British Travel Journal | Spring 2024

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Spring on Tresco is time to be awakened... By the incomprehensible array of plants in bloom at the Abbey Garden. By an equinox yoga practise or a cool coastal escape. By open water swimming, Tresco-wide walking, by nourishing nature as it comes to life with the island’s unique rhythm.


Tresco: 28 miles off the Cornish coast. Somewhere else altogether.



FEATURES EDITOR Samantha Rutherford



HEAD OF DIGITAL Adrian Wilkinson


Sophie Farrah, Chantal Haines, Jane Knight, Emma O’Reilly, Rosie Underwood, Jessica Way


The Goodwood Estate in the heart of West Sussex

Read about Goodwood's new country-chic cottages, page 16, and their transformative holistic retreat for gut health in our wellness retreats special, page 39

Published by


As we welcome the spring season, we are delighted to present our travel and wellness special. Our features this issue take you on an exciting journey across the UK, exploring some of the most stunning and unique destinations the country has to offer.

We bring you an exclusive look at singer and songwriter Charlotte Church's new healing retreat, The Dreaming, nestled in the serene Welsh countryside (p26). We also take a ride in an all-electric beach-buggy-turned-mini-jeep to discover the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall's best-kept secret (p30).

For those seeking wellness retreats, we have got you covered with our guide to the best wellness destinations across the UK (p39), from rewilding in South Devon to scream therapy at Armathwaite Hall. We also take a deep dive into the iconic Scottish hotel Gleneagles, as it celebrates its centenary (p60), and explore Simon Rogan's farm and worldrenowned field-to-fork restaurants in the Lake District (p72).

If you're looking to immerse yourself in nature, we suggest a weekend at Silverlake Dorset, a luxury estate in the heart of Dorset (p66); or a stay at Elmley, the only National Nature Reserve in the UK where you can spend the night (p78).

Plus, we bring you up-to-date on all the latest travel news (p9), showcase a unique experience aboard Fingal, a former Northern Lighthouse Board ship transformed into a luxury floating hotel (p58), and we offer you the chance to win a luxurious fine dining stay at a Michelin-star PoB Hotel (p36).

We hope this edition of British Travel Journal inspires you to explore and discover the beauty of the UK. Happy reading and safe travels!

EDITOR’S LETTER Jessica 3 All rights reserved by Contista Media Ltd. Copyright is either owned by or licenced to Contista Media Ltd, or permitted by the original copyright holder. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited. While every care is taken prices and details are subject to change and Contista Media Ltd take no responsibility for omissions or errors. Views expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. CONTISTA MEDIA
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@BritishTravelJournal @BTravelJournal @BritishTravelJournal
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British Travel Journal takes a trip to the serene and picturesque Welsh countryside to explore singer and songwriter Charlotte Church’s new healing retreat, with everything from silent dawn discos to sound therapy and tree planting.


Discover one of Cornwall's best-kept secrets, the Lizard Peninsula, in a brand new, all-electric beach-buggy-turned-mini-jeep; one of the perks of staying in the luxurious Island View Suite of the Polurrian Hotel.


From rewilding in South Devon to chilling out in Essex; from fitness transformation in Somerset to deep rest in Yorkshire; and with unique experiences ranging from scream therapy at Armathwaite Hall to wild swimming at Harbour Beach Club, Salcombe; we bring you the lowdown on the best wellness retreats.




Explore the iconic Scottish hotel Gleneagles, as it celebrates its centenary. British Travel Journal uncovers all that this luxurious hotel has to offer, from world-renowned golf to falconry and gastronomic delights, and its brand-new opulent townhouse.


Discover the secluded sanctuary of Silverlake Dorset, a luxury hidden estate in the heart of Dorset, where British Travel Journal spends a weekend exploring the scenic lakes, stand-up-paddle boarding and unwinding at the spa.


From Henrock to L'Enclume, we go on a culinary adventure exploring Simon Rogan's farm and renowned field-to-fork restaurants in the Lake District, where sustainability, seasonality and world-class culinary innovation come together in a delicious harmony.


With stunning cabins and unique wildlife experiences, the beautiful Elmley is the only National Nature Reserve in the UK where you can spend the night. 5
SPRING 2024 | ISSUE 17

This spring we're wearing the new line of barefoot-inspired trainers designed to ground you in the moment. The new KNX collection has such a flexible outsole and lightweight cushioning that wearing them feels like you're walking barefoot, and they look great without socks! Plus, they have a minimal leather upper that can fold flat, so they are perfect for packing light or carrying in your hand luggage.

 Priced £110,

This limited-edition 'Phases of The Goddess' candle features an inset sodalite stone, and burns with scents of cedarwood to provide balance, fir needles to boost your mood, and clove to reduce anxiety.

 Priced £35,


Discover Herm, an unspoiled island retreat in the Channel Islands. With its stunning scenery, natural beauty, and rich history, Herm is a perfect sanctuary for wellness, offering tranquil beaches, coastal footpaths, and exquisite sunsets.



From the Estelle Suite at Estelle Manor to the Treehouse suites at Chewton Glen, discover the finest and most luxurious suites in the UK, experiencing everything from divine floors of a historic castle to literary chambers and spa lodges.



Discover brand-new hotels like the Avington Estate in Winchester and The Store in Oxford, or accommodation as unique as TreeDwellers in Cornbury; and stay up-todate on the most exciting places to stay and attractions to visit across the UK.


British Travel Journal shines a spotlight on the Art Fund Museum of the Year and elebrates the innovation and excellence of museums and galleries across the UK.



In celebration of the highest distinction in gastronomy, this is your chance to win one of three luxurious fine-dining stays at a PoB Hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant.


Sip cocktails and enjoy mesmerising waterfront views aboard Fingal, a former Northern Lighthouse Board ship transformed into a luxury floating hotel.



Stay in the UK’s finest handpicked luxury cottages

Gather your nearest and dearest and enjoy a memorable escape this spring. For special birthdays, celebrations, overdue reunions and more, we’ve got a luxury cottage you’ll absolutely adore.
Scan the QR code to view our portfolio





Celebrate the arrival of spring by booking a getaway in a country hotel, a cool beach house, an off-grid cabin, or even a double-decker bus

HOTEL NEWS from page 10 from page 14 GLAMPING EXPERIENCES from page 16 from page 21
Pictured anticlockwise from top: Outbuildings Farm’otel, Dorset; Avington Estate, Winchester; TreeDwellers, The Cotswolds; Serenity from Beach Retreats, Dorset; Route YC, Yorkshire’s coastal cycle routes


The Pig and The Village Pub

The Pig’s pen is expanding with Barnsley House and its village pub near Cirencester due to open as part of the restaurant-withrooms group this summer. The hotel already has a working kitchen garden to supply the restaurant; its spa will allow more than the Pig’s usual Potting Shed massages. Sign up on the website to get alerts as soon as bookings open. Two other piggies are planned, with The Pig on the Farm, StratfordUpon-Avon, due at the end of the year, and The Pig at Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, next summer. Pig heaven indeed. ◆

 Prices yet to be set;


The Haven at Plockton

There’s more room at the Inn at Plockton in the Northwest Highlands, which has just opened The Haven in the adjacent building, adding 20 modern rooms to an existing dozen. Explore the countryside around the beautiful bay of Loch Carron, which is just down the street, then return to feast on freshly caught langoustines for dinner. ◆

 Rooms from £119, with breakfast;


The Store

The name says it all – a hotel in a former department store. What was Boswells in the heart of Oxford is metamorphosing into a 101room hotel with rooftop bar and subterranean spa. When it opens in May you can expect velvet headboards and panelled walls, along with views of the dreaming spires of Oxford from the upper levels. ◆

 Prices yet to be set;

Hotel News


The Bath Arms, Longleat

We’ve long been a fan of the Beckford Group, a clutch of wallet-friendly pubs with rooms offering good food and simple but charming bedrooms. Their sustainable Bramley products were created by Chloë Luxton, for the group’s first inn, The Beckford Arms. Now sister property, The Bath Arms, on the Longleat Estate, is introducing a treatment cabin in its gardens, where Bramley’s new skincare range will be used in spoiling massages and facials. And the best bit? Like the pub’s 16 rooms, they’re extremely good value, with a 60-minute facial costing £60. ◆

 Rooms from £130, with breakfast;

The Stag & Huntsman, Hambleden

Venison Scotch egg and stag burger are among the tasty treats served using estate produce in this pub just outside Henley-on-Thames.

Now under the same owners as the superb Bottle & Glass Inn, its nine rooms have been revamped alongside the restaurant refit.

 Rooms from £125, with breakfast;

Editor loves


Native King’s Wardrobe, St Paul’s

Self-cater in the capital in this latest addition to aparthotel group Native Places, set in a private courtyard just behind St Paul’s Cathedral. Formerly used to house the king’s ceremonial and state robes, the seven Grade-II-listed townhouses have received a thoroughly modern update and are available in sizes from compact studios to spacious three-bedroom apartments.

 Studios from £250, with breakfast; 11

From cosying up fireside in a country cottage, to stargazing from a dreamy hot tub at your clifftop hideaway, escape the everyday and seek the magic of a staycation with Boutique Retreats. With over 280 luxury abodes to choose from, uncover our curated collection of luxury retreats, set in unique locations across the UK. We know how good getaways should be.

+44 (0)1872 553 491

enquirie s@

07/07/2023 14:45


Avington Estate, Winchester

Take one 150-acre family estate with a striking stately home at its heart, then add everything from shepherd's huts and lakeside lodges to historic house apartments and an uber-cool contemporary pad for 14 and you have something to please everyone. There’s even a pub with rooms and a deli in the neighbouring village. The owner of The Nici hotel in Bournemouth is opening up his estate, adding activities from cocktail making and floristry workshops to yoga and paddleboarding, as well as a wild spa. ◆

 From £150 in the pub to £1,750 a night for 14 sharing Stillwaters House;


Another Place, Islay

Lake District hotel Another Place will gain yet another place this spring with the addition of the 47-room Machrie on the Scottish island of Islay. Activities will range from whisky tasting to boat trips and golf. Back in Cumbria, the hotel has also bought the Brackenrigg Inn.

 Rates yet to be set;

Editor loves


Moor Hall, Aughton

Foodies flock to the village of Aughton to eat at Moor Hall Restaurant and Rooms, which has two Michelin stars in chef/patron Mark Birchall’s glass-walled restaurant, and another star in sister restaurant The Barn. The property’s seven rooms are set to double their number in late spring with the addition of swish new garden rooms. ◆

 Dinner, bed and breakfast for two from £1,100; 13


Double Deckerdence, Highfield Farm

For a fun family getaway, look no further than these two double-deckers, beautifully joined on the upper decks to create an open-plan kitchen diner with seating areas and wood burner. An outdoor terrace is home to a hot tub with farreaching views. Downstairs, one side has been converted into a master suite with roll-top bath, while on the other, you’ll find bunks for the kids as well as a climbing wall, tunnel and ball pit. The ‘bus stop’ is unique too, with an outdoor shower, pizza oven and firepit. ◆

 From £219 a night for five;


TreeDwellers, Cornbury

These seven treehouses in the woods near Chipping Norton aren’t like any you’ve ever seen before – the timber, glass and aluminium structures look more like curved tubes. Each is home to a kitchen, and one or two bedrooms, while out in the forest is another unique building where you can lie and listen to the amplified sounds of nature. They open in June. ◆

 From £210 a night for two;


Mabel, Unplugged

In need of a digital detox? This cosy cabin, the 21st from Unplugged, could be the place to do it. It comes with a firepit, wood burner, instant camera, board games and books, as well as a lockbox to shut away your phone. All you need to do is lie back and take in those views. ◆

 Three nights for two from £390;



Outbuildings Farm’otel

When they say outbuildings, they mean a chicken coop, pig sty and cider-press on this farm near Bridport, although they’ve been tarted up to a gorgeous level of refined rusticity for an adults-only getaway. Think beamed ceilings and flagstone floors alongside contemporary kitchenettes and copper bath tubs. Now two new buildings are opening in The Byre for couples. There’s food at The Cart Shed and drinks in The Baaaa. You can cosy up among the hay bales at the Hay Barn Cinema or book the outdoor hot tub, which comes with a bottle of fizz. ◆

 A night for two from £190;

Wild with Consent

Go wild camping legally on the new driving route East Anglia 350 in a Land Rover Defender with roof tent. Get away from the rabble and connect with nature on the coast and in the countryside for two, three or five nights.

 Two nights with camper hire from £690;



Take the dog and switch off from the world in these off-grid cabins, with solar power, composting loos and sustainable coffee and toiletries. There are beautiful walks right from the door, and when you return, you can rustle up some food in the kitchen, then settle by the wood burner to play a game or read a book. ◆

 Three nights for two and a dog from £450; 15

Leeds Castle lodges

You can gaze out at the Great Water surrounding the fairy tale Leeds Castle near Maidstone from the bed, the outdoor bath and the private deck when you stay in one of these four new Lakeside Lodges. Ideal for couples, the timber lodges also have a skylight over the bed so you can indulge in a little stargazing. It’s a five-minute walk through the gardens to reach the castle itself, owned by six of England’s medieval queens and recreated by Lady Baillie in the 1920s. Dinner and breakfast are served in a restaurant overlooking the castle. ◆

 Lodges for two from £245, with breakfast;


The Dovecot at Reedsford

Perfect for lovebirds, this converted dovecot in a Grade-II-listed tower is set in rolling countryside on the edge of the Northumberland National Park. As well as a modern kitchen with far-reaching views, it features charming original details, with the old recesses where doves once nested now used as nooks for books and artefacts. ◆

 Two nights from £420;


Peach Tree & Crab Apple cottages

When they say these two country-chic cottages on the Goodwood estate are dog friendly, they mean it – they even have doggie bunk beds for pampered pooches. Take your four-legged friend across the road to dine with you at Farmer, Butcher, Chef before retiring in one of the two bedrooms, both with their own bathroom. ◆

 From £300 a night for four humans, plus dogs;



The Fledglings at The Tawny

We love The Tawny’s deconstructed hotel, with shepherd’s huts, lakeside retreats and treehouses scattered around the 70-acre Consall estate. Now the hotel is moving into self-catering. Kestrel Cottage, the first of three properties on the nearby Basford estate, comes with its own outdoor swimming pool that’s heated year-round, as well as four bedrooms, a private bar and games room. The contemporary kitchen is stocked with Emma Bridgewater pottery; guests can take factory tours and decorating experiences, as well as book everything from foraging to forest bathing from the on-site concierge. ◆

 Three-night weekends from £3,900 for eight;


Una St Ives Resort

Once you’ve stayed in one of these Cornish-stone villas with picture windows, a private hot tub and Scandi-chic interior, you won’t want to go home. The 27 two-, three- and four-bedroom properties join an existing 29 timber lodges on the resort, with solar panels and sedum roofs.

