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Forts and follies


February 19, 2004
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As celebs the world over have discovered, there occasionally comes a time when a break from the limelight can be the perfect tonic. Here we've got some great UK getaway suggestions for Tinsel towners and anyone else looking for some private R&R - Landmark Trust properties. These architecturally interesting historic buildings, which are let self-catering holiday homes, have loads of off-the-wall appeal

The Pineapple, Scotland

The most eccentric building in Landmark’s collection started life as a summerhouse for the fourth Earl of Dunmore in Dunmore Park, near Stirling. It was built in the late 1700s when Lord Dunmore returned to Scotland after serving as the Governor of Virginia. The sailors of the time would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce their return home and Lord Dunmore, who loved a joke, decided to carry on the tradition. More than 200 years later the quirky 53-foot stone fruit has lost none of its impact. The folly presides over a huge walled garden that is open to the public but holidaymakers have their own private spot at the back, with steps leading into the elegant room inside the Pineapple.

Must-sees while you’re there: The 14th-century Doune Castle, used by Bonnie Prince Charlie, is well worth a visit. Gleneagles Hotel and the famous golf course are also within easy reach.

Gothic Temple, Buckinghamshire

Stowe in Buckinghamshire boasts more follies than anywhere else in the world and none are more imposing than the Gothic Temple, built in 1741 for Lord Cobham. Anyone who stays here will be able to enjoy fantastic views of the National Trust-owned gardens designed by Capability Brown, and the splendour inside the building is equally awesome. Reached by a spiral staircase, the rooms are circular, with moulded stone pilasters. The main vault is gorgeously painted with heraldry bearing the French inscription: “I thank the gods that I am not aRoman”.

Must-sees while you’re there: Blenheim Palace and Woodstock, the Grand Union Canal and the canal museum at Stoke Bruerne.

Martello Tower, Suffolk

If you are looking for a quirky weekend bolthole to share with a group of friends in one of the most attractive and unspoilt nooks and crannies in the UK, then head for the Martello Tower near Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

It is the largest and most northerly of the collection of 74chunky towers built along the south coast in 1794 to keep out Napoleon. From its stone terrace you can play lord of all you survey – looking out over lush meadows and serene landscapes across the estuary where fishing boats bob at anchor. And if you want to venture out, there are plenty of waterfront pubs and country inns to try – some guests even take their dinghies.

Must-sees while you’re there: Aldeburgh is a gem of a town that attracts visitors from around the world to its annual arts and music festival. The spectacular beaches of the Heritage Coast are perfect for exploring, too.

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Feeling fruity? A week atThe Pineapple in Scotlandis a truly unique experience
The Gothic Temple in Stoweis a treat for garden loversand architecture fans alike
Tower of strength:get away from it all at theMartello Tower near Aldeburgh

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