Winter can be bleak. The days are short, the evenings are dark and the rain often lashes down.
Which means there’s no better way to get through the gloom than with a cosy weekend away in the countryside – whether it’s a boutique hotel not too far from London or a foodie break further afield.
The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
The latest addition to the much-lauded group’s sty, The Pig at Bridge Place needs to be on your autumn hitlist. Recently named one of the world’s best hotels, former sheds have become treatment rooms, if cosying in one of the luxe bedrooms, or sipping on cocktails in the bar gets all too much. As ever, at The Pig properties, food is taken very seriously with everything sourced from a 25-mile radius, including its on-site gardens.
Rooms from £109 per night; thepighotel.com
Artist Residence, Oxfordshire
After conquering Brighton, Cornwall and Pimlico, the husband and wife duo behind Artist Residence set their sights on a lovely Oxfordshire pub. The result is a super cosy – with the brand’s signature artistic twist – pub with five lovely rooms. Expect rolltop baths and night caps in the bar. Fans of AR will be able to double up on weekend breaks this winter too, with the new Artist Residence Bristol opening in November.
You can read our full review of Artist Residence Oxfordshire here.
Rooms from £150 per night; artistresidence.co.uk
Beaverbrook will make you re-think the country house hotel. After a £90 million makeover, this new property in Surrey comes complete with Hollywood-worthy interiors – with bedrooms named after illustrious guests such as Ian Fleming – and a chic Japanese restaurant.
You can read our full review of Beaverbrook here.
Rooms from £280 per night, beaverbrook.co.uk
Another Place, The Lake District
After UNESCO awarded the Lake District with World Heritage status in July 2017, a game-changing boutique hotel opened near Ullswater that August. Another Place, The Lake, is set within 18 acres of lakeside landscape, with 40 stylish bedrooms and lots of contemporary features – most notably, the swimming pool with floor to ceiling glass windows. Guests can hike, swim, paddle board and sail, too.
You can read our full review of Another Place here.
Rooms from £160 per night; another.place
Hampton Manor, Hampton-in-Ardern
Just over an hour by train from London, Hampton Manor is a sumptuous winter escape complete with a Michelin starred restaurant. Surrounded by 45 acres of gardens and woodland, the manor itself has been lovingly restored and is now home to 15 bespoke bedrooms as well as a standalone cottage. Make sure you book a seat at the chef’s table at Peel’s restaurant to complete the perfect foodie retreat.
You can read our full review of Hampton Manor here.
Rooms from £190 per night, cottage price available on request; hamptonmanor.com/
Cartshed Cottages, Norfolk
These cottages cut out of traditional Norfolk flint are the dream for style-conscious lovers looking for a romantic bolthole from which to explore the North Norfolk coastline. Owner Katie is an interior designer so expect contemporary finishes to these traditional worker cottages, such as four poster beds, roll top baths and open log fires. Holkham Beach is just a 15-minute drive away, and the lovely town of Holt with its farm shop and antique spots, is just five minutes down the road.
You can read our full review of Cartshed Cottages here.
From £450 for a three night stay; sharringtonhall.com
Yarrow Cottage, Gloucestershire
If you’re looking for a place to call your own in the Cotswolds, Yarrow Cottage is just the thing. A 300-year-old thatched cottage carved out of that gorgeous honey-coloured stone, it has been renovated to suit design-savvy staycationers. It has two bedrooms, freestanding baths and a cosy kitchen and living room. Nearby is Daylesford Organic for a chic brunch, as well as Wild Rabbit if you fancy a pub supper.
You can read our full review of Yarrow Cottage here.
From £210 per night, three night minimum stay; beachspoke.com
Thyme Hotel, Cotswolds
A trip to the Cotswolds is always a good idea, especially when Thyme hotel is your destination. During your stay, relax in the meadow spa, take a cooking lesson a their cookery school or pull up a chair at their village pub – all will make for a quintessential English countryside escape.
You can read our full review of Thyme here.