 Two-bedroom villa from £200;

Editor loves

Serenity from Beach Retreats

The sea is just five minutes’ walk away from this cool beach house with a luxury surf-shack feel. Double-height ceilings create a feeling of space, there’s surfer-chic artwork and leafy plants throughout, and three bathrooms to go with the trio of bedrooms. It makes a great base from which to hike the South West Coast Path. ◆

 A week from £895 for eight; 17


Woolbrook Reservoir, Sidmouth

Staying in a former reservoir might not sound that appealing until you see the architectural wonder that has been created in this property. The two-storey home with a circular layout has a turfed roof with a central keyhole cut out, its courtyard edges surrounded by huge walls of glass. Six contemporary bedrooms share a supersmart kitchen, a home gym and games room. Outside lies an outdoor sitting room with fireplace and hot tub, plus more than an acre of gardens. If you can tear yourself away, East Devon’s Jurassic Coast is nearby. ◆

 A week for 16 from £4,249;


The West End, Hawarden

Calling all history fans – you can now stay in part of the former home of William Gladstone at Hawarden Castle. The West End comes with original artwork in its five bedrooms, roll-top baths, a sauna, a hot tub, and access to Gladstone’s private library.

 Three-night weekends from £3,300 for ten;

Marlborough Manor, Alresford

Big house hires don’t come much better than this imposing manor, where the ten bedrooms all enjoy their own bathroom and where the enormous kitchen is stuffed with all the necessaries (there’s also a laundry room). There's a series of elegant public rooms, and in the pretty grounds you’ll find a heated pool and a tennis court, while just next door lies a magical adventure park for young children; visitors get free entry. ◆

 Two-night weekends for 20 from £4,400;

Britain’s Greatest Palace Registered charity number 1166164 Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill UNESCO World Heritage Site SEE WHAT’S ON


Hike the Coastal Path

The recent opening of the final Northumberland section of the King Charles III England Coast Path between Bamburgh and the Scottish border means you can take a spring hike all the way from Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Scotland. The 245mile section of a planned 2,700-mile national trail is the longest section open to the public so far. The route along Northumberland’s coast is known for its spectacular beaches, often backed by rolling dunes and intertidal mudflats, as well as views of Bamburgh Castle and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The whole trail will be walkable from the year end. ◆

 For further details visit:


Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

It’s a veritable Aladdin’s cave at this annual fair in Petworth House, from 17 to 19 May. Among the items on sale is a plate by René Lalique commissioned to be given to King George VI (£4,850); a Venetian silvered armchair from about 1800 (£1,200); a 1.5-carat diamond solitaire ring (£12,950); and an abstract painting by Ivon Hitchens called Wildflower Wood (£160,000). ◆

 Entry £10;


Herd it on the Grapevine

Find out about making wine in the North of England and spot Highland cattle on the Dumble Farm Bus tour of the Laurel Vines Vineyard and Winery in Aike, East Yorkshire. The tours, which depart on Wednesdays with a minimum of two people, include a picnic featuring sandwiches, scones and a bottle of their own wine. ◆

 Tour for two £80; 21


Norwich Castle

William the Conqueror started building it, and his son Henry I completed one of the most spectacular buildings in medieval Europe in 1121. Now the Grade-I-listed keep at Norwich Castle is set to reopen in the summer after a £15 million redevelopment. From basement to battlements, the castle will hold immersive exhibits that enable visitors to do everything from dressing as a monarch and sitting on the throne to breathing in the smells of everyday medieval life. The keep will also hold The British Museum’s first medieval gallery outside London, with more than 1,000 artefacts. ◆


Coastal Cycle Routes

Get in the saddle and follow one of a dozen new cycling itineraries from Route YC that take in Yorkshire’s coast and countryside. They range from nine to 260 miles, with day trips from the towns of Whitby, Scarborough and Filey; and the North York Moors village of Grosmont.

 For further details visit:

Looking ahead


Scenic Sauna, Perthshire

Feel the heat in Scotland in this new forest sauna, which has just been added for guests staying at the Treehouses at Lanrick. Built into the woodland’s undulating floor and with a turf roof and secret door, the sauna, accessed by a secret door in the hillside, initially appears as little more than a mound in the landscape. ◆

 Treehouses for two from £260;


Come and buy the very finest art and antiques at our tenth annual event of distinction

17-19 MAY 2024

Friday 11 00 - 19.00

Saturday 10. 30 - 18. 00

Sunday 10.30 - 17.00

0 1797 252030

To request a complimentary invitation for three please email

supported by





Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris

Until 14 April 2024

Until 14 April 2024

Henry Moore in Miniature

Henry Moore in Miniature

3 May – 8 September 2024

3 May – 8 September 2024

3 May – 8 September 2024

3 May – 8 September 2024

3 May – 8 September 2024

Paula Rego and Francisco de Goya

Paula Rego and Francisco de Goya

Paula Rego and Francisco de Goya

Paula Rego and Francisco de Goya

The Holburne (aka Lady Danbury’s house in Netflix’s popular Bridgerton) is one of the UK’s best loved independent museums.

The Holburne (aka Lady Danbury’s house in Netflix’s popular Bridgerton) is one of the UK’s best loved independent museums.

The Holburne (aka Lady Danbury’s house in Netflix’s popular Bridgerton) is one of the UK’s best loved independent museums.

The Holburne (aka Lady Danbury’s house in Netflix’s popular Bridgerton) is one of the UK’s best loved independent museums.

The Holburne (aka Lady Danbury’s house in Netflix’s popular Bridgerton) is one of the UK’s best loved independent museums.

As well as housing a wonderful and eclectic collection, it presents world-class exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a dynamic programme of creative activities and events for all ages.

As well as housing a wonderful and eclectic collection, it presents world-class exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a dynamic programme of creative activities and events for all ages.

As well as housing a wonderful and eclectic collection, it presents world-class exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a dynamic programme of creative activities and events for all ages.

As well as housing a wonderful and eclectic collection, it presents world-class exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a dynamic programme of creative activities and events for all ages.

As well as housing a wonderful and eclectic collection, it presents world-class exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a dynamic programme of creative activities and events for all ages.

Located at the end of the majestic Great Pulteney Street, and with a fantastic café, museum shop and gardens, it’s a must-see for any visit to Bath.

Located at the end of the majestic Great Pulteney Street, and with a fantastic café, museum shop and gardens, it’s a must-see for any visit to Bath.

Located at the end of the majestic Great Pulteney Street, and with a fantastic café, museum shop and gardens, it’s a must-see for any visit to Bath.

Located at the end of the majestic Great Pulteney Street, and with a fantastic café, museum shop and gardens, it’s a must-see for any visit to Bath.

Located at the end of the majestic Great Pulteney Street, and with a fantastic café, museum shop and gardens, it’s a must-see for any visit to Bath.

Paula Rego and Francisco de Goya

27 September 2024 – 5 January 2025

27 September 2024 – 5 January 2025

27 September 2024 – 5 January 2025

27 September 2024 – 5 January 2025

27 September 2024 – 5 January 2025

Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris



Spotlighting innovation and excellence of museums and galleries across the UK

Aprize grounded in 50 years of history championing the UK's museums, galleries and historic places, Art Fund Museum of the Year is awarded annually to five outstanding museums in the UK.

The prize awards museums that show astonishing ambition and boundless creativity, demonstrate transformational impact, and redevelop their offers by responding to vital issues of today. The winner of the 10th-anniversary edition in 2023 was The Burrell Collection in Glasgow. The four other brilliant finalists

were Leighton House in London, The MAC in Belfast, the Natural History Museum in London, and Scapa Flow Museum in Orkney – each serves as a blueprint for future innovation in museums. The four finalists received £15,000, and the winning museum received £120,000 – the largest museum prize in the world.

The judges visited each of the finalists to inform their decision-making, while each museum made the most of being shortlisted over the summer through events and activities for new and current visitors. The 2024 shortlist will be announced this spring. ◆


Art Fund is the charity that connects museums, people and art. For 120 years, they have been helping museums and people to share in great art and culture. Art Fund is an independent membership organisation supported by partners, donors, trusts, and foundations, as well as 135,000 National Art Pass holders who enjoy free or discounted entry to over 850 museums, galleries, and historic places.

 See all past winners and finalists plus hundreds more across the UK with a National Art Pass: 25


We take a visit to singer and songwriter Charlotte Church’s new retreat deep in the serene and picturesque Welsh countryside

Hanging out with a druid was not quite what I was expecting from my stay at The Dreaming. To be fair, I am not sure what I was really expecting from this Welsh healing retreat, created by Charlotte Church. The website had mentioned all sorts of potential activities… but I’m pretty sure there was nothing about druids! Our couple of hours with Kris Hughes, chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, turned out to be one of the highlights of my stay, with intriguing stories of Druidry past and present, about their beliefs and their worship of Mother Nature. Afterwards, we perform a small celebratory ceremony in the woods, in an area called the Grove of the Holly King.

It turns out that activities – known as offerings – vary on each three-day retreat. I ponder that it’s probably a wise idea not to tell people what to expect, but instead to encourage them to be receptive to new experiences. When we arrive there is a blackboard with an ‘itinerary’. It’s a little vague. What are Celestial Blessings, for example? It turns out to be a silent dawn disco, which we all, amazingly, turn up for at 6.30 in the morning. Who would have thought listening to music, while wearing headphones and a jumper over my pyjamas, barefoot on a damp dawn lawn would be so much

fun. Everyone is scattered around the grounds, lost in their own little worlds – swaying, bobbing, jumping, depending on chosen playlists. I feel I have earned my breakfast for once. It is, as with all meals here, eaten with other guests – a maximum of 14 – in the Refectory. The room is large, with a fire on cooler days, and joyous valley views. It also flows into a lounging area, with a giant, squashy sofa that demands you curl up.

The food is divine – healthy, inventive, and mainly vegetarian and vegan. Alcohol is not served at all. At first, I slyly hint to a few likely collaborators that we could abscond to the local pub if we got desperate. But we don’t.

The Dreaming sits at the bottom of the Elan Valley, near the small town of Rhayader. It’s in the county of Powys, in the heart of rural Wales. The large Arts & Craft house (aka Rhydoldog) was once the family home of Laura Ashley and her family and is encircled with glorious woodland and hills. It’s easy to see why she fell for it. Charlotte first stumbled across it when looking for somewhere to set up a glamping business. Instead, she felt inspired to sink her life savings – along with some not insubstantial borrowings – into creating this retreat for burned out souls. It helps that there is no Wi-Fi and little in the way of phone signal, forcing guests to ditch the tech. 27

It also helps that Charlotte has transformed the house into a bohemian fantasy of earthy colours, flowing drapes and glowing lights. It couldn’t feel less ‘Laura Ashley’ – although there is a nod to the famous designer in the house. The small Print Room, now a lounge for those wanting a quiet space, was once Laura’s office and studio, where she dreamed up her designs. It’s fitting then that Charlotte commissioned a wallpaper, using a Laura Ashley dress as inspiration, for the walls in this room. There’s a cabinet in here, too, with blackand-white photos of the house in years gone by and a pair of Laura’s boots, well worn in from long walks across the estate.

We go on a long walk ourselves, accompanied by The Dreaming’s horticulturalist, Paul. It’s a steep climb up through woodland thick with sky high spruce, red cedar and larch, past dashing waterfalls amd boulders dripping with moss. After a final push up ‘Hell Hill', we are rewarded when we emerge onto open moorland with distant views of mountains and rivers. It is magical.

Next there is tree planting – we uproot small saplings that have self-seeded in flowerbeds and replant them in the woods. Our names are put on them – a nice touch to encourage guests to return to see ‘their’ tree. We are also each given one to take and plant at home.

One evening we try sound therapy in the Healing Room. Charlotte often leads this herself on midweek retreats, combining sounds with her own pure vocals. Alas, she is not around during our trip, but our lovely practitioner, Mary-Claire,

‘One evening we try sound therapy in the Healing Room. Charlotte often leads this herself on midweek retreats, combining sounds with her own pure vocals.’

asks us to lie on our backs, with our eyes closed. She proceeds to strum, bang, ring and shake everything from gongs and glass ‘singing’ bowls to lyres, bells and rainsticks. Sounds shift from soft and gentle to loud and insistent and then back again. It’s an interesting feeling, with vibrations reverberating through my entire body and strange images flashing through my mind. It’s the end of the day and I head straight to bed. I sleep deeply that night.

Outside of the activities (which are all optional) there is plenty of time to just relax and unwind. The seven bedrooms are all unique. Mine, which I’m sharing with a friend, has two beds. Each is like a cocoon, enclosed by curtains. I read a book, with no interruption. Some other braver souls in the group try out one of the two natural plunge pools. The other is temporarily out of action, taken over by hundred of tiny froglets (baby frogs) who may not have enjoyed the intrusion.

