It’s all about the ‘staycation’ this summer – at least for those based in the UK. While the glamour and sensorial excitement of travelling to another country will always rank high, there are a handful of country house hotels in the UK that are equally as impressive. For that, our restaurant insider and go-to epicurean, Adam Hyman (founder of CODE Hospitality), shares his five must-visit hotels that will provide all the delights and then some more.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to go abroad. Even with the tediousness of modern-day travel with having to take your shoes off at security (CQP slip-ons are my choice of footwear for travelling – stay clear of laces) and forgetting to take your MacBook and toiletries bag out of your Porter weekend holdall which results in a dressing down by airport security, I still miss it.
Thanks to the latest Government updates, it looks like summer holidays for those of us based in the UK are still off the cards meaning the staycation remains the only really viable option as it stands. While lunching at Da Adolfo or La Colombe d’Or will have to wait till summer 2022, a night or two at these UK country hotels will definitely not disappoint.
It was delayed by a number of years but Heckfield Place was worth the wait. A short drive from central London, this country house in Hampshire rivals the best Mayfair hotels with its interiors and food. If designer Jeremiah Brent opened a hotel, this is what I imagine it would be like with its neutral tones and a feeling that you’re very much in a friend’s house that has been on the front cover of Architectural Digest. Skye Gyngell, one of my favourite chef restaurateurs, oversees the hotel’s food offering and her restaurant Marle has a similar feeling of a Trunk favourite, Ett Hem in Stockholm.
Heckfield Place, Heckfield, Hook RG27 0LD
Rooms from £500 per night
The Fife Arms
Hauser & Wirth may – for the moment – be better known as an art gallery than a hospitality business but that’s fast changing, as they continue to expand their leisure offerings around the globe. The latest venture from Swiss gallerists Manuela and Iwan Wirth is the Fife Arms in the Highlands of Scotland. There is, of course, a lot of artwork throughout the hotel (16,000 pieces to be precise) but guests are not short of places to eat and drink either – with The Flying Stag pub, Elsa’s bar, The Clunie restaurant and the latest arrival of Bertie’s Whisky Bar, which has over 365 whiskies. The hotel offers fishing, foraging and I’m sure they’d even arrange for you to ‘toss the caber’, if you so wished.
The Fife Arms, Mar Road, Braemar, Ballater AB35 5YN
Rooms from £450 per night
Lime Wood is one of the properties that helped change country house hotels for the better in the UK. Away with the chintz, trouser presses and UHT milk in the bedrooms, and stuffy dining rooms with floral drapes, this New Forest property, which is owned by the same hotelier as The Pig hotels, understands laid-back luxury. As well as being only an hour from London, the hotel’s restaurant is overseen by chef Angela Hartnett, so you won’t be let down by the food either. From cosy rooms in the main house to large forest cabins, Lime Wood ticks the boxes for all sizes of accommodation.
Lime Wood Hotel, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ
Rooms from £400 per night
The Surrey Hills are better known for its Lycra-clad cyclists conquering Box Hill than its 5-star hotels but that’s where Beaverbrook comes into play. The former home of the 1st Baron of Beaverbrook is a quintessential country estate but with a modern twist. This is thanks to its Japanese Grill restaurant inside the main house, iPads with Netflix accounts, the cinema and their spa with Turkish hammam, indoor and outdoor pools.
Beaverbrook, Reigate Rd, Leatherhead KT22 8QX
Rooms from £725 per night
If you’ve been to Babylonstoren in Franschhoek, South Africa, then you know you’re in safe hands at their sister property in Somerset. Located just outside of Bruton (where you’ll find a Hauser & Wirth gallery and their restaurant Roth Bar & Grill), the Newt is located in a sprawling country estate, which at the heart of it is a 17th century Georgian house. A short hop through the apple tree orchards – the hotel produces its own cider – is their recently-opened accommodation, The Farmyard, which gives guests a second restaurant to dine at while they’re not enjoying the pool, spa or exploring the hotel’s gardens.
The Newt Inn, A359, Hadspen, Bruton BA7 7NG
Rooms from £300 per night
Don’t know what to pack for your staycation, or wanting something a little different to wear this time? We can help!