favourite forest getaways.
UK Forest Map
1. Milking Parlour
Forest location: Cardinham Woods, Cornwall, PL30 4AL
Best for: Walks through wooded riverbanks or the beautiful nearby coast
Milking Parlour is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the edge of the village of Pensilva. This beautifully converted holiday property stands amongst the most spectacular scenery in Cornwall. Nearby Cardinham Woods has four hiking trails, three cycling routes, a play area and a picnic area. Dogs are welcome too.
2. Cottage in Hampshire
Forest location: The New Forest, Hampshire, SO40 4UH
Best for: Walking and cycling
Cottage in Hampshire is a stylish open-plan studio with an enclosed garden and its own hot tub. It’s set in a peaceful location in Godshill, Hampshire, in the North of the New Forest National Park. Resident ponies, donkeys and cattle can be seen roaming the open heathland, forest and leafy lanes surrounding the property.
3. Cottage in Gloucestershire
Forest location: The Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, GL16 7EL
Best for: This cosy hideaway is perfect for couples
Cottage in Gloucestershire is rumoured to be the oldest house in the traditional village of Bream, Gloucestershire. It is an ideal base for exploring the Royal Forest of Dean. There’s a wealth of footpaths and cycle routes nearby as well as the ancient caves of Clearwell, abseiling, canoeing and even high wire rope courses. A short drive away are the shops, cafes and pubs of historic market town of Ross on Wye.
4. The Old Dairy
Forest location: Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, NG21 9QB
Best for: Families with a dog
The Old Dairy is tailored to families of up to six wanting to spend quality time together and explore rural Nottinghamshire and Sherwood Forest. Surrounded by open countryside, yet only a short drive to the A1, the property has easy access to Newark and Lincoln. Good walks and cycle routes pass by the front door and the local pub is just one mile away.
5. Stable Retreat
Forest location: Galloway Forest, Scotland, DG8 7BE
Best for: Nature lovers
Stable Retreat has been converted from the original stable block of Newtonairds House in Scotland. It is nestled on the edge of the woods, where you might see red squirrels, deer and dairy. Follow the tracks to venture into the Galloway Forest dense forest or enjoy nearby mountain bike parks, kayaking, fishing or golf.
6. River Cottage
Forest location: Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland, BT33 0PW
Best for: Exploring Northern Ireland’s East Coast
Looking for a great base for a short break in Northern Ireland? A walk down to the bottom of River Cottage‘s garden will take you to the nearby fishing village where you’ll find the award-winning Galley Fish & Chip shop. Follow the Shimna River inland from the seaside resort of Newcastle to come to the Tollymore Forest Park which offers an abundance of walking trails. The cottage’s wood-burning fireplace will warm you up when you return.
7. Baldwin’s Hill Cottage
Forest location: Epping Forest, Essex, IG10 4AF
Best for: Couples or groups of friends and families
Baldwin’s Hill Cottage is a remarkable property in Essex which was once home to Epping Forest Keepers, but has now been transformed into a contemporary holiday home. Take the gate from the property into the beautiful Epping Forest, with scenic walking and cycling routes all around. There are also tonnes of outdoor activities including horseback riding, orienteering, rambling and golf.
8. The Byre
Forest location: Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, DL13 3NL
Best for: A good base for fun-filled days out
The Byre is a perfect little holiday cottage. Many footpaths, walks and cycle paths pass through the area and out into the countryside of County Durham. Hamsterley Forest is only seven miles away and is a delightful 2,000-hectare site with popular walking trails. This includes the Gruffalo Trail, cycle trails and orienteering, as well as plenty of spots for the perfect picnic.
9. The Lair
Forest location: Delamere Forest, Cheshire, CW8 2JD
Best for: Single travellers or a couple
The Lair is a pretty little semi-detached cottage tucked away just off the high street of the bustling town of Frodsham. It’s the perfect spot to explore the whole of Cheshire, North Wales, Shropshire and Merseyside as well as Delamere Forest with ease. A tranquil private courtyard offers a lovely sun trap too.
10. The Bower
Forest location: Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, YO18 7LT
Best for: A romantic escape
The Bower is a cozy cabin that rests at the end of the owner’s garden and includes a private courtyard and hot tub. Inside, there’s a beautiful super king-size bedroom with state of the art changeable mood lighting and access onto the modern astroturfed courtyard. This retreat lies in the centre of the delightful village of Kirby Misperton near Dalby Forest. The ancient market town of Pickering in Yorkshire is only four miles away.