I also choose to get together with the group as we all start to know each other better. One night we stargaze (the Elan Valley is one of the few places in the UK to achieve International Dark Sky Park status). Another time we have a campfire, toast marshmallows and sing. A fellow guest has brought his guitar and can seemingly play just about any song ever written, and so we make requests and sing along together.

Before we leave the following morning, we gather around with our new friends and write down our thoughts about our stay, before reading them aloud. Everyone feels sad to go and a few of us linger, checking out everyone else’s rooms and drinking a final coffee before we hit the road.

This three-day retreat feels transformative – a first step on a journey to better physical and mental health. It highlights the need to switch off from the rest of the world occasionally and to concentrate on giving time and energy to one’s own health and wellbeing. It encourages guests to make time for themselves and others, to connect with nature at a deeper level and to have pure, childish fun. I also vow to walk barefoot in my garden each morning. Not sure I’ll be doing the disco, though – silent or otherwise. The neighbours would think I have finally lost the plot!

 Three-night retreats at The Dreaming start from £540 per person and include all meals, drinks and activities. One place on every trip is reserved for someone who could not otherwise afford to attend, on a ‘pay what you can’ basis;



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Could the Lizard Peninsula be Cornwall’s best-kept secret? We explore the most southerly part of mainland Britain in a mode of transport as unique as the area itself

It’s no secret that many of us have fallen under Cornwall’s spell. It’s home to dozens of beautiful and well-loved holiday destinations, all with their own charm and individual appeal, but dig a little deeper, travel a little further, and there are still some corners of this captivating county that feel comparatively undiscovered.

In an attempt to venture off the beaten track, we headed south, and south further still, until we eventually came to Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and home to no less than eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest, this rugged outcrop of land is the most southerly part of mainland Britain. Uniquely rich in serpentine – a beautiful, rare stone, ‘the Lizard’ has a geology

and landscape unlike anywhere else in the county. From stunning subtropical gardens and lush green creeks to white sandy beaches, lively market towns and coastal communities steeped in history, it’s also a haven for rare flora and fauna, both on land and in its surrounding waters. While it may be remote, the Lizard has an awful lot to offer.

With so much to explore, a good base was essential. Perched on a clifftop directly on the South West Coast Path, Polurrian on the Lizard is a beautiful, breezy hotel that has been welcoming guests for over a century. As we rounded its sweeping driveway, the views took my breath away; abundant gardens teeming with colourful flowers


and windswept trees rolled down towards a vast expanse of twinkling blue water. I sat in one of the steamer chairs dotted around the cleverly tiered terrace, put my feet up, and basked in the picture-perfect sea views across Mount's Bay and the turquoise waters of the hotel’s very own beach, Polurrian Cove, glimmering below.

Originally a fashionable railway hotel first built in 1890, Polurrian has some famous former guests, including Sir Winston Churchill; Hollywood legend Clark Gable; and inventor and engineer Guglielmo Marconi, who was staying at the hotel

while sending the first ever transatlantic radio messages from nearby Poldhu Cove in 1901. Today, the hotel has a laid-back, contemporary feel to it, with 40 modern bedrooms, six threebedroom villas, and one very special suite, which we were lucky enough to experience.

With three comfortable bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fitted kitchen and a huge terrace complete with private hot tub, the recently unveiled Island Suite is the luxurious jewel in the hotel's crown. Encompassing one entire corner of the hotel’s ground floor, this stylish space offers wraparound 31

sea views and is flooded with natural light. Interior design is simple and elegant – a pleasing mix of calming neutral tones, tactile wooden furniture, and plush fabrics. There’s an interior door that connects the suite to the rest of the hotel and another that opens out on to a spacious terrace, providing easy access to the hotel’s lush gardens, stunning beach and (heated) outdoor pool, so there really is no excuse not to have a swim before breakfast.

Book the Island Suite package and there’s one perk in particular that really makes this suite stand out from the

crowd, and it’s extremely handy if you’re keen to explore the area. For the duration of your stay, you are granted exclusive use of Polurrian’s fantastic ‘Nosmoke’, a brand-new, allelectric beach-buggy-turned-mini-jeep, inspired by the iconic automotive design of the 1960s.

Playful, sturdy and easy to drive, this brilliant, chic little motor has to be the very best (and most fun) way to discover all that the Lizard has to offer.

‘Off we went – whizzing along pretty Cornish country lanes, passing bulging hedgerows and rolling green fields, turning heads as we went... and less than 10 minutes later we pulled into Mullion Cove.’

Eager to explore, we hopped in as soon as possible, and discovered that it had already been prepacked with a freshly made picnic by the hotel’s efficient team. Off we went –whizzing along pretty Cornish country lanes, passing bulging hedgerows and rolling green fields, turning heads as we went. A brief smattering of rain wasn’t an issue, thanks to the little car’s canvas roof, and less than 10 minutes later we pulled into Mullion Cove.

Originally built in the 1890s and now owned by the National Trust, this picture-perfect seaside spot shelters a small fishing fleet from powerful westerly storms and is also home to a charming tearoom and some fascinating maritime history. We strolled around the harbour, admired some very able paddleboarders and gazed in awe at the dramatic views out to sea.

Continuing along the Lizard’s east coast, we came to the world-famous Kynance Cove, one of Cornwall’s most

beautiful beaches, celebrated for its white sand, turquoise waters, and huge serpentine rock stacks. As the tide was 33

low, we made the winding walk down to the stunning beach below, where we marvelled at its captivating caves and soaked up the Caribbean-like colours.

We made a beeline for the fishing village of Cadgwith next, with its idyllic thatched cottages, village pub, art gallery, ice-cream shop and more. The picturesque stroll down from the car park is worth the visit alone.

From ‘The Todden’ – a small headland that separates Cadgwith’s two small coves – we devoured our picnic and watched as the fishing boats returned home and were winched up the beach, ready to have their catch unloaded.

In the afternoon we ventured to Gunwalloe, where we clambered across its rolling sand dunes, explored the fascinating medieval church, and strolled along its two blissful beaches – Church Cove and Dollar Cove, the latter named after the silver dollars that have occasionally washed up from the wreck of a 17th-century ship.

Keeping an eye on the Nosmoke’s battery (it has a range of around 40 miles) we headed back to Polurrian, pulling over with ease to watch a gam of surfers at Poldhu Cove, and to admire the monument that marks where Marconi sent the ever first transatlantic message.

Back at the hotel, our little car was whisked away to be recharged, so we settled on the terrace. Had we had the energy, the hotel’s tennis court hangs right over the sea.

There’s also the outdoor pool plus an indoor pool and hot tub, a well-equipped gym, and the coast path mere metres away. There’s an indoor games room and screening room, and golf, surfing and kayaking can also be arranged, but after all the adventures of the day we were happy just to kick back and enjoy the views with a Cornish gin and tonic.

That evening we had a delicious pizza, cooked in the hotel’s wood-fired oven, on the private terrace of our suite before watching the most magnificent sunset from the comfort of the hot tub. Talk about luxury.

The start of the following day was equally as splendid; Polurrian’s Island Suite package includes one 25-minute spa

‘We then whizzed to the pretty harbour town of Porthleven, home to some of Cornwall’s best restaurants.’

treatment (per adult) in the hotel’s Health Club, so after a thoroughly relaxing Elemis back, neck and shoulder massage, we were ready for more exploring.

Back in the Nosmoke, we headed for the ancient market town of Helston, which has a fascinating folk museum, a choice of excellent pasties, and is perhaps most famous for Flora Day, an ancient festival involving plenty of flowers and dancing that usually takes place in May. We then whizzed to the pretty harbour town of Porthleven, home to some of Cornwall’s best restaurants (try Kota, The Square and The Mussel Shoal), as well as a good choice of independent shops, cafes and more.

For our final stop, we made our way to Lizard Point, the most southerly spot in mainland Britain and where the Atlantic meets the English Channel. This beautiful, dramatic place is famous for its wildlife, historic shipwrecks, and for being one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

We walked along the coastline and soaked up the spectacular views, keeping our eyes peeled for seals and dolphins, before stopping for a cider at England's most

southerly cafe, Polpeor, which has incredible views out to sea.

That evening, after yet another dip in the hot tub, we had a delicious dinner at the hotel. There’s an elegant dining room and a more casual, brasserie-style space to choose from, both incredibly comfortable and with stunning sea views. The Mediterranean-inspired menu uses seasonal ingredients from local suppliers, most of which are based within a 20-mile radius. We feasted on deliciously fresh Cornish mussels with toasted focaccia, citrus-cured mackerel with beetroot and apple, and a whole lemon sole doused in a beautiful lemon and caper butter. As dessert arrived (a truly scrumptious strawberry and lime cheesecake), we watched as Cornwall worked its magic once again; the sky exploded into a splurge of pink, orange and red as the sun went down, not only on the day, but on a truly unforgettable stay exploring this unspoilt corner of the world.

 The Island Suite package at Polurrian on the Lizard is available all year-round. Prices start at £763 for a two-night stay, based on two adults sharing the Island Suite; 35

Competition time! STARS IN THEIR EYES

Win an overnight stay and Michelin-star dining at one of three PoB Hotels

PoB Hotels, a collection of the finest, independent hotels across the British Isles, boasts inspiring hotel rooms, award-winning spas and mouthwatering menus. Showcasing the very best experiences, PoB Hotels is proud to feature numerous Michelin-starred restaurants within its collection. To celebrate, PoB Hotels has teamed up with British Travel Journal to offer you the opportunity to win one of three luxury fine-dining stays at either Farlam Hall in Cumbria, Gravetye Manor in Sussex or Whatley Manor in the Cotswolds.

Cedar Tree by Hrishikesh Desai is the newest addition to PoB’s collection of Michelin-starred restaurants, having been awarded a new star in 2024. The destination restaurant in Farlam Hall, set in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, Cedar Tree is a place to relax, indulge and delight the taste buds.

The restaurant is run by a fantastic team of chefs, with multiple AA Rosette awards and now a Michelin star. The team crafts beautiful seasonal menus using the very best local and regional produce, including the freshest ingredients from the hotel’s on-site kitchen garden.

One lucky winner will experience garden-to-table delights and Sussex sparkling wine at one-Michelin-star Sussex country manor, Gravetye. Throughout the year the produce from Gravetye Manor’s walled kitchen garden, created by William Robinson at the turn of the last century, is the driving force behind the inspiration and seasonality of their menus. Executive Chef George Blogg celebrates the best of British ingredients through incorporating locally sourced and Gravetye’s own produce from the walled kitchen garden and extensive grounds.


Expect a truly exceptional dining experience in The Dining Room at Whatley Manor – the only PoB Hotel in England to hold a Michelin star and a Green Star, awarded in special recognition of their sustainable gastronomy efforts. The seasonally changing Chef's Menu (six introductions, six courses and a crossover dish) displays an inspiring use of flavours, accomplished cooking, and creative dishes. Plus, for this lucky winner, there will be a bottle of Gusbourne English Sparkling wine in your room on arrival.

Each hotel is offering an overnight stay for two people with an exquisite Michelin-star dining experience, and breakfast.

 Enter for your chance to indulge in the finest seasonal menus, crafted by award-winning chefs using locally-sourced and garden-fresh ingredients, experiencing the very best in luxury hospitality and fine dining. Good luck! To find out more about PoB Hotels visit

 Last entries 31 May 2024. Prize is to be taken before March 31 2025 – excluding 37
period. ENTER ON OUR WEBSITE Scan hereto ent e r · lanruojlevarthsitirb . c om ·
special event dates and the festive
Pictured below left to right: Whatley Manor; Gravetye Manor; Farlam Hall

The Home of Complete Wellbeing

Yeotown is an exceptional, multi-award-winning haven of health nestled in the rolling hills of the beautiful North Devon countryside. We are the first choice for discerning individuals who value self-investment and ready to take control of their health and mental well-being. Our long-standing mission is to provide a high-quality sanctuary of wellness for those who seek the extraordinary. Every detail is finely crafted to optimise physical and mental health.

The loyal team of Yeotown mavens are passionate about sharing their hard-earned knowledge with those looking for a unique, authentic, and nurturing 5-day wellness centred experience. Our guests return time and again to enjoy new yet accessible ways to live life to the fullest, emerging from their stay with more clarity, purpose and strength.

Yeotown Health Retreat Devon, Snapper, North Devon

TREAT Yourself

As we emerge from our winter hibernation, British Travel Journal discovers some of the country’s very best wellness retreats, designed for reconnection, relaxation, and transformation…

Water Therapy


Heaven in Devon

Just footsteps from the picturesque South Sands Beach in Salcombe, South Devon, Harbour Beach Club’s brand-new two-night wild-swimming package includes an invigorating sea-swim session led by a certified coach and marine-inspired spa treatments plus complimentary watersports lessons, beachside yoga, and time to unwind in the sleek spa.



Coastal calm

In the vibrant Cornish seaside town of Penzance, chic boutique hotel Chapel House offers guests a chance to relax and reset by – and in – the sea. The two-day wellness package includes an early morning guided sea swim (plus a Dryrobe and thermos of hot tea or coffee to warm you up afterwards), a geothermal session in the town’s impressive Jubilee Pool, spa treatment and use of the hotel’s pretty garden hot tub and sauna.


Take the plunge

In Ardmore on the beautiful south coast of Ireland, five-star boutique hotel Cliff House has created a ‘Seas the Day’ retreat, which includes a one-night stay in a sea-view room, dinner, and two private sessions with a pro swim tutor –one in the hotel’s sleek infinity pool, and the other in the sea, followed by a welldeserved full Irish breakfast.


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Sleep Therapy



Sorry, we must have nodded off there. The Pro-Sleep Spa Retreat at luxury Surrey hotel Pennyhill Park is the ultimate getaway for those seeking relaxation and restorative rest. This one-night experience includes spa access, an 80-minute Tranquillity Pro-Sleep Spa Ceremony, and a selection of sleepinducing lotions and potions.



