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WILLIAMANDSON.COM

Discover the Luxury Destination for Town and Country Living

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Editor’s Letter

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he hotel landscape is one that shifts constantly, and these days more addresses than ever are either being opened for the first time or reimagined, upgraded, restored and refurbished in order to keep up with the fast-changing demands of their guests. They must strive to find that elusive wow factor and become glamorous places in which to see and be seen while at the same time satisfy the simple inner requirement of every guest: to feel at home. It’s a hard act to pull off, and many of the new addresses find it difficult to achieve lasting success and to become one of those special places to stay that has character and soul. It’s surprisingly tricky to predict which will become future classics, the sort that one keeps returning to, but on page 16 I take a look at some of the most promising in the pipeline... future editions of the guide will determine whether or not we think they made the grade. But if new hotels provide the fire and steam, then established ones, many of them around for decades, are the engine that keeps the industry ticking over, and you will find plenty of beloved examples in our pages. Ireland is a place that provides a clutch of classic hotels brimming with character and soul, whose charms, and that of the Emerald Isle itself, are examined on page 26. Once again, the evocative images that represent the regions of the British Isles are the work of the talented winners of the Landscape Photography of the Year Awards. This year’s front cover was shot at the Langham in London, a brilliant example of a long established hotel (it first opened in 1965) that constantly, seamlessly adapts and evolves to suit the times. We also include, as ever, a useful selection of gorgeous private houses to rent, perfect for friends or family. And as well as new hotels and Ireland, there are features on why it’s important which products are in your hotel bathroom (p33) and on designing the perfect hotel bedroom including how to get the look at home (p21). Each region of the country opens with our Hot List – great ideas for things to do and see while you are ensconced in the hotel that you have chosen, we hope, from the pages of this CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Horses on Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris; Barnsdale Lodge; The Coach House at stunning guide.

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Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire; The Beaumont, London

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

Contents 26 89

187

Features 16 21 26

28

33

NEW FACES Fiona Duncan on the hottest hotel launches of 2018 AND SO TO BED... How to get that hotel bedroom feel back at home. By Amy Bradford THE LUCK OF THE IRISH Never mind the rain, Irish hotels are blessed in so many other ways, says Fiona Duncan COMING OF AGE British hotels are upping the ante when it comes to their wine lists, which are really quite interesting. Alice Lascelles sniffs out the best TALES OF BATH Hoteliers who make their own bath products really impress Lucy Cleland

Directory 38 56

DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Artist Residence, Oxford; the glorious Causeway Coastal Route; Glenapp Castle; the Rose & Crown, Romaldkirk; spa products from Cliveden

168

THE WEST COUNTRY Dorset / Somerset / Wiltshire

72

HAMPSHIRE & THE ISLE OF WIGHT

84

THE HOME COUNTIES

ON THE COVER Dress by Ralph & Russo Couture (ralphandrusso.com). Gloves by Cornelia James (corneliajames.com). Chandelier earrings with white diamonds and white gold by David Morris. Illusion bracelet with white diamonds and white gold by David Morris (davidmorris.com)

Berkshire / Buckinghamshire / Kent / Sussex

98

LONDON

118

THE COTSWOLDS

Fashion Director: Nicole Smallwood Photographer: Christine Kreiselmaier. Hair: Fabio Nogueira at Frank Agency using Paul Mitchell Systems. Make-up: Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency using Max Factor and SkinCeuticals. Photographer's assistant: Michaela Letang. Fashion assistant: Aiobheann McMahon Tynan. Model: Tess Hellfeuer at Models 1

Gloucestershire / Oxfordshire / Warwickshire / Wiltshire

130 MID COUNTRY Derbyshire / Lincolnshire / Nottinghamshire Rutland / Warwickshire / West Midlands

138

EAST ANGLIA

LOCATION With thanks to The Langham, London (langhamhotels.com /en/the-langham/london)

Cambridgeshire / Essex / Norfolk / Suffolk

152

THE NORTH County Durham / Cheshire / Cumbria / Lancashire / Northumberland / Yorkshire

170

WALES & THE MARCHES

182

SCOTLAND

190 IRELAND 200 PRIVATE HOUSES 208 INDEX

33

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR The landscape photography in this guide is from the Take a view: Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards; the annual competition that showcases images of Britain’s most beautiful locations by some of today’s best landscape photographers. Winners are announced at the end of each October, when the accompanying Awards book by AA Publishing is released. Exhibitions, hosted by Network Rail, tour Britain’s biggest stations following a premier at London Waterloo in November. For more details, visit take-a-view.co.uk.