Rooms from £300 per night; thyme.co.uk/
Shepherd House, Kent
Open since October 2015, Shepherd House is a boutique B&B with just three bedrooms in the Kentish market town of Faversham, all dressed in a highly-stylish, colourful palette. Ask for the biggest rooms which comes withe a double shower, enormous freestanding bath, cosy velvet armchairs and cool prints on the walls. Owners Claire and Simon will make you cocktails – and breakfast in the morning – and tell you all the best spots to visit in this coastal part of Kent. Make a real weekend of it by bagging a table at The Sportsman pub – but you’ll need to book months in advance. Lovely Whitstable and its oyster restaurants are just 14 minutes in the car, too.
You can read our full review of Shepherd House here.
Rooms from £140 per night; shepherdhouse-faversham.com
Pool House, Inverness
This family-owned boutique retreat will suit anyone looking to fulfil their Scottish Highlands dream. Fly into Inverness (or take the sleeper train) and then it’s an hour and a half’s drive to Gairloch, the hotel’s stunning loch-side location. You can go whisky tasting, eat fantastic seafood, stomp around the Highlands or just cosy up in the hotel. For a real treat ask for Campania, a suite bigger than most London flats with its own fireplace and outdoor decking.
Rooms from £225 per night; mrandmrssmith.com
The Gallivant, Camber Sands
Camber Sands isn’t just dreamy in the summer months. After a blustery walk along the beach and over the dunes, you can cosy up into one of the Hamptons-esque rooms with super soft beds and giant roll top baths. For dinner, the hotel’s restaurant has a menu packed with locally sourced fish and lamb. Make sure you’re hungry for breakfast – settle in on one of the sheepskin-covered chairs with the weekend papers and feast on the Full English and all the extras, including the DIY Bloody Mary station.
You can read our full review of The Gallivant here.
Rooms from £95 per night; thegallivant.co.uk
The Swan, Southwold
Set in the Suffolk countryside, the vibrant colours and eclectic designs of this Southwold hotel will brighten up your winter day. What’s more is the hotel is owned and run by Adnams – a family-run brewery and distillery where you can make your own gin. Cheers to that. Side note: the beds are some of the comfiest you will ever sleep in.
Rooms from £200 per night; theswansouthwold.co.uk
Brimstone Hotel, Cumbria
The tagline here is ‘beyond boutique’ and Brimstone, set in one of the most beautiful Lake District valleys on a 35-acre estate, does just what it says on the tin. You’re collected in a gleaming black Landrover from the station and transported to a slate-clad chalet-style building with roaring fires, a Bootroom for all your outdoor needs, a reading room to cosy up and a bar to help yourself from. Some suites have outdoor balconies with blankets so you’ll feel like you’re in the Alps on a mountain getaway – without the hassle of getting to Verbier or Gstaad.
You can read our full review of Brimstone Hotel here.
Rooms from £275 per night; brimstonehotel.co.uk
The Scarlet, Cornwall
This is a luxury eco-hotel just for grown-ups on the North Cornish Coast with views over Mawgan Porth Beach – in other words, the dream. Rooms have vast glass windows allowing you to drink in the magnificent views of the cliffs, sea and sky from the moment you wake up. The spa is one of the main attractions – you can slather yourself in a mud treatment or stargaze from one of the cliff top hot tubs. Its Relaxation Room even has cocoon-like hanging pods for the ultimate nap.
You can read our full review of The Scarlet here.
Rooms from £330 per night; scarlethotel.co.uk
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
Coombeshead Farm is the brainchild of Tom Adam of Pitt Cue fame, and April Bloomfield, one of New York’s hottest chefs. You’ll find it near Launceston in Cornwall, set in 66 acres of dreamy meadows and woodland, with a six bedrooms and a sitting room with an open-fire. This isn’t your average B&B – as well as dining on incredible farm-to-table fare, guests can help chefs forage in the fields, make their own cocktails before dinner and feast family-style in the evenings on dishes like Whole Pit Baked Mangalitza Ham. In short, this is a serious treat for serious foodies.
