Which would you pick? An exotic beach holiday in a faraway land or a staycation in your home country with a gamble on the weather, but decidedly less travel stress?
While many Brits spend their summer holidays in hotspots like Greece, Italy and France, recent research has revealed we’re realising some of the most beautiful destinations are much closer to home, with higher numbers opting for a summer holiday in the UK rather than jetting off somewhere afar. A study last year of 3,000 adults by hotel chain Travelodge revealed that nearly three out of five people will have their annual summer break in Britain, rather than abroad.
The UK is fast becoming a staycation nation and it’s easy to see why. With our rolling hills, cobalt-blue waters, majestic peaks and cultural heritage there’s so much to see in this gorgeous country of ours. Plus staycations can be much less stressful. No excess baggage, no flight at silly-o’clock in the morning, no security and no language or cultural barriers. This a growing trend that Stephanie and Ryan Lothian, owners of Williamstone Farm Steadings are keen to tap into. Stephanie explains “We’ve seen a big increase in locals booking our holiday-lets for special occasions such as a wedding anniversary or a big birthday. We also get people staying who are either visiting relatives in the area or just want to take a break without having to travel very far.”
Set in four acres of farmland on the edge of North Berwick, Williamstone Farm Steadings are a hidden gem and offer luxurious self-catering accommodation. At first glance, the steadings might appear traditional with their rustic stone walls and red pantile roofs, but once inside these grade B listed buildings – The Barn, The Byre and The Bothy – they offer uber-chic, pared back and contemporary living spaces.
When Stephanie and Ryan first came across the property, nearly three years ago, the steading buildings were almost derelict and the scale of the work required to turn them into something habitable was immense. Stephanie says “Although we’d previously built and renovated homes, this project was huge, we didn’t have a clue what we were going to do first and then it just evolved with the idea of developing the steadings into holiday cottages.” Once inside, it’s easy to see why Williamstone Farm Steadings won ‘Best Renovation/Conversion of the Year’ at the 2018 Herald Property Awards in Glasgow. Think flowing open plan interiors with exposed stone walls and vaulted ceilings. Think wide plank Kährs oak flooring and RAIS wood-burning stoves. Think sleek Poggenpohl kitchens and bathrooms featuring fittings by Duravit and Porcelanosa. Think gorgeously mellow colour palettes by Farrow & Ball and gorgeous vintage style lighting.
It’s not only the understated elegance of the steadings, that make these holiday cottages super luxurious and instagram-ready, but it’s the extra touches. Sumptuous Egyptian cotton bedding and luxury soft furnishings. Fluffy dressing gowns and indulgent toiletries. Stephanie explains “When we thought about what people might want from a holiday let, we drew on our own experiences, what to offer and what not to offer!” Where ever possible the couple try to source locally. Stephanie adds “We used local tradespeople and skilled craftsmen to create a lot of the pieces in the steadings and we carry this through to sourcing linens and toiletries locally, as well as produce for our welcome packs.”
There are so many highlights in these holiday-lets – from the living room in The Barn with its impressive vaulted ceiling and cosy mezzanine snug to the stunning glass link in The Bothy. Not to mention the stunning orchard views or the close proximity to both North Berwick and the beach. It’s very easy to see why Williamstone Farm Steadings would be the ultimate staycation choice. Harder to see, why anyone would ever want to pack their bags and leave!