The National Trust has over 500 heritage properties, from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to many stately homes. These properties dot the countries that make up the UK and can become unique places to visit. Whether you want to walk among the giants or spend the night in a tower befitting Rapunzel, the National Trust offers some pretty unusual tourist destinations. We’ve rounded up five of our favorites below, and you can tell us what some of your favorites are in the comments.
St Catherine’s Oratory, Isle of Wight
Located on St. Catherine’s Hill on the Isle of Wright, this old medieval lighthouse is also known as “The Pepperpot” for its resemblance to a pepper pot. The lighthouse was built after a ship full of wine bound for a monastery ran aground and sailors illegally sold the wine to locals. To avoid excommunication, Walter de Godeton, the lord of the manor, was ordered to build the lighthouse to ensure that it would never happen again. The lighthouse was maintained by the church… at de Godeton’s expense.
Chert and Little Chert, Isle of Wight
You don’t have to look far for our next entry. Chert is a 1970s-style house, and it shows in the exterior details, while Little Chert is the accompanying cabin and its exterior design is very much like a shed. However, both are available to rent from the National Trust, and Chert’s balcony is an absolutely perfect place to look out over the ocean and watch the sunrise or sunset. Chert’s interior is a bit more modern, so if you want to have that ’70s kitsch experience indoors too, check out Little Chert instead.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Doing double duty as a National Trust property and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is unusual for the natural formations found there. The 40,000 interlocking basalt columns were born from an ancient volcanic eruption and stretch for 18 miles along the Antrim coast. The National Trust has several trails to choose from depending on how long you want to walk and what you plan to see. Parking is available for people who buy a ticket to their Visitor Experience, which is definitely worth it too.
The water tower at Trelissick, Cornwall
While the name dates back to its creation as a water tower in the 1860s, this Victorian structure now serves as a guest house for two in Truro, Cornwall. The tower is part of the Trelissick estate and has four levels with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room linked by a spiral staircase. The property itself sits on a peninsula with beautiful views and is not too far from many exciting attractions in Cornwall. It may seem a bit strange, but you will soon realize that it is a perfect place for a romantic getaway.
Strand Lane “Roman” Baths, London
This National Trust property is something of a PT Barnum-style tourist trap. These so-called “Roman baths” are not ancient as their name might lead you to believe, but are actually a cistern built around 1612 to supply water to a foundation at Somerset House. The fountain that supported the springs was eventually torn down, and the neglect and decay into which it fell helped give it a second life beginning in the 19th century. The idea that they once belonged to the original occupying force of London was a marketing gimmick that began around 1830 to attract visitors. This trick is part of what makes the place unusual and worth a visit.