Rooms from £175 per night; coombesheadfarm.co.uk
Bruern Cottages, Cotswolds
Between Chipping and Norton, you’ll find luxury cottages in the Cotswolds countryside. These self-catered cottages are yours to make home during your stay, so bring some aborio rice with you and cook up a warming risotto for a cosy night in. Here, you’ll also find a gym, pool and spa for guest use with on-site therapists offering a number of classic treatments.
You can read our full review of Bruern Cottages here.
Cottages from £180 per night; bruern-holiday-cottages.co.uk
No. 131, Cheltenham
Part of the lovely Lucky Onion Group, No. 131 is housed in a Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in smart Cheltenham. The bedrooms are all uniquely decorated in a contemporary luxe style with antique details such as freestanding baths dating back to the 1800s. Make sure you book in for a slap-up steak dinner downstairs – the bar has more atmosphere.
You can read our full review of No. 131 here.
Rooms from £121 per night; theluckyonion.com
The Mash Inn, Buckinghamshire
If you don’t have time to venture far from London, then Mash Inn is just the ticket. Nestled in an 18th century inn in the Chiltern Hills (just 40 miles from the capital), this is a restaurant-with-rooms perfect for a weekend of lazy pub lunches, wine-soaked evenings and walks in the surrounding countryside. Owner and restaurateur Nick Mash has enlisted the help of a London chef (ex-Bull & Last and Adam Byatt’s Trinity) to cook up a top-class, seasonal menu. Its five bedrooms have a cosy but stylish look with big beds and even bigger views. Breakfast is delivered to the room – the ultimate indulgence.
Rooms from £100, themashinn.co.uk
Forest Side, Lake District
If you’re allergic to chintzy country hotels, you’ll be safe at Forest Side, which could convert even the most determined urbanite to country living. This lake-side Gothic pile has 20 rooms decked out in a contemporary country style, views over acres dotted with fluffy Herdwick Sheep and an ex-l’Enclume chef. Got a well-behaved dog? You’re in luck, six of the rooms welcome furry friends.
Rooms from £199; mrandmrssmith.com
Port Lympne Hotel, Kent
Just an hour and a half from London by car or public transport, you’ll find the historic Port Lympne Hotel set on 15 acres of lush gardens. Spend the night in one of their lavish suites, before visiting the over 700 rare and endangered animals that call this corner of Kent home at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park as part of their work with the Aspinall Foundation.
Rooms from £209 per night; aspinallfoundation.org
Chapel House, Penzance
If this cold weather has you hankering for a Cornish jaunt, one of best way to explore this wild coastline is from Penzance – and specifically, from Chapel House. An elegant boutique hotel in a Georgian townhouse, which owner Susan has restored so beautifully, Chapel House does brilliant home-cooked breakfast and informal family-style suppers. Penzance isn’t just a gateway for the Lizard Coast, it has fine restaurants and contemporary art galleries to explore.
Rooms from £150 per night; chapelhousepz.co.uk
Hell Bay Hotel, Scilly Isles
It might seem like a long way to go for a long weekend (the Scilly Isles are a seaplane or ferry ride from Penzance), but as you travel from London in ever smaller conveyances, you’ll feel your cares diminish. Finally, you’ll arrive on Bryher, one of the least inhabited islands in the Scilly Isles, where the weather is wild and the life is simple – the perfect tonic for wiped out Londoners. Fishing trips, wonderful seafood restaurants or hide from storms and galeforce rains in the hotel, which manages to feel both like a British fisherman’s hut and a New England house, sipping on Martinis. With any luck, you mobile phone won’t have any signal either.
You can read our full review of Hell Bay Hotel here.
Rooms from £135 per night; hellbay.co.uk
Skye Window House, Scotland
You can enjoy the beautifully remote Isle of Skye from this Scandi-style three bedroom house. It has floor-too-ceiling windows (hence the name) with knock-out views of Mount Bay and the Sound of Sleat, which mean you can be mesmerised by the sunset without leaving your chair and the warmth of the fire. The master bedroom has its own sun terrace too, where you can snuggle up in blankets to drink in the magnificent landscape. As this beautiful spot is very secluded, it’s wise to rent a car for this one.
