Beat mid winter blues by booking yourself some rural respite.

Why bother with trips to far-flung destinations when there are excellent country-house hotels dotted all over the land? Set in beautifully decorated old houses, amid open skies and rolling fields, the UK’s country hotels are more comfortable and restorative than they have ever been. But be sure to plan well ahead – the goodies go fast. Here are some of our favourites.

The Rectory




At this blissful Cotswold bolthole, the WIFI password is “goforawalkinstead”. As you’d expect, the the walks from its doorstep are marvellous. Inside, think dark paint colours, overstuffed sofas, Roberts radios piping classical music and moreish cocktails in the elegant bar. Tatler says: ‘If the Grade II-listed Rectory in Wiltshire is anything to go by, it’s no wonder Anthony Trollope’s clergymen fought so viciously to be given a plum parish. Now a hotel, it more than hits the sweet spot for a country idyll. Its secret? It doesn’t try too hard.’ Book it here.


The Pig




This stylish hotel group brought to our attention the exquisite but laid-back detail we now require of every hotel. The Telegraph says: ‘The original Pig hotel has been a huge hit since opening its doors in 2011 and spawned a litter of sister properties. Its design, charm and menu remain on-point, from cosy lounges and rooms to the rainbow assortment of veg to admire in the kitchen garden – and later on your plate in the glass-encased restaurant.’ Book it here.


Lime Wood




Five-star luxury rarely looks this good. The decoration, food, spa and grounds are truly to die for. The Times says: ‘Since this former medieval hunting lodge opened as a hotel in 2009, it’s become the grand dame of the New Forest: a handsome country retreat with farm-to-fork food that’s as polished as its sumptuous interiors.’ Book it here.


Thyme




A family business a stone’s throw from Kate Moss’s country pad, this restored Cotswold manor and farm is just beautiful. Caryn Hibbert presides over it all, with the help of her son Charlie and daughter Camilla. On offer are 31 bedrooms across its houses and cottages, a restaurant, bar, pub, cookery school, spa and exhibition space – as well as an extraordinary sense of wellbeing that begins the moment you arrive. The Times says: ‘Food, floristry and fire pits make this estate a romantic escape for adults.’ Book it here.


The Beaverbrook




Blissfully near London, this country-house estate gets it just right. There’s even a Sharky & George Kids Club. Need we say more? Harper’s Bazaar says: ‘Nestled in the Surrey Hills, this heritage country house ticks all the staycation boxes.’ Book it here.


Heckfield Place




This lovingly restored Georgian family home, which lies in 430 acres of Hampshire countryside, has won countless awards since it opened in 2018. The décor – by British designer Ben Thompson – is utter perfection. A new spa set in the old walled garden opens any minute. Conde Nast Traveller says: ‘Holing up for a UK weekend break used to mean leaky taps and curling wallpaper. But the landscape has changed. Is Heckfield Place the most exciting country-house hotel to have opened in the past 21 years?’ Book it here.


The Newt




More Georgian elegance is on the menu here, made perfect for 21st century living. Inside? Supreme comfort. Outside? A working farm of acres of gardens, woodland, farmland and cyder orchards. The Telegraph says: ‘The Newt is one of the most exceptional country-house hotels Britain has seen. It was in the making for six years, both gardens and hotel opening with admirably little fanfare since the owners, South African Koos Bekker and his wife Karen Roos, prefer to share their creation rather than boast about it.’ Book it here.


Cliveden House




Steeped in history and glamorous scandal, Cliveden House was the place where Jack Profumo met Christine Keeler, which led to an affair that changed the course of British politics. Put all of that behind you and prepare to be seriously spoiled. The Telegraph says: ‘There are country-house hotels – and then there’s Cliveden. This National Trust property, dating back to the late 17th century and set among 376 verdant acres on the banks of the Thames in Berkshire, is truly something special.’ Book it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
January 2022

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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