Takes a look back at five stylish hotels that offer great English getaways. Here is a recap of some of the best UK escapes that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and reviewing over the past 12 months or so. Things may look a little bleak on the travel front at the moment but things will be different in the spring and we can all begin to look and book our travel treats.
The Cary Arms and Spa, Babbacombe, Devon
Back in Victorian times, the Cary Arms was popular with royalty. A few hours on one of those new-fangled steam trains brought them to the English Riviera at Babbacombe Bay, Devon.
Though on days of azure sea and sky this could be the French Riviera with motor boats and water skiers skimming across the waves.
The beach suites and beach huts are the pick of the luxury accommodation at this boutique hotel styled by experienced hotelier Peter de Savary. There’s a New England feel to the clapper board chic of the beach huts with the bedroom on the mezzanine level giving views of the Jurassic coast through an ocean-liner style porthole.
The Cary Arms and Spa is the classic great English getaway. Housed in a stunning location, it is the archetypal English inn on a beach but with the bonus of a spa featuring a waterfall hydrotherapy pool and Thalgo treatments.
Chilston Park Hotel, Lenham, Kent
Set in 22 acres of tranquil parkland, in Kent, the Garden of England, Chilston Park Hotel would make for a perfect Antique Road Show venue. The house, restored by Hand-Picked Hotels to palatial splendour, features many antiques dating back to the 17th century.
Think four-poster beds, high ceilings, water-colours of peaceful country life, expansive marble fire-places, wing-backed deep leather chairs and long-handled brass bed warmers.
A dozen miles east of Maidstone, and conveniently close to the M20, Chilston House is the perfect base for visiting Kent’s famed Hever and Leeds castles. Or Canterbury with its Cathedral and Chaucer exhibitions. Visitors to Chilston often enjoy a day of refined shopping at Royal Tunbridge Wells’ Pantiles.
As well as housing suites and feature rooms, the main mansion includes a two AA rosette restaurant. Chilston Park is the pick of our great English getaways.
Read the full Chilston Park Hotel review.
Middlethorpe Hall and Spa, York
Have you ever wanted a sleepover at a National Trust property?
At Middlethorpe Hall and Spa, on the fringes of York, you step into the 18th century, sleep in a four-poster bed to live like lords and ladies of a bygone era.
Owned by the National Trust and managed by Historic House Hotels this mellow red-brick piece of English history is not open for general viewing. Though you can book to visit for afternoon tea, a meal in the two AA rosette restaurant or a stay of as many nights as you choose.
As a porter with gold-braided uniform takes their luggage, guests feel as if they have joined the nobility at an elegant house that features architectural echoes of Hampton Court.
Afternoon tea or pre-dinner drinks on the terraces provides serene views over Middlethorpe’s gardens. Many of the specimen trees were planted centuries ago.
In 2022 a blue plaque will be unveiled to commemorate the work of Fanny Wilkinson (1855 – 1951) the UK’s first female landscape gardener.
Read Michael’s full review of Middlethorpe Hall and Spa.
Roseate House, London
Each of the rooms of this stylish boutique hotel on Westbourne Terrace has original art. Oil portraits and landscapes, curated by Antiques Roadshow expert Jonty Hearnden, make every room a private art gallery.
In 1842, when a white stucco row of elegant wedding-cake townhouses were constructed, Westbourne Terrace, was almost in the country. Today, with three of those houses making up Roseate House London, the hotel is sheltered from the capital’s bustle by rows of maple-leafed plane trees. Just five minutes walk from Paddington, Roseate House London is well-placed for central London’s highlights.
The Hyde bar takes things seriously. They keep some of their whisky in the safe. Plan ahead if you are thinking of a glass of the Old Mock, a bourbon distilled in 1916 and bottled in 1933. Fortunately, other more affordable drinks are available.
Roseate’s executive chef, Maharjan, brings his experience of working in India, Dubai and the UK to the innovative menu and makes this venue a worthy inclusion on our roundup of great English getaways.
Read our review of Roseate House.
Talland Bay Hotel, Looe, Cornwall
Sat on the 630 mile South West Coast Path, Talland Bay Hotel embodies the true spirit of elemental Cornwall.
This stylish 4* hotel looks out over shimmering seas in an unspoilt nook of south Cornwall. It is just over a three mile walk to Looe and not far to Polperro. One of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing harbours with its cottages perched on the hillside.
Head chef Glen Merriot and his team source local Cornish produce for the menu. Fish and seafood fresh off the boat are always popular with guests.
Warm Gulf Stream winds encourage geraniums to bloom early and palm trees to thrive in a Mediterranean-style garden, reminding visitors that it is only a short drive to The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.
Around the croquet lawn, the sun-loungers stay in position through winter, for guests to snatch a few hours of sun. As you walk through those gardens to reception, sculptures of a pig, galloping horse, fairies, pixies and a sun-bathing balding senior citizen send the message that Talland Bay Hotel is different with a whimsical sense of humour.
Read Michael’s review of Talland Bay Hotel.
Great English getaways fact file
For more of Michael’s great English getaways see our travel channel.Tags: Michael Edwards, Travel Last modified: December 13, 2021