Winter weekends away: 10 of the best country house hotels


Strattons Hotel, Swaffham, Norfolk

This exuberant family-run boutique hotel in a Palladian-style villa hides down a side street in the market town of Swaffham. Following afternoon tea sitting in plum velvet chairs by the fire, hole up in the Red Room, the most decadent of the hotel’s 14 eclectic bedrooms whose features include chandeliers, Venetian mirrors and free-standing baths. A study in crimson, this ground-floor suite situated in the Victorian wing has its own open fire, a king-size Jacobean carved four-poster bed, red walls, swag curtains and a tented bathroom with separate bath and walk-in shower. It is accessed from a courtyard by its own private front door.
Doubles from £99 a night B&B, strattonshotel.com

Augill Castle, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

Where the hearth is: Augill Castle, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria


If it’s a real castle, an excuse to wear fake fur and a working fireplace in a four-poster bedroom that you’re after, then the Pendragon is your room of choice at Augill Castle in Kirkby Stephen. This 17-bedroom country house hotel is set in 20 acres of grounds where you can enjoy a brisk winter walk, then warm your cockles by the woodburning stove in the comfy music room, by the open fire in the dining room with its vaulted ceiling, or slouched in a Chesterfield by yet another woodburner in the Great Hall. The 17 bedrooms in the main house overlook the Yorkshire Dales and Lakeland Fells, and there are further rooms in the mews cottages adjacent to the hotel.
Doubles from £160 a night B&B, stayinacastle.com

The Bath Priory, Bath, Somerset

The golden hour: The Bath Priory, Bath, Somerset


Just outside Bath city centre, this idyllic former priory is a tranquil spot in which to read, relax or pamper yourself in its Garden Spa. A country-house-in the-city bolthole, it has open fires in both the drawing room and the library, sofas and armchairs in abundance, and works a smart country-chic look. The golden drawing room is a home from home, with inviting sofas, portraits and paintings, and a sense that it would be rude to do anything but lounge about, glass or cuppa in hand. Many of the 33 luxurious bedrooms, named after flowers, overlook the award-winning gardens. Expect bright, contemporary and impeccably decorated.
Doubles from £150 a nightB&B, thebathpriory.co.uk

Pen-y-Dyffryn, Oswestry, Shropshire

Comfort and joy: Pen-y-Dyffryn


Peace and quite and real fires await the world-weary in this unpretentious Shropshire bolthole. Make yourself at home in the shabby-chic living room of this former rectory, treat yourself to a spa treatment, enjoy a drink or game of Scrabble in the quirky bar, then tuck into a four-course dinner after a walk along Offa’s Dyke. Bedrooms have lovely quilts, some have swag curtains and endless cushions, plus bathrooms with Jacuzzi baths and soothing views over the gardens.
Doubles from £144 a nightB&B, peny.co.uk

Eshott Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland

COme in from the cold: Eshott Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland.



Photograph: Peter Atkinson

Northumberland’s glorious Eshott Hall is a 17-bedroom, wisteria-clad Georgian gem of a boutique hotel. With its 33 acres of manicured gardens, rolling hills and medieval woodland, it makes for an elegant retreat featuring period features and demure decor, from the William Morris stained glass hallway to mahogany sleigh beds, antique four posters and chaise longues in the bedrooms. Some rooms have a sunken bath, others a spacious walk-in shower – and of course all are equipped with fluffy towels and bathrobes. Play a game of Cluedo in the panelled library and bar, sink into a leather wingback by the open fire, or enjoy a candlelit dinner or local legend of a Sunday roast.
Doubles from £80 a night B&B, eshotthall.co.uk