11. The Pump House
Forest location: Ashdown Forest, Sussex, RH18 5JP
Best for: Listening to the birds
The Pump House is a sweet little cottage for two (and a dog if you have one), tucked away in the heart of Ashdown Forest in Sussex. A quiet, relaxing and peaceful setting with a double bed, underfloor heating and a wood-burning stove, there’s also easy access to lovely walks in the forest.
12. The Dairy
Forest location: Thetford Forest, Norfolk/Suffolk, IP27 0TJ
Best for: A couple with a dog
The Dairy is a superb semi-detached cottage that was built in 1862. It comes complete with a beamed en-suite bedroom, and a high-quality sitting room with a warming flame-effect woodburner. There’s also a hot tub to help soothe any aches and pains after a long walk in Thetford Forest.
13. Swallow Barn
Forest location: Swinley Forest, Surrey, RG12 7QW
Best for: Exploring the South of England
Swallow Barn is a homely property located in a peaceful position, adjacent to the owner’s home. It’s an ideal retreat for couples or families and is conveniently situated just ¾ miles from Chobham in Surrey, with many good places to eat. The woodland of Swinley Forest is owned by the Crown Estate and stretches over 100,000 square feet of gentle hills.
14. The Coach House
Forest location: Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, DY10 1HA
Best for: Enjoying many nearby tourist attractions
Contemporary furnishings work well in The Coach House, which features three bedrooms, exposed beams and slate flooring. This former coach house is nestled on the edge of the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire. Ideal for long walks and bike rides, the more adventurous can also visit the zip lines and treetop rope course of Go Ape in Wyre Forest.
Forest location: Haldon Forest Park, Devon, EX6 7XR
Best for: Beautiful scenery
Medland is a three-floor, four-bedroom, end of terrace cottage in Devon. You can take a short journey to Dartmoor National Park to try rock climbing, kayaking or mountain biking. A short drive will also take you to the lovely beaches of the South Devon Coast. Haldon Forest Park is 3.5 miles away.
16. Kingshill Farm
Forest location: Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire, HP22 5NQ
Best for: Lovely countryside walks
Kingshill Farm -Meadow View is an extremely comfortable first floor apartment, which lies on a working farm, close to The Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Guests have use of the adjacent garden where you can sit, relax and watch the horses in the paddock. Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire is nearby.
17. Cottage in Cumbria
Forest location: Grizedale Forest, Lake District, LA22 0QJ
Best for: A family adventure holiday
Cottage in Cumbria enjoys a secluded rural location in a quiet valley in the Lake District. Grizedale Forest can be accessed directly from the front door, via a bridleway. The forest has a fantastic visitors centre, which offers a range of walking and cycling routes, a sculpture trail, cafe, children’s adventure playground, Segway hire and a Go Ape adventure centre with high ropes and thrilling zip wire.
18. Saetr Cottage
Forest location: Gisburn Forest, Lancashire, BB7 4TS
Best for: Exploring the local fells
Saetr Cottage is a pretty, stone-built, semi-detached farmhouse conversion just three miles from Bolton-by-Bowland in Lancashire. Gisburn Forest’s mountain bike trails are just 15 minutes away, while a number of first-class dining inns can be found within a few miles.
19. Stable Flat
Forest location: Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire, NN7 2HX
Best for: Local attractions
Stable Flat is a first-floor apartment with three spacious sized beds and bedrooms above an original stable block in Northamptonshire. Salcey Forest lies adjacent to the flat. It’s a spectacular area of woodland stretching for miles with ancient wood banks, trees and old building remains. There’s also lots of walking and cycling trails, a play area and a cafe.
20. Kielder Kip Cottage
Forest location: Kielder Forest, Northumberland, NE48 1ER
Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts and budding astronomers
Kielder Kip Cottage in the village of Keilder is part of the Northumberland National Park with miles of forests. The park is the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe, perfect for astronomers and photographers. The waterparks around Kielder Water offer a hop on/ off ferry, Bird of Prey Centre, cafés, pub, picnic areas and water sports of all types. The whole area is perfect for mountain biking, cycling, walking and fishing in Northumberland.
21. Cottage in Sussex
Forest location: Friston Forest, Sussex, BN20 0AT
Best for: A seaside break
This stylish mid-nineteenth century flint Cottage in Sussex can be found on the edge of the seaside village of Seaford and the South Downs National Park. Great for keen walkers and cyclists, it’s also a fantastic seaside getaway for couples and small families. This cottage is within easy reach of the famous Seven Sisters Country Park and Birling Gap.
*Credit Snaptrip if using UK Forest Map.