From £995 per week; coolstays.com
There are many reasons to visit Bruton in Somerset, and Caro is just one of them. Downstairs you’ll find a Scandi-style design shop selling Aesop products and Hay stationery, and upstairs, it turns into a one-bed B&B with covetable Danish furniture sheepskin throws and an enormous bathroom. From this base in the middle of town you can explore the world-renowned Hauser & Wirth gallery, have brunch at The Chapel and party at the Roth Bar & Grill, where the local beautiful set converge on weekends. Oh and there are some fabulous walks nearby too – make sure you climb to the top of King Alfred’s Tower.
Price on request; carosomerset.com
The Bull in Bridport, Dorset
One mile inland from Dorset’s impressive Jurassic Coast and the fishing harbour of West Bay, you’ll find this Grade II-listed old coaching inn in Bridport, which was reimagined as a boutique hotel in 20016 – with fussy Londoners in mind. Think four poster beds, roll top baths, a well-stocked bar that stays open late on the weekends for guests and a hearty brunch, that’s served until 3pm. Bridport is a pretty little market town stuffed with antique shops and a lively weekend market.
You can read our full review of The Bull Hotel here.
Rooms from £100 per night; thebullhotel.co.uk
Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire
This is the sort of Regency manor house that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto the set of a Jane Austen novel. From the same stable at the Pig hotels, Lime Wood has little touches of luxury that make the heart swim: Bamford toiletries, fresh milk in the fridge for your morning cuppa and even an outdoor jacuzzi – traditional country house hotel this is not. Dining is a big thing here – pop up dinners with guest chefs are a regular occurence and there’s a cookery school too, for those that want to get more involved. Otherwise you can ramble through the forest – a rainbow of Hunter wellies are provided – or dip into the Herb House Spa.
You can read our full review of Lime Wood Hotel here.
Rooms from £330 per night; limewoodhotel.co.uk
Chewton Glen Treehouses, New Forest
On the fringe of New Forest lies Chewton Glen, a quintessentially English country house hotel and spa. For the truly luxurious experience, where you won’t believe you’re just two hours from London, book into one of the romantic treehouse suites. Suspended 35 feet off the ground, bedrooms are separated from the main treehouse by a walkway, sunsets can be watched from your own private hot tub on the terrace deck and breakfast hampers are delivered to you. This is one to celebrate a special anniversary.
Rooms from £285 per night; chewtonglen.com
The Talbot Inn, Somerset
It’s a cosy 15th-century coaching inn, set among the limestone-and-thatch cottages of Mells with similar top-of-its-game gastropub credentials as its sister stay the Beckford Arms. Settle into the Sitting Room – a 500-year-old beamed tythe barn that has been restored, kitted out with sofas and stocked with games – and you’ll soak up some of its history; one wall is decorated with a mural depicting the town’s history from Roman times to present day.
Rooms from £100 per night; mrandmrssmith.com
The Crown, Amersham
Head north on the Metropolitan line, passing grand Victorian monuments at King’s Cross and Baker Street, through Betjeman’s beloved Metroland to its terminus at Amersham, whose old town resembles a bijou village in the Sussex Downs. All around are bounding hills and verdant valleys to be explored on foot, and at its heart is the Crown, a country pub with an irresistible menu, a top-drawer spa and eye-catching Ilse Crawford-designed rooms.
Rooms from £64 per night; mrandmrssmith.com
Moat Cottage, Suffolk
Part of the Wilderness Reserve near Southwold in Suffolk, Moat Cottage is possibly the most Instagrammable of the bunch: the entire Tudor farmhouse is painted in a bold pink. As well as six bedrooms (with Hypnos beds), roll-top baths and a contemporary open-plan living space, it has a hot tub perched over the moat for autumn frolics. There are Pashley bicycles for exploring the area.
Rooms from £995 per night; wildernessreserve.com