The 20 most unusual places to stay in Britain revealed, from a remote island lighthouse to a Suffolk windmill and a Scottish townhouse with turrets

Wondering how to spice up your next staycation? 

Look no further than new research by South Western Railway that has revealed a list of the UK’s quirkiest places to stay. 

To compile the list, SWR analysed more than 2,600 listings on the holiday accommodation website and ranked them according to their Google rating, the number of Google reviews they had, and how unique they were – as decided by a panel of travel experts, including blogger Erica Vonderwall.

After crunching the data, a ranked collection of the 20 most eccentric places to stay has been revealed.

The intriguing list comprises everything from 50s-style American airsoft trailers to a Suffolk windmill and from an Orkney lighthouse to a London boathouse.

Scroll down to discover the abodes that made the cut, listed in reverse order…

NO.20. THE HILLSIDE HIDEAWAY, CARBOST, ISLE OF SKYE: This two-person retreat overlooks Loch Harport near the Talisker Distillery and has a living roof and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It’s fronted by a roomy balcony that serves up panoramic views of the water and inside there’s a woodburning stove and lots of plump seating space. The average cost of a night here is £99

NO.19. THE SUMMER HOUSE, EYTON ON SEVERN, SHROPSHIRE: The timeline of this building dates back to 1607 when it was used as a banqueting hall. Today, it’s a retreat for two. Inside, there are exposed wooden beams, a spiral staircase, a woodburning fire and a bedroom with countryside views. The average price for a night’s stay is £162

NO.18. SIGNAL BOX, NEWTONMORE, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS: Set across the road from Newtonmore railway station, this cottage sleeps up to four people. The layout inside was designed to be upside down so guests can look out towards the Cairngorm mountain range and River Spey from the living space. It costs an average of £81 to stay here for a night

NO.17. THE MEADOW GLAMPING, BROUGHTON, HAMPSHIRE: A showman’s wagon called Wild Billy’s and a vintage narrowboat called The Magic Rat are just two of the accommodation options at this off-grid adults-only retreat. The choices are dotted across a two-acre pocket of countryside near a 30m- (100ft) wide lake. The average cost of a night’s stay is £105

NO 16. GLEN DYE CABINS AND COTTAGES, BANCHORY, ABERDEENSHIRE: Visitors can sleep in a converted 1955 American Airstream Safari trailer (pictured), cook in a restored 1800s forester’s cottage and bathe in wood-fired outdoor hot tubs when they stay at Glen Dye Cabins and Cottages. The average cost of a night’s stay is £225

NO.15. THE CLOCK TOWER, STOW STOW-ON-THE-WOLD, GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Accommodation at The Clock Tower takes the form of a penthouse apartment in the turret of a 19th century Methodist church. It can sleep up to five guests and costs £160 per night on average

NO.14. BEACH HOUSE SMUGGLERS COVE, PORTREATH, CORNWALL: This four-bedroom holiday home overlooks Portreath Beach between Newquay and St Ives. The list of facilities includes a sea and sand-view hot tub and a cinema den. The average cost of a night’s stay is £550

NO 13. FISHERTON FARM’S VINTAGE VARDOS, ATHERINGTON, DEVON: Guests sleep in vardos (traditional, intricately decorated bow-top gipsy wagons) with names like Big Ted and Red Rum when they stay at Fisherton Farm – a 100-acre working farm. The average cost of a single night’s stay is £230

NO.12. SEA GEM CAMBER, CAMBER SANDS, EAST SUSSEX: This beach house has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the beach at Camber Sands and a private boardwalk that leads directly to the sand. It sleeps up to eight people and costs an average of £500 a night

NO.11. TWR MYNACH BARMOUTH, GWYNEDD, WALES: The Twr Mynach tower was built in 1880 as part of a school. Today, it’s a holiday home with two bedrooms. Each one comes with a terrace that looks out over the coastline of the Llyn Peninsula. The average cost of a night’s stay is £115

NO.10. THE FIVE TURRETS, SELKIRK, SCOTTISH BORDERS: The four bedrooms at The Five Turrets are set inside a Grade B listed baronial-style townhouse. Highlights of the accommodation include a triple-height living space with plump sofas and a private garden with fruit trees. The average cost of a night’s stay is £114

NO.9. KAYWANA HALL, KINGSWEAR, DEVON: Twelve acres of private woodland engulf this 1960s ‘butterfly roof’ house. There are four bedrooms here that sleep up to eight people and the place comes with its own private pool. The average price for a night’s stay is £160

NO.8. AYLSHAM WINDMILL, AYLSHAM, NORFOLK: With the average cost of a night’s stay coming in at £78, this is the most affordable option on the list, according to South Western Railway. This countryside escape used to be a working flour mill but has now been converted into a scenic holiday home that can sleep up to six people

NO.7. OKEL TOR MINE, CALSTOCK, CORNWALL: There are two cottages at Okel Tor Mine. Both The Smithy and The Count House come with double rooms that sleep two people. Both of them are wrapped up in 16 acres of woodland in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The average price of a night’s stay is £89

NO.6. THE BOATHOUSE, LONDON PADDINGTON: This 18m (60ft) wide-beam barge is moored in West London’s Floating Pocket Park. It has one bedroom but can sleep up to four guests. There’s a freestanding bath on board and a cosy living space with books and board games. The average price of a night’s stay is £260

NO.5. TIN CAN CAMPING, MUNDHAM, NORFOLK: The retro Airstream trailers at Tin Can Camping sleep up to four people. Options include The Jewel, which is styled to look like an American diner inside, and The Sovereign, which comes with bunk beds for little ones. The average price of a night’s stay is £260

NO.4. THE GLAMPING ORCHARD, LONGNEY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Pictured is The Warwick Knight, a restored 1950s caravan with rooftop garden that’s one of two accommodation options at The Glamping Orchard. The other choice is Belle the bell tent, which can sleep up to four adults and comes with a wood-fired shower. The average price of a night’s stay here is £98

NO.3. WOLF WOOD TREEHOUSES, BRATTON CLOVELLY, DEVON: This collection of treehouses sits in the canopy of a 13-acre stretch of deciduous woodland. The average cost for a night’s stay is £285 and, although each treehouse is different, facilities include outdoor hot tubs, side-by-side baths on the decks and indoor roll-top baths 

NO.2. CANTICK HEAD LIGHTHOUSE, LONGHOPE, ORKNEY ISLANDS: This lighthouse crowns the top of a 35m (115ft) cliff on the red sandstone island of South Walls. The cottage next to this lighthouse can sleep up to four people and comes with a cosy snug lounge, firepit and barbecue area, and a hot tub and sauna. The average cost of a night’s stay is £120

NO.1. THE WINDMILL SUFFOLK, COCKFIELD, SUFFOLK: According to the research this is the most unique place to stay in the UK. It’s an adults-only property that sleeps up to four people across two rooms. Highlights of the place include a fourth-floor balcony that looks out over the Suffolk countryside, and the bathroom with its freestanding oval bath. The average price for a night’s stay is £325

A map showing the locations of the top 20 most unusual places to stay

These properties are also available through other accommodation portfolio websites and can also be booked directly.