Heading to London this summer? You may want to consider booking a few days at a countryside B & B or at one of the United Kingdom’s many luxury hotels located outside of London.
There are plenty to pick from, whether you’re looking to wake up in a quaint inn in the picturesque hills of Wales or would rather rest your weary head at a restored manor house with its own Michelin-starred restaurant. Here are just a few of the very best lodgings the UK has to offer:
New Forest National Park, Hampshire
This boutique hotel can be found in the heart of the New Forest National Park, a short drive from the small town of Lyndhurst. Lime Wood offers contemporary character amidst its gorgeous surroundings while not deviating too far from the spirit of its historical past. Housed inside a large country residence originally built as a hunting lodge in the 13th century, the current owners spent nearly five years lovingly renovating the property both inside and out. The interiors were reworked by David Collins, one of the UK’s top architects, and they feature sixteen bedrooms, a library, a classically designed sitting room and a lounge devoted to billards. Lime Wood’s two onsite restaurants include the inviting and warm Dining Room and the even more enchanting Scullery Brasserie. The menus at both are filled with hearty dishes utilizing local, organic produce and “forest food” like wild mushrooms, garlic venison and lamb. The hotel’s Herb House Spa was constructed with natural materials and combines a forested vibe with state-of-the-art equipment and a hydropool, in addition to a rooftop herbary with a sun deck and meditation areas. If this isn’t enough, there’s also the Lime Wood’s quirkier sister hotel, The Pig, which includes a traditional country kitchen and more quaint accommodations.
The Bath House
Located a little over two hours outside of London, this sumptuous bed and breakfast has received rave reviews for its outstanding service and accommodations. It can be found in the heart of Bath, one of the country’s most historic and beautiful cities, and is a five minute walk from attractions that include the Roman Baths, the Thermae Bath Spa and The Royal Crescent. The rooms contain modern features like wifi and iPhone docks amidst traditional British decor featuring canopied, king-sized beds. Breakfast, cooked to order, is brought to the rooms each morning and is made with fresh and locally-produced organic ingredients.
The Barnsley House
This Arcadian hotel bills itself as “your very own Cotswold countryside retreat” and easily earns this reputation. Its staff are happy to accommodate the needs and whims of their guests, offering meals in its luxurious garden or activities that include horse riding and cycling. Interested in giving polo a try? A hot air balloon ride? River rowing? Their wish is your command. Barnsley House‘s onsite cinema can accommodate up to thirty people, features leather sofas and is a great place to host a private movie party, film premiere or a sporting event. The Potager Restaurant, inspired by famed English designer Rosemary Verey, is open for meals, afternoon tea or drinks during evening hours. The rooms themselves are unique and no two are alike. They include stone fireplaces, wooden floors, romantic lighting and furnishings created by the designers at the London-based Fox Linton. They also offer views of the surrounding gardens and meadows, which are wonderful for a leisurely morning stroll. There’s also the Jacuzzi tubs in each room’s bathroom, with accompanying plasma screen televisions. Not half bad for a country estate that dates all the way back to 1697.
The Dorchester Collection, which owns and operates a series of five-star resorts and hotels, opened this 240-acre property in 2010. Currently the only hotel in the U.K. with its own polo field, Coworth Park offers guests luxurious accommodations inside its restored 18th-century Georgian manor. Visitors can ride the property’s steeds, try their hand at polo or view professional matches between April and September. The estate’s three restaurants were designed by Michelin-starred chef John Campbell and provide a 21st-century twist on classical dishes. Coworth Park’s rooms mix pastoral decor with modern furnishings and a few of the suites are large enough to warrant their own staircases. Meanwhile, the spa is a wonder that combines natural interior design with a unique submerged landscape offering stunning views of the surrounding English countryside. The futuristic indoor pool includes speakers that treat swimmers to underwater music, while the spa offers natural lighting and tree top views, a perfect serene reprieve to go along with a workout.