The best luxury holiday homes in London, the UK and Portugal | International | Travel

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With the joyous news that summer holidays would be back on the cards this year also came the anxiety-inducing knowledge that the time had come to fight it out with the rest of the UK to secure a booking at a great hotel. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Sure hotels, with their doormen, room service and concierges are great – but you can find the same levels of luxury with a holiday home if you know where to look. This is where Plum Guide steps in. Its experts carefully vet each and every property on its books so you can take your pick safe in the knowledge that a great stay is guaranteed. Plus, with your own private base from which to explore, you’re likely to see and experience so much more than you would should you find yourself seduced by a hotel bar every evening.

With properties all over the world, Plum Guide is also well equipped to offer suggestions for wherever the constantly changing Green List allows us to travel. And, if last year’s luxury staycation has convinced you to see a little more of your own back yard, its collection of homes across London and the UK are sure to satisfy even the most exacting of travel companions. Here are our favourites…

London

The High Life Hangar, Leicester Square

Occupying the top floor of a beautiful apartment building overlook Leiciester Square, this stunning central London holiday home couldn’t be a better base from which to experience the best the capital has to offer. Location aside, the biggest attraction here is undoubtedly the aparment’s stunning architecter, which is dominated by a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that boast incresible views over one of London’s most famous landmarks. There’s also a roof terrace from which to soak up the urban atmosphere while a stylish eye has been employed to deck out the home in mid-century modern furniture, Mondrian-influenced rugs and minimalist, contemporary touches.

From £150, minimum two night stay

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The Talisman, Fulham

the talisman plum guide

This impressive grand design in leafy Fulham is made all the more striking by the owner’s eclectic art collection. From tasteful Star Wars memorabilia (you won’t miss the portrait of Carrie Fisher in the living room) to a cute herd of fluffy sheep sculptures, the space is decorated with whimsical artworks and Modernist furniture that add character to the otherwise minimalist design. Soaring ceilings and large windows create a bright and airy atmosphere in this open-plan property, which sleeps six across three bedrooms. Pull straws for the master suite, which has a beautiful marble and gold ensuite bathroom.

From £11,440, minimum 14 night stay

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Follow the Sun, Marylebone

follow the sun plum guide

Award-winning architecture firm Morrow & Lorraine are behind the design of this Grade II-listed home in Marylebone, which has been elegantly decorated to create a modern and stylish space. Sleeping six across three bedrooms, the property is peppered with mid-century furniture in a neutral colour palette, with the only pops of colour coming from the collection of indoor plants and the odd landscape photograph on the walls. The effect is a cool and calming space in which to retreat after a day exploring the capital — the property is located just a short walk from Oxford Circus, Soho and Mayfair.

From £1,115, minimum 28 night stay

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Choreography, Knightsbridge

choreography plum guide

From The Ivy to Annabel’s to Sexy Fish, Martin Brudnizki is the name behind some of London’s most striking establishments — so you can expect this apartment in Knightsbridge, which he also designed, to be pretty spectacular. The interiors here are a little more understated than his usual style (any mental images of Annabel’s plush pink bathroom should be swiftly forgotten), but they are no less chic, with opulent fabrics, modern furnishings and clean lines. The property itself is large and spacious, with space for nine guests to spread out across five bedrooms, five bathrooms and two living rooms. The highlight is the roof terrace; beautifully decorated with foliage and hydrangeas, it feels a world away from the bustle of Knightsbridge.

From £2,999, minimum five night stay

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The UK

Wetland Bird, Woodbridge

wetland birds plum guide

Craving a family holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Few properties offer quite the peace and quiet of Wetland Bird. Housed in a newly built barn in the countryside between Sudbourne and Iken, its hilltop position means the two-bedroom property boasts incredible views across farmland to the River Alde and Ore. Enjoy a BBQ on the terrace while keeping your eyes peeled for the wetland birds and deer that are common in the area or get cosy around the wood-burning stove in the high ceilinged living space, which boasts a contemporary design created to maximise on natural light and the gorgeous views.

