There’s nowhere quite like the British countryside when it comes to serving up timeless charm, soothing tranquility, and quintessential natural scenes, along the winding country roads. From moody, romantic lakeside walks at Windermere, to the picture-perfect landscapes around Oxfordshire, it’s time to sit back and let out a dreamy sigh, with nine of the most beautiful country escapes you can drive to in hours.
The Langstone Quays on Hayling Island
Gaze out over the alluring Emsworth Harbour from your sumptuous room at the Langstone Quays. This resort is the perfect haven to soothe all your senses – feast your eyes on the outstanding natural beauty around you, before tucking into mouth-watering fare in the waterside restaurant. A visit to the steam room and a soothing massage in the hotel spa is just what you need to melt away your cares, before taking in the sunset over the estuary, with a glass of bubbles in hand, naturally.
Hotel Burnham Beeches
Indulge your inner royal with a taste of country opulence at the Hotel Burnham Beeches, near Windsor. The country house hotel is a gastronomic dream, with the Oak Restaurant boasting the coveted 2AA Rosette award. British classics are served up with a contemporary touch of style, while the Laura Ashley Tea Room has plenty of decadent sweet treats to enjoy. Ease your mind, body and soul in the woodland spa, where candlelit massages and yoga classes await. It’s the Laura Ashley-designed interiors that’ll really leave you swooning though, with their dreamy blend of traditional Georgian grandeur, warm tones and plush soft furnishings, all calling your name.
The Billesley Manor Hotel
Located in the birthplace of the Bard himself, the Billesley Manor Hotel is the ideal place to enjoy a touch of dramatic romance. Stay in a 16th-century manor house, a stone’s throw from Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. With a medieval church and topiary gardens amongst its relaxing 11-acre grounds, you can let your imagination wander with joy. Explore the many historic treasures nearby, before treating yourself to a blissfully aromatic massage and rejuvenating treatments. Then sleep, perchance to dream, in the hotel’s luxurious bedrooms, boasting contemporary comforts with original period features for a romantic, Elizabethan touch.
In easy reach of the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and Oxford’s bookish charms, the Oxford Witney is perfect for exploring some of the best of the English countryside. Sharp-eyed Downton Abbey fans might also spot the pretty village of Bampton, where the show was filmed, just a short distance away. Clad in distinctive Cotswold stone, the Oxford Witney is an elegant and grand hotel with everything you need for the ideal getaway. Start the day with a satisfying Full English breakfast, unwind in the sauna or indoor pool, and sample some of the delicious wines from their specially selected wine wall, after a day of bracing country walks in the great outdoors.
Middleton Lodge Estate
The Middleton Lodge has all the warmth and friendly warmth you’d expect from a Yorkshire country estate, and this beautiful Georgian country house certainly won’t disappoint. 200 acres of rural northern Yorkshire beauty welcome you as you arrive, and the cosy, welcoming interiors will have you feeling at home straight away. Take a romantic stroll through the estate’s private woodlands, enjoy tempting meals prepared with homegrown veggies fresh from the kitchen garden, and unwind with natural, holistic spa treatments to transport you straight to bliss.
Enjoy a taste of illustrious elegance in the Laura Ashley-designed Belsfield Hotel. Gaze out over the picturesque Lake Windermere, where the hotel is surrounded by six acres of landscaped gardens and the rolling hills beyond. The stresses of ordinary life feel a world away here – ornate chandeliers, classical paintings, and the distinctively cosy decor certainly help. Swap screen time for scenery – the famous peaks of the Lake District will leave you speechless, and a hearty meal in the 2 AA Rosette-winning restaurant will provide the perfect reward after a bracing day in the open air.
Dunalastair Hotel Suites
If you want to enjoy the wild and majestic beauty of the Scottish Highlands with all the creature comforts of a luxury hotel, the Dunalastair Hotel Suites fit the bill perfectly. Close to the Cairngorms National Park and the scenic Loch Rannoch, you can experience the rugged grace of the Scottish wilderness throughout your stay. The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Edina’s, will keep your tastebuds happy with delectable Scottish cuisine, made with fresh, flavourful ingredients, and the individually decorated boutique suites provide an idyllic cocoon of comfort, all with an authentic Scottish feel and a breathtaking view over the Highlands.
Oakley Hall Hotel
Live out your Austen dreams in Oakley Hall, a grand 18th-century Georgian manor set amongst the bucolic Hampshire countryside. The country house served as the inspiration for Austen’s novel, Mansfield Park, and the classical splendour of the interiors will transport you to a bygone era. Food lovers can rejoice as the hotel’s Glasshouse Restaurant follows a field-to-table philosophy, using only fresh, seasonal ingredients all sourced within 50 miles. Take your pick from wickedly decadent afternoon teas, local handcrafted beers, excellent wines or delicious gourmet fare from the award-winning kitchen. Follow up with a leisurely stroll around the grounds and gardens, or unravel your stresses under the soothing hands of the in-house massage therapists.
North Lakes Hotel and Spa
For those who prefer a country escape with a more contemporary feel, the stylish North Lakes Hotel and Spa offers a stunning experience in the Lake District, with a modern touch of hygge cosiness. The polished interiors evoke instant serenity, while the spectacular natural scenery outside will leave you feeling inspired and rejuvenated. Enjoy the rugged charms of Eden Valley outside on a refreshing walk, before coming in to warm up at the open log fire, in the hotel’s AA Rosette-winning grill restaurant. And if you’ve overdone it on your hike, don’t worry – the hotel’s spa team is ready to soothe, smooth and pamper you from head to toe, with a tempting menu of treatments, a warming sauna, whirlpool and more.