The Manor House, Castle Combe, Cotswolds

Breakfast in bed: the Manor House, Castle Combe, Cotswolds


An open fire awaits you as you step into the hallway of this heaven-sent 14th century, 365-acre, five-star manor house hotel in a Cotswolds pin-up of a village, Castle Combe. Curl up with a book or have afternoon tea in front of one of the five roaring fires in the endless reception rooms – most are snug, panelled places in which to relax, while the red and gold drawing doom is a brighter affair. Take a preprandial drink in the homely, oak-panelled Full Glass Bar, then repair to the stained-glass, Michelin-starred Bybrook Restaurant for a locally sourced dinner. Beams, antiques, ornate four posters, plush furnishings and seriously indulgent bathrooms await in the more traditional of the 50 bedrooms, some of which are situated in bijoux cottages next to the 15th-century church. You’ll want breakfast in your bumper bed – and you’ll never want to leave.
Doubles from £180 a night B&B, until 31 January 2019, exclusive.co.uk

The Grove, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Welsh welcome: the Grove, Narberth, Pembrokeshire


A luxurious country mansion, The Grove, situated in the market town of Narberth, is a byword for good taste and creature comforts. With views of the Preseli Hills, it offers a romantic retreat and a study in tasteful restraint. Set in 26 acres not far from Pembrokeshire Coast national park, the hotel has four lounges in which guests can kick back, all united by an artisanal aesthetic – think textiles, local art and handmade furniture. Enjoy local produce, a library and roaring fires and woodburners. There are 14 exquisitely decorated bedrooms in the main house, each with a view of the gardens or the glorious countryside, and various suites in a range of period cottages with their own private gardens.
Doubles from £170 a night B&B, thegrove-narberth.co.uk

Bovey Castle Hotel and Spa, Dartmoor, Devon

Winter retreat: Bovey Castle Hotel and Spa, Dartmoor, Devon


Baronial Bovey has low-key luxury nailed. Muddy boots are welcome in this stately pile, once owned by the Great Western Railway, which boasts stone fireplaces, mullioned windows, elegant staircases and plush bedrooms. The hotel restaurant is a capacious art deco affair. For cosiness, head to the panelled Oak Bar and warm up with one of its 130 whiskies – particularly welcome after a bracing walk in Dartmoor national park, around the lake in the 275-acre estate or after a round on the hotel’s 18-hole golf course. There are 60 bedrooms, with sumptuous fabrics and furnishings, and 22 self-catering lodges dotted within the grounds.
Doubles from £120 a night B&B, boveycastle.com

Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell, Powys

Welsh weekend: Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell, Powys.



Photograph: Polly Lovegrove

Nurture the soul at the family-run Gliffaes Country House Hotel, tucked away among 100 specimens of magnificent trees in 33 acres of countryside in the Black Mountains. Overlooking the River Usk, this 23-room, traditional Italianate Victorian Grade II-listed manor offers wood panelling, fancy mouldings, Welsh tweeds and leather sofas – in other words plenty of spots where you can get cosy after a day fishing or walking in the Brecon Beacons. There are two open log fires, one with Delft tiling, two wood-burning stoves, and old world with a modern twist bedrooms include claw-footed roll-top baths, mini libraries and Roberts radios. Some bedrooms have their own balcony overlooking the river.
Doubles from £105 a night B&B, gliffaeshotel.com

The Lugger Hotel, Portloe, Cornwall

Smuggler’s escape: The Lugger Hotel, Portloe, Cornwall.



Photograph: Kevin Britland/Alamy

Set on the water’s edge in a time-forgot fishing village on Cornwall’s Roseland peninsula, The Lugger is a five-star 17th century former smuggler’s inn surrounded by cliffs and headlands, and dotted with fishing boats. Batten down the hatches and take a drink fireside in the lounge before a locally sourced, dinner – lobster and crab are a speciality in the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant. The 22 contemporary but cosy bedrooms, some with sea views or a private terrace overlooking the harbour, are pared back but relaxing. Others feature exposed beams. All work a sophisticated colour palette, and have luxurious bathrooms.
Doubles from £143 a night B&B, luggerhotel.co.uk



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