This all started with Emily Tobin. In December I asked the kind people of Tete a Tat to choose their dream gifts - no matter the cost. Being a prudent lot, many of them chose property. But it was Emily Tobin's choice that was the catalyst: 'I imagine this might take a lot of wrangling with The Landmark Trust but what I'd really love for Christmas, if money was no object, are the keys to The Farmhouse at Lower Porthmeor in Cornwall. It sits a little way back from one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK, and I promise I would look after it beautifully.' We then discussed how clever her choice was, as you could move straight in without changing a thing. This is what my friends and I do; we talk about properties that we don't own and what we would do with them. In this particular case though The Landmark Trust had beaten us to the punch, as they've already made it pretty great. What particularly piqued my interest was the blue blind in the beautifully white downstairs loo. It just felt right. So I thought: 'I bet they've done other places all nice'. I wasn't wrong. They've done them real nice. Not only that, I think there are some pretty nifty ideas in those houses. So here it is, my ode to The Landmark Trust. Get ready for some stunning pictures, snazzy details and maybe a holiday or two.
Sleeps 5 - 4 nights from £261
'Arra Venton was once both chapel and smithy. With its companions in Lower Porthmeor, it forms a typical farm hamlet on a green coastal shelf between moors and the Atlantic cliffs just west of St Ives.'
Tat Notes: That runner, yes please!
'An exceptional Victorian water tower on the edge of the Sandringham Estate. This functional building of the highest provenance makes a comfortable nest among the treetops.'
'This Gothic folly sits on the edge of the National Trust’s Gibside estate. It stands in the highest part of the park in a grassy clearing, looking down on an octagonal pool with views to the Derwent Valley and beyond'
Tat Note - Big fan of this blue.
'This medieval timber-framed gatehouse was enlarged with an upper storey after the Dissolution to create a room which has served as both manorial court and village school. It is now a large open plan space where life is lived beneath the splendid timber roof trusses.'
'At first glance, this looks like a French château, but it is actually a very clever scale model of one sitting on a hill above the River Trent in the middle of the Lincolnshire countryside.'
Tat Note - big fan of the trellis kitchen.
'This four-storey circular tower stands high on the cliff overlooking one of the most striking bays on the Dorset coast. Built in 1830, its location has captivated many writers including Hardy and PD James.'
Tat Notes - Goodness gracious, this is charming, the bedroom of dreams.
'Coombe Corner is a light and spacious 1930s weatherboarded bungalow, perched above a lovely wooded valley. Coombe itself is a remote hamlet just half a mile from the sea at Duckpool on the North Cornish coast.'
Tat Notes: Vinyl flooring in the kitchen - I dig it.
'Cul na Shee means ‘nook of peace’ in Gaelic, and this simple weathered boarded cottage is well-named. Set in a stunning location on Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre, it looks out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran.'
Tat Note - Get a load of that panelling - ding ding ding!
'Surrounded by rich woodland and tucked down the head of the Frenchman's Creek on the Helford River, this has to be the most romantic and secluded cottage in Cornwall. Named after the nearby creek, the enchanting nature of the area has inspired some well known literary works.'
Tat Notes: Hansel and Gretel pack up, I will happily call it home.
'This grand entrance is all that survives of a prison once intended for minor offenders. This is a noble piece of architecture, once intended to intimidate, in a beautiful and interesting place'
'Once really a sty, Squire Barry of Fyling Hall is said to have been inspired by the classical architecture he had seen in the Mediterranean during his travels in the 1880s when building this home for his pigs.'
'This quiet street just steps away from the sights and sounds of an interesting (and now fashionable) part of London. This spacious house reflects its 18th-century roots but provides a welcoming and comfortable retreat for the 21st-century traveller.'
Tat Notes: So taking into consideration I live in London, I would stay here in a shot. The drawing room with those blinds & the delft tile fire place - an excellent change of scene.
'A tiny, circular Tower standing on the boundary of a cricket pitch. The roof terrace gives a grandstand view of a slice of rural Kent.'
Tat - Ehh I don't need to point this out - but I will - that kitchen with an actual porthole window & the sink mirroring it. If that's not sexy, I am not sure I know what is.
'The outstandingly fine brickwork of this satisfyingly foursquare folly makes it likely to date from the early eighteenth century, as its name suggests.'
Tat Note - Panelled bath & kitchen in a cupboard - slam dunk.
'Mainly built around 1450, Rosslyn Castle is situated on a truly dramatic site; on a tree-covered spine of rock rising steeply from the River Esk, which surrounds it on three sides'
Tat Notes - I very much enjoy the opulence of the sitting room against the clean, sophisticated bedrooms.
'This little pavilion is dramatically perched above a steep wooded gorge, in the remnants of an outstanding 18th-century garden at Hackfall. Open the doors of its richly decorated sitting-room to see miles of Yorkshire countryside roll out before you.'
Tat Notes - What a punch of colour that blue is, when you've got bones like that you can really experiment.
'This simple and evocative cottage was built to serve one of the monumental pumping engines that sprang up as the Steam Age took on the challenge of draining the Fenland. It features in Simon Jenkins’s 'Thousand Best Houses in England'.
Tat Notes - Green windowsills with pink blinds, I'm in love.
'In this tiny granite chapel two of you can cook, eat and sleep all its one big room, tucked beside a stream in a hamlet on the edge of Dartmoor.'
Tat Notes - I wish this was the norm for a studio apartment.