Secret Escapes have put together a round-up of their top ten escapes to the Great British countryside, from a couple’s break in the Lake District to a relaxing spa weekend in the Cotswolds for the hens.
1. The Ickworth Hotel: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
The Ickworth Hotel is situated in the grounds of the grand Ickworth stately home, a National Trust property which dates back to the early 1700s and is one of the most unusual and spectacular mansions in the country. The house offers a tranquil and romantic setting for couples’ getaways and an exciting activity-packed time for families. Guests can spend their days exploring the grounds of the hotel on foot or on bikes available at the hotel and have special after hours access to the Italianate gardens.
2. Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel: Near Cirencester, Cotswolds
The Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel blends the modern and luxurious and is set in a wonderland of woodland lakes, rivers, and rolling countryside. Guests can enjoy a three-course meal prepared by award-winning chef, or a relaxing spa treatment. For the real Cotswold experience, Bourton-on-the-Water is close by, where guests can enjoy a picnic by the river, sit outside a charming pub or peruse the old shops and houses made of local Cotswold stone.
3. Eckington Manor: Eckington, Worcestershire
Located in the peacefully rural Eckington, a 25-minute drive from Worcester, the five-star Eckington Manor sits within 260 acres of scenic grounds. A quintessentially English affair with locally sourced cuisine and views of rolling hills, this luxuriously renovated manor house also offers a wide range of cookery lessons and was awarded Gold standard by the British Tourism Authority and also received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014.
4. Askham Hall: Near Penrith, Cumbria
Cumbria’s Askham Hall features Grade II-listed gardens, colourful terraces, woodland, meadows, ponds and stunning views of River Lowther. The 13th-century stately home has an award-winning restaurant and the Garden Spa with its outdoor pool.
5. Falcondale Hotel: Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales
The four star 19th century Italianate-style country house sits in a forested valley in the foothills of Mid-Wales’ Cambrian Mountains. Recommended by Condé Naste Johansens and The Good Hotel Guide, this elegant sanctuary – with its two AA Rosette-awarded restaurant and regal views of the Teifi Valley – is the perfect base from which to explore the luscious countryside of Ceredigion and nearby Pembrokeshire. Just 15 minutes from Cardigan Bay, the hotel also became a finalist as the best restaurant to eat in Wales in the country’s 2013 National Tourism Awards.
6. De Vere Oulton Hall Hotel: Leeds, West Yorkshire
De Vere Oulton Hall sits within its own 300-hectare estate, featuring sweeping entrance, high ceilings lit by glass chandeliers, marble floors, landscaped gardens and one of the finest golf facilities in the country. The dining is AA Rosette awarded and presents a range of dignified spaces, from the gourmet restaurant’s dining room to the champagne bar and the swanky drawing-room. Hide away for the day at the spa and indulge in an Espa spa treatment or take a round on the 27-hole golf complex with its own Nike Golf Academy, a practice range and a spectacular setting.
The Old Manor house is a Grade II listed hotel on the outskirts of Bath. Originally built-in classic Queen Anne style before getting an upgrade in the 17th century, the hotel has been carefully restored to its former glory with fresh white walls and original wooden beams decked out with antiques and artwork. The fully planted kitchen garden grows herbs and vegetables for the hotels much-lauded The Milk Parlour Restaurant and there’re plenty of cosy spaces to curl up and relax in throughout the winter months.
8. Lakeside Park Hotel & Spa with ferry: Ryde, Isle of Wight
A peaceful sanctuary, The Lakeside Hotel is based in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wootton on the Isle of Wight. The four-star hotel is perched on the edge of a 20-acre tidal lake and among 17 acres of countryside with green banks, rolling hills and beautiful views. The hotel is one of the most stylish on the Isle of Wight and has impressive facilities, including an indoor heated swimming pool, a 10-metre hydro pool, sauna and steam room.
9. The Priest House Hotel: Castle Donington, Derbyshire
The Priest House Hotel is set among some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful scenery on the banks of the River Trent, around the site of a romantic Norman mill dating back to the 1086 Domesday Book. This is the perfect four-star base for venturing into the Peak District, Derby, Nottingham and Alton Towers. The Priest House Hotel is a chance for you to escape the urban chaos and relax in rural England, boutique-style. Fine dining can be enjoyed at the sophisticated two AA Rosette-awarded dining room, and the brassiere serves up a more informal menu of British classics.
10. Hebasca: Bude, Cornwall
Hebasca, a stylish and luxurious spot in the Cornish town of Bude, has recently reopened after a multi-million pound refurbishment. It is furnished throughout in a modern style and is just a few minutes’ walk from some of the best beaches and coastal paths in the country. Guests can start their day with a choice of full English, Stateside or continental breakfast before setting out for a walk on one of the award-winning beaches, or playing a round of golf on the famous Bude and North Cornwall golf course.