Counting sheep

One of the UK's leading sleep psychologists, Dr Maja Schaedel, leads the Good Sleep Retreat at Elizabethan manor house hotel, Ockenden Manor in West Sussex. Designed to give participants a range of techniques to improve sleep quality, this two-night experience includes a consultation, workshops and breathwork session with Dr Schaedel, all meals, a guided walk, I-SOPOD floatation session, yoga, access to the awardwinning spa, and more.


Silence please

Located at the foothills of the awe-inspiring Yorkshire Dales National Park, the 3000-acre Broughton Sanctuary is home to Avalon, a state-of-the-art wellbeing retreat centre. Its Profound Rest Retreat is a six-night immersion, with three full days in silence, providing an opportunity to deep dive into the inner realms. Expect meditation, yoga, somatic flow, forest bathing, crystal bowl sound baths, wild swimming, woodland saunas and plant-based food, as well as time to unwind in Avalon’s stunning facilities.

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Go on a Yeotox

In North Devon, Yeotown curate authentic, high-quality mind and body wellbeing experiences. Its multi-award-winning fiveday signature programme is the Yeotox; a modern take on the traditional detox retreat with a focus on giving minds and bodies a break from the everyday stressors of modern living. Expect yoga, guided hikes, fitness sessions, mediation, breathwork, massage, nourishing food and more. Cold Water Immersion (CWI) experiences with resident expert Paul Irwin involve mindful wild swimming and refreshing cold dips – warm up afterwards in the restoring sauna, outdoor hot tub, or by the cosy wood burner in the living room. Luxurious accommodation is in a beautifully converted farmhouse surrounded by rolling fields with the River Yeo running through the grounds.


Seasonal splendour

Taking place in the picture-perfect Peak District and timed to coincide with the seasonal solstices, natural skincare brand Weleda’s three-day retreats are designed for holistic wellbeing. From nutritious organic food to gentle yoga sessions, this is an opportunity to reset and replenish, and reconnect with both breath and body.



Wild and mindful

Among the stunning scenery of the Lake District, Michelin-star restaurant with rooms Askham Hall is running a series of threenight ‘Wild and Mindful’ retreats throughout 2024 with ex-SAS mountaineer and spiritual guide Krish Thapa providing guided meditations, forest bathing, hiking, and award-winning food, all in the setting of an historic country home.





Chill out

Prepare to take the plunge at purpose-built detox and wellness retreat centre The Glass House in Essex; its three-day Cold Therapy experience is an empowering and educational introduction to the transformational power of the Wim Hof Method, covering breathing technique, mindset commitment and cold exposure… 



A gut feeling

Want to get to grips with your gut? Set on the beautiful Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, The Gut Health Programme is a five-day holistic retreat and transformative gut-health overhaul, expertly designed to have a restorative effect on both body and mind.


Plant power

Visit 42 Acres to see a regenerative estate, nature reserve and wellbeing centre in Somerset that offers a diverse range of inspiring retreats, serene surroundings, and beautiful accommodation. Popular plant-based cooking duo The Happy Pear are hosting a revitalising plant-powered weekend there this summer (19–21 July); expect daily yoga, foraging, wildlife walks, wild swimming and more, plus delicious meals made with produce from the 42 Acres farm and cooking demos by The Happy Pear’s Dave and Steve.

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Reconnecting with nature


Bubble bliss

‘Where the switched-on come to switch off’ is the mantra at Finn Lough – a secluded hideaway in Northwest Ireland that offers complete immersion in the natural world. Its Bubble Dome Retreat includes an unforgettable overnight stay in a completely transparent dome tucked away in a private forest. Guests can kayak on the lake, meander through woodland, enjoy a yoga class in the lakeside bubble or head for the spa and embark on the thermal trail; a private two-hour experience combining hot and cold therapy that flows through a series of cabins.



Down and dirty

Stylish Cornish eco-retreat Cabilla has created the ultimate ‘Dirty Weekend’, designed for those who want to immerse themselves in nature, quite literally. Over two nights, guests can get their hands dirty by planting trees and helping with restoration work before learning about soil health and meeting the resident beavers. All this plus yoga, a sound bath, woodland sauna session, and more. Accommodation is in a series of cool cabins with luxurious touches.


Rewild yourself

Set on a beautiful 550-acre estate in South Devon and with more than 40 years' experience, Sharpham is an internationally recognised centre that offers mindfulness retreats with a focus on nature connection. There’s a plethora of experiences on offer, suitable for all levels. Highlights include Stillness & Flow – a four-night canoeing retreat on the River Dart, and a sixnight Wildlife Discovery Retreat, which includes activities such as bird walks, foraging, forest bathing, rewilding talks and more.



Good Shape


Witness the fitness

Taking place on the luxurious Hesdin Estate in Somerset and described as a ‘holistic lifestyle transformation’, The Body Camp’s weekend retreats are designed to motivate participants to achieve their fitness, health and weight-loss goals, while also identifying certain thoughts, behaviours and lifestyle changes. Described as ‘big, fun, and intense’, there’s a daily programme of exercise combined with the likes of yoga, games, breathwork, cookery workshops, hikes, ice baths, quizzes and more, plus plenty of food and treats along the way.



Go remote

On the tiny, tranquil island of Sark, one of the Channel Islands, sits pretty country house hotel Stocks. Its regular yoga retreats offer a unique opportunity to enjoy a variety of yoga classes, including hatha yoga, candlelit guided meditation, yoga nidra and more, against the backdrop of the island’s beautiful, isolated landscape.


Eat, cleat, repeat

Explore the rolling roads of Perthshire on a cycling experience with multiple world- and Olympic-champion track cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy. Hosted by famed five-star hotel Gleneagles, this two-night, two-wheeled journey promises a fully rounded experience of exhilarating rides immersed in the stunning Scottish countryside, coupled with world-class dining and deep relaxation in the hotel’s luxurious spa.

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Plus don't miss...


South Lodge

Luxurious West Sussex hotel South Lodge offers a series of seasonal one-night ‘Nature Immersion’ retreats, which involve forest bathing, qigong, breathwork sessions and more.


Wandering Wild

Wandering Wild is a unique nature-connection retreat that takes place among the ancient landscape of Dartmoor. Expect three nights of camping (in private tents), mindful walking, meditation and wild swimming.


Radiance Yoga

Radiance Yoga operate weeklong yoga retreats at Alladale – a stunning wilderness reserve in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.



On the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, Wildbay’s wellness retreats encompass yoga, meditation, hiking and sightseeing.


The Salt Sisterhood

In Cornwall, The Salt Sisterhood host yoga and swimming retreats for women seeking to rewild themselves.



Tresco is a tranquil island offering five-night yoga breaks with Lucy Aldridge (April and September) at the newlyrefurbished New Inn to rejuvenate your body and soul. Also includes massages, bike hire, meditation, gentle breath work, and entrance to Tresco Abbey Garden.


Herb House

The beautiful Herb House spa at luxury New Forest hotel, Lime Wood, is hosting three new ‘Mindfulness and Beyond’ retreats this year, each with a focus on mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.


Sunsetbay Wellbeing

On the beautiful Welsh coast, Sunsetbay Wellbeing’s immersive, seasonal retreats include nourishing plant-based food, wild swimming, mindful paddleboarding, cycling, forest hiking, waterfall exploration, beach yoga and more.



Our Retreat

Specialists in luxury wellness experiences around the world, Our Retreat's swish sustainable Somerset farmhouse involves yoga, Pilates, meditation, breath work and guided walks.



On Cornwall’s north coast, luxurious self-catering properties Highcliffe offer a self-led retreat that involves a surf lesson, sauna on Polzeath Beach and Pilates, yoga or personal-training session in Highcliffe’s beautiful studio.


Both Sides

In North Yorkshire, Cornwall and abroad, Both Sides host regular health and wellness retreats for men. Expect yoga, breath work, jiujitsu, bushcraft, wild swimming, fire ceremonies and more.


Gaia House

In Devon, Gaia House is a meditation retreat centre and charity offering silent meditation retreats in the Buddhist tradition.


Armathwaite Hall

This unique half-day retreat at Armathwaite Hall in the Lake District includes a self-guided screamtherapy session; a cathartic way of releasing pentup emotions that can alleviate emotional tension and reduce anxiety.


The Wild Times

The Wild Times’ popular ‘yoga, yurts, campfires and paddleboarding’ retreats take place in both Somerset and the Lake District; expect an actionpacked weekend!


RUN, DANCE and explore

British Travel Journal discovers a wellness festival where you can explore the great outdoors and find your inner adventurer – enjoy fresh air, sea views, music, running, hiking, beaches and motivational talks from inspiring athletes

Turn the clocks back ten years ago, and UK music festivals were mostly about partying and muddy wellies. Well, times are changing, and there is a movement of festivals where music is becoming secondary to emotionally grounding life-affirming experiences, including ice plunges, mind-expanding breath work, motivational talks, yoga and even endurance-based fitness challenges.

At Love Trails, the original running, adventure and music festival, there’s a different kind of energy. Here, crowds gather together to celebrate community, escapism and inquisitive creativity – while also exercising and eating well – feeling physically fitter in both body and mind. Festivalgoers are today swapping drenched tents, hangovers and lager for long weekends of wellness – downward dogs, matcha lattes, and meditation – leaving with memories of incredible scenery, music and connection. Perhaps most importantly, they're feeling more emotionally grounded than when they arrived.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Gower Peninsula, Love Trails is a four-day festival – the base itself is nestled into a hillside overlooking the ocean on the grounds of a 14th-century castle, and from there, nature is your

playground. You’ll find some of the most striking trail runs or hikes you could ever stumble across: towering limestone, gorse-clad cliffs carved by storms, ridged with secret coves, and sparkly beaches with forests sprinkled around for good measure. There's also surf lessons; foraging; coasteering; rock climbing; stand-up paddleboarding; and inspiring talks from world-class thought leaders, athletes, scientists and authors in the adventure space. Not to mention workshops, adventure films, and even a spa.

Things kick off in the evening with a party run: think boomboxes and colourful smoke cannons. Uplifting, euphonic beats are still a solid focus,. "It’s a unique multisensory combination,’"says Ollie Baxter, Head of Music for the festival. "In a world that can sometimes feel isolating, events like ours create space for genuine connections, fostering a sense of connection that goes way beyond a shared love of a band." And it’s clearly resonating; the festival started with just 100 attendees back in 2017, and by 2019, pre-pre-pandemic, 2000 people rolled up. In the summer of 2024, Love Trails is expected to have almost 4000 thrill-seekers venture to the Gower. "We recommend trying a bit of everything," says festival founder Theo Larn-Jones, "but we’ve curated the 55

festival carefully so that the main music programme doesn’t kick off until the evening when most adventure activities are over, so you’ll never have to choose between your favourite act or a run, for example."

It's a happy-go-lucky kinda festival, so Theo also recommends picking out key things you may enjoy in advance, but be prepared for some surprises along the way. "People often love the talks and surprise pop-up gigs they stumble across over the weekend as much as the bits they planned for," says Theo. "So keep an open mind and try to experience everything we have to offer."

In addition to the exciting activities and inspiring talks, Love Trails also offers a variety of healthy and delicious food options. From vegan to gluten-free, revellers can indulge in nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day. And for those who want to take their Love Trails experience to the next level, there are VIP packages available.

 Love Trails Festival 2024 is set to take place 11–14 July. Prices for the four-day, four-night festival from £240 to include camping (bring your own tent or upgrade to glamping). Prices for an Ultimate Upgrade ticket, to include unlimited access to trail races and ultradistance challenges, luxury shower upgrade, pamperroom pass and other goodies, from £395;


Love Trails top picks

Athlete Talk: Trail runner, renowned filmmaker and the ultimate storyteller, Billy Yang’s taste of the outdoors is infectious, and will have you chomping at the bit to get on those trails.

Experience: Running to the sea from the Love Trails festival site is the quintessential run-to-wild-swim swim experience. There's nothing quite like it on a glorious summer's day.

Athlete Talk: Listening to Lucy Bartholomew: World renowned runner, Lucy knows how to chase summer and her dreams, her uplifting messages will help you do the same.

Music: Listening to Joy (Anonymous) – A high energy dance duo performing a DJ set for the bucket list. Their music revels in the euphoria of being alive, and all the feelings good or bad that come with it.

C H A N N E L I S L A N D S E A I I A A , , .



Experience the old-world elegance and Scottish charm of Fingal: a luxury floating hotel like no other, where seafaring history meets modern glamour


Welcome to Fingal, a luxury floating hotel permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront, recently awarded 'Hotel of the Year' by PoB Hotels and 'Hotel of the Year Scotland' by AA, offering five-star accommodation, and fine dining to leave you feeling shipshape in no time!

Enjoy afternoon tea in an art-deco-inspired 2 AA Rosette restaurant, with ingredients such as the ship’s own smoked salmon, cured on board. Choose from a range of the finest teas followed by a selection of perfectly formed savoury and sweet delicacies, all made on board in Fingal’s galleys. Sip nautical cocktails at the bar and enjoy the mesmerising waterfront views from floor-to-ceiling windows.

This is no ordinary getaway, AA five-star Fingal is a former Northern Lighthouse Board ship that has been transformed into a unique and exquisite boutique hotel. As you step aboard, you will

be greeted by the curves and tilts, deck spaces, and beautiful lines that tell the story of Fingal’s rich seafaring history, transporting you to a bygone era of glamour and style.

Every contour and angle, from the spectacular cabins with their curved walls and portholes to the shimmering ceiling of The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar, is celebrated to offer a unique experience far removed from your everyday world.

The jewel in Fingal’s crown is her vast deck spaces, which provide a breathtaking setting for sipping Champagne, stargazing and ruminating on the rich heritage and enchanting beauty of this one-of-a-kind boutique hotel. Your ship awaits.

