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Isle of Wight: Singing the praises of quirky cottages

Whether you are waking up in the master bedroom, cooking breakfast in the kitchen or relaxing with the newspaper on the sofa,, you're always bathed un light from a two-storey tall stained glass window. This is a holiday cottage like no other.

Livin gin a converted church for a week was an intriguing prospect. The fact that it was on the beautiful Isle of Wight made it perfect.

After all the jokes about who would be preaching the sermon on Sunday, driving up to 1 Church House at Totland Bay was an experience in itself. It really is a big imposing building, and it was a relief to realise we didn't have the whole church, just the front section- so no pulpit.

There are other apartments to the rear which also included the former schoolroom.

However, we did have the huge window as well as the impressive entrance via a stone portico.

In the porch and high up on the facade were the stone panels commemorating the presiding ministers and elders at the inauguration and the dedication to the founders. Either side of the entrance hall were two double bedrooms and en-suite wet rooms, riginally two vestries.

Also on the ground floor was a single, bedroom and a utility room with washing machine, drier and a second fridge.

The middle floor was completely open-plan with excellently equipped kitchen, sitting area and dining area with a large table.

Upstairs was the master bedroom and en-suite, with the bedroom on a gallery floor looking down on the kitchen and sitting area, and that window. When the church was built in the early 1900s, the Arts and Crafts movement was at its most popular and the stained glass in the large window and side windows are beautiful examples of that era.

The conversion is really well done. Despite he voluminous living quarters, 1 Church house was warm and cosy. 

A visit to the Isle of Wight always seems like a bit more of an adventure than a holiday on the mainland. The Wightlink ferry from Portsmouth noses out of the terminal with a view of the masts of HMS Victory and the more sinister streamlined grey superstructures of the Royal Navy;s most modern warships.

Then it is out into the Solent for the short trip across to Fishguard.

Totland is close to Freshwater and just around the corner from The Needles on the far west of the island. Totalnd Bay is a short walk from the cottage and the spectacular Freshwater Bay is a five-minute drive. Yarmouth and its pier (bracing on the March day we ventured to the end) is ten minutes by car.

In truth, nowhere on the island is far and we circumnavigated several times. It was just on the cusp of the new season and not everywhere was open yet, but there was plenty of parking and the island lived up to its reputation as the sunniest part of the UK, most of the time.

If you want to try a few days in a church, you can book via Skykes Cottages, but it's not necessarily the quirkiest cottage that Sykes offers. There are many all over the country that might take your fancy for a holiday with a difference...

Find out more about where you can stay in the Isle of Wight in the June 2017 issue of Choice 

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