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COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS

EDITOR/WRITER Fiona Duncan EDITOR IN CHIEF Lucy Cleland CHIEF COPY WRITER Leo Glass COPY WRITERS Chloe Smith, Rosalyn Wikeley,

Imogen Agnew, Bella Lewis, Clementina Jackson FASHION DIRECTOR Nicole Smallwood SUB EDITOR Belinda Bamber ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Maya Monro-Somerville PROPERTY MARKETING MANAGER Gemma Cowley SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Felicity Reid JUNIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Ellie Rix ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Olivia Milligan CREATIVE DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Parm Bhamra JUNIOR PRODUCTION DESIGNER Samuel Thomas ONLINE EDITOR Rebecca Cox DIGITAL ASSISTANT Clementina Jackson JUNIOR ONLINE WRITER Bella Lewis TECHNICAL MANAGER Hannah Johnson TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Mark Pearson DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY Wil Harris CREDIT CONTROLLER Penny Burles SALES & OFFICE MANAGER Daisy Orr-Ewing ACCOUNTS CONTROLLER Jane Todd

FROM FIELD TO BOTTLE VISIT

FINANCE DIRECTOR Jill Newey PUBLISHER Julia Carrick MANAGING DIRECTOR Jeremy Isaac THE EDITOR editorial@countryandtownhouse.co.uk ADVERTISING advertising@countryandtownhouse.co.uk ACCOUNTS accounts@countryandtownhouse.co.uk SUBSCRIPTION subscribe@countryandtownhouse.co.uk GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS 2018/19 is an annual supplement distributed with Country & Town House magazine to AB homes in Barnes, Battersea, Bayswater, Belgravia, Brook Green, Chelsea, Chiswick, Clapham, Coombe, Fulham, Holland Park, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Mayfair, Notting Hill, Pimlico, South Kensington, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, as well as being available from leading country and London estate agents. It is also on sale at selected WHSmith, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s stores and independent newsagents nationwide. GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS will also have an exclusive international distribution through British Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, and Emirates into First Class and Private Jet lounges throughout the US, Europe, Middle East and Far East. It has an estimated readership of 200,000. Country & Town House is available on subscription in the UK for £29.99 per annum. To subscribe online, iPad, iPhone and android all for only £24.99 visit: exacteditions.com/read/countrytownhouse. For subscription enquiries, please call 020 7384 9011 or email subscribe@countryandtownhouse.co.uk. It is published by Country & Town House Ltd, Studio 2, Chelsea Gate Studios, 115 Harwood Road, London SW6 4QL (tel: 020 7384 9011). Registered number 576850 England and Wales. Printed in the UK by William Gibbons and Sons Ltd, West Midlands. Paper supplied by Gerald Judd. Distribution by Letterbox.

Distillery tours available Tuesday to Saturday To book please call 01432 808141 or email tours@chasedistillery.co.uk chasedistillery.co.uk

Copyright © 2018 Country & Town House Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. Materials are accepted on the understanding that no liability is incurred for safe custody. The publisher cannot be responsible for unsolicited material. All prices are correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change. Whilst every care is taken to ensure all information is correct at the time of going to press, it is subject to change, and Country & Town House Ltd. takes no responsibility for omissions or errors.

