Floating luxury comes in the form of the suave Blackbird houseboat, located on a freshwater lake in north Devon. Blackbird started life as a traditional canal boat and has been impressively renovated and repurposed as a couples-only, digital detox haven, surrounded by the tranquil waters of a wildlife-rich lake.
Arrival at the secluded three-acre lake is via a rather corrugated country lane that takes you down to your sleek waterside accommodation.
Its muted, black exterior belies Blackbird’s luxury modern interior and masterful use of space. Chic tones and modern amenities blend seamlessly with cosy throws and a wood-burning fire.
Blackbird is best suited to couples with a healthy budget looking to escape city life and unplug in the countryside. There’s no TV or Wi-Fi onboard, so you’ll be forced to disconnect and unwind with lakeside views and the melodic calls of the abundant birdlife.
Enjoy all the comforts of the open-plan space with bench style corner sofa, ensuite shower, king size bed and kitted out kitchen. As if your very own houseboat was not enough, there’s also a boudoir bathhouse located next to Blackbird, containing the most luxurious William Holland slipper bath. It’s probably one of the most indulgent soaks I’ve ever had.
Amenities are plentiful here and include high-quality cooking equipment, Bluetooth radio player, hairdryer and logs for the fire. It’s the small, elegant touches at Blackbird that make the difference. Waffle robes, Egyptian cotton bedding and high-end toiletries make you feel utterly spoiled.
Probably my favourite boat feature was the decking area, where I could sprawl out and watch the colourful lake sunset with a glass of fizz and a stonking good book.
The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout, so fishing enthusiasts should endeavour to bring their own rod and catch a tasty fish supper.
Given the off-grid nature of Blackbird, there are no nearby dining facilities, so you’ll have to embrace self-catering or eat out in a nearby town or village.
Check-in and check-out are on Fridays or Mondays and there’s a 1-week minimum stay during peak periods and a 3-4-night minimum stay off-peak. Keep in mind that this is an adult-only break, so you’ll need to find someone you calm palm your kids and pets off on, which you spoil yourself on a swanky staycation for two.
From £400 for a four-night stay and sleeps two.
More info: Blackbird
Blackbird is located in the heart of the North Devon countryside and is a short drive from the North Atlantic Coast.
Spend some time in the resort town of Bude, located just 20 minutes away on Cornwall. Here you can enjoy scenic coastal walks, proper pub lunches and boating on the canal.
There’s also plenty of surf schools in the area, should you wish to master the waves whilst on holiday. Check out Big Blue surf school for reasonably priced surf lessons.
Hiking enthusiasts will love exploring the many walks on the nearby moors, of Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin.
TIP: For a memorable summer evening with a twist, take a sunset dip in the Bude sea pool, followed by a seafood dinner at Life’s a Beach Bistro.