About Cool Places

Founded in 2012 by Rough Guides co-founder Martin Dunford in collaboration with the team behind Cool Camping, Cool Places is a unique online guide showcasing the UK's best hotels, B&Bs, pubs, and self-catering accommodation. Along with our best-selling guidebook series, our curated collection of fantastic places to stay attracts a dedicated audience of millions – all looking for great holidays and short breaks in Britain.What is a Cool Place?

Our Story

As the founders of the Rough Guide travel series, we used to spend most of our time trying to get out of the UK. Once upon a time, holiday accommodation in Britain was all about convenience rather than comfort, especially if you were on any kind of budget. Hotels and B&Bs could be bleak and uninspiring, and often run by Basil Fawlty types with little love for guests with children or dogs. Cottages weren’t so much cosy as repositories for their owners’ cast-off furniture, and ‘glamping’ hadn’t even been invented! No wonder we couldn’t wait to leave!

Since those days, however, a quiet revolution has happened. Britain has become packed full of great places to stay, eat and drink, run by passionate people who live and breathe good hospitality. Small, independently owned hotels and B&Bs have sprung up that put the guest experience first; and cottages are now decorated with style and vision by committed owners; and once-terrible old pubs have been rescued and made fit for the 21st century, with boutique rooms and terrific food, drink and service. Even children and dogs are welcome!

What makes a Place Cool?

We seek out places run by people who offer a warm welcome and are passionate about their properties and their regions. Holidaymakers are looking for curated suggestions of places to stay, rather than scrolling through endless options, and Cool Places presents a bespoke selection of accommodation that reflects the very best independent businesses that Britain has to offer, from cosy B&Bs and idyllic cottages to cosy country inns and stylish boutique hotels. What makes a Cool Place?

Each Cool Places entry has a first-hand review, all the practical information you need and links to find out more and book your accommodation. Uniquely, each entry includes links to nearby attractions – local pubs, great walks, the best places to shop, eat and more – making it easy to plan your trip in advance. You can browse by location, type of accommodation or even by theme, so it's ideal if you're looking for a glamping site with hot tubs in Pembrokeshire, but just as useful if you just want to browse and be inspired.

Head here to learn more about what we offer for partners.

Book Direct

For the majority of our featured properties we put you in touch with the owners direct: you pay nothing to us, there are no hidden commissions, and the owners receive 100% of the cost of your stay. We don't promote the identikit chains and multinationals, preferring instead to promote the independent businesses that make the UK so unique.

Only the Best Places

As a curated collection, we are unashamedly choosy in the properties we feature. This ensures we showcase the very best UK accommodation experiences. Cool Places partners also regularly advertise special deals and offers through the website, so you can be sure that you will always be getting the best prices.

More than Accommodation

Above all, Cool Places is a celebration of Britain. With that in mind we include thousands of recommendations of all the other things that make the country so special, helping to tailor your trip with plenty of great suggestions of things to do – from clifftop walks and country houses to cosy pubs and quirky shops, plus, of course, the very best places to eat,from high-end gastropubs to beachfront cafés.

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Promote your Business

Do you have a property that would be a good fit for Cool Places? Head here to learn more about what we offer for partners.

The Cool Places Team

Martin Dunford is one of the co-founders of Rough Guides and was the publisher there for many years. He is the author of many guidebooks and travel features and heads up Cool Places as well as working as a freelance writer and editor, focused much of the time on the UK. His favourite UK spot? The dunes and beach at Winterton Sea on the wild Norfolk coast.

David Jones is the first port of call for all prospective Cool Places partners and loves to spend time on the Essex coast, eating seafood and carrying his young daughter’s bucket and spade.

Laura Evans works with our existing partners to make sure their entry reflects their business. A passionate foodie, she’s never happier than when seeking out fabulous new pubs and restaurants around Britain.

Jane Holly promotes our partners and the Cool Places brand on our social media platforms and also sends out regular newsletters to the Cool Places community. As a wine connoisseur, she loves touring the best English and Welsh vineyards and sampling the latest vintages.

Mark Ellingham founded Rough Guides in 1982, when he wrote the very first guide (to Greece), and ran the series for the next 25 years as Rough Guides became a household name, with guides to more than 150 destinations. He now runs a small press, Sort Of Books, and loves to holiday on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Kenny Grant built the Cool Places website and runs the development team at Cool Places. Originally from Scotland, he loves to tour the hills and glens of his native land with his young family.

Jonathan Knight founded Cool Camping and the Bedful booking system and currently works with Hipcamp UK. His favourite UK activity? Punting down the Thames close to his home in Henley.

Catherine Greenwood counts the pennies and makes sure we keep the bills paid When she’s not doing that she’s exploring the highways and byways of Surrey and around.

Finally these are all the cool people who have had a hand in writing, photographing and editing the Cool Places you are reading about...

Alf Alderson, Lauren Ash, Sarah Baxter, Ros Belford, Kate Bendix, Solange Berchemin, Natasha Blair,Alice Brown, Jules Brown, Kerry Christiani, Chris Coe, Sam Cook, Zoe Dawes, Fergus Day, Laura Dixon, Laura Evans, John Fisher, Stuart Forster, Wendy Gommersall, Lottie Gross, Diana Jarvis, Matthew Hancock, Liz Harper, Lynne Houghton, Nicola Holland, Portia Jones, Pat Kinsella, Phil Lee, Dan Linstead, Kathryn Liston, Norm Longley, Robin McKelvie, Andrea McVeigh, Harriet O'Brien, Helen Ochyra. Beth Pipe, Laura Porter, Donald Reid, Claire Saunders, Sandra Shields, Amy Sheldrake, Hayley Spurway, James Stewart, Caroline Sylger-Jones, Amanda Tomlin, Victoria Trott, Greg Ward, Luke Waterson, Andrew White, Amy Woodland, Amanda Wragg.

As Featured In...

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What Customers say about Cool Places

Everything I needed for a stay

I'm already looking forward to going again and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting the area. It definitely deserves a five star rating!

Nathan, Verified Customer

6 out of 5!!!!

This place was amazing… I could not recommend this place enough, I’ll be singing their praise for many years to come and we are going to book again soon.

Barbara, Verified Customer

Easy to navigate

Great site that offers a really broad range of places to stay across the UK. Easy to navigate and book holidays.

Patrick, Verified Customer

Such a great variety of properties

Found this website when looking to book a staycation for later in the year. Such a great variety of properties and the website is really easy to use. Already shared with my family and friends.

CT, Verified Customer

Great, simple, straightforward

Great, simple and straightforward. I will definitely be using Cool Places again.

SM, Verified Customer