Five of the best historic hotels in England

From grandiose Georgian estates to charming country inns, England boasts an encyclopedic index of historic hotels brimming with centuries-old appeal. Fancy taking a peek into the lavish lifestyles of a bygone era? Here’s our pick of the most stately stays you need to have on your radar.

Image: De Vere Tortworth Court, Cotswolds

De Vere Tortworth Court, Cotswolds

Immerse yourself in Grade II-listed glamour at De Vere Tortworth Court, a Tudor-style retreat in the heart of the scene-stealing Cotswolds countryside. Designed by renowned Gothic Revival architect, Samuel Sanders Teulon in the mid 19th-century, this romantic retreat is set amongst 30 acres of sweeping landscaped gardens with its own blooming arboretum that’s sure to appeal to green-fingered guests. With rooms fit for royalty, a stylish spa showcasing a menu of sumptuous treatments and an atmospheric dining space providing a lovely spot for lengthy afternoon teas, you’ll feel as though you’ve landed onto the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

Image: Country Living St. George Hotel, Harrogate

Country Living St. George Hotel, Harrogate

If you like your period features with a dash of pizzazz, this easy-on-the-eye Edwardian property is the place for you. Nestled deep in the heart of idyllic North Yorkshire, in the upscale spa town of Harrogate, you’d be forgiven for expecting to see a horse and carriage glide past the shuttered sash windows of Country Living St. George Hotel. Boasting elegant interiors by the grande dame of decor, Country Living (expect pops of colour, glitzy chandeliers and plenty of antique flourishes) and a restaurant menu overflowing with traditional dishes crafted from the finest artisan ingredients, this is one seriously supreme stay.

Image: Country Living St. George Hotel, Harrogate

Wotton House, Surrey

Harking back to the 17th century, Grade II-listed grandeur oozes from every corner of Wotton House. Set in the sublime Surrey countryside, guests can expect upscale elegance at every turn – from the jaw-dropping red-brick exterior replete with towering turrets, to its pillared library stacked with classic reads and sprawling manicured Italian gardens begging to be strolled around (parasol and posh hat optional). When it comes to dining, take your seat around a fairy light-strewn oak tree to feast on a delightful seasonal menu featuring British cuisine at its best, from slow-cooked blade of beef to hazelnut-crusted hake.

Image: Wotton House, Surrey

Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire

Aristocratic elegance awaits at Heythrop Park Resort, an 18th-century manor showcasing Georgian architecture at its most extravagant. Commanding 440 acres of secluded scenery, along with a championship 18-hole golf course, there’s plenty of outdoor appeal here. Inside, it’s a no less impressive affair with a decadent spa featuring a 20-metre black-tiled swimming pool, sauna and steam room. As for the interiors, you’ll be positively swathed in regal charm in the Manor House bedrooms, complete with antique furniture, four-poster beds and freestanding tubs. For a truly royal experience, the refined restaurant and bar offerings will delight even the pickiest of eaters, with everything from decadent afternoon tea spreads to crowd-pleasing British favourites gracing the menu.

Image: Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire

Hoar Cross Hall, Staffordshire

For a stately spa stay with lashings of old-world charm, Hoar Cross Hall ticks all the boxes. Step beyond the estate’s sprawling 50-acre parkland, through its soaring turreted stone archway and you’ll be swept away into a soothing cocoon of spa facilities (think Nordic suite, luxury whirlpools and even an Italian water garden), fine dining and grandiose architecture. Spacious rooms feature marble fireplaces, plush velvet sofas and bathrooms with freestanding claw-foot tubs, no less, while the restaurant serves up a mouthwatering menu of fine local produce, including vegetables plucked from the garden’s very own patch.

Image: Hoar Cross Hall, Staffordshire