Country & Town House is a member of CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England)

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CONTRIBUTORS

LEO GLASS

A great British and Irish hotel should… Have a sense of place, a sense of home and a soul. If you could emulate the style of one hotel at home, which would it be? Tresanton. I want every single thing that’s in the hotel in my own house. Which hotel would you head to for a romantic escape? The new Lake View luxury cabin at Lime Wood: intimate and private with a bath tub on the balcony jutting over the water, yet just a stroll from the hotel. Make makes a good hotel great? The people that run it. I always say ‘great owner, great hotel’ and the opposite is also true.

AMY BRADFORD

Thermostatic Shower Valve Design Centre | Chelsea Harbour landmark-collection.co.uk | Made in England

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A great British and Irish hotel should… Always reflect its setting. I hate hotels that don’t have a sense of place or that feel anonymous, like you could be anywhere. If you could emulate the style of one hotel at home, which would it be? Ett Hem in Stockholm, an Arts and Crafts building reworked by Danish designer Ilse Crawford. I love her sense of colour and the way she melds old and new. Which hotel would you head to for a romantic escape? The Aman Canal Grande in Venice. What could be more romantic than a Venetian palazzo? Its ancestral owners still live on the top floor, which makes it feel like a real family home. Make makes a good hotel great? Attention to detail, impeccable but unobtrusive service and no clunky plastic wall furniture (such as light switches etc). I also appreciate a real key for my door and think a hotel (and its linen/towels) should always smell nice!

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HARLECH 18

From £7,500 to £125,000

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CONTRIBUTORS

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London

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ALICE LASCELLES

A great British and Irish hotel should… Make you feel like you’re staying in an amazing friend’s house, not a hotel. If you could emulate the style of one hotel at home, which would it be? The Craigellaghie hotel in Speyside has outrageously comfortable beds – much needed after a hard day of whisky drinking. Which hotel would you head to for a romantic escape? You can have a romantic night in an Ibis if the company is right. But a crackling fire, beautiful views and late breakfast definitely help. What makes a good hotel great? The staff – people who know the area, love the place and enjoy being real hosts.

NICOLE SMALLWOOD

A great British and Irish hotel should… Have a warm welcoming atmosphere, and stay true to its core values. If you could emulate the style of one hotel at home, which would it be and why? Wild Rabbit in the Cotwolds. I literally want to buy everything in there, from the bed linen to the kitchen glassware. My wallet is always slightly lighter after a visit. Which hotel would you head to for a romantic escape and why? Watergate Bay in Cornwall... travelling there by helicopter from London, with picnics on the beach, followed by a surf lesson. What makes a good hotel great? Great food, friendly staff, a very fluffy bath robe and the perfect avocado on toast with poached eggs for breakfast.

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS ABOVE & BELOW: The (very) long-awaited Heckfield House finally opens for business this autumn

New faces Like a champagne tap that never turns off, there seems to be no end to the constant stream of gorgeous, desirable new hotels opening in the UK, says Fiona Duncan

O

nly time can tell which upcoming addresses will turn out to be disappointing and which will become classics of their kind. Twenty years ago this summer, to take one example of the latter, Olga Polizzi opened Hotel Tresanton in the seaside town of St Mawes (p49). Fashioned from a rambling former yacht club, it has indeed become a classic, as sparkling now as it was when it first opened with a flourish. Which of the many hotels set to open in the next few months will achieve the same status? Here are the ones that look, to me, the most likely. Some will have opened by the time you read this; others, in the way of new openings, will have announced yet another long delay. Talking of delay, if there’s a prize for that then Heckfield Place (heckfieldplace.com) wins hands-down. It was back in 2012 that billionaire Gerald Chan announced the imminent opening of this Hampshire Georgian country house, a former wedding venue and training centre set in a 400-acre estate, as a 70-bedroom luxury hotel and spa. Since then, there have been further false starts and numerous staff, including general managers and executive chefs, have come and gone. Now, at last, its autumn opening seems assured, with ex-Aman Olivia Richli as GM and Skye Gyngell as culinary director. Designed by Ben Thompson, it aims at being a ‘living place, resolutely natural…a country haven with a progressive vision and an antidote to the modern world where guests can connect with each other and nature…a place of intrinsic beauty where extraordinary things can happen’. Gosh. If it’s all it’s cracked up to be, it will certainly give Lime Wood (p79, another young hotel that’s already become a classic) a run for its money. Let’s hope it’s worth the long, long wait… the runes are good.

