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The Best Hotels for a Quick Country Escape
London is an amazing place to live. But it’s also somewhere that we all sometimes need a break from. A mini-break? a weekend away? just an opportunity to stretch out and breathe some country air… But it’s good be close, otherwise there’s the risk of spending all your precious away time travelling. So where to find the best hotels for a quick country escape?
For years people have been bemoaning tourism’s exploitation of the UK’s farthest corners, and claimed it’s no longer possible to find a remote corner of these isles - AA Gill called it the ‘cream-tea enema’, subjected on Britain by tourism. But how remote does one actually want to be from things? How about 125 acres of parklands, backed by beautiful views of the Downs? Or in one of ten rooms in a hotel by a quiet patch of private river? Our Gurus have discovered plenty of properties along these lines less than an hours travel from London and made a round-up of the best hotels for a quick country escape from London.
Sure, it may be that other people are sharing the hotel with you, but it’s certainly an escape from the city, and there’s plenty of opportunity to be on your own. Until you fancy being pampered in the spa, or treated to a beautiful meal. Then you can come back to ‘civilisation’.
The Best Hotels for a Quick Country Escape
For a romantic Quick Country Escape
- Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is a spectacular Italian Renaissance mansion turned country house hotel, just outside Henley in Marlow-on-Thames. This 79 room property is a romantic charmer, surrounded by 65 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens leading all the way down to the river. As well as having a top spa, the hotel has an excellent restaurant.
- Cliveden House is a grand neoclassical country pile, a National Trust treasure, and probably still best known for its part in the Profumo affair. But it seems like everyone who’s ever been anyone has stayed here, from Churchill to Chaplin and Lawrence to Lennon. There are 44 rooms and 15 suites, but staying here still feels like you’re staying in a country home rather than a hotel. There are original Old Masters on the walls, a spa, boats on the river, two pools and a truly wonderful afternoon tea.
For a Country Escape plus Pampering
- Just outside Crawley, West Sussex, the Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa is a beautiful boutique country house hotel set amongst 120 acres of its own park and gardens. There are 57 rooms, which they call ‘sinfully luxurious’, plus an excellent spa, a pool, fine dining and a champagne bar.
- Out by Ascot, Coworth Park offers the quintessential English countryside experience, with superb equestrian facilities, including its own polo fields, beautiful grounds, excellent restaurant and bars and an eco-luxury spa.
- The Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa, outside Bagshot, Surrey, is a beautiful, ivy clad 19th century built country house hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant and an award winning spa. There are 123 rooms and suites, surrounded by 123 acres of park and gardens. And you’re only 30minutes from Heathrow and about 45minutes from central London.
Gravetye Manor, in a leafy part of West Sussex, is an Elizabethan mansion with 17 fine, wood panelled bedrooms with four-poster beds, and an exceptionally beautiful garden. There’s also a Michelin starred restaurant.
The Waterside Inn in Bray is a fantastic choice for foodies, run by Michel and Alain Roux and with three Michelin stars, this is about as gourmet at the it gets. The eleven rooms and suites are sumptuous and start from around £220 per night.
Just ten minutes drive from Gatwick, Langshott Manor is a 16th century English manor house converted into a 22 room hotel. And what rooms! They’ve beamed ceilings, four-poster beds, plush furniture and a crackling fire come the winter months. Plus the restaurant has won awards.
The Best Hotels for a Quick Country House Escape
- Just outside London on the M4, Stoke Park looks like a mini version of the White House: a luxury Palladian mansion turned country house hotel and spa, with golf course and indoor and outdoor tennis facilities which are good enough to host Wimbledon warm up events. There are 49 rooms and 14 suites, a choice of restaurants and a fabulous spa.
- Grand, majestic and inviting, with its beautifully landscaped parks, Hartwell House is another one of those country piles owned by the National Trust and run as a country house hotel. With its 52 rooms and 12 suites, 16th century Hartwell is near Aylesbury, and an easy drive to Stowe, Oxford and Waddesdon.
- South Lodge Hotel is a classic country house retreat near Horsham, West Sussex, with 89 individually designed rooms and suites with handmade mattresses and pillow menus throughout. You’re surrounded by 93 acres of park and gardens and beyond that you have views of the South Downs. One of the restaurants has a Michelin star, the other two AA rosettes. Both the Godman and Farriers Suites have their own private terraces with hot tubs.
For a Quick Riverside Escape
- The Miller of Mansfield is a traditional, ivy-covered inn in the pretty village of Goring-on-Thames. There are 15 individually designed suites with views of the river and the restaurant is well reviewed.
The Best Value Hotels for a Quick Country Escape
- Near Maidstone, Kent, and just five miles from Leeds Castle, Thurnham Keep is a grand Edwardian country house B&B with just three rooms. The North Downs start just behind the house and there are lovely views over the Weald. In summer there’s tennis and croquet as well as the outdoor pool.
- The Crown Inn in peaceful Amersham is a delightful modern coaching inn with plenty of character and a reputation for good food - and it can be reached by tube, it’s on the end of the Metropolitan Line just 40 minutes from central London. There are 23 rooms - most of them with contemporary decor - except for room 12, which retains a traditional feel - you might recognise it from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.