 To enjoy an unforgettable afternoon tea at The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar, please reserve a table. Prices are from £55 per person or £70 with a glass of Champagne. Rooms at Fingal are priced from £300,; 59

100 glorious YEARS

As famed Scottish hotel Gleneagles celebrates its centenary, British Travel Journal discovers all that the ‘glorious playground’ has to offer, as well as visiting its latest opening – Edinburgh’s hottest new hotel, Gleneagles Townhouse


There are a handful of hotels in the UK that have achieved iconic status, and Gleneagles is undoubtedly one of them. Located amid the beautiful heather-clad hills of Perthshire, the Scottish institution marks its centenary in 2024, and while it may be world-renowned for its golf, there is so much more to this luxurious hotel, as I was to discover. But before I delved into to the old, it was time to visit the new…

In 2022, Gleneagles unveiled a brand-new hotel and it is here that my adventure began. Sitting proudly on St Andrew Square in the heart of Edinburgh, Gleneagles Townhouse has taken up residence in the former Bank of Scotland HQ, and it took five years to transform the building into the staggering five-star hotel that it is today.

There are 33 opulent bedrooms in total, all with soft pastel colours and a distinctly regal feel. Both a hotel and members' club, the historic building is a warren of stunning architectural features and chic spaces, serviced by friendly and efficient staff. In the basement, there’s a high-tech gym and wellness space. But instead I headed for the hotel’s enviable rooftop bar, Lamplighters; a wonderfully intimate and stylish spot with glorious city views and seriously good cocktails (open to hotel guests and members only.).

Dinner is served downstairs in The Spence (Scottish for larder), set within the vast and breathtakingly beautiful former banking hall, resplendent with ornate plasterwork, grand granite columns and magnificent cupola. Scottish fish and game make up the sophisticated food offering; a decadent crab crumpet and some hefty Isle of Mull scallops came first,

followed by the likes of fresh sea trout and venison loin. The sleek wooden dessert trolley, with its layers of picture-perfect patisseries and tempting cheeses, is not to be missed.

After an excellent night’s sleep, thanks to the unbelievably comfortable bed, a heavenly almond brioche set me up perfectly for the journey ahead. Just over an hour’s drive through exquisite Scottish countryside later, I approached the imposing stone grey facade of The Gleneagles Hotel…

A charming, kilt-clad team gave me the warmest of welcomes as car doors were opened, bags unpacked, and the car disappeared, as if by magic. I gently spun through the building’s impressive revolving door and felt as though I had crossed into a different era.

From hosting legendary star-studded parties, welcoming the biggest names in fashion and design, to historic meetings 61

for world leaders, innovators and big thinkers, Gleneagles has remained the place to see and be seen for a century. When it first opened in 1924, its discerning guests would arrive at the hotel’s very own train station, which is still in operation today. After its grand opening ball, the hotel was described as a ‘Riviera in the Highlands’. A century later, it still exudes that same sense of captivating glamour.

Hospitality group Ennismore took ownership in 2015 and you can tell; it has introduced chic, modern design style, exquisite attention to detail and a splash of playfulness, whilst retaining the hotel’s rich heritage. There are 232 bedrooms and 27 luxurious suites, yet it manages to feel intimate and cosy throughout. My spacious, elegant bedroom had a sumptuous marble bathroom, picturesque views of the Ochil Hills, and a working fireplace that sprung to life at the click of a button. However, there was little time

to idle by the fire – I had much to explore.

Gleneagles is known as ‘the glorious playground’, and for good reason. Guests can enjoy a staggering range of pursuits across the sprawling 850-acre estate, including shooting and fishing, horse riding, gundog training, off-road driving, lawn games and so much more, and of course, globally-famous golf. Axe throwing and zip wiring are just two of the more modern activities on offer, but instead I was keen to try my hand at one of the oldest sports in the world.

Dating back thousands of years, falconry involves the hunting of wild animals (for food) by means of employing a trained bird. Over thirty birds of prey live at Gleneagles and under the tuition of expert falconer, Steve, I was introduced to Comet – a magnificent Harris Hawk – and shown how to fly and handle her. I watched in awe as she swooped and soared, and the moment she landed powerfully on my

‘My spacious, elegant bedroom had a sumptuous marble bathroom, picturesque views of the Ochil Hills, and a working fireplace that sprung to life at the click of a button. However, there was little time to idle by the fire – I had much to explore.’


arm was completely thrilling. Equally as impressive was Steve’s extensive knowledge, warmth, and deep respect for these extraordinary birds.

I quickly realised that this same passion and level of expertise is commonplace at Gleneagles. The service across the estate was second to none; impressively intuitive, consistently efficient, and genuinely heartfelt. Despite the five-star offering, there was no hint of stuffiness – the talented team(s) here may deliver a world-class experience with pride, but they do it with a gentle sense of fun and friendliness.

After a beautiful cycle ride, I made for the main house house, where there are restaurants and bars galore, including a two-Michelin-star offering. Lunch was a faultless Caesar salad in the relaxed and supremely comfortable Century Bar, which also serves terrific cocktails and fun whisky flights. I had dinner in The Birnam; the hotel’s laid-back and impossibly romantic Italian-American grill where, among tumbling plants and twinkling fairy lights, I feasted on juicy prawns, fire-baked with garlic and chilli, and a mountain of perfectly crisp vegetable fritto. The rich and silky seafood tagliatelle, with sweet Scottish lobster and huge scallops, was unforgettably good.

Another gastronomic highlight is breakfast. Served in the dazzling surrounds of The Strathearn, there’s a menu of hot dishes (don’t miss the French toast) and a staggering array of seemingly endless buffets and food stations, all presented beautifully. Smiling, smartly dressed chefs whip up fresh omelettes, and there’s a small bar where you can help yourself to a Bloody Mary or a glass of chilled fizz. One waiter told me 63
‘In contrast, later that evening I donned my glad rags and headed for The Strathearn... the grand finale was the restaurant’s renowned crêpe suzette, flambéed tableside. The whole delicious experience was positively dreamlike.’

that some guests spend more than two hours enjoying this veritable feast, and it’s easy to see why.

After a few lengths of the pool in the sleek, recently refurbished spa, another adventure called. This time, I spent an hour tearing around the Scottish countryside in an argocat; an all-terrain semi-amphibious vehicle typically used by local landowners for tackling steep and rocky areas. Needless to say, it was a fun and exhilarating way to take in some of the stunning surrounding scenery

In contrast, later that evening I donned my glad rags and headed for The Strathearn, Gleneagles’ astonishingly beautiful fine-dining restaurant – renowned for its history, theatrical magic and Art Deco splendour. To the evocative soundtrack of a live piano, the Champagne trolley was whizzed over to the table and a glistening glass was promptly poured. This was followed by caviar blinis, a succulent lobster and salmon raviolo, and then Dover sole, expertly filleted on a trolley at the table. The grand finale was the restaurant’s

renowned crêpe suzette, flambéed tableside. The whole delicious experience was positively dreamlike.

The following day, with check-out looming, I found solace in the hotel’s luxurious shopping arcade. When it was finally time to bid farewell to the glorious playground, I felt genuinely sad to be saying goodbye to the place where I had been made to feel so welcome. Yes, you can fly a hawk, tear around off-road, cycle for miles, eat and drink wonderful things, and so much more, but the beating heart of Gleneagles is its people, and they are nothing short of glorious too.

And so, as this extraordinary place celebrates such a momentous milestone, all I can say is – here’s to the next 100 years.

 Rates at Gleneagles start from £575 based on two sharing and including breakfast, Gleneagles Townhouse starts at £495 per room per night;


Escape to award-winning Hoar Cross Hall, nestled in the idyllic Staffordshire countryside, with an indulgent Spa Stay or Multi-Night Retreat.

Let our historic Hall host your spacation to remember.


British Travel Journal enjoys a weekend stay in the secluded sanctuary of Silverlake Dorset, an oasis of serene lakes, trails and forest

Imagine waking up to the sound of birds chirping and the gentle rustle of leaves as you step out onto your private decking, sipping your morning coffee and taking in the breathtaking views of the scenic lake and lush greenery. At Silverlake, a luxury hidden estate in the heart of Dorset, launched by Habitat First – the family-run business behind Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds – you can do just that.

Settling into our lakeside home-from-home, aptly named The Hideaway, was effortless. Situated on Overton Island, we were staying in the resort's newest village (there was some construction going on across the water at Shepperd's View and Baxter's Rise but it didn't disturb our stay).

Our environmentally responsible holiday home came with its own private parking and electric-vehicle charging point, and inside, the decor is a soothing blend of cool, calming colours.

The spacious open-plan living on the ground floor is the showpiece of the house, designed with entertaining in mind. An abundance of natural light streams in through the floor-toceiling windows and bifold doors. The state-of-the-art kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, including a stylish wine cooler and a dishwasher with a time beam, projecting the remaining cycle duration onto the floor (I want one of these!), there's a Bluetooth Marshall speaker, and a cosy log burner –while upstairs sundecks run the entire width of the house.

Other properties on the island enjoy waterfront access, on-plot canoe stores, and extended decking with frameless glass panels that provide an ideal spot to relax and soak in the peaceful views and sounds of the surroundings – and all offer access to the on-site facilities, such as the spa, watersports hire and nature trails. Holiday home ownership starts at £450,000.

‘Our first evening was spent feasting on wood-fired pizza... and gazing at the star constellations twinkling above us in the night sky from our private hot tub as we wound down for a good night’s sleep’

Once unpacked, we delved into our supplies of local Dorset produce – artisan cheeses, freshly baked bread, a selection of cured meats and charcuterie from The Real Cure Dorset, chutney From Dorset with Love, and a bottle of red wine from the nearby Langham Estate. It was a lovely touch to also discover some sweet treats with a handwritten card welcoming us to Silverlake – and we felt ready to start our weekend.

We took a stroll to explore Beaumont Village and to collect some bikes from the Activity Hub (guests have inclusive hire of bikes, paddleboards, kayaks and other equipment) and stumbled across the Yurt where children were making new friends, and families played board games around the logburning stove.

Our first evening was spent feasting on wood-fired pizza collected from the Pizza Shack and gazing at the star constellations twinkling above us in the night sky from our private hot tub as we wound down for a good night’s sleep.

The next day, keen to explore this flourishing nature reserve, we downloaded the Silverlake app, which provides an 67
‘With our four-legged companion in tow, we headed for the Knighton Reserve on two-wheels and first made a beeline for Pooches Placeess’

interactive map of the lakeside nature trails and off-site local trails around the Dorset countryside (you can also use it for essential information, such as seasonal opening times, spa treatments and information on booking additional activities).

With our four-legged companion in tow, we headed for the Knighton Reserve on two wheels and first made a beeline for Pooches Place, the reserve’s new dog-friendly swimming area. As we took the path that led us around the lakes, we felt


a sense of serenity – though we had missed the morning otters, the birds that surrounded us were a vision of loveliness.

We eventually stopped at the Waterhole, a picturesque spot that allowed us to take a breather while admiring the colourful dragonfly and damselfly. It was there that we met the friendly park ranger, who pointed out the beautiful emperor dragonfly and shared that there were over 150 species of birds at Silverlake. Some of the birds to look out for include the Dartford warbler and stonechat, often seen flying together,

along with shoveler, gadwall, tufted duck, grey heron, little egret, little grebe, great crested grebe, green woodpecker and buzzard. The ranger also regaled us with stories about the incredible starling murmurations that take place over

Starling and Beaumont Lakes in autumn. In fact, Starling Lake is named after these fantastic murmurations, making it an ideal spot to birdwatch all year-round. As we were on a former quarry, it was not long before we came across a type 22 pillbox military bunker (with a replica Bren gun) constructed during the early years of WWII as a lookout post to guard Portland and defend the then RAF Warmwell Airfield. Next we stumbled across a great viewing point, where we could see down across Outer Heath and the Fishing Lake.

We crossed paths with a group of families whose kids were excitedly exploring the Dormouse Adventure Trail (there's five wildlife points for them to find throughout the estate) – a route we discovered leads to The Island – a fun play area with a wooden fortress, rope swings, and a zip wire that goes over an eco-pool. 69

Following signs back towards the village, we passed the fishing hut and jetty at Otter Lake. Seasoned anglers can cast off and fish to their heart’s content here; the lake is home to carp, tench, bream and roach, and exclusive for Silverlake guests only.

After a morning of cycling, I decided to take a break and relax at the Hurricane Spa, named after the Hawker Hurricane aircraft stationed there during the Second World War. While I enjoyed the heated outdoor swimming pool and glided through its lengths, my husband and daughters had a great time stand-up paddleboarding on the Beaumont Lake, enjoying the serene surroundings.

I couldn't resist the opportunity to try the holistic wellness GAIA treatments, which were truly tempting. If I had more time, I would have definitely booked a Crystal Therapy treatment or a Mud Cocoon.

We met afterwards at the Hurricane Terrace, a picturesque bistro with views of the lake, the outdoor swimming pool, and tennis courts. The bistro serves light snacks, Rolly's Brownies, Purbeck Ice Cream, locally sourced wines, gins, beers and more. It was a great place to grab a quick bite and sip on smoothies or hot chocolates. (The Firefly restaurant with an open-plan kitchen and bar is set to open soon.)

The following morning, I braved a cold-water immersion in Beaumont Lake from the sandy shore before warming up again in the poolside sauna. My daughters enjoyed a workout in the state-of-the-art gym while my husband and I enjoyed a drink on the terrace. I chatted with Aileen Ross, who has a holiday home

‘During our drive back home, I couldn't help but reflect on how rejuvenating it felt to spend time in nature. Silverlake provided us with the perfect getaway to unwind and reconnect with the great outdoors’

at the retreat, and runs Silverlake’s Pilates and yoga retreats – breath work and yoga classes combined with campfires and stargazing, sea dips and saunas, hot stone massages, nature walks and nutrition demonstrations. They sound heavenly, and so I jotted down the dates for her upcoming Summer Solstice Pilates and Wellbeing Retreat (21 – 23 June).

