This north Essex holiday home has been named quirkiest in the UK

James Waters and his father converted this 1880s railway carriage into a comfortable holiday let in Greenstead Green, Essex

James Waters and his father converted this 1880s railway carriage into a comfortable holiday let - Credit: Vintage Spirit

A converted 19th-century railway carriage in north Essex has been named the quirkiest holiday let in the UK.

The Carriage, a converted 1880s passenger coach, scooped a £500 prize for winning the best quirky holiday let category in a competition organised by Sykes Holiday Cottages. 

Owner James Waters, an environmental manager and antiques dealer from Essex, originally bought the carriage in 2016 after seeing it storing car parts in a garden. 

The carriage still sits upon a bit of railway line at Greenstead Green in Essex

The carriage still sits upon a bit of railway line - Credit: Sykes Holiday Cottages’

The carriage, which is a 12-door model, was originally used as a second class passenger coach by Great Eastern Railways.  

He transported it home to the village of Greenstead Green, near Halstead, using a crane and lorry and enlisted the help of local tradespeople to bring the carriage into the 21st-century, completing the work during lockdown. 

Many of the original features have been maintained, including the wheels, and the carriage has been placed on railway tracks. Other luxury elements have also been introduced to keep guests comfortable. 

A 20th-century freight car has been added to expand on the space available in the former passenger coach. 

Inside you can expect all the mod-cons, including heating, air conditioning, and 4g signal

Inside you can expect all the mod-cons, including heating, air conditioning, and 4g signal - Credit: Sykes Holiday Cottages'

James Waters, owner of The Carriage at High Barn Heritage, said: “Renovating The Carriage was a real passion project for my father and I last year.

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"Since opening we’ve constantly received great feedback from our visitors, but an award like this really does mean a lot.

“The process was challenging at times, but it has all been completely worth it to meet guests from across the UK enjoying this special property.

"From train enthusiasts to couples looking for something unique, I love getting to know those who come to stay and the whole experience has been really rewarding.”

The master bedroom at the carriage in Greenstead Green Essex offers lots of natural light

The master bedroom offers lots of natural light - Credit: Sykes Holiday Cottages'

Graham Donoghue, chief executive at Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “These awards don’t just showcase the very best of Britain’s holiday lets, they also highlight the hard work that goes into holiday letting across the UK to make Britain’s staycation market the success it is today.

“The Carriage at High Barn Heritage was certainly a worthy winner of our most quirky prize. It beat off tough competition but it is clear to see that this holiday let is nothing short of first class accommodation."

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