Oscar Wilde would not have quibbled at all these delays. The man who said ‘I am always late on principle, my principle being that punctuality is the thief of time’ is recalled in two imminent London hotels. At Belmond Cadogan (belmond. com), a multi-million pound refurbishment of the much-loved Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street preserves the style of the 1887 building, but threads it with quiet contemporary luxury. GA Design International have created an interior inspired by the hotel’s history and the personalities associated with it, amongst them Sir Hans Sloane, Lillie Langtry and Oscar himself, for it was here that he was arrested in 1895. I have high hopes for a classic in the making. Over in the somewhat unlikely setting of a former Baroque style Baptist Church, albeit one with fine proportions and a soaring octagonal chapel, French interior designer Jacques Garcia has indulged his passion for Oscar Wilde without

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stint. Mind you, Garcia is never one to stint (witness Costes in Paris, La Mamounia in Marrakech or NoMad in LA and NYC). Here at L’oscar (loscar.com) his predilection for bohemian opulence and 19th-century decadence à la Wilde is given full reign, perfectly embodied by a chandelier, lit by hundreds of glass birds, that cascades seven floors down through the original staircase. If you prefer modern minimalism, do not venture here. ‘Quintessential English character married with the literary and academic spirit of its location’ is eagerly expected from the rebuilt 192-bedroom University Arms (universityarms.com) in Cambridge. The intention is to create a hotel that matches the city’s heart and style – ambitious, beautiful and full of life. An exciting one-off partnership between John Simpson, one of the world’s most important classical architects, and stratospherically successful interior designer Martin Brudnizki should surely pull that off. The rapid growth of the Artist Residence hotels (artistresidence.co.uk), masterminded by a couple only just out of their twenties is impressive, even more so because each property (featured in this guide, p42, 88, 89 and 103) is unique, reflecting its location. Justin and Charlotte Salisbury’s latest venture is their most ambitious: a derelict former boot factory, Grade I listed, in a boho corner of Bristol. Its original features are being lovingly restored and without doubt it will make a quirky, cool and highly individual new address for the city. I’ll be intrigued to revisit Monkey Island (monkeyislandestate.co.uk) at Bray on Thames when it opens... many moons ago I spent my wedding night there. The centuries-old retreat was once popular with visiting monarchs, artists and famous performers. Reached by

ABOVE: Belmond has given the adored Cadogan Hotel a multi-million pound makeover BELOW: Decadence rules at L’oscar, the first London hotel designed by Jacques Garcia

A literary and academic spirit is expected to imbue Cambridge’s University Arms

footbridge or boat and surrounded by beautiful gardens, its slick, luxurious interior is being created by the same people behind The Carlyle in New York and The Dorchester in London. There’s another new island hotel in the offing... on beautiful Islay. Gordon Campbell Gray has returned to his Scottish roots at The Machrie (campbellgrayhotels.com) where the restored 18-hole championship links golf course is already open. The accompanying hotel promises a deliciously comfortable base in the Western Isles, one of the world’s most beautiful places. Campbell Gray has an eye for lovely things and his hotels are always designed with flair and care. Also in Scotland, keep an eye out for the opening, hopefully in the winter, of the Fife Arms in Braemar (thefifearms.com) where Hauser & Wirth owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth are painstakingly returning the town centre landmark to its former splendour. Who’s in charge? The former long-time general manager of Tresanton, Federica Bertolini. Should be good, maybe even a classic.

