Want to get away for a short weekend break but don't fancy staying in a hotel? Read our guide for advice on the best locations for house rentals as well as the kinds of properties available, whether you want a country pile, a city pad or a bijou nook for two.
Renting large country houses for the weekend
Whether you're planning a to celebrate a major birthday or just get away with friends, renting a large country house allows you to get all your favourite people in one place, so you can socialise together without any logistical hassles. It also means you can afford to stay in some pretty grand properties, from castles to historic Georgian mansions, by splitting the costs between several guests.
Live like a royal in Scotland
If you're looking for a holiday rental fit for royalty then head north to Scotland. The landscape is littered with country piles that look as if they've jumped out of the pages of a fairytale - from turreted castles overlooking pristine lakes to vast Regency manor houses squeezed next to craggy mountains. If you've got a big gang together, you're in luck. Some of them can easily accommodate 20 to 30 people in multiple bedrooms and while they project historic charm on the outside, many come with modern amenities, such as hot tubs, indoor pools and games rooms.
Hole up in the wild landscapes of Wales
Wales' wild romantic landscapes are home to plenty of equally romantic holiday homes and if you can get a big group together you can pretend you're staring in your very own period drama. Elegant Georgian and Edwardian manor houses are a popular choice here, but if you want to get close to some of the best walking trails the country has to offer, then a sprawling farmhouse in Snowdonia National Park would be a good bet, while a Victorian seaside pile will get you close to the best coastal trails. Want a moated castle complete with panelled walls and suits of armour? That's possible too.
Renting party houses for the weekend
Booking a private holiday rental is the perfect solution for a hen party, stag party or major celebration, and many have facilities to help you celebrate in style, from indoor pools and large gardens to dining tables big enough to seat all your friends for a celebratory meal. If you're celebrating an impending wedding, there are plenty of budget options too, so you can save the bulk of your cash for the big day.
Celebrate in elegant Bath
Bath's gracious Georgian terraces are the perfect setting for a house party and there are plenty of holiday homes here to fit the bill. If money's no object you could rent an entire Georgian townhouse in the centre of the city, but there are plenty of lower cost options too, from modern apartments to low-key farmhouses a short distance outside town. Either way you'll have access to the many attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage listed city, not least of which are the local spa baths. Thermae Bath Spa is the country's only natural thermal spa, and the perfect place for a little birthday or pre-wedding pampering.
Stroll the promenade in Nice
There's no need to stay in the UK when you're renting a house for a weekend. The sunny shores of the French Riviera are easy to reach via a short flight, and there's a plethora of party-ready holiday rentals to enjoy. Base yourself here and you could choose from a chic sea-view apartment near the main promenade or a villa rental in the nearby hills. Either way you'll be well placed to enjoy everything this elegant city has to offer, from shopping, dining and bars to hip beach clubs along the city's golden shores.
Renting a house for two for the weekend
House rentals don't have to involve big groups of people. There are plenty of cosy boltholes that are just right for a couple, whether you're in search of a cute seaside cottage or a smart city townhouse.
Rent out a riad in Marrakech
Marrakech is excellent value so it's definitely affordable to rent out a riad, even if it's only for the two of you. Some riads have as few as 1 or 2 bedrooms, so you'll have that candlelit courtyard and romantic roof terrace all to yourself, plus many come with housekeeping staff who can cook you delicious Moroccan meals. And when you venture out into the city there's plenty to explore, from the street food, performers and snake charmers of the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the city's main square, to the bustle of souks in the Medina.
Hide away in a house rental in the Cotswolds
Full of gorgeous honey stone villages and plentiful green hills and forests, the Cotswolds is a great destination for a weekend break for two. As well as being pleasingly picturesque, this quintessentially English region offers plenty to do too, from hitting the countryside walking trails to trawling vintage shops to relaxing in excellent local gastropubs. Petite village houses in popular hotspots like Lower Slaughter and Painswick can be a bit tight for large groups, but if there are only two of you, you'll find that there's plenty of space - and you'll have that roaring fireplace all to yourselves.