From £141, minimum two night stay

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A Barn to Remember, Essex

essex holiday home plum guide

Sleeping up to 12, this gorgeous luxury barn is the perfect home for gathering together loved ones for that much-awaited reunion. Newly built but traditional in style, the interior offers an easy mix of modern conveniences and historic design touches, with wooden beams, exposed brick walls and vintage furniture setting the tone for a quintessentially British country holiday. Large communal areas, a pretty courtyard and landscaped lawns offer plenty of space to socialise, whether or not the weather is playing ball, while many of the sumptuous bedroom suites come complete with rolltop baths in which to unwind after a busy day with the family.

From £973, minimum two night stay

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Hatter’s House, North Yorkshire

hatters house plum guide

Always dreamed of starring in your own Agatha Christie novel? Dating back to 1620, this Jacobean manor house just outside York is bursting with quirky period charm worthy of any classic mystery novel. Sleeping up to 16, gather friends together in the ornately wood-panelled drawing room, music room or dining room or linger over brunch in the open-plan country kitchen. Bedrooms are outfitted with unusual design touches, think rope hammocks alongside four poster beds, while the estate is also home to a stable block (which can also be used as an indoor basketball court) and plenty of gorgeous grounds to explore.

From £114, minimum two night stay

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Under The Pergola, Suffolk

under the pergola plum guide

Live out your lord of the manor dreams at this expansive home nestled in the Suffolk countryside. Interiors are light and airy, with a large kitchen and open plan living area forming the heart of the home, while five elegantly decked out bedrooms sleep up to 10. There’s also a large dining hall in which to hold those postponed parties and celebrations while the property is home to numerous balconies, terraces and al fresco seating spaces perfect for maximising on warm weather. There’s much to explore in the local area but a stroll around the gorgeously landscaped gardens is likely to prove an equally diverting occupation.

From £744, minimum three night stay

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Portugal

Caras Lindas, Porto

caras lindas plum guide

Cedofeita is often considered the trendiest neighbourhood in Portugal’s Porto, not least because it is home to a thriving art district, with a collection of excellent galleries, venues and independent shops. When you’re not perusing the work of up-and-coming artists or enjoying drinks al fresco in one of the eclectic cafes and bars, retreat to this charming studio apartment, which, although just a short walk away from the district, offerings a tranquil respite from city life. The space is modern and clean, with contemporary furnishings and smart fixtures in the kitchen area and ensuite bathroom. The standout feature is the spacious back garden, a sun trap with a terrace and verdant lawn.

From £47.48, minimum two night stay

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Swing Dance, Faro

swing dance plum guide

Offering the best of both worlds, this charming villa in the Algarve is set within a wider resort, giving you the privacy of self-contained accommodation alongside access to a series of amenities and restaurants. You could easily spend your entire holiday in the four-bedroom home, basking in the heat by the villa’s private pool or firing up the barbecue on the terrace, but those looking for adventure needn’t wander far to find it — the resort is home to tennis courts, a kids’ play area, a spa and a championship golf course designed by golfer Jack Nicklaus.

From £172.64, minimum two night stay

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The Talking Heads, Lisbon

the talking heads plum guide

Located in the bohemian hub of Bairro Alto, this gorgeous apartment is the perfect base from which to explore the best Lisbon has to offer. Tour the neighbourhood’s many museums by day and wander the avenues by night – nightlife here takes place outdoors with many a party spilling good naturedly onto the street. Owned and designed by a family of artists, this home is an aesthetes paradise, with a seemingly minimalist design belied by carefully chosen artworks and thoughtful design details guaranteed to offer inspiration when you return home.

For £77.69, minmum two night stay

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Cine Bicicleta, Lisbon

cine bicicleta plum guide

If you’re looking to really maximise your sightseeing time in Lisbon few properties boast a location quite so superb as Cine Bicicleta. Found in the heart of the Alfama district, not only is the apartment at the foot of the São Jorge Castle, it’s also mere minutes from most of the city main attractions. When you do find yourself at home, you’ll enjoy light, bright Scandic-chic communal areas, flooded with natural light from the home’s huge windows, as well as heavenly hotel-style beds to sink into after a long day on your feet.

From £75.97 per night

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