What could be more romantic—or, if you’re a child, more exciting—than being tucked away in a cozy treehouse surrounded by beautiful woodlands? Britain has fallen in love with treehouses as an environmentally friendly/unconventional alternative to the traditional hotel room, and they are to be found in every part of the country. If you like your rusticity on the civilized side, you can choose a treehouse on the grounds of a country house hotel that gives you access to its facilities and restaurants. Or if you prefer splendid isolation, go for a more remote, self-contained unit.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
A pioneer of the luxury country house hotel concept and still a leader in the field, Chewton Glen recently added 12 treehouse suites on stilts located in a secluded part of its extensive grounds, a short walk (or even shorter ride via the complimentary golf buggy service) from the main building and spa. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors in, but this is hardly roughing it: sumptuous bathrooms, large plasma TVs, well-stocked kitchenettes (complete with coffee beans and grinder), and wood-burning fireplaces come as standard. Honeymooners especially will appreciate the delicious breakfasts delivered as if by unseen elves through a hatch, and the hot tubs on spacious decks overlooking a stream and trees beyond. From £700/night.
Fernie Castle, Fife
Perched amidst six sycamores in a quiet glade on the grounds of this 14th Century castle hotel and accessed by a flight of stairs, this is a treehouse straight out of a fairytale. Fernie Castle comes complete with stained-glass windows, a miniature tower surmounted by a witch-hat roof, and actual live branches serving as columns in the bedroom and octagonal bathroom—though some might find the latter’s fairy- and unicorn-heavy murals a bit too whimsical. Despite this ethereality, modern essentials like a flat-screen TV and fridge are not neglected. From £445/night.
The Treehouse Lavender Hill, Somerset
With a large, comfortable kitchen/dining/living area, enclosed garden, three decks, a washer/dryer, television, and an indoor heated pool, this spacious treehouse on a small farm is perfect for families. And luxuries like a cedar hot tub, underfloor heating, and Egyptian cotton sheets help stressed parents relax. Local farm shops are nearby if you want to cook for yourself, or you can have pre-prepared meals stocked or delivered. A good local pub is just 4 minutes away. From £645/3 nights.
Clevely Mare, Lancashire
Not so much a treehouse as an upscale A-line treeloft, this oak-floored modernist take on arboreal living is reached by a rope bridge that also accesses a decked barbeque built around an oak tree. Inside Clevely Mare is a Miele kitchen, fireplace, and folding doors that open out onto the deck overlooking a 24-acre lake known for its fly-fishing. The treehouse also comes with its own boathouse and use of several canoes and boats. From £398/2 nights.
Gwdy Hw, Powys
Pronounced "Goody Hoo," this treehouse located in a secluded wooded valley in the Welsh mountains is definitely for those who want to get back to nature. A spiral staircase leads to a curved pod built 30 feet above the forest floor on low-impact floating joints to protect the trees. Heated by a wood-burning stove, the pod contains the sleeping and living areas, while a walkway leading off the deck takes you to a platform that houses a Swedish separating compost loo, and a spring water shower is located under the treehouse. It’s off-grid, so be prepared to go cold turkey on electronic media (or stock up on batteries) and enjoy a selection from the library or a walk through the woods instead. From £137/night.
Photo Credits: Chewton Glen, Hampshire courtesy of Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa/Relais & Chateaux; Fernie castle, Fife courtesy of Fernie Castle; The Treehouse Lavender Hill, Somerset courtesy of The Treehouse; Clevely Mere, Lancashire courtesy of Cleveley Mere; Gwdy Hw, Powys courtesy of Alastair Sawday Publishing Ltd.