London - Claire Wills takes a tour of windmills around Europe which are now unusual getaways.
Moulin 85, Vendee, France
For much of the last century, Moulin 85 was a working mill, supplying flour to local boulangeries and patisseries. The current owners renovated the disused building, just outside the village of St Cyr des Gats in the Vendee region in France, and Moulin 85 has all the charm you would expect. Explore the four floors, and right at the top, the last flight of wrought-iron stairs leads you to the bedroom, offering beautiful views of the surrounding farmland. From £75 (about R1 300) a night, self-catering; sleeps two.
Santorini Windmills, Santorini, Greece
As the sun sets over the island of Santorini, the pretty little Windmill Villas turn a warm shade of pastel pink and their sails turn gently in the wind. The two Santorini Windmills each have round rooms decorated in pastel colours to reflect their names (the Green and Lilac Windmill and the Blue Windmill). Each sleeps five in two bedrooms, while outside you can take in glorious sea and vineyard views as you relax on the cushioned seating area, or one of the many loungers around the pool. From £210 a night, self-catering; sleeps five.
Cley Windmill, Norfolk
Surrounded by the marshes of Cley-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk, Cley Windmill’s location will score points with nature lovers; one of the country’s best birdwatching spots, Blakeney Nature Reserve, and the River Glaven lie close by.
Built in the early 19th century, the five-storey mill offers B&B in six en-suite rooms. The Wheel Room sits right at the top of the mill; you will need to climb a pretty steep ladder to reach it, but once up there you can enjoy an oak four-poster bed as well as some stunning views. There are also self-catering cottages on site. Doubles from £159 B&B.
De Verrekijer, Gelderland, Netherlands
De Verrekijer is a picture-perfect mill surrounded by the wild meadows and forests of the Gelderland province. Once a working windmill turning locally grown corn, it has been carefully restored; original features have been kept, including large timber beams and pretty arched windows.
Winding staircases will lead you up to the rafters, revealing hidden nooks and crannies and open spaces. From £300 a night, self-catering; sleeps 12.
Llancayo Windmill, Monmouthshire
Inside this windmill you’ll find plenty of space with rooms spread over five floors. At the very top is a cosy snug for your group to gather together in the evening, and at the bottom a spacious kitchen.
There are also six bedrooms, and a spacious living room with a balcony, so you can step outside and take in the views of cornfields and up to the rolling green hills. And on warmer days you can even have a barbecue in the walled garden. From £347 a night, self-catering; sleeps 12.
* Wills is international editor at CoolStays.com, which specialises in unusual properties.