Avoid the British capital for hoards of people and umbrellas this season and escape to the space and greenery that the UK countryside has to offer.
From converted stately homes to Soho Farmhouse, there’s something to suit even the pickiest of townie tastes.
But what do you pack for a cosy winter escape? Lisa Haynes’ curated packing edit with Lulu Guinness favourites is all you need.
Live like a Duchess for a weekend and stay in one of England’s finest stately homes once belonging to Lord Gretton. Stapleford Park (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) sits in the heart of England. Guests can do as much or as little as they like with fine dining, exhilarating rounds of golf on a championship course, relaxing spa treatments and an array of country pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, archery and falconry all within 500 acres of parkland.
This Grade I listed mansion bears the imprint of architectural styles, from Tudor to Victorian with more modern design touches from the likes of Mulberry and Turnbull & Asser. A favourite? All of the 55 individually furnished rooms offer a complimentary 12cl sloe gin replenished daily. You can even bring along your pup for their Doggy Divine package.
Founded in London in 1995 as a home from home for people working in creative fields, this Soho House club sits in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside with 40 cabins, a four-bedroom cottage and a seven-bedroom farm house. Club spaces include the Main Barn and Mill Room for eating and drinking, a Boathouse with outdoor and indoor heated pools, Cowshed Relax spa with Steam and Sauna Island, and Cowshed Active with gym and studio. There’s also an Electric Barn cinema, tennis courts, a five-a-side football pitch and horse-riding for the active types.
Members can take up to three guests but non-members are unfortunately not allowed in certain areas like the steamy outdoor pool by the boating lake. Get those membership forms printed asap.
After sixty years shrouded in mystery, the restored Grade-II listed house has finally opened! Not following in the footsteps of traditional or rustic rules as other stately homes; Heckfield Place has been completely rebuilt with a plethora of designers at the helm, giving a minimal approach to luxury living with no small detail overlooked. Priding themselves on sustainability, Heckfield Place is also an eco-friendly estate with seed-to-plate chef Skye Gyngell of Petersham Nurseries and Spring restaurant fame manning the kitchens.
Perfect for Londoners who don’t want to travel a great distance, it still feels far-flung, extremely rural and peaceful. If you have a spare £10,000 to spend in one night – I recommend The Long Room, which is much like a penthouse apartment offering a 180-degree view private terrace.
Another Place, The Lake is the first in a new collection of hotels from the team behind Watergate Bay Hotel. Set in 18 acres of Lake District National Park, with a private lake shore and views over Ullswater and the fells. The hotel features a vegetable garden, a fire-warmed library stocked with board games, and a well stocked gym.
Winner of the ‘Outstanding New Hotel’ at the 2018 Independent Hotel Show Awards, Another Place offers more than just dramatic landscapes and cosy rooms, water babies can enjoy open-water swimming, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, cycling, walking and skiing allowing guests to explore the stunning location.
Lime Wood Hotel
Originally a mediaeval hunting lodge way back in the 13th century, this New Forest manor was reclaimed for royalty by the Duke of Clarence in the 1740s. Today, Lime Wood is renowned as the luxury getaway for travellers and weary city-dwellers.
This is the kind of place you go to feel pampered; facilities include bikes and boots for exploring, a spa with an outdoor hot pool, indoor lap pool and hydrotherapy suite, an impressive treatment list including relaxing Bamford massages and facials alongside improving Sarah Chapman skincare treatments such as microneedling and LED light therapy. Take a core class on the roof terrace or try aerial yoga in the studio. There’s also a helipad for those who wish to arrive in first class style.
The Pig at Combe
The latest addition to The Pig Hotel group, Combe is a restored country pile with a statement restaurant in Devon’s lovely Otter Valley, surrounded by acres of green grounds and wild Arabian horses for neighbours. Known for the love of food, The Pig serves up locally-sourced seafood in the kitchen and the minibars are stacked full of treats.
Rooms in the main house feature the clever miss-matched style you’d expect from the hotel group but for a more rustic option, opt for one of the stable-yard suites. Our favourite bit? A former potting shed offering hot-stone massages.
Read about sister hotel The Pig in New Forest here
Read more of our favourite Hot Hotels here