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

And so to bed... Hoteliers invest thousands in making bedrooms restorative sanctuaries, so why not steal some of their great ideas to emulate at home, asks Amy Bradford

Cosy on down at Lime Wood in the New Forest

A

ny hotel room you stay in inevitably invites comparisons with your own bedroom. How many of us have settled down to sleep at a boutique retreat and wished that our bedlinen at home was as crisply white, soft and possessed such a high thread count? Or that the mattress was as perfectly firm yet forgiving? Of course, the comparisons can be negative, too. Hotel lighting, for example, can be prone to irritating quirks – especially if it only functions with an electronic room key placed in a slot by the door, miles away from your bed. Such experiences, good and bad, can be instructive. Aside from loved ones’ homes, hotel stays are one of the few opportunities we have to test out a different style of decorating from our own and ponder what good design really means. Though it may feel calm and understated, a well-styled hotel bedroom can be crammed full of ideas for improving your personal space, whether that means making it look better, feel more relaxing or simply work more efficiently. Interior designers spend every working day thinking about how to make hotel bedrooms perform at their best. Kit Kemp of Firmdale Hotels, the woman behind Number Sixteen in Kensington (p114) and the Ham Yard Hotel in Piccadilly, has it down to a fine art. Her bedroom designs always feel cosseting, thanks to her flair for patterns that soothe the eye and textures that treat the senses. ‘Textiles are so important,’ she enthuses. ‘I love to put fabric on walls because it gives a luxuriously tailored but cosy feel. I also love very large headboards – they are a focal point in a bedroom.’

Bespoke headboards are often things we covet in hotels – and can be transformational in a domestic setting. Tom Bartlett of Waldo Works, who designed London hotel The Laslett, created custom-made headboards for its guest rooms ‘that hide all the messy, functional stuff, such as cables and USB plugs’ – eliminating the thorny issue of cable management with a stroke. Ben Whistler, who has a showroom at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour and has made custom furniture for Claridge’s (p107) and The Berkeley, is an expert at making upholstered headboards – as well as enhancing warmth and comfort and concealing utilities, they can muffle sound and help to keep your bedroom peaceful. Many hotels create bespoke furniture for their projects rather than buying off the peg, a trick that can be particularly beneficial in bedrooms because it allows you to tailor storage for your possessions and keep clutter to a minimum (being surrounded by too much stuff is never restful). Several of the hotel designers we spoke to listed this as a priority, including Simon Rawlings, creative director at David Collins Studio, which styled the tranquil grey-and-white bedrooms at Lime Wood in Hampshire (p79). ‘Only furniture with a purpose should be in a bedroom,’ he says. ‘For me, it should be a calm place to unwind – not making too much of a statement yet oozing comfort. It needs to be intuitive; you should be able to occupy the space without instructions.’ Such thinking is entirely in tune with current research on sleep and relaxation, which says that keeping your bedroom relatively empty will help you to unwind. Such a space needn’t feel austere, however; look

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A ‘Scandi-Scot’ aesthetic is found at Killiehuntly

to Killiehuntly Farmhouse in Scotland to see it done cosily. The hotel is owned by Danish couple Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife Anne Storm Pedersen, so designer Ruth Kramer came up with a ‘Scandi-Scot’ aesthetic, using simple, finely crafted Danish furniture and Scottish textiles to add a sensual touch to the Georgian architecture. ‘Our mantra was “less is more”,’ Kramer explains. ‘We put only essential things in the rooms. Apart from a few fresh flowers, there isn’t even any scent – we use fragrance-free detergents to wash the linens and traditional Danish soap flakes on the wood floors.’ As you might expect, Killiehuntly’s rooms are low on tech. This reflects a trend in hotels for paring back on complex gimmicks and gadgets that easily date. Both The Ned in London and The Hoxton Paris favour retro Roberts radios over fancy sound systems, and for The Laslett (p111), Tom Bartlett used the wardrobe to hide electrical items like kettles and toasters, ‘getting rid of visual mess’. Of course, if you want to switch on your laptop or iPad, you can, but there’s a growing awareness among hoteliers that unplugging is the most restful thing you can do. The same wisdom applies at home, where screens that emit harsh, sleep-inhibiting light HOME HOTEL are often best kept out of the bedroom. New online store The Room Lighting and plug sockets are another Service is a curated platform for hard-to-source, handtechnological aspect that can make or break crafted products that are used in the world’s finest hotels a bedroom. Hotels that do this well include and restaurants. Founded by The Hoxton Paris, where design director barrister turned retailer Sophie Coryton, who had the idea after Charlie North installed classic lighting by falling in love with a hotel table lamp, it sells textiles, furniture French brand Lampe Gras and traditional and accessories from a range of brass-trimmed switches and sockets, located heritage brands and independent makers, with Watergate Bay in conveniently beside the bed. ‘We made the Cornwall and The Craftsman’s Cottage in Wiltshire among the rooms feel cosy by having a mix of table hotels referenced. Finds that are perfect for bedrooms include lamps and bedside lights,’ he says. Guy Oliver, Ren London’s understated the designer behind Claridge’s and The Collage linen cushions (from £69) and Lewis & Davis’ tranquil Connaught, believes that bedroom lighting botanical giclée prints (from £50). theroomservice.co should always be ‘simple, intuitive, and dimmable, so you can create different moods’.