Silverlake is conveniently located just 2.5 hours from London and 10 minutes from the coast, making it an ideal base to explore the area. The pebble beaches at Ringstead are just over five miles away, while the Blue Flag beaches at Sandbanks, the fossil-filled cliffs of Lyme Regis and the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast are all within easy reach.

In addition to the nearby beaches, there are historic towns and unspoilt countryside to discover. Dorchester, known as Thomas Hardy’s town, is perfect for a leisurely day exploring independent boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Nearby Moreton Forest offers scenic walks, while art lovers

can enjoy Sculpture by the Lakes. For those who enjoy coastal walks, the Jurassic coastline offers stunning clifftop hikes and shorefront strolls in search of fossils, with famous spots including Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. History buffs can explore Dorset’s rich heritage, including ancient ruins like Corfe Castle, and the town of Lyme Regis, famous for its dramatic Cobb and as the home of Thomas Hardy.

During our drive back home, I couldn't help but reflect on how rejuvenating it felt to spend time in nature. Silverlake provided us with the perfect getaway to unwind and reconnect with the great outdoors, leaving us with memories we'll cherish forever. I'm excited to see what other exciting projects Habitat First have in store for us in the future!

 Silverlake holidays from £90 per person for a two-night break. Lakeside and hot-tub cottages are available from £117pp for a twonight break; 71

Going Rogan

British Travel Journal embarks on an unforgettable foodie tour of Simon Rogan’s farm and acclaimed field-to-fork restaurants in the Lake District, where sustainability, seasonality and world-class culinary innovation combine in delicious harmony

As a self-confessed food fanatic (read: glutton), I nearly always plan my holidays around what I’m going to eat when I get there. I’ve driven to deepest Cornwall to feast on fresh seafood, travelled miles across Scotland for a specific scoop of ice cream, and spent a week in Somerset eating my body weight in cheese, but there is one gastronomic pilgrimage in particular that has been on my list for quite some time…

Today, food lovers flock to the Lake District not only for the beautiful scenery, but for a taste of Simon Rogan’s famous farm-to-fork philosophy. One of the most celebrated chefs in the world and recently awarded an MBE for services to the food industry, Rogan is passionate about the relationship between food and nature and has built an epicurean empire based on this ethos in and around the small Cumbrian village of Cartmel. Here, he owns a 12-acre farm and a handful of acclaimed restaurants, including the legendary L’Enclume; the only three Michelin star restaurant in the North of England, and one of only eight in the UK. It also holds a Green Michelin Star for its rigorous approach to sustainability.

My first port of call was Henrock, Simon Rogan’s relaxed and informal restaurant at Linthwaite House; a luxurious country house hotel near the small town of Bowness-onWindermere. I checked into a sumptuous bedroom with a huge egg-shaped bath and beautiful views of sculpturedotted gardens and Windermere's twinkling waters. My first taste of Rogan’s philosophy came downstairs in the chic, art-filled bar, where even the cocktail menu is eco-conscious. I ordered a pina colada – made using locally foraged gorse flowers known for their coconutty flavour, and topped with a creamy gorse foam. It was ingenious, delicious, and with minimal air miles to boot.

The menu at Henrock is inspired by flavours and techniques discovered by Rogan and his team on their travels, reimagined using the very best local ingredients, including produce from Rogan’s own farm, Our Farm, just a few miles away. Each course was carefully presented at the table by a team of friendly and efficient staff. A fiendishly fluffy Parker House roll inspired by a trip to Boston came first, followed by a blitz of extraordinary flavours that celebrated fish, farm, and field and demonstrated an array of extraordinary cooking techniques. Highlights included zingy slices of pickled mooli and buttery fermented cabbage, and a crisp mussel cracker dotted with sea buckthorn purée and microscopic leaves that packed a punch, despite their tiny size. It was all absolutely delicious, from start to finish. 73

‘I sat overlooking a trickling stream and sipped on a nasturtium negroni accompanied by a selection of picture-perfect ‘snacks’, which included a bite-sized chunk of ‘truffle pudding’ – luscious layers of croissant and truffle custard. I could have eaten ten.’

The following day, I made the picturesque 30-minute drive to Cartmel – a chocolate-box scene of characterful winding streets, higgledy-piggledy walls, and rose-strewn cottages. Rogan has 16 extremely comfortable bedrooms and suites dotted around the village. I checked into a beautiful Superior Room with a rustic beamed ceiling and plenty of soothing natural materials, plus a luxurious roll-top bath and French doors that overlooked a small courtyard and sprawling fig tree.

Soon it was time for lunch next door at Rogan & Co which, despite its one Michelin star, has a reassuringly relaxed neighbourhood feel. After a warm welcome, I sat overlooking a trickling stream and sipped on a nasturtium negroni accompanied by a selection of picture-perfect ‘snacks’, which included a bite-sized chunk of ‘truffle pudding’ – luscious layers of croissant and truffle custard. I could have eaten ten.

The cosy atmosphere here is reflected in the comforting menu. My starter – a bowl of Our Farm heritage tomatoes (some fresh, others dehydrated and semi- dehydrated) with smoked egg yolk, sourdough crisp and a variety of cress –tasted like a sun-kissed vegetable patch on a balmy summer’s day. Dessert was another highlight – a featherlight sponge cake topped with juicy cherries and velvety woodruff ice

cream, expertly paired with a glass of plum-infused sake. After lunch, I made a beeline for Our Farm, just minutes outside Cartmel, which guests can visit during the spring and summer months. Here, Rogan and his team grow near-perfect produce in a natural and sustainable way. Growers and chefs work side-by-side; the farm essentially an extension of the kitchen(s). No chemicals are used, and what is produced –depending on the rhythms of the seasons –determines all of Rogan’s menus.


Charismatic head farmer John Rowland showed me around, and I was quickly in awe of his deep and intrinsic understanding of the natural world. Together, we explored rows of flourishing vegetables and leafy plants, polytunnels filled with delicate microherbs, a fleet of state-of-the-art composters, and more. I left with a deep admiration for Rogan’s gastronomic vision, and the realisation that Our Farm is at its very core.

The jewel in Rogan’s Cumbrian crown is the multi-awardwinning L’Enclume, and later that evening I arrived at its surprisingly unassuming front door.

Opened in 2002 and located in a former 13th-century blacksmith workshop, this now world-famous 50-seater restaurant still has the original anvil at its centre (L’Enclume means ‘the anvil’ in French). I passed through the rustic, lowceilinged dining room and out into a small conservatory, where generously spaced tables offer views of both the pretty cottage garden and the small, busy kitchen.

Over the next four hours, a staggering 17 courses arrived, each one a flavour-filled masterclass in creativity, impeccable precision, and mind-boggling technique. Highlights included a small pot of gently set seaweed custard topped with a rich 75

beef broth, a generous dollop of caviar and poached Maldon oyster; a crisp fritter of smoked eel with lovage emulsion dotted with fermented sweetcorn and perfectly miniature leaves; and a bowl of frozen Tunworth cheese mixed with a dark malt crumb and topped with tiny ‘droplets’ of caramelised lemon thyme. I could go on (and on).

The evening ended with an array of stunning sweet treats, including a ceramic pouch filled with fruity sweetness and brimming with a medley of herbs and colourful flowers. The pleasingly chilled Kendall mint pebbles were another unforgettable delight, as was the famous ‘Anvil’ caramel mousse, with miso, apple, and spruce.

Despite the level of quality on offer at L’Enclume, there is not a starched tablecloth in sight. There is no dress code or unnecessary formality. Instead, it has a laid-back feel, and it thrums with the excitement of everybody there. Staff, who move around the space in exquisite synchronicity, are friendly, sociable, and supremely efficient, and their enthusiasm and knowledge make the whole experience all the more enjoyable.

I woke up the next day profoundly disappointed that it was all over, but thankfully another remarkable dish was yet to come. Breakfast is served at at Rogan & Co, and amid an assortment of devilled eggs and thick rashers of local bacon, came a small stone bowl of creamy porridge, topped with a crisp layer of caramelised sugar, and generously laced with whisky. It was a suitable end to my incredibly delectable stay.

As I digested – both figuratively and literally – on the journey home, I considered why this trip has become something of a pilgrimage for so many. Yes, it’s set in an incredibly beautiful part of the world and both the culinary innovation and superb service are of the very highest level, but in a world where there is so much distance between what we eat and where it is grown, the sense of place found in Rogan’s restaurants – a product of the genuine, symbiotic relationship that he has created between farm and fork – is totally unique and incredibly special, not to mention extremely delicious.

Today, many chefs refer to seasonality and sustainability, but what Rogan and his extraordinary team have created in the Lake District is the real deal. This is one epicurean adventure not to be missed.

 Rooms at Linthwaite House start at £260. Simon Rogan’s rooms in Cartmel start at £270 and include breakfast at Rogan & Co, and guarantee a table reservation at L’Enclume.

SeaSoned to Perfection British getaways inspired by provenance and local bounty. Discover inventive dining and exceptional regional ingredients.

WHERE THE wild things are

British Travel Journal switches off at Elmley – the only National Nature Reserve in the country where you can spend the night – as it celebrates ten years of its stunning, nature-immersed cabins and unique wildlife experiences

There aren’t many places in the UK, let alone the world, where you can lie in bed and watch owls hunt for their supper, go on a 4x4 safari across miles of unspoilt marshland, and unwind in a huge outdoor bathtub while curious hares go hopping past. Located on the south coast of the Isle of Sheppey off the northern coast of Kent, where the Thames Estuary opens out into the North Sea, Elmley is the only National Nature Reserve in the country where you can spend the night.

This whopping 3,300-acre estate was taken on by farmers Philip and Corinne Merricks 40 years ago, and they have worked tirelessly to restore biodiversity on the marshes by transforming a once intensive farm into a site of international

wildlife significance. Their daughter and son-in-law, Georgina and Gareth, moved back to the estate in 2013; captivated by its vast skies and teeming wildlife, they set about creating sensitive and stylish on-site accommodation that would allow visitors to experience both dawn and dusk in comfort, and in doing so they became early glamping pioneers.

I first visited not long after Elmley opened its gates to overnight guests. Back then, there were just three shepherd’s huts. Ten years later, those same lovely huts have been joined by several custom-made cabins, as well as Elmley Cottage, which sleeps 10, and Kingshill Farmhouse, a beautifully renovated 18th-century farmhouse that sleeps 14.


Georgina and Gareth now have a small team, but they remain friendly, hands-on hosts, and all of their accommodation offers sweeping views across the reserve and a guest experience that is totally unique, peaceful, and truly immersed in nature. Better yet – once day visitors have gone home, overnight guests have private access to the entire reserve, which includes miles of nature trails, a wild swimming pond, and an idyllic private beach.

Elmley may be just 40 miles from London, yet it feels a world away. The farm itself is a two-mile drive from the main road, so there are few places more remote. There is a clear juxtaposition in the landscape here; in one direction, local industry has created a skyline dotted with factory buildings and billowing chimneys, and in the other, unspoilt beauty

as far as the eye can see. There are miles and miles of flat farmland dotted with Romney sheep, intermingled with salt marshes and glistening waterways that gently snake through the swaying grass. The sky is so huge that’s it’s almost hard for the brain to compute, and there are birds everywhere; waders busily peck around in the shallows as huge birds of prey swoop overhead, looking for their next snack.

I checked in and set off to find my lodgings for the night. Named after the ferryman's hut that used to sit in the same spot for staff to watch over the Elmley ferry crossing (when there was one), The Ferryman’s is a stunning custom-built ‘hut’ that has everything one might need, and more. Following a recent refresh, the stylish interiors are a pleasing mix of soft, serene yellows, reclaimed wood, elegant patterns, and cosy natural fabrics. Among the vintage bird-watching books and woolly hot-water bottles, there’s a small kitchenette and bijou bathroom complete with flushing toilet, shower, fluffy towels, bathrobes, and luxurious nature-powered products. An eye-height window in the shower ensures nature connection, even while washing, and 79

although Elmley is off-grid it generates its own power using solar panels, biofuel and huge batteries, so there’s plenty of hot water and electricity.

But the cosy cabin’s most impressive feature is found at the foot of the king-size bed; a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that can be folded back to offer full immersion in the great outdoors. From here, I watched two majestic short-eared owls soaring through the sky hunting for their supper at dusk; and in the morning, I was awoken by the most spectacular sunrise that turned the sky a marshmallow-y pink.

Speaking of marshmallows – a healthy supply is provided for toasting over the firepit on the cabin’s private terrace, which is also home to a huge roll-top bathtub and an outdoor

shower. What better way to start the day? From both inside and out, the far-reaching views across the reserve are staggering, as is the peace and quiet.

There are several ways to explore the estate; you can set off on foot, armed with a map and a picnic, which Elmley can provide, or join an expert-led walking tour or wildlife experience. I plumped for an off-road adventure in the estate’s open-top Land Rover. I clambered into the back and was given a pair of binoculars and a woollen blanket, just in case. The reserve is home to over 80 species of bird, as well as water voles, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, hares and more. Over the next two hours, reserve warden and tour leader, Simon, drove us miles across the big-sky estate, pointing

‘With my feet back on solid ground, I passed Elmley’s beautifully converted Victorian barn... thanks to a careful level of laid-back luxury, it’s less campsite and more glampsite, authentically shaped by nature ’

out various things along the way, and sharing just a few of Elmley’s conservation success stories.

Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a bird-watcher, but armed with my borrowed ‘bins’ (twitcher lingo for binoculars), I quickly became both fascinated and thrilled by Elmley’s array of beautiful birdlife. From the back of the truck, we spotted flocks of wigeon, lapwing and starlings, oystercatchers, redshank, brent geese, and more, as well as several huge marsh harriers, out hunting for prey.

