Summer holidays this year will be spent in the UK and that’s no bad thing.
But where to go? From country piles serving farm-to-fork fare to coastal boutiques with Instagrammable interiors, this green and pleasant land is not lacking in excellent places in which to break off the shackles of lockdown (when we’re eventually released).
City slickers should check out our top picks for the best hotels in London here, the rest of you, read on...
The Rose, Deal
A Deal landmark for over 200 years, since its May 2018 re-opening The Rose has single-handedly placed this Kent town on the map for in-the-know staycationers. The eight individually designed rooms are perfect Instagram fodder – freestanding tubs painted a watermelon shade of pink, furniture swathed in velvet, bright orange headboards offset by creamy mint green walls, and en vogue rattan fixtures. Breakfast is complimentary, the Scandi plate will satisfy you well into the afternoon, and it’s best to stay in-house for dinner too – the menu changes seasonally using only the best local produce.
Rooms from £100 per night, therosedeal.com
The Newt, Somerset
The Newt in Somerset offers a bit of everything: a world-class spa, sumptuous rooms, exclusive gardens, and you don’t have to brace the M25 to get there - it’s only an hour and a half by train from London Paddington. Housed in a Georgian limestone building, the rooms are spacious, painted in deep teals and creamy white. Deep soak tubs are the centrepiece of most ensuites and furniture is swathed in warm velvets. The garden-scented spa is a destination in itself, visit for the indoor-outdoor pool, a couple’s mud treatment or a washdown in the hamman. When night falls, venture to the hotel’s garden-to-table restaurant, The Botanical Rooms for some superb local fare.
Rooms from £255 per night, thenewtinsomerset.com
The Rectory Hotel, Cotswolds
Just over two hours from London, neatly perched between Malmesbury and Cirencester in the ever-delightful Cotswolds, The Rectory is the perfect antidote to the usual country pile. With just 18 rooms (15 in the main house and a three-bedroom cottage on site), each is minimalistic – expect forest green fixtures, four-poster beds, design-led furnishings and cloud-like king-size beds. Food is served in the light-filled glasshouse (the afternoon tea is a particular highlight), and you’ll be tempted to traipse across the road to the hotel’s sister pub, The Potting Shed, for a Sunday roast.
Rooms from £130 per night, therectoryhotel.com
The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
Continuing its south of England domination, The Pig at Bridge Place opened to much fanfare in 2019 – and it’s certainly lived up to the hype. Bridge Place is a seventeenth century manor that became notorious in the 60s and 70s for hosting parties where Led Zeppelin and The Kinks would headline. Now a member of Robin and Judy Hutson's Pig hotel group, it was refurbished in 2018 and boasts 31 rooms painted in deep Farrow & Ball shades, walls dotted with antiquated artwork and a plenty of free-standing tubs. As with the other Pig hotels, food here is king – everything is sourced within a 25-mile radius which luckily includes Whitstable oysters, Kentish wine and Romney Marsh lamb. The latest Pig, Harlyn Bay in Cornwall, is perfect for a Cornish staycation.
Rooms from £109 per night, thepighotel.com
Nestled in the Cotswold village of Southrop, Thyme rightly describes itself as ‘a village within a village’. Besides the hotel in the main manor house, guests will discover an on-site restaurant, bar and village pub, a luxury spa, both a cookery and florist school and a kitchen garden set among 150-acres of rolling farmland. Thyme is quintessentially British, each individually-designed room has its own character with a rustic edge and the Ox Barn restaurant serves dishes with home-grown vegetables, herbs and eggs.
Rooms from £355 per night, thyme.co.uk
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford
Walking along a cobblestone path, past fragrant lavender bushes to Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a fifteenth-century manor in Oxfordshire, is a scene that seems to be plucked from a storybook. Yet, Raymond Blanc’s honey-hued country pile, just off the M40, is a touch of Provence in the British countryside. Famed for its food (it’s the only British restaurant to have held two Michelin stars for more than three decades), the seven-course tasting menu made largely from the hotel’s own garden produce is a must as is one of the on-site cookery classes. Rooms are preened to perfection, too. Each is more decadent than the last and has its own unique colour scheme.