At home, this could mean having wall lamps or small pendants beside the bed, as well as table lamps for mood lighting and one bright, overhead fitting. The latter is essential, says Kit Kemp, so that you can see clearly when getting dressed. Her advice about planning hotel-worthy electrics is invaluable. ‘You have to decide where your bed will be before you can sort out switches and sockets,’ she says. ‘Don’t put sockets at ground level or you’ll be crawling around; have them at waist level. And it’s better to spoil one tiny bit of wall with lots of plugs than to have them all around the room.’ Most hotel designers agree that when it comes to colour and pattern in a bedroom, understated is best. This is partly because they need to accommodate so many different tastes, but it’s also an acknowledgement that certain palettes are just more relaxing than others. The reason we associate blue with

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PHOTOS: MARTIN-KAUFMANN; © JAMES MCDONALD

The Hoxton Paris prefers a pared-back approach


C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ABOVE: Lympstone Manor’s bedrooms are inspired by its natural surroundings BELOW: Intuitive lighting in the Princess Lodge bedroom at The Connaught

tranquillity, for instance, has a scientific basis: receptors in our eyes called ganglion cells, which transmit information to the part of our brains that regulates body clock, are most sensitive to blue shades, which can thus reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Other cool shades, like grey, are good for the same reason. At Chapel House hotel in Cornwall, owner Susan Stuart has decorated with greys, greens and blues that take their cue from the surrounding coastal landscape. Similarly, at Lympstone Manor in Devon (p50), Maria Constantinou and Eris Koutsoudakis of Meraki Design used grey, duck egg blue and sapphire shades inspired by the plumage of local birds. ‘Having understated colours without too much pattern creates a soothing atmosphere,’ says Constantinou. ‘The beauty of referencing nature is that it is a great way to see colours that work well together.’ Where pattern is used, the best hotel rooms tend to do so in a restrained way. At Claridge’s, Guy Oliver confines it to the floor with feather-motif and striped carpets that nod to the hotel’s Art Deco heritage; similarly, at The Rosewood London, designer Tony Chi has used bold striped and checked carpets and kept the rest of the room simple, while at the Four Seasons Hampshire (p78), a damask-print carpet enlivens Martin Brudnizki’s otherwise pared-down rooms in soft yellows and greens. This clever design trick means that you can enjoy the pattern while you’re moving around the room, but it won’t disturb you while you’re in bed. Bedding itself is almost invariably white, which symbolises ‘luxury and freshness’, says Dan Roston, director of bedding brand Coze. His simple but fine-quality designs are based on years of experience supplying the hotel trade. ‘People often have busy or colourful bedlinen at home, but try plain white and see how it instantly smartens the room,’ he advises. Perhaps our favourite hotel bedrooms are those with the unexpected touches that we dream of taking home – the freestanding bathtubs at The Ned, perhaps, or the quirky artworks curated by Ben Kelway Studio at The Laslett. As Martin Brudnizki says: ‘Your stay at a hotel is all about comfort, but it’s also an escape from your day-to-day life and an opportunity to experience something new.’ Inspiration awaits.