With my feet back on solid ground, I passed Elmley’s beautifully converted Victorian barn (used for weddings and events) and made my way to The Linhay – a cosy, communal space and small honesty shop for guests, where I helped myself to a cup of tea and curled up on a sofa by the crackling wood burner. There’s more seating dotted around outside, interspersed with flower-filled planters, firepits and pretty festoon lighting. Much like the huts, it’s

all very tastefully designed, but not overly so. Thanks to a careful level of laid-back luxury, it’s less campsite and more glampsite, authentically shaped by nature.

As a busy working farm and National Nature Reserve, the offering at Elmley is one of peace and relaxation, and perhaps not for those who would prefer the full concierge services of a hotel. There is no restaurant; instead, hot, home-cooked meals can be delivered to your hut, which is a treat in itself. I had a delicious roast vegetable cassoulet with salad, crusty bread, and a big glass of organic red wine, all in the comfort of my cosy cabin. For pudding, there was a silky slice of burnt Basque cheesecake with fresh fruit. I quickly drifted off to the sound of owls hooting in the night, with the curtains left wide open, ready for sunrise…

The following day started with a long hot soak in the alfresco tub, completely immersed in beautiful birdsong and the occasional ‘baa’ of the nearby sheep. From the bath, I 81

watched as two small hares chased each other through the grass, and marvelled as silvery flashes of dunlins swooped overhead. Just when I thought the morning couldn’t get much better, breakfast arrived; a bountiful bag filled with homemade granola, warm croissants, Kentish apple juice, smashed peas on toast, and more.

Before re-entering the real world, I had one more uniquely ‘Elmley’ experience to enjoy. Past reed-filled ponds and preening ducks, I found Swale Studio; a small cottage recently transformed into Elmley's new wellbeing space. Here, in partnership with award-winning natural brands Votary and Verden, there’s a selection of blissful treatments on offer.

The Elmley Signature is a deeply grounding combination of deep-tissue massage and a nourishing facial. I floated out two hours later and spent the rest of the day strolling around the reserve, absorbed in the wildlife. Just before I left, I spotted two more short-eared owls swooping in the breeze.

In the ten years since Georgina and Gareth opened their very first shepherd’s huts, the world may have changed exponentially, but I am pleased to say that this incredibly special place hasn’t. There may be a few more cabins, cottages, and carefully curated experiences to enjoy, but Elmley is just as peaceful and beautiful as it ever was, if not even more so

 Accommodation at Elmley includes eight huts/cabins, a small number of bell tents in the warmer months (May–September), Elmley Cottage (sleeps 10) and Kingshill Farmhouse (sleeps 12). Prices start at £155 per night, room only;



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British Travel Journal spends a blissful 48 hours on Herm: an unspoilt island retreat in the Channel Islands. Abundant with wildlife, flowers and tranquil beaches, Herm is a natural sanctuary for wellness, with coastal footpaths, twinkling sea views, dark skies and exquisite sunsets

Herm might be the smallest of the Channel Islands, yet it holds within its stunning scenery, natural beauty, and rich history, a huge spirit that is bound to captivate anyone who sets foot on its seemingly untouched pristine beaches and scenic trails.

Herm has no cars, bikes or cats, perfect for our two-yearold Spanadoor Poppy, who seemed every bit as excited as we were to explore the miniature island – just a mile-and-a-half long by less than half-a-mile wide. It's so small that, depending on the tides and sea levels, the overall land mass fluctuates by around 25%. Tide times are also important for the local oyster farmers, whose farming site is on Herm’s Fisherman’s Beach.

It is here that they grow Guernsey and Herm Oysters, available to sample across the island or they can be freshly delivered to your cottage. During special weekends at Shell Beach you can order from a specific Herm Oysters menu and watch as the oysters are shucked 'sea-to-fork’ style for you.

Or, you can book a day on the farm to learn firsthand from the master mermmeliers about how the oysters are grown, raised and harvested, before joining the talented chefs at the White House Hotel (the island’s only hotel), who prepare your oysters for tastings, and show you a selection of recipes and serving suggestions.

The White House is an enchanting Grade-II-listed building that dates back to the 1800s. Several spacious settees on the lawn are perfectly placed amid the towering palm trees and vibrant flower borders of the Britain in Bloom Gold Award-winning gardens, with sights of the harbour and spectacular sea views.

Feeling the gentle breeze on your skin and breathing in the sweet scents of the flowers brings a sense of peacefulness and calmness to the soul. On arrival our teenage daughters, Holly and Daisy, were quick to spot the tennis courts and

‘Feeling the gentle breeze on your skin and breathing in the sweet scents of the flowers brings a sense of peacefulness and calmness to the soul.’

eager for a game. We left them to thrash it out on court and jumped in a John Deere 4-seater Gator with Craig Senior, the island’s CEO, to explore more of this treasured destination. It was a beautiful afternoon, and we felt we had arrived in

paradise. Craig waved at a group of friendly locals enjoying a drink by the harbour as their children enjoyed jumping into the sea from the harbour wall. We placed our bags in our holiday cottage, Sea Holly, and picked up Harvey, Craig’s Sproodle (and forever best friend), before heading to Mouisonniere Beach on the island’s north coast.

Poppy and Harvey teared it up along the pristine white sands that span the entire length of Herm’s north coast between Alderney Point and Oyster Rocks. Not many visitors cross the common or traverse the coastline to reach Mouisonniere, choosing to visit the beaches with cafes instead – so you can’t beat it for peace and tranquillity. Other than one other dog-walker, we had the entire beach to ourselves.

Craig shared his story and passion for the island. Having moved to Herm with his family in November 2019, he swapped his high-pressured job in London (where he was accountable for 30 golf and leisure clubs) for his high-spirited commitment to Herm’s 70 residents, 100 or so additional seasonal staff, and up to 100,000 tourists who visit the island each year. 85

Craig’s new purpose is financially supported and actively encouraged by John and Julia Singer, the current owners of Herm. It's a place that's special to the Singers, having had their first date on Herm in the mid-'90s. They relocated from Guernsey in 2008, following the purchase of the remaining 40-year lease (funded by the charitable trust Starboard Settlement; agreed with the States of Guernsey, who act as the landlord). They've harboured a deep love for the island ever since. And it is easy to see why. Given the peacefulness, the birds, the sea life, and the remote location, it takes less than a few hours on the island to feel there’s something rather magical about Herm.

Craig took us next to St Tugual’s Chapel – one of the oldest buildings on the island, dating back to the 11th century. The chapel is named after St Tugual, a Welsh monk who lived in the 6th century and was known for his wisdom and healing powers.

““It is about striking the right balance,” Craig told us. “Staying sympathetic to the island’s history and culture while accepting that it needs to move into the 21st century.”

Four years after moving to the island with his family, Craig and his wife Emma tied the knot at the chapel – their


two daughters as bridesmaids and Harvey (the dog) as ring-bearer. Craig’s pace of life might have slowed down considerably since resettling in Herm; nonetheless, even throughout the pandemic, he never really stopped. One of his biggest projects has been upgrading the island’s boilers and converting them to biodiesel – along with lots of construction projects, refurbishments and decorating.

Craig showed us the brand new decking and viewing platform at the top of Harbour Hill – a labour of love completed by his team during the COVID-19 lockdown, together with a new nature trail with photographic information boards dotted around the island (and quiz sheets available for the children). Poppy and Harvey led the way to the reinvented Zen Garden (formerly a granite quarry) and winner of this year’s RHS Community Awards, planted with Japanese cherry trees, cloud trees, and Japanese maples. This is the place to come when you want to escape it all, found at the top of the island’s Valley Garden.

We took a short detour to see the village primary school with just one room, one teacher, and four children. I noticed the sign: 'Free range children, please shut the gate'. Down the lane, there’s another amusing notice: 'Do not cross this field... unless you can do it in 9 seconds because the bull can do it in 10 seconds.'

Following a quick tour of Herm’s two campsites, Seagull and Mermaid and the recently renovated self-catering cottages, Rosaire and Lower Belvoir, we retreated to a snug corner at The Ship Inn (adjoined to The White House Hotel), where we reunited with Holly and Daisy.

Sitting by an open fire, we enjoyed Herm Berry mocktails and pints of Herm Island Gold. Having spotted Herm Gin on the menu – made from locally sourced botanicals, including lemon balm, rosemary, wild rose and yarrow flower – I quizzed Craig about foraging on the island. He told me about a local tour guide and horticulturalist (Malcolm Cleal) who takes small groups on walking and foraging adventures along the shoreline and inland – a great way to discover more about Herm’s flora and fauna and what’s edible and useful. 87
‘James finished the session by challenging us with a demonstration of how to do a headstand on the kayaks – my younger daughter Daisy managed it while the rest of us fell quickly overboard trying.’

There are lots of other activities around the island, too, including guided walks and challenges, such as the Herm Three Peak Challenge and a 10km stand-up paddleboard race. The White House Hotel hosts gin tasting with Herm’s own gin expert, holds special Murder Mystery weekends, has planetarium shows in their outdoor marquee, as well as circus performances, magic and fire shows for the kids. Other activities for guests include swimming (there’s a heated outdoor pool), tennis, fishing, hiking, snorkelling and Hula Hoop golf.

The Mermaid Tavern (the island’s other pub) is at the heart of the twilight entertainment with Rocking Bingo, tribute bands, two Craft Ale and Cider Festival Weeks (June and September) and Rock n Roast Sundays.

After enjoying a delicious seafood linguine at The Ship, we walked back to the cottage, admiring the cosmic twinkling stars on the way. We rested, preparing for a weekend's selfexploration of this extraordinary island.

As a family who love running (our ritual on a Saturday morning is usually to run or volunteer at a local parkrun), and now happily stranded on the island, we decided to run our way around its cliff paths. We took a few moments to stop and pinch ourselves over the views – it is hard to believe we were still in the UK. Reaching the top of the hill at Grande Monceau on the north coast was especially spectacular – the views of the azure waters sparkle in contrast to the glowing white sands of Shell Beach. Over in the opposite corner of the island, the clifftops on the southeast offer breathtaking views of France, Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney.

Later that day, we enjoyed a kayaking trip with Outdoor Guernsey and were delighted to see James again – our adventure guide from coasteering in Herm a couple of years previously. We were impressed he remembered us – my husband’s attempt at a forward flip was, after all, unforgettable, he reminded us!


We spent a wonderful afternoon paddling on the calm turquoise sea from Shell Beach to the south, passing Belvoir Bay. We were lucky enough to catch glimpses of seals basking on the rocks and to see the puffins – who return to the cliffs of Herm each year to raise their offspring – resting on the tops of the waves at Puffin Bay. James finished the session by challenging us with a demonstration of how to do a headstand on the kayaks – my younger daughter Daisy managed it while the rest of us fell quickly overboard trying!

That evening, we dined at The Conservatory Restaurant, located within The White House Hotel. Starters included melt-in-the-mouth beef carpaccio, freshly caught crab bon bon and flambeed wild mushrooms with toasted sourdough, fried quail egg and crispy pancetta.

The pan-seared lamb rump was cooked to perfection, and the combination of flavours from the chorizo ratatouille, fondant potato and lamb jus was simply divine. We shared a delicious salted caramel cheesecake with chocolate macaron and honeycomb-salted caramel sauce for dessert.

The next day, we woke up early for an unmissable sunrise swim at Belvoir Bay – and had the entire beach to ourselves. We swam across to Caquorobert, where we clambered the rock pools before diving safely off the rocks and racing back to the beach. The smell of freshly baked croissants and roasting coffee steered us to the beach cafe (their homemade chocolate brownies were also utterly delicious).

We wandered the village shop, admiring the souvenirs,

clothing, and locally made crafts. We bought some handmade Herm jewellery and a beautiful puffin-printed scarf. At the food- and ice-cream parlour, lobster and charcuterie platters were on the specials board.

We chose to enjoy lunch at the Mermaid Tavern –relishing a delicious feast of traditional British fare and seafood caught in the surrounding waters. The focus on locally sourced produce was evident, and we savoured the flavours of the island: Herm oysters and mussels, followed by baked whole plaice with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables and seafood linguine.

We went for a hike along the island's cliff paths and explored more of its landscape. Herm has a diverse tapestry of natural wonders, with bluebell drifts dotting the rolling 89

hillsides and majestic kestrels soaring high above the craggy cliffs. Eucalyptus thickets provided a fragrant respite, and gorse plateaux offered bursts of vibrant colour, and hulking sea stacks stood proudly against the endless horizon.

Poppy helped us to discover some newly cleared pathways behind the hotel, leading to Princess Radziwill’s Walk and a secret hidden spot with a bench from which to sit and enjoy the sea views. We also sniffed out the island’s old jail – a claim to fame for Herm as the smallest prison in the world (it only fits one person!)

On our final evening we attended a VIP Herm Beach Party at Shell Beach – a gourmet BBQ, with DJs Leon Robertson, Tom Brock and Jay Allen playing dance classics and chill-out house. The beach gets its name from the millions of tiny shells that have been washed up by the Gulf Stream. We feasted on gourmet burgers, locally caught fish, charred corn on the cob and a selection of breads and salads to the soundtrack of the set and the waves.

