We LOVE London (obvs) but we all need a little break from the city every now and again, even if that means heading into the countryside to see some fields. There are some amazing hotels around the country so we’ve picked out what we think are the best UK hotels for a weekend break, from cosy pubs in the Cotswolds to luxury five-star spas.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the best weekend escapes in the UK, all within easy reach of London so you can make a quick getaway to peace, quiet, and relaxation. And for summer, check out our guide to the amazing beaches close to London.
The Talbot, Malton
This is the first project of a new venture from Sam and Georgie Pearman, who founded the Lucky Onion group (see The Wheatsheaf below). They’ve taken over The Talbot, a 17th century coaching inn, and given it a big makeover; they were also known for their design, which is all done by Georgie Pearman herself, so it’s no surprise that The Talbot is looking very cosy. In the downstairs public areas there’s a bar area, complete with lots of dark cosy corners to get settled in to, plus two lounges with roaring fireplaces, the perfect place to be when the Yorkshire weather is at it’s worst. The restaurant really does make the most of the Yorkshire produce, and it’s all sourced from farms within a 10 mile radius. It’s big, hearty food – we’re talking sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, charcuterie, meat and pies – and we absolutely loved it.
Ebrington Arms, Cotswolds
When it comes to countryside getaways that are within easy reach of London, it’s pretty hard to beat the Cotswolds. It’s got the lot: beautiful scenery, cute little villages, some incredible hotels and, of course, lots of pubs. So if like us you love nothing more than a big country walk followed by an even bigger Sunday roast before retiring upstairs for the biggest lie down then let us introduce to The Ebrington Arms….
This classic little country pub is in the village of Ebrington (duh), about two hours drive from London and it’s been getting quite the reputation since Jim and Claire Alexander took it over in 2007 and spruced it up. The building dates from 1640 and even though there’s some new additions, there’s plenty of creaky old charm too, from the low wooden-beamed ceilings to the heavy flagstone floors and huge open fireplaces.
Lympstone Manor only opened in April 2017 but it’s already got quite the reputation as well as a Michelin star. That’s no surprise though given that Michael Caines is the brains behind the project, previously of Gidleigh Park where his restaurant had 2 stars so he’s well versed in the operations of a luxury hotel.
Set in a beautiful grade II listed country house on a hill that looks out to the Exe Estuary the hotel has just 21 rooms all named after the birds that are found in the area. We went down for a Saturday night and were treated to glorious sunny skies and temperatures that resembled early September rather than October.
Chewton Glen was always a very nice traditional country house hotel. But then in 2012 it became one of the most desirable places in the country when it launched its treehouse rooms. These secluded round wooden pods look unassuming from afar but step inside over a small footbridge and you’ll see that these are some seriously pimpin’ treehouses. There’s underfloor heating throughout, big comfortable sofas and armchairs in the living area, a wood burning stove, an outdoor hot tub, a mini kitchen with coffee machine and snacks, TV and music system for starters.
Through a stunning glass-walled walkway that connects to a separate pod is the bedroom, with a king-sized bed facing out to framed views of the forest, and an en-suite bathroom with a freestanding marble bath, again positioned by the window to maximize the views while you soak. The lodges come with serious eco-credentials too—with rainwater harvesting, air-source heat pumps, solar panels, sedum roofs and low-energy lighting.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Raymon Blanc’s Le Manoir is super easy to get to from London, just a 35 minute train from Marylebone to Haddenham and then a 10 minute taxi. Pulling up to the grand manor house, which dates from the 15th century, it’s hard not to be impressed; it’s a beautiful building, the grey stoned walls covered in creeping ivy.
Our room was pure luxury, with a marble-laden bathroom complete with big bath, a huge comfy king size bed, sofa, and TV. We wasted no time in getting stuck into the Madeira wine and chocolates on our outdoor table in the garden. There’s also a great entertainment system that you can plug in to to play your own music (although there’s also a classical CD playing by default when you come in!).
The Pig Brockenhurst
The Pig hotel, located in the beautiful New Forest in Hampshire, has won a lot of fans over the last few years, picking up five star reviews all over the shop. Firstly, the New Forest itself is a beautiful setting for any hotel, all spooky forests, lakes, open fields and even wild horses roaming around. The main building at The Pig is a grand old country house which has the bar, restaurant and 16 of the 26 rooms. The other 10 are located in the old stables where we were staying for the weekend. Rooms are a good size and simply decorated in a very homely fashion, with fireplaces and huge comfy beds.