PHOTOS: MARTIN-KAUFMANN; © JAMES MCDONALD

ADDRESS BOOK Ben Kelway Studio; benkelwaystudio.com Firmdale Hotels; firmdalehotels.com Killiehuntly Farmhouse; killiehuntly.scot Claridge’s; claridges.co.uk The Connaught; the-connaught.co.uk The Hoxton Paris; thehoxton.com The Laslett; thelaslett.co.uk The Ned; thened.com Lime Wood; limewoodhotel.co.uk Lympstone Manor; lympstonemanor.co.uk Four Seasons Hampshire; fourseasons.com Chapel House; chapelhousepz.co.uk Rosewood London; rosewoodhotels.com Ben Whistler; benwhistler.com Coze; cozelinen.com Waldo Works; waldoworks.com David Collins Studio; davidcollins.com Meraki Design; meraki.com Guy Oliver; oliverlaws.com Tony Chi; tonychi.com Martin Brudnizki Design Studio; mbds.com

The carpet adds another dimension to the otherwise quietly calm bedroom at Four Seasons Hampshire

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BED First created for The Savoy, Emma Thompson credited Savoir Beds with curing her insomnia. The Savoir No 4 is inspired by the ‘20s an ‘30s. £13,592.75. savoirbeds.co.uk PILLOW AND MATTRESS TOPPER They may be hidden under bedding, but you’ll feel the benefits of Coze’s Feather Down 90 pillow, £200, and Sukha duck-down mattress topper, £380. cozelinen.com

READING LIGHT The ideal table lamp is small enough not to take up valuable space at your bedside. Bellevue AJ8 table lamp, from £407. twentytwentyone.com

ARMCHAIR This Spoon button back velvet armchair from the newly launched furniture collection by The Ned at Soho Home is comfortable without taking up acres of space. £2,195. sohohome.com

PENDANT LIGHT Original BTC’s bone china Oxford double pendant light provides a gentle glow over a bedside table. £219. originalbtc.com

GET THE BOUTIQUE HOTEL LOOK SPEAKER Bose’s Soundlink Revolve portable Bluetooth speaker is compact and unobtrusive. £179.95. bose.co.uk

From gold-standard linens to the perfect light fittings, these designs will add timeless style to your bedroom

BEDLINEN Draper London’s wares must be luxurious if hotels like the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park are using them. Pure Egyptian cotton percale 300 thread-count linen. From £24.50 draperlondon.com

WALL LIGHT Designed in 1960 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen’s AJ wall lamp creates a soft, downward pool of light and can be adjusted to the perfect angle. £500. conranshop.co.uk

BEDSIDE CABINET Soane’s Tambour design has classic good looks and plenty of storage space to keep clutter hidden away. £5,900. soane.co.uk

CARPET Something soft underfoot is essential in a bedroom. If not rugs, Brintons’ True Velvet carpet is a good choice. £59.99 per sq/m. brintons.co.uk

LIGHT SWITCHES Make bedroom lighting work effortlessly with well-placed fittings in a luxurious finish. Antique bronze rocket switch, from £45.57, and rotary dimmer, from £53.34, both Forbes & Lomax. forbesandlomax.com

DRESSING TABLE AND STORAGE Bespoke designs like Nathalie de Leval’s American walnut Heath dressing table, from £2,995, and wardrobe, from £15,000, can be tailored to fit your possessions and space, so clutter is minimised. deleval.co.uk

THROW Susan Stuart of Chapel House in Cornwall chose Bronte by Moon throws for her guest bedrooms. £89.95. brontebymoon.co.uk

24 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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The luck of the Irish The rain doesn’t matter when the humour and charm of Ireland, and its wonderful places to stay, make up for it in bucketfuls, says Fiona Duncan