As we strolled back to our cottage, the enchanting aura of Herm Island captivated us even more, amplified by the

most beautiful sunset. The island’s magic had enveloped us completely. Herm is a special gem in the Channel Islands, and the next morning we departed from Rosaire Steps feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, inspired by the island’s breathtaking natural beauty, warmhearted locals, rich history, and the endless opportunities for exciting outdoor adventures

 Jessica and her family stayed in one of the four recently refurbished Sea Cottages in Manor Village, prices from £312 for three nights in a one-bed cottage in low season to £2,471 for seven nights in a premium three-bed cottage in high season. Condor Ferries operate fast and traditional ferries from Poole and Portsmouth to Guernsey year-round, taking from just three hours. Ferries depart from Guernsey’s St Peter Port to Sark, Alderney, and Herm at multiple times throughout the day during the summer. Travel Trident interisland ferry departs from Guernsey’s St Peter Port Harbour to Herm year-round, and at multiple times throughout the day during the summer. Flights direct to Guernsey operate from most UK airport hubs; To find out more visit

Immerse yourself in Exeter’s 2,000 years of history making the most of your stay in this beautiful city. Indulge in the best of Devon’s food and drink and experience the city’s many unique highlights through its diverse and remarkable cultural scene. stay explore experience

Sublime SUITES

Far more than simply a room with a view, discover the sublime suites to suit your passions, from historic castle keeps to literary city chambers and resplendent spa lodges



Estelle Suite at Estelle Manor

The Oxfordshire members' club – and country outpost of Mayfair’s Maison Estelle – opened to rave reviews last year and offers an alluring mix of Cotswold country chic, Downton Abbey-esque opulence, late-night drinking snugs, glam restaurants and a 25m Riviera-inspired terraced swimming pool for hazy summer days. The Grade-II-listed manor house’s premier suite is named in homage to the hotel’s muse, Lady Estelle, the ultimate host. Guests can revel in the spectacular country views from their 18 sq metre private balcony, which overlooks the manor’s stunning south terrace, before retiring to their sumptuous emperor king-size four-poster bed. Sophisticated yet lavish, the Estelle Suite

also features a large freestanding bath, an inviting seating area with silk-upholstered sofas, velvet club chairs and antique oriental rugs.

With Estelle Manor’s clubhouse, exceptional gym space and new astonishing 3,000 sq metre Roman-inspired Eynsham Baths spa – not to mention the 60 acres of mesmerising parkland – the It-girl of the Cotswold hotel scene is still hot to trot.

 Room rates from £400, The Estelle Suite with balcony starts from £2,800 per night;



The Royal Chamber at Hedingham Castle

Step back in time at Hedingham Castle – one of the oldest and best-preserved Norman keeps in Britain – where guests really can sleep like royalty. Located on the top floor of the 900-year-old keep, the newly opened Royal Chamber has beamed ceilings, richly woven tapestries adorning its ancient stone walls and incredible views of the rolling Essex countryside and Hedingham Estate.

The chamber’s opulent four-poster bed is carved from solid wood and inspired by the Great Bed of Ware, one of the V&A’s greatest treasures and famously over three metres wide. While the keep is brimming with original features, modern luxuries are also not amiss. A huge carved cabinet at the foot of the grand bed cleverly conceals a luxuriously deep bath – and a coat of arms on the wall opens at the push of a

button to reveal a large flatscreen TV.

A treasured experience for history buffs, the Royal Chamber is the only accommodation in the keep, making it one of the most exclusive historic bookable residences in the country.

Guests can take a private tour of the castle, exploring the ancient defences and picturesque estate before feasting like kings with a private five-course tasting menu in the castle’s banqueting hall. One unexpected attraction is the castle’s immersive escape-room experience, which is open to the public and set inside Hedingham Castle. Visitors will find clues and need to solve puzzles to escape.

 The Royal Chamber starts from £495 per night, including a bottle of Champagne, chocolates and a continental breakfast for two; 93


De Walden room at Eilean Shona House

Believed to be the inspiration for J M Barrie’s Neverland, Eilean Shona is a private island off Scotland’s majestic west coast. Owned by Vanessa Branson (sister of Sir Richard), the island’s cottages and grand old house have been superbly renovated and benefit from her discerning eye for design, colour and art.

Eilean Shona House sleeps 18 guests and effortlessly blends boutique luxury living with the charm and ease of a family home. The vast dining room is painted by the Glaswegian artist Fred Pollock and comfortably seats up to 20 people, while the drawing room has an open fire for getting toasty on chilly days and a seated alcove offering captivating views of the loch.

Choose between the driftwood bed of the Lorimer bedroom or the opulent grandeur of the four-poster De Walden suite – either way you’re sure to get a feel of that Peter Pan magic. Such is its rugged, wild and remote charm, a host of A-listers (including Kate Winslet) have holidayed on the island, which is home to abundant wildlife. Look for seals, sea eagles, sea otters, red squirrels and pine martens. In the summer, dolphins can be spotted in the surrounding pristine waters.

 Cottages from £950 per week;



Spa Suites at Gilpin Lake House & Hotel

With six junior suites with private hot tubs, six verdant open-plan garden suites with cedarwood hot tubs, plus five detached spa lodges, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is peerless in its pursuit of Lake District luxury. For guests in search of pure serenity, though, Gilpin’s detached spa suites provide the ultimate in spa-cation hedonism. Set back from the main house and flanked by mountains to the west and acres of woodland to the east, the spa suites offer a Scandi-cool bedroom and living area, plus a private spa room with steam room, sauna, state-of-the-art automated massage chair, plus a traditional massage bed with infrared.

Each spa suite cantilevers over its own private freshwater pond (bracing dips are an option for intrepid guests looking for an invigorating way to start the day), with the bedrooms designed to ‘float’ above the water. Immense floor-to-ceiling windows flood the suite with natural light, and the exquisitely appointed bedroom flows dreamily out to a tranquil deck area, where guests can laze in the hot tub under a blanket of stars. A hanging fireplace provides the stylish focal point for the stunning alpine-inspired living space, while a beautiful huge circular stone bath and cedarwood double walk-in shower provide more opportunity for soul-soothing pampering.

 Spa Suites start from £890 per night in summer / £670 per night in winter;;




Jonathan Swift at Hazlitt’s

Taking its name from William Hazlitt, the celebrated English essayist who lived in the residence, this discreet townhouse hotel melds traditional hospitality with British elegance.

Each room is named after one of Hazlitt’s friends or connections, including author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift. It's popular with authors and other creatives; many writers have left signed copies of their books in the hotel library. The Harry Potter signed copy is, in fact, so valuable it is now under lock and key. The Swift suite features an antique four-poster bed, roll-top bath and a study, though it’s a tough toss up between this refined sanctuary and the Duke of Monmouth duplex suite, which has a pretty, private upper terrace with a retractable roof – something of a rarity in central London. With more than 2,000 prints and paintings on show, budding authors will be inspired and enthralled in equal measure. Designed to be a refuge from the buzz and hubbub of the capital, Hazlitt’s is touted as London’s ‘best-kept secret’ by famous patrons for good reason.

 Swift Suite from £499 per night, Duke of Monmouth from £849;


The Royal Suite at The Goring Royal ties run deep at this historic five-star London hotel where Kate Middleton stayed the night before she married Prince William. Just a ten-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, The Goring was granted a Royal Warrant by HM Queen Elizabeth II and remains a favourite among royals and distinguished guests to this day. The stunning one-bedroom penthouse Royal Suite, where the Princess resided, overlooks the oasis of the Goring’s gardens and is a treasure trove of royal artefacts, from handwritten letters, proclamations and invitations to military regalia. The walls of the suite’s master bedroom are lined with the same delicate silk used in the first-class dining room of RMS Titanic 1912, while the silk in the bathroom matches that lining The Throne Room in Buckingham Palace. Styled by the acclaimed designer Russell Sage, the palatial suite comprises a dining room, a sitting room, a guest cloakroom and master bedroom with grand en-suite bathroom. A striking life-size portrait of Her Majesty Queen Victoria hangs in the double shower of the master bathroom, providing even more talking points.

 Room rates from £790 per night. The Royal Suite starts from £8,500 per night; 95



New suites at Fowey Hall

Overlooking the picture-perfect sailing town of Fowey on Cornwall’s idyllic southern shore, Fowey Hall offers luxurious escapes for families of all ages. Part of the Luxury Family Hotels group, Fowey Hall’s newly launched suites with astounding views of Fowey’s spellbinding estuary and surrounding coastline, with features ranging from capacious rain showers to freestanding baths alongside all the homefrom-home comforts one could wish for.

The coastal cool Lantic Bay Suite and Polruan Suite sit atop the spa with soul-soaring sea views and luxe interiors, while the other new rooms and suites are located in the contemporary garden wing, which is perched above the recently opened heated outdoor pool. The grand open-air pool, which incidentally wouldn’t look out of place in the South of France, offers yet more magical Cornish views.

 Polruan Suite starts from £650 per night in low season, The Lantic Bay Suite starts from £750 per night in low season;



Treehouse suites at Chewton Glen

In the heart of the New Forest, Chewton Glen has set a benchmark for classic, luxury, British hoteling for decades. Never one to rest on its impeccable laurels, Chewton saw a market for innovative treehouse suites, where guests can quite literally sleep amid the trees and a tranquil wooded valley.

The hotel’s 14 luxury Treehouse Suites are enshrouded in verdant woodland and feature panoramic balconies for the ultimate escape in nature. Each private treehouse is suspended 35 feet above ground, with uninterrupted canopy views, and guests are treated to a private concierge along with daily breakfast hampers and five-star service. Stargaze in the treetops, soak in an outdoor hot tub or indulge in tree-room service, chef-prepared dinners and private spa treatments.

For those who can prise themselves away from the treehouses, the refined country hotel has golf, tennis, an award-winning spa, gym, pool and the renowned James Martin Cookery School on site.

 Treehouse Suites from £995;




Skerryvore Suite on Fingal

For a sophisticated alternative to a typical city stay, reserve a cabin aboard Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel. Once a former Northern Lighthouse Board ship, the now-gleaming little ship has been transformed into a boutique hotel with 22 elegant cabins and a renowned restaurant.

Fingal is sister ship to The Royal Yacht Britannia, Queen Elizabeth II’s former floating palace and a fabulous museum. it's also within easy walking distance – moored in Edinburgh’s trendy Leith district , which is a ten-minute taxi ride to the city’s other top sights. Each cabin is named after a Stevenson lighthouse and features porthole windows; Art Deco styling; and leather, wood and brass accents that are evocative of a bygone era of luxury liner travel. Thanks to its outdoor private deck, super king-size bed and headboard with map contours, a separate sitting room and dining area and roll-top bath, the gorgeous Skerryvore Suite gets our vote.

 Skerryvore Suite starts from £1,200 per night;;



The Long Room at Heckfield Place

A country haven coccooned by ancient woodlands, walled gardens and views of the Hampshire countryside, this lovingly restored Georgian family home is on the must-visit list for celebrities and esteemed travellers. Original features, a prize-winning art collection and a vast new spa are the calling cards of Heckfield Place eco-farm and country estate. The property’s grande dame is the Long Room, a private apartment offering vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, a 180-degree view private terrace and private butler.

The exquisitely detailed apartment has played host to many famous patrons – it’s claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex rented the secluded Long Room for their babymoon in 2019. The expansive suite comprises a restful, elegant sitting and dining area – both with working fireplaces – an English oak kitchen, and romantic bedroom. Guests can rise to the call of birdsong then relax on their private balcony, which overlooks acres of woodland where fallow deer roam; or snuggle up with a book to the sound of a crackling open fire. The Long Room’s original British art, from a private collection, includes a remarkable painting of Virginia Woolf in the bedroom.

 Room rates from £550 per night. The Long Room from (an eye-watering) £6,000 per night; 97




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Wild Guide South West (2nd Edition) Discover the hidden side of England’s South West in this revised and expanded classic. From secret coves and deserted beaches to lost ruins, meadows and swimming rivers – Over 1000 secret places. Priced £18.99, Mountain Walks Kinder Scout A guide to walking routes to the summit of Yr Wyddfa in Eryri (Snowdonia) – 15 inspiring routes with easy-to-follow, detailed directions. Priced £14.95, Wild Swimming Walks 28 adventures in the soaring landscape of Eryri National Park in North Wales. Swim through secret valleys and find hidden waterfalls, exploring high lakes and woodland gorges. Priced £14.99,




1 The Retreat at --- Park, Newbury (5)

4 Stockport park in the grounds of a 14th-century timber-framed manor house (8)

10 Pillow backing, perhaps (9)

11 Maces crushed old French TV system (5)

12 Past due (7)

13 --- Glen, New Forest hotel (7)

14 Studier of humanity (14)

17 Sort out nice spare parts on the floor (7,7)

22 Having money problems (2,1,4)

24 With one leg on each side (7)

26 Derby location (5)

27 Belgravia place to stay (3,6)

28 Cartier offering (8)

29 Junction points (5)


1 Australian anteater (7)

2 This Church runs The Dreaming in Wales (9)

3 Rather overweight (5)

5 Extreme (7)

6 Runner (9)

7 It holds a Gold Cup (5)

8 Loch with bonnie banks (6)

9 Stored away (4,2)

15 Lostwithiel castle (9)

16 Stated in detail (9)

18 Free of germs (7)

19 --- Arms, where one might see the Shropshire Mammoth (6)

20 Pungs (7)

21 --- Shona House, Acharacle (6)

23 Group, briefly (5)

25 Scottish golf course town (5)

Answers will be printed in the Summer 2024 Issue

High Sierra 19 Lie dormant 20 Moke 21 Recaptures 24 Scad

27 Immerse 28 Trevone 29 Nelson 30 Ecstasy

DOWN: 2 Sit at home 3 Egad 4 Londinium 6 In detail

7 Pilau 8 North Dale

9 Head 11 Tea 14 Polurrian 16 Hanseatic 17 Root crops 18 Morpurgo

22 Camel 23 Use 25 Drey 26 Newt.

1 Estelle 5 Pippin 10 Entrain 11 Toddler 12 Duty 13 Midas touch 14 Pool 15
ACROSS: | 01872 241241 Cornwall is our home and we’d love to share it with you, responsibly and generously. Stay with us and experience the rare quality of over 180 extraordinary Gems, sleeping from 2 to 20 guests. Eco-Conscious Homes | Hidden Gems | Coastal Retreats | Dog Friendly | Celebrations there’s no place like Cornish Gems

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