Second homes were among the casualties of the credit crunch, but as the economy recovers and the London market tops out, estate agents are noticing the return of a particular breed of second-homer: the weekender. Weekend homes are different from holiday homes. The latter are usually visited only a few times a year â€” Cornwall, say, in the school holidays â€” but in this time-poor, stress-rich age, and with pollution choking the capital, buyers crave a fast escape from London (two hours max), so they can wake up to fresh air and scenery on Saturday morning.
From Cornwall and Cork to Corsica and Croatia, we pick 20 great stays from Mr & Mrs Smithâ€™s new family collection
British Isles 1 No 5 Maddox Street London This quiet collection of self-catering apartments off Regent Street may have grown-up, understated decor but they are stocked with every child accoutrement from bibs to baby monitors. The two and three-bedroom suites are made for families. Food-stocked kitchens, restaurant delivery services, daily housekeeping, a library of DVDs for all ages, 24-hour concierge, babysitting services and membership to a local gym are part of the deal. Details From Â£234 room only (020-7647 0200,no5maddoxstreet.com). Cots can be added to the room free of charge.[Readm More]
Dartmoor: ancient forest, lost ruins and bluebell meadows
Dartmoor is not all bleak moors and bog â€” ancient woodland, ruins and wild swimming abound. It is also the only place in the UK where wild camping is not only allowed, but actively encouraged.