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keep going back to Ireland. Yes, it rains quite a bit, but the humour, from the moment I arrive till the moment I leave, is dry enough to make up for any amount of inclement weather, while delightful places to stay keep me entranced. Irish country-house hotels are like so many of England’s used to be before chains and brands got at them – privately owned for generations, slightly potty, unpretentious, comfortable and kind. They are almost always set in lovely Georgian country houses, the locally sourced food is invariably satisfying, and the diversions on offer are winningly quirky. I’ve been foraging and whale watching along a cliff top with a laconic ex-rocker; gone sea kayaking with a staggeringly good looking outdoor adventurer who I swear was Brad Pitt; and been dragged over the Burren’s limestone terraces in a gale by a madcap local naturalist. There’s a sense of acceptance among the Irish, born, they say, of the famine – nothing by comparison could be worse. They are resigned

to downturns: when the Celtic tiger stalled, they adjusted with resignation. It’s the same with the hoteliers, who tend to ride the waves of fortune better than their more tender English counterparts. Take Currarevagh House in Country Galway (see page 197), Ireland’s oldest guesthouse, where the Hodgson family has been riding the waves with phlegmatic wit for five generations in a house that was originally built for the family in the 17th century. Almost nothing has changed. On the 1848 silk wallpaper above the staircase hangs a huge, almost-as-old tiger skin. ‘A bit un-pc these days,’ I commented. ‘Certainly not,’ replied current incumbent Henry Hodgson, whose wife Lucy is the excellent cook, ‘it was shot in self-defence. We are not American dentists’. A gong heralds dinner. There are no TVs or even radios in the oldfashioned bedrooms with their ’70s bathrooms, and no room keys. ‘We don’t have them,’ says Henry. ‘Things have stayed the same here

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The glorious Causeway Coastal Route; Ballyfin is Ireland’s finest country house; The Titanic Belfast visitor attraction; Dublin Castle; the gates to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

for so long that it would be rude to change. And anyway, your belongings will be perfectly safe.’ And you know, without a doubt, that he speaks the truth. In the library there’s an ancient telly, but otherwise shelves of book, a piano and bouts of Monopoly or cards suffice. A generous ‘Edwardian’ breakfast is laid out on the sideboard in the dining room and coffee is served in original ’50s glass Cona receptacles, warmed by methylated spirits. As Henry struggled with a match, I suggested a lighter might be a good idea. ‘If we have a very good year,’ he answered, ‘I might invest in one’. Currarevagh House is just one charming place to stay where you will find deadpan humour delivered with an Irish twinkle. Even at a luxury place like Ballyfin (see page 194), which ranks among the finest hotels in Europe, lavishly furnished with precious paintings and objects, the atmosphere is brought alive by its delightful local staff (don’t miss a ride with Lionel in his pony and trap – pure fun). Or take Ballymaloe (see page 195), where at 7am we traipsed sleepily in to the kitchen to learn how to make Irish soda bread and scones for the morning’s breakfast with pastry chef J.R. Ryall. We soon woke up, for we were in the company of another natural wit and for an hour we made the bread and laughed like drains. But if it’s the people that make Ireland for me, the places don’t lag far behind. The Emerald Isle may be divided in two but as far as Tourism Ireland is concerned, it is one marvellous place to visit, whether north of the border or south, with the extraordinary Wild Atlantic Way linking both. The

longest defined coastal road in the world, all 1,500 miles of it, stretches along the entire west coast from Kinsale in the south to Derry in the far north. It crosses nine counties and six regions, each different, each stunningly beautiful: the Northern Headlands, the Surf Coast, the Bay Coast, the Cliff Coast, the Southern Peninsulas and the Haven Coast. The east coast is no less forgotten. From Derry, you can head east and then south as far as Belfast by following the Causeway Coastal Route that passes such highlights as the Giant’s Causeway, Old Bushmills Distillery and Dunluce Castle, while the coastal path from Portstewart to Ballycastle makes a fabulous walking route. The east of the island, from Belfast to Cork, is also the place to discover Ireland’s ancient roots, particularly Newgrange, the Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, that’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt. And what of the cities? The Celtic Tiger is long dead, but the Celtic Phoenix is rising fast, and both Belfast and Dublin are bursting with energy and alive with business, art, culture and music where you can do that thing that’s only possible in Ireland: have some good craic. For more information visit: tourismireland.com

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

Coming of age

The Château Latour Discovery