Rooms from £595 per night, belmond.com
University Arms Hotel, Cambridge
The arrival of Autograph Collection’s University Arms Hotel in 2018 saw Cambridge transition from a perfectly wonderful day trip destination to a lush option for a weekend break. Those visiting the city, looking to explore its sixteenth century cottages, romantic streets and take a punt along the famous River Cam, can arrive in just 50 minutes from central London. Situated in the middle of Cambridge, the sleek University Arms features mahogany walls, bespoke literary-centric wallpaper and suites named after men and women with a connection to Cambridge. Bikes in the hotel’s signature turquoise hue are available to borrow during your stay, and the team can also pack you a picnic to help you make a day of it. Once you return, head to Parker’s Tavern, the in-house brasserie serving a modern twist on British classics.
Rooms from £205 per night, universityarms.com
The Scarlet, Cornwall
An eco-hotel just for adults, The Scarlet is a luxury escape on the North Cornish Coast with views over Mawgan Porth Beach. Floor-to-ceiling windows help soak up the magnificent scenery, as does bathing in one of the clifftop hot tubs while listening to the sounds of the rolling waves. The spa here is its star attraction, the indoor pool offers the views when the weather is a bit too nippy outside, but on a warm summer’s day try the outdoor pool naturally filtered by reeds – the barrel cedar sauna is close by for when you need warming up.
Rooms from £330 per night, scarlethotel.co.uk
Hell Bay Hotel, Isles of Scilly
One of the UK’s best-kept secrets is the Isles of Scilly, a subtropical haven just off the coast of Cornwall. The five islands are accessible by a short plane ride from Exeter or a ferry ride from Penzance, and you’ll be met with stretches of golden beaches, crystalline waters and fantastic local fare. Hell Bay Hotel is located on the least inhabited island of Bryher, where the circumference is easily walked in under two hours. Rooms here are cosy, with touches of powder blue and the views of the sea. Don’t miss a chance to dine at The Crab Shack, serving the freshest seafood on the isles with just three simple dishes: Bryher crab, mussels and scallops.
Rooms from £135 per night, hellbay.co.uk
Grantley Hall, Yorkshire
After undergoing a £70 million refurb, Grantley Hall re-opened in July 2019 as part of the exceedingly luxury Relais & Châteaux family. Now, the five-star Yorkshire-based residence boasts 47 rooms, including 21 suites, a Grade II-listed Japanese garden and a sumptuous spa, including an 18-metre indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool and outdoor cedar hot tub. The rooms are fitted with deep-soak Victoria + Albert tubs, furniture you can sink into and robe and pillow menus for bespoke comfort. If your budget can stretch, the presidential suite comes with a baby grand piano and its own marble-clad bar. Dinner is fine dining, with seven courses inspired by head chef Shaun Rankin’s Yorkshire childhood. After, feeling delightfully satiated, stop by champagne bar Valeria’s for a touch of old-world glamour.
Rooms from £275 per night, grantleyhall.co.uk
Cliveden House, Berkshire
You’ve probably heard of Cliveden House before – it’s where John Profumo infamously met Christine Keeler and kicked off the Profumo scandal that brought down the government in 1961. Over six decades later, it was also where Meghan Markle spent the night before she married Prince Harry in 2018. While Cliveden House isn’t lacking in history – and it’s still a haunt for celebs and politicos - it’s now known to Londoners for its opulent spa. Hidden behind the brick-walled garden, naturally scented with roses and lavender, the spa boasts an indoor and outdoor pool, infrared sauna, infused steam room and two outdoor hot tubs. Make a weekend of it by booking into one of the 47 palatial rooms (including 15 suites and a three-bedroom cottage on the banks of the River Thames) – we recommend one of the three that come with a private hot tub.
Rooms from £334 per night, clivedenhouse.co.uk
Hampton Manor, Hampton in Arden
Just over an hour by train from London, Hampton Manor is incredibly easy to get to and makes for a decadent escape. Complete with a Michelin starred restaurant (book the chef’s table at Peel’s restaurant if you can), Hampton Manor is surrounded by 45 acres of gardens and woodland. The manor itself has been lovingly restored and is now home to 15 bespoke bedrooms - fitted with velvet furnishings, patterned wallpaper and plenty of cosy nooks - as well as a standalone cottage, perfect for your summertime gathering.
Rooms from £190 per night, hamptonmanor.com
Artist Residence Brighton, Brighton
When Artist Residence opened its first outpost in Brighton in 2008, it completely changed the seaside town’s hotel scene. The brainchild of Justin and Charlie Salisbury, it became the first of one of the UK’s most beloved boutique hotel groups, which now stretch to London, Oxfordshire, Penzance and the Bristol outpost will be opening in time for summer. A five-minute walk from the Lanes and the pier, Artist Residence Brighton was originally decorated by artists, who coloured the walls in return for accommodation. Copper-clad deep-soak tubs can be found in the rooms, with exposed brick walls and painted in deep teal hues. Downstairs, The Set is Michelin Bib Gourmand recognised, serving a seasonal British menu made with local produce.