It’s down at the restaurant, however, where The Pig really starts to show off. With lots of produce coming from the hotel’s own garden and everything else being sourced from within a 25 mile radius, this is as about as local as it gets for a restaurant menu, with freshly picked vegetables and, of course, lots of piggy dishes.
Great Fosters was converted into a 43 room hotel in the 1930s but was originally built as a royal hnting lodge in 1550 which should start to give you some idea of the grandeur of the place. Aside from a few modern touches of luxury we can’t imagine much about this place has changed over the years: think huge stone fireplaces, wood panelled walls, tapestries, four poster beds and mullioned windows. It’s pretty much like stepping into a scene from ‘Shakespeare in Love’.
Great Fosters also boasts fifty acres of land to wander around, including a lake, landscaped gardens and orchards. Oh, and there’s also a heated outdoor swimming pool. Great food, stunning rooms, beautiful gardens, a swimming pool – we can’t recommend this place enough for a relaxing break. And the best part? It’s only just outside London.
The Wheatsheaf Inn
When the going gets tough, the tough get going to the Cotswolds for a weekend out of the city and away from the rat race. There you’ll find cosy pubs with open fires, long walks in the countryside and food made with locally sourced produce. But where to hole up for the night? Well we can throughly recommend The Wheatsheaf Inn located in the beautiful historic Cotswold market town of Northleach. Belonging to The Lucky Onion portfolio of properties, the traditional country pub and hotel has just 14 bedrooms, each different in design.
Downstairs the restaurant attracts people from far and wide, during both lunch and dinner service on the Saturday we stared there wasn’t a spare seat in the house, a testament to the food it serves. The Wheatsheaf offers guests a selection of maps which showcase the different walking routes in the area, because trust us after all that grub you’ll need to take a long walk in the countryside. If you need to find your zen again, head here for the weekend.
Artist Residence Brighton
The Artist Residence belongs to a trio of UK boutique hotels, one of which sits right on the seafront in the historic Regency Square in Brighton. The hotel has just 23 rooms all of which are unique in style, 12 of these are actually designed by local and international artists and spread across two 19th century townhouses. The building feels more like a b&b than a hotel, with vintage wooden staircases, cosy rooms, and super friendly service.
We stayed in one of the Comfy Sea View rooms with balcony, king bed, small bathroom with a shower over a very small bath (no beached whales here!) and some amazing Organic Bramley bath products. There’s also tea & coffee and whilst the rooms are small the design is well thought out so there’s space for luggage, hanging and mini bar items too.
Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire is from Soho House & Co, only this time it’s not a city hotel, nor a country house retreat; this time it’s an actual resort on a farm. The place is made up of around 40 wood cabins and there’s all kind of things to keep you entertained – think Centre Parks for adults. There’s no denying, the cabins are PLUSH. The bed is huge (emperor size), there’s a bathroom with every Cow Shed product under the sun and all types of mini-products you might have forgotten.
There’s even a small kitchen and if you do arrive peckish, fear not, there’s a block of cheese and fresh loaf of bread so that you can make a cheese toasty plus fresh milk delivered to your door daily by a milk float too, just like the good old days! The cabins don’t come cheap but if you’re looking for a fun countryside break Soho House-style, the farmhouse has got everything you need and more.
If you’re a fan of making a special journey for a top restaurant but like to still minimise the travelling, then Bray is the one for you. Not only is it home to two 3 star Michelin restaurants, The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn, but Heston’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Hind’s Head and his gastropub, The Crown too.
It’s only a 45 minute train journey from Paddington and Bray Cottages has six amazing properties all located within a stone’s throw of the best restaurants in the village. The cottages range from one bed cute love nests to three bed pads, places that in another life you could imagine living.
Luxury Cabins Cotswolds
We’re all about maximising our time off from work so as well as jetting off for longer trips we’re fans of the weekends away and a luxury cabin in the Cotswolds just 90 minutes from central London makes for a cracking night or two away from the big smoke.
Log House Holidays is a 130 acre nature reserve in the Cotswolds containing eight luxury log cabins dotted around a huge lake. Each cabin comes with it’s own private beach, rowing boat, hot-tub, fire pit with marshmallows and all mod-cons. We shacked up in Kaiser Kabin reached via its own private gravel drive that winds through the trees and set right on the waters edge – just like in the movies. Inside the cabin is an open plan living room and kitchen with panoramic views of the lake; it’s pretty special alright.