In the beginning there was Airbnb. Then came the Airbnb of wedding venues. Recently, Architizer pulled a coup for rental lovers, spotlighting the Landmark Trust's rental program, which might be dubbed the Airbnb of Downton Abbey fans. Though Airbnb has more than a few stupendously cool historical rentals available, the Landmark Trust's offerings are all in the UK and Europe; we're talking sleepy little hamlets, historic castles, and cob houses (cob houses!), each with logbook quotes that put those of stateside rentals to shame. "It has proved to the children that the world does not come to an end when there is no telly," reads one for this Gothic temple, built in 1741 by Scottish architect James Gibbs for a Lord Cobham, which currently sleeps four in Stowe, Buckinghamshire, starting at $864 for four nights. Below, the delicious-sounding proper nouns continue along with the supremely classy vacation spots.
↑Built in 1830 by a Reverend John Richards Clavell, Clavell Tower is a four-story observatory-turned-home that overlooks "one of the most striking bays on the Dorset coast." Relocated away from the eroding cliff's edge in 2006, it's still highly visible on the coastline where it once served "sailors and smugglers who used it as a navigation mark."
The skinny: Sleeps two in Kimmeridge, England starting at $688 for four nights.
↑"Hooray for the Pineapple, prickly and proud" expounds a satisfied customer about The Pineapple, an "elaborate and eccentric summer house" built by Lord Dunmore in the eighteenth century. It presides over an "immense walled garden" open to visitors, with a private garden in back for occupants "with steps leading into the elegant room inside The Pineapple itself."
The upshot: Sleeps four in Dunmore, Scotland starting at $360 for four nights.
↑Once an actual home for pigs, The Pigsty is said to have been inspired by the architecture that one Squire Barry of Fyling Hall had seen when traveling the Mediterranean during the 1880s. Despite its somewhat déclassé origin, the classical facade and view of Robin Hood's Bay ensure that this one "is fit for a higher breed of inhabitant."
The lowdown: Sleeps two in Robin Hood's Bay, England starting at $395 for four nights.
↑ Book the Hill House, which some consider "the domestic masterpiece of the great Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh," and you'll be put up in a converted schoolroom in what is now a museum devoted to its former owner, publisher Walter Blackie. Though Mackintosh was "not particularly successful or lucky in his lifetime," he was commissioned in 1902 to design this estate and most of the furniture in it.
The straight dope: Sleeps six in Helensburgh, Scotland starting at $391 for four nights.
↑What is a so-called Egyptian House doing in the English town of Penzance? Designed by an unknown architect in 1853, the home prized as a "rare and noble survivor of a style that enjoyed a vogue after Napoleon's campaign in Egypt." Now split into three apartments, it used to be the museum and geological repository of one John Lanvin.
The breaks: Sleeps three in Penzance, England starting at $280 for four nights.
↑The Lynch Lodge used to be the front portion of the Chesterton home of poet and playwright John Dryden, which was demolished in 1807. Altered and enlarged in the intervening years, the lodge has been returned to its original form, and now features a small bedroom and a larger living area "both flooded with light from stone mullioned windows and joined by a new staircase."
The essentials: Sleeps two in Alwalton, England starting at $410 for four nights.
↑"Beautiful, unspoilt, like a trip back in time" reads a review in the logbook of the Ford Cottage. "An evening walk down to Duckpool beach to watch the sun set. Perfect," reads another. Aside from inspiring poetic flights of fancy, this cob house boasts quiet living—aside from a stream that "chatters merrily past"—in the sleepy hamlet of Coombe. Inside, there's a "surprisingly high" living-room with a slate floor and a wrought-iron stove.
The kicker: Sleeps four in Coombe, England starting at $437 for four nights.
↑Once the summer residence of the bishop of Padua—where The Taming of the Shrew is set, if you remember your Intro to Shakespeare—the Villa dei Vescovi was designed by Renaissance architect Giovanni Falconetto, with walls covered in frescoes by Flemish artist Lambert Sustris. It was given a top-to-bottom renovation by the Italian Heritage Trust in 2005, which also saw the addition of the two rooftop apartments that are made available to guests.
The deets: Sleeps four in Padua, Italy starting at $1,000 for four nights.
↑The Appleton Water Tower, a "functional building, of the highest provenance" was commissioned in 1871, after Edward, Prince of Wales, fell ill from typhoid and the purity of the water supply at this royal estate in Sandringham came into question. Accommodations are in the former custodian's dwelling on the lower floors, with a cast iron spiral staircase leading to viewing terrace atop the tank.
The what's what: Sleeps four in Sandringham, England starting at $782 for four nights.
· You Could Be Sleeping in This Palladian Villa [Architizer]
· 23 Stupendously Cool Historical Rentals Listed on Airbnb [Curbed National]