Rooms from £79 per night, artistresidence.co.uk
At The Chapel, Somerset
The Somerset market town of Bruton is having a moment. A new rail service from London’s Paddington means you can be there in just over two hours, and At The Chapel offers some of the most stylish rooms in town. As the name suggests, a restaurant, rooms, bakery, terrace and clubroom are all housed within a renovated Grade II-listed chapel. Dating back to the eighteenth century, a seat at the in-house restaurant, serving West Country produce to bring a Mediterranean flair to British food, is the hottest ticket in town. Each of the eight rooms are individually designed and minimalistic with dark-stained hardwood floors, exposed timber beams, marble-clad bathrooms and eggshell tubs. We’ll race you there.
Rooms from £125 per night, atthechapel.co.uk
Beaverbrook Hotel & Spa, Surrey
Once the home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook, the namesake hotel is set in 400 acres of the sprawling Surrey Hills. When it reopened in 2017 after a £90 million renovation, Beaverbrook changed the game for country house hotels with a transformation overseen by designer Susie Atkinson (Soho House, Lime Wood, Babington House). The 29 rooms are divided between the main house, the Garden House and the Coach House and include two suites: Elizabeth Taylor and Joe and Rose Kennedy, each named and decorated after its former inhabitants. Guests are met with a medley of old and new, period features sit beside velvet armchairs and sofas, bespoke wallpaper lines the walls and Bamford toiletries can be found in the ensuites. Sir Frank’s bar is an Art Deco wonder, and dinner in the light-filled Garden House Restaurant or contemporary Japanese Grill is a must. The scene stealer, however, is the hotel’s Coach House Spa. It opened in January 2019 and was designed by renowned glass artist Brian Clarke, boasting six treatment rooms, a hammam, steam room, sauna and both indoor and outdoor pools.
Rooms from £280 per night, beaverbrook.co.uk
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Lake District
A weekend in the Lake District should be at the top of any UK bucket list, the rolling hills and glistening lakes is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery. Since it opened a decade ago, the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House has been a firm favourite of versed locals. Consisting of a main hotel, spa lodges and separate lake house, there’s something here for every weekender. The spa lodges are a particular highlight as you’re met with kingsize beds and a crackling fire, a private hydrotherapy hot tub, sauna, rainmaker shower, a steam room as well as an eggshell tub. Spa treatments can be taken at the Lake House or in-room, and the two on-site restaurants include the Michelin starred HRiSHi, Hrishikesh Desai, serving modern British fare, and the Gilpin Spice with tapas-style pan-Asian dishes.
Rooms from £225 per night, thegilpin.co.uk
Padstow Townhouse, Cornwall
Nestled on a quiet street in the old town of Cornwall’s Padstow, Paul Ainsworth’s eighteenth century townhouse is one of the UK’s best foodie getaways. After launching his namesake restaurant in the Cornish town in 2006, he acquired a Georgian townhouse in 2015 just a short stroll away, transforming it into a six-room boutique bolthole. Rooms here (Popcorn, Marshmallow, Bon Bon, Toffee Apple, Honeycomb and Rhubarb & Custard) are named after Ainsworth’s famed ‘taste of the fairground’ dessert, each individually decorated to reflect the chosen ingredient (Toffee Apple, for example, includes a handmade double oak and copper bath tub, the colour of rich caramel). The Kitchen Pantry downstairs is stocked with homemade cakes and cheese boards, and breakfast is served at Ainsworth’s nearby Caffè Rojano, serving everything from a morning trifle to a full Cornish breakfast.
Rooms from £252 per night, paul-ainsworth.co.uk/padstow-townhouse
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
After its opening in summer 2018, Heckfield Place saw a swarm of bookings from the style set – everyone from Derek Blasberg to Liv Tyler took up residence, and it’s rumoured to be where Prince Harry took Meghan Markle for their babymoon before Archie was born in 2019. Londoners looking to mimic the life of its famous clientele can be door-to-door in an hour and a half, dining at the Skye Gyngell (Petersham Nurseries, Spring) directed restaurant by 8pm on a Friday evening, if the M4 plays nicely. The 45 rooms, including six suites, split across the main house and the grounds are each beautifully decorated, in-room bookcases are stocked with classics (Jane Austen lived just up the road) and handmade ceramic bedside lamps sit atop Georgian timber bedside tables. Beauty disciples will worship at Little Bothy’s altar, the spa overlooks the hotel’s walled gardens and uses all-natural products from the hotel’s own skincare range.