If you haven’t found your idea of the best hotels for a quick country escape from London on our Guru’s list contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice, or check out:
- The best places to stay in Kent,
- best places to stay in Surrey
- Best places to stay in Essex
- Best places to stay in West or East Sussex
- Best places to stay in Berkshire
The Best Hotels for a Quick Country Escape
Danesfield House Hotel and Spa 79 rooms from $311Marlow-On-Thames, Buckinghamshire
Romantic Italian Renaissance style country house set in 65 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens leading down to the River Thames. Individually designed rooms offer traditional or contemporary interiors and lovely views. Excellent restaurant and spa. Perfect for some downtime away from the city.Spa - The Spa Illuminata Danesfield House offers pool, jacuzzi, steam room and a vast range of face and body treatmentsSights nearby - Pretty Thameside town Marlow is just 3 miles away, plus Windsor and Henley are close byGreat walks - There are lovely walks round the gardens and plenty of riverside amblesSwimming Pool - 20m indoor poolRecommended by - Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
Cliveden House 44 rooms from $610Taplow, Berkshire
Grand country house hotel close to London, expensive but luxurious, with historySwimming Pool - Indoor and Outdoor PoolsCountry House - Grand neoclassical pileAntiquesRestaurant - Recommended.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Michelin Travel
Stoke Park 49 rooms from $345Buckinghamshire
Luxury Palladian mansion turned country hotel. Spa and country club with golf course, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, award-winning restaurants.Swimming Pool - Indoor PoolSpa5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Johansens, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
Coworth Park 70 rooms from $306Ascot, Berkshire
Quintessentially English countryside experience. Superb equestrian facilities and polo fields, restaurants and bars, eco-luxury spa. A beautifully decorated hotel in the height of luxury.Swimming Pool - Indoor PoolFour poster beds - For romantics.Spa5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Recommended by - Tablet, Johansens, Kiwi Collection, Michelin Travel
Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa 57 rooms from $261Crawley, West Sussex
Boutique country house hotel, set in 120 acres of parkland. Recently refurbished rooms are generously proportioned and sinfully luxurious. Enjoy the fine dining options and champagne bar. Spoiling facilities include spa and pool. Slip back to a simpler time where your day stops for afternoon tea.Total relaxation - This is truly a place to let go of it all, an oasis of luxorious suites, spa treatments, fine dining and picturesque grounds.Romantic Break - Inject a little romance into your weekend with two person tubs, enormous suites, tandem massages and candlelite dinners.Great walks - Take a stroll around the 120 acre parklands and manicured gardens that surrround the property.Spa - Award winning spa with wide range of treatments.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet, Johansens
Langshott Manor 22 rooms from $181Surrey
You won't believe that this 16th century, quintessentially English manor house is but a ten minute drive from Gatwick airport. Complete with beamed ceilings, four poster beds, plush sofas and a crackling fire in winter months.There is also an award winning restaurant. Ideal for weddings and parties.Fishing - In the River MoleLocal markets - Good for local colour.Full of characterSecluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
The Waterside Inn 11 rooms from $287Bray, Berkshire
Ultimate foodie venue with three Michelin stars, on the banks of the river Thames. Run by top chefs Michel Roux and his son Alain. Sumptuous suites and bedrooms.Restaurant - The Waterside Inn holds three Michelin stars.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide, Relais & Chateaux
Pennyhill Park Hotel and The Spa 123 rooms from $436Bagshot, Surrey
Creeper clad 19th century country house hotel. Michelin-starred restaurant and award winning spa just half an hour from Heathrow. Country style with lavish facilities.Spa - The fabulous spa boasts eight indoor and outdoor pools, plus canadian hot tubs, treatments and much more.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Recommended by - Tablet, Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
Gravetye Manor 17 rooms from $339East Grinstead, West Sussex
An Elizabethan gem of timeless comforts, with fine wood panelled bedrooms, four poster beds and an exceptional garden. Old fashioned hospitality with modern standards. Independently owned with Michelin starred cooking and lots of outdoor activities.Romantic Break - Grand period country house - utterly charming for a couple's getawayFoodies - The restaurant holds one Michelin starFishing - Boasts a 3 acre lake for fly fishingGreat walks - A range of wonderful local walksRecommended by - Johansens, Relais & Chateaux
South Lodge Hotel 89 rooms from $410Nr Horsham, West Sussex
Classic luxury country retreat in 93 acres of parkland and woodland. Views over the South Downs, Michelin-starred restaurant, sumptuous rooms.Private Hot Tub - Book the Godman or Farriers Suite for your own private terrace with hot tubFour poster beds - For romantics.Views - Great views from hotel5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Recommended by - Johansens, Small Luxury Hotels
Thurnham Keep 3 rooms from $156Nr Maidstone, Kent
Grand Edwardian country house b&b, with beautiful interiors, gardens and views over the Weald. A great rural escape, especially in summer, with pool, tennis, croquet.Garden - Attractive outside space.Romantic - Good for couples.Great walks - The North Downs Way is just behind the houseSights nearby - 5 miles from Leeds CastleRecommended by - Good Hotel Guide