Lochview House, Fort William
Spectacular views come as standard at this comfortable home set on the banks of Loch Lochy on the outskirts of Fort William. Opposite the house, the auburn slopes of the Great Glen rise up above the loch, with the Nevis Range – offering breathtaking hiking and skiing – just 15 minutes’ drive away. The house sleeps six, with an open-plan living space and outdoor decked area complete with patio heater, making it possible to cosy up outside and enjoy the views even on the wintriest of days. It’s an ideal base for exploring the west coast. The village of Spean Bridge – home to one of Scotland’s best restaurants, Corriegour Lodge – is just 10 minutes’ drive.
A week from £1,300; millhousecottages.co.uk
Lough Erne, Enniskillen
Slow the pre-Christmas pace with an indulgent few days at the Lough Erne resort, staying in one of the charming turreted lodges that dot the edge of the lake. Pleasingly luxurious, with Egyptian linens, rainfall showers and an elegant living and dining area looking directly out on to the lough, a stay at the lodge includes full use of all the resort’s facilities, including the Thai spa and indoor infinity pool, sauna and steam rooms and an excellent programme of treatments. Surrounded by 600 acres of unspoilt countryside, the resort also boasts a 36-hole golf course and two restaurants.
From £164 per night; lougherneresort.com
Blyth Rise Stays, Laxfield, Suffolk
Book one of the wooden lodges on the bank of Blyth Rise Lake and you step into a quieter, more tranquil world, with herons swooping past, carp flicking up from the water and the richly hued deciduous woodland slowly shedding its leaves. Two comfortable ensuite bedrooms flank the living and dining area, ideal for two couples (no children or dogs), with cosy blankets and an outdoor firepit making it possible to sit outside even on winter days. A menu of spa treatments is available, taken in the privacy of your lodge, with a footpath linking the site to the nearby village of Laxfield.
Three-night stays from £595; blythrisestays.co.uk
The Glasshouse, Ceredigion
Get the gang together for a special birthday or celebration at this gorgeously designed house, with a glass-walled open-plan living area that gives front row seats over the sinuous curves of the River Teifi. Five bedrooms offer plenty of space for everyone, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, welcome hamper and caterers available for celebratory dinners (or to cover your whole stay). Cold-water swimmers can take a dip in the Teifi, with walks from the door across the tranquil marshlands of the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve.
Four-night breaks from £289pp, based on 10 sharing; uniquehomestays.com
Liming Lodge, Cotswold Water Park
Set on Windrush Lake – one of 180 lakes that form the 42-square-mile Cotswold Water Park – this three-bedroom lodge is ideal for a family break, with a huge range of activities just outside the door including paddle-boarding, canoeing and water-skiing, with tennis, croquet and boules for those who prefer to stay on dry land. On cold, wintry days the cosy lounge has a Smart TV, board games and DVDs, with the small, decked terrace an ideal spot for morning coffee. Cirencester, a short drive away, is ideal for a spot of Christmas shopping.
Three-night breaks from £595; watersidebreaks.com
The Boat House, Belford, Northumberland
Situated on the family-owned Middleton Hall Estate, the Boat House is set in a wonderfully secluded location overlooking one of two private lakes. Elevated above the lake’s shoreline, floor-to-ceiling windows bring the shimmering water into the spacious living area, meaning you can be warm and cosy inside while still enjoying the tranquil lakeside views. Sleeping two, this is a great choice for a romantic few days away, with walks through the grounds, the chance to spot otters gliding through the water and the dramatic coastline at Seahouses and Bamburgh just a short drive away.
Three-night breaks from £595; middletonhall.co.uk
Riverside Hideaway, Newby Bridge, Cumbria
Situated on the banks of the River Leven, the southern outlet of Windermere, this comfortable two-bedroom apartment makes a great base to explore the Lake District at its quietest time of year. Bring bikes and canoes or kayaks, the house has secure storage for all, with a firelit lounge to warm up in after an hour or two on the water. Just 100 yards across the bridge, the Swan Hotel & Spa offers an alternative to self-catering, while the Holte Spa is the ideal counterpart to hearty hikes across the Cumbrian fells.
Three-night breaks from £403; lakelovers.co.uk
An easy 90-minute drive from Glasgow, Portnellan is a collection of lodges scattered through a privately owned Highland estate, set among the lochs and peaks of the Trossachs, offering the chance to immerse yourself in southern Scotland’s breathtaking scenery. The price of a stay includes use of rowing boats, kayaks, loch and river fishing. and a welcome pack, with one, two and three-bedroom optionsavailable, all with well-equipped kitchens, Egyptian linens and private balconies to take in the views. In spite of the isolated feel, there is a clutch of good pubs in the area and a well-stocked village store at Crianlarich, two miles away.
Four-night breaks in a two-bed lodge from £782; portnellan.com
Waterside Lodge, Bodiam, Sussex
This chic, Scandi-style bolthole, all white walls and gleaming blond wood, is a great base for a weekend away with friends, with the two bedrooms offering spacious, comfortable accommodation. Located on the Oastbrook Estate and vineyard, the outdoor deck has a hot tub overlooking the pond, with a wood-burner to cosy up in front of after a dip. Bodiam Castle is within walking distance and the vineyard offers pre-bookable tours and tastings, while The Curlew in Bodiam is a charming former coaching inn offering upscale Modern British dishes.
One week from £972; originalcottages.co.uk
Lakeside Lodge, Thetford, Norfolk
Set right by the lake on the owner’s private estate, this handbuilt wooden lodge is a dreamy getaway for two, with a large, glass-walled deck area that gives fantastic views across the water. The lodge is compact but comfortable, with a well-stocked kitchen and one ensuite double bedroom. The pretty village of East Harling is nearby, home to the excellent Nags Head (nagsheadharling.com), which offers tasty home-cooked pub dishes for a night off from self-catering. Take hiking boots and bikes to explore Thetford Forest, or simply walk from the lodge door.
Three-night breaks from £332; sykescottages.co.uk