Best for... Close to home – St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
Living in a castle on your own island might seem like a fairytale but for Mary and James St Aubyn it’s very much a reality. Perched on a granite outcrop, their majestic home has been passed down through generations since the 17th century but today the family is happy to share its magic with the public.
Linked to the West Cornish seaside town of Marazion, the Mount can be easily reached by a causeway at low tide. Visit in spring now the island has reopened after a winter break, and the sandy beaches of Marazion are still free from buckets and spades.
Explore the castle and surrounding village, or view the island from an altogether different perspective – by boat. Marazion Gig Club take guests out on traditional Cornish gigs (six-oared rowing boats), paddling through waters where dolphins have been known to swim.
On land, forager Rachel Lambert takes tours along the coast, helping visitors identify rosehips (packed with vitamin C) and tender sea spinach (naturally salted by the ocean breeze). Make your base the Godolphin Arms, a friendly pub hotel on the mainland with sweeping sea views.
Best for... Sun, sun, sun – Marti Hemithea, Turkey
Peaceful and secluded, with everything you could possibly need for a relaxing and rejuvenating break, it feels like time is standing still at this five-star boutique hotel overlooking a marina.
Set on the Turkish coast, where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean Gulf of Hisaronu, the property sits at the foot of lush green, tree-covered slopes.
A million miles from the bland, modern monoliths in neighbouring tourist resorts, Marti Hemithea pays homage to its Turkish heritage.
Guest rooms incorporate styles adopted from ancient civilisations (mosaic flooring, a spacious hammam shower and stone-style ornaments), while dark wood, and a colour scheme of turquoise and sandy tones suggests earth, sea and sky.
Aegean buffet breakfasts – comprising local cheeses, traditional Turkish breads, and fresh honey harvested from local hives – are light and refreshing.
At dinner, seafood specialities dominate with highlights including octopus carpaccio, and sea bass baked in a salt crust.
Best for... A gourmet adventure – Chateau Les Carrasses, France
Forget the stove and wobbly table, Chateau Les Carrasses isn’t what you expect when it comes to self-catering accommodation.
A collection of 19th century buildings that have been painstakingly restored, it’s a mini estate of luxury suites and villas with a sun-soaked vineyard for a back garden.
Situated in the Languedoc region of the South of France, wine is the main attraction at this boutique chateau.
Visit local wineries, discover the harvesting, bottling and blending process, or sup on Chateau Les Carrasses’ own wine selection in the cosy salon.
For foodies, there are cheese tours, olive picking and even oyster fishing activities on offer. Visit the Narbonne market where you can revel in the fragrances and tastes of fromageries and boucheries or buy dinner fresh from the stalls to prepare in your pied a terre.