Rooms from £300 per night, heckfieldplace.com
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham
As far as country house hotels go, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa ticks every box. Just over an hour from London by train, it houses a Michelin-starred restaurant, an award-winning ESPA spa and wellness centre, a gym, equestrian centre and cookery school all plonked amid 500 acres of walking trails. Each of the 43 bedrooms (including 13 suites and two cottages) are individually styled, four poster beds are a common appearance as are in-room wood burners and free-standing tubs in the marble-lined ensuites. The spa here is what sets it apart from other luxury country piles, it's dotted with five thermal cabins (including an Amethyst room and Japanese Salt room), a salt water plunge pool and both indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools. In short: it will be hard to leave.
Rooms from £295 per night, lucknampark.co.uk
Number One Bruton, Somerset
Just across the road from At The Chapel (mentioned above) the artistic town of Bruton continues to give and give with Number One Bruton. Here, 12 bedrooms are housed in Georgian townhouse, adjoining cottages and a forge with mediaeval origins (the latter opening in April). A rich colour palette decorates the walls, and aged elm flooring, sourced antiques and opulent furnishings in the rooms were inspired by the hotel’s Georgian heritage. Downstairs, in the old ironmonger’s shop, guests will discover Osip – a tiny farm-to-table restaurant serving the best of Somerset produce for breakfast, lunch and supper.
Rooms from £130 per night, numberonebruton.com
Another Place, Lake District
When Another Place, The Lake opened its doors in Ullswater in 2017, it injected some much-needed freshness into the Lake District. The hotel is from the same team as Cornwall’s beloved Watergate Bay hotel and Another Place lies within 18 acres of national park and offers views directly across the lake (best seen from its pool’s floor-to-ceiling windows). The 40 rooms include six suites, and range from romantic havens for couples to sprawling suites for families. With the lake on your doorstep, wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are all encouraged, before retreating back to the hotel’s Rampsbeck Restaurant, offering a three-course seasonal menu.
Rooms from £160 per night, another.place
Babington House, Somerset
A 25-minute drive from place-to-see-and-be-seen Bruton, and 10 minutes from Frome, Babington opened in 1998 to become the first rural outpost for the famed London-based member’s club, Soho House. Part-country house hotel, part-member’s club, rooms at Babington House are satisfying large, walls draped in bold hues or eclectic prints, crushed velvet sofas and ‘grammable ensuites. Like any good Soho outpost, a Cowshed Spa can be found in the walled garden, while the in-house restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired British fare, using produce from the garden.
Rooms from £280 per night, babingtonhouse.co.uk
The Grove, Hertfordshire
For time-poor Londoners, a weekend at The Grove is a no-brainer - it’s just 14 minutes from London’s Euston yet feels a world away. Set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, the rooms here are elegant, the food mouth-watering, but it’s the award-winning Sequoia spa that is the must-visit. Spa days begin with a sauna and rain shower in the heat experience rooms before settling into your luxury treatment and lunch/afternoon tea/supper depending on which package you choose. Follow this with a walk through the on-site woodland and you’ll return to the capital refreshed and recharged.
Rooms from £305 per night, thegrove.co.uk
Lime Wood, New Forest
With a pastel yellow façade, you’ll know you’ve stumbled on something special as soon as you roll up to Lime Wood. The New Forest haven offers 32 sumptuously decorated rooms (including 14 suites and two Forest Cottages), filled with Bamford toiletries, plush king-sized beds and free-standing tubs. The calming three-level Herb House Spa is one of our favourite country spas, and features a sauna and indoor Hydro pool looking to the forest, a Mud House, steaming outdoor hot pool and lap pool near the gym. When you’ve found nirvana, head to Hartnett Holder & Co for locally-sourced Italian dishes or a snack in the spa’s food bar, Raw & Cured.
Rooms from £330 per night, limewoodhotel.co.uk
Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire
Soho House’s country pile opened to much fanfare in the summer of 2015, when it quickly became a celeb favourite - Meghan Markle even reportedly spent a weekend there for her ‘hen do’ before she married Prince Harry in 2018. Set in 100 acres of sprawling countryside, it’s one of the coolest offerings in the Cotswolds. Here, guests discover 40 spacious cabins (alongside a three-bedroom cottage and seven-bedroom farmhouse), ranging from cosy to roomy, each charmingly rustic, with bathrooms loaded with Cowshed products to compliment the brand’s on-site spa. When hunger kicks in, the five eateries, including Sunday roast favourite The Little Bell and Japanese grill restaurant, Pen Yen, will satisfy any cravings.
Rooms from £350 per night, sohofarmhouse.com
The Malabar, Cumbria
Once a Grade II-listed cattle barn, The Malabar is one of the Yorkshire Dales’ finest offerings. Just 20 minutes from the M6, in the market town of Sedbergh, The Malabar comprises of just six rooms including three suites. A stay here starts with complimentary tea and scones or a cheeky tipple in the garden, before retreating to one of the luxe rooms fitted with pure wool bedding, freestanding baths and Bath House toiletries. Breakfast is hearty, Cumbrian-style with homemade bread and local preserves. Dinner is served in-house during weeknights, with a choice between a three-course British menu or Indian-style meal, and on weekends guests are encouraged to venture to one of two nearby pubs just down the road.
Rooms from £130 per night, themalabar.co.uk
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath
A literary lover’s haven, Bath is an easy 90 minutes on the train from central London. It’s worth a visit just to stay in the city’s most iconic hotel: The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. A Bath institution, it sits smack bang in the middle of the Georgian Royal Crescent, boasting an award-winning spa alongside a favourite afternoon tea spot for locals. Each of the 45 rooms and suites are individually decorated, with soft palettes and views out to the Crescent lawn or the private walled gardens. Dinner at the Dower House restaurant champions Somerset’s best produce - we recommend indulging in the six-course menu with paired wines.
Rooms from £330 per night, royalcrescent.co.uk
Gara Rock, Devon
A true hidden gem on the dramatic Devonshire coast, Gara Rock is a long-harboured secret by those in the know. Salcombe is a 40-minute walk away, but you’ll be too enamoured by the crashing waves and fresh coastal air to stray far. Inside, rooms take inspiration from the sea, with a moody grey/green/blue palette, washed wooden panels and nautical fixtures like the fishing ropes hanging from the ceiling. Ocean views are a given, and when you’re feeling peckish, the restaurant serves a sustainable and seasonal menu with food sourced from its own kitchen garden, nearby farms and local fishermen.
Rooms from £270 per night, gararock.com
Brownber Hall, Yorkshire
Sandwiched between the Lake District and the Pennines, Brownber Hall is nestled near the beautiful and unspoilt Howgill Fells. A walker’s haven, owner’s Amanda and Peter have transformed this 1860 country house into an achingly hip bolthole. Amanda and chef Amy were both trained at Leith’s, making this a true foodie escape where authentic pizza and pasta is served as night falls. Common areas are clad in original William Morris Wallpaper, and the eight rooms are minimalist-meet-bohemia cool.
Rooms from £90 per night but will only be available for private rental initially from August 1, brownberhall.co.uk
Dormy House, Cotswolds
A Cotswold institution, Dormy House is perched above the honey-hued village of Broadway on the privately owned Farncombe Estate. A converted seventeenth century farmhouse, its 38 rooms includes 10 suites and hot tub suites which are delightfully decorated, some with high ceilings and others, like the Rose Cottage, with fabulously floral decor. The spa oozes elegance with its sleek infinity pool and a thermal suite complete with a salt steam room. When hunger strikes, The Potting Shed is designed for long, lazy lunches and The Back Garden is three courses of seasonal fare. If you’re feeling extra-flush, MO is an interactive eight-course tasting-menu designed to accommodate just 12 guests at a time. When at Dormy, eh?
Rooms from £269 per night, dormyhouse.co.uk
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
On the fringe of New Forest lies Chewton Glen, a quintessentially English country house hotel and spa. Just two hours from London, the USP here is its 14 romantic treehouse suites suspended 35 feet off the ground. Sunsets can be watched from your own private hot tub on the terrace deck and a breakfast hamper is delivered come sunrise. The main house boasts a further 58 rooms, each exuding luxury and the revamped spa is opening at the end of March - set to draw in a whole new crowd of eager weekenders.
Rooms from £285 per night, chewtonglen.com