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Holiday cottage history and restoration

The exterior of Horton Court, Gloucestershire
The exterior of Horton Court, Gloucestershire | © National Trust Images / Mike Henton

Take a look behind the scenes of our holiday cottages and uncover how we restore these one-of-a-kind historic buildings to create unforgettable stays in unrivalled locations.

Step through ornate Romanesque doorways, along original medieval hallways and start your holiday peering out over ancient fruit orchards in some of the most special and historic places.

Preserving stories of the past

We’ve been offering holidays with a conscience since the 1940s. Over this time, we've carefully protected and restored over 400 historic buildings, many having previously fallen into states of disrepair.

Working with local craftspeople, we use traditional conservation techniques to bring spacious holiday interiors to life amongst Renaissance arabesques, 12th-century Normal hall walls and other unique features of historic significance. This means we can continue to share the buildings' rich stories with future generations who come to stay, explore and create their own memories amongst history.

On your next holiday, spend your time in bygone eras in a medieval castle or become part of history at the former home of a famous inventor. And with each stay, you’re helping support the conservation and preservation of more historic places. With the money that's made from your holiday, we’re able to restore around 10 more properties a year across Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

Horton Court, Gloucestershire

The garden at Horton Court, Gloucestershire
The garden at Horton Court, Gloucestershire | © National Trust Images / Mike Henton

The exterior of Horton Court, Gloucestershire

Luxury is at the heart of this restored Grade I listed manor house on the edge of the Cotswolds. Previously used as a film location for Poldark and Wolf Hall, Horton Court has everything from floor-to-ceiling windows, homely kitchen space with bespoke units, to a beautiful lake within the grounds. Sleeps 10.

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Today, Horton Court is the perfect location for a special group getaway, nestled on the edge of the rolling Cotswolds countryside and a stone's throw from the Roman city of Bath. However, this beautifully restored Grade I-listed manor house has a fascinating history stretching all the way back to 1185. Through extensive restoration, the magic of this carefully preserved history can now be experienced by holidaymakers on their next stay.

Originally a 12th century Norman Hall, Horton Court is home to a number of historically significant features. Step through elaborate twin Romanesque doorways and discover some of England’s earliest Renaissance decorative motifs beneath what’s believed to be the oldest roof within the National Trust.

With such an important treasure trove behind its stone walls, extensive historic assessments were undertaken to ensure that each feature was carefully conserved and the building’s unique spirit of place preserved. Relive history as your search for remnants of the Italian Renaissance garden or enjoy breakfast beneath ancient timber as the morning sun shines through medieval windows.

Compass Cottage, Devon

Outdoor seating at Compass Cottage, with views over the Dart Estuary, Devon
Outdoor seating at Compass Cottage, with views over the Dart Estuary, Devon | © National Trust / Mike Henton

The exterior of Compass Cottage, Devon

This quiet cottage near Dartmouth Castle has an electric charging point so you can recharge your car after an adventure-filled day. Head to the harbour town of Dartmouth to discover the festivals, events and markets. Or, travel along the Devon coast for a great day out exploring castles, marinas and historical houses. Sleeps 5.

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With glorious views over the River Dart this former workman’s cottage in Devon is hidden in a leafy woodland just behind Dartmouth Castle. A two-year project was put in place to restore this historical building to a cosy and comfortable holiday cottage.

As a classic example of a worker’s cottage, it was important to maintain as much of the buildings original features and character, from its old fireplace to its doors and windows.

With the development of a roof extension to create a master suite, imagine sipping your morning cuppa as you soak up the vast countryside views. Invite more family and friends so they can also enjoy the new light-filled spaces throughout the house. Not only that but an electric car charging point has been fitted to the cottage, so you can enjoy a holiday that’s a little bit greener.

With maritime-inspired lighting and prints of Dartmouth by local artists, the refurbishment has remained true to the cottage's former life while integrating contemporary comfort. Set over three floors, you can find a large light-filled kitchen/diner, sitting room, master suite and two other bedrooms.

West Gate Lodge, Yorkshire

The back of West Gate Lodge, Yorkshire
The back of West Gate Lodge, Yorkshire | © National Trust/Mike Henton

The exterior of West Gate Lodge

Take a trip for two to this elegant Victorian cottage overlooking Fountains Abbey. Built using stone from the abbey ruins, West Gate Lodge offers a truly unique stay. The house has been carefully restored and inside you’ll find handcrafted oak furniture and original Victorian features.

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This elegant Victorian cottage, with views over the 12th-century Cistercian Fountains Abbey, is believed to have been built around 1859 when the Marquis of Ripon inherited Fountains Abbey.

West Gate Lodge is rich in history and original features that hold a great significance to its past. The cottage was built using the salvaged stone from the nearby ruins of Fountains Abbey. The cottage also has handcrafted oak furniture and original Victorian features such as diamond leaded windows.

This cottage was once an estate workers cottage. The bay front window in the dining room also doubled as a ticket window for some of the first tourists to Studley Royal Water Gardens after the railway arrived at Ripon and Harrogate in 1848. Turn back the clocks and imagine what it’d be like to welcome visitors out of your dining room window as you look out across the garden riverbank.

In West Gate Lodge you’ll find a cosy cottage furnished with handcrafted oak furniture and original Victorian features. There’s an airy living and dining room as well as a modern kitchen and quaint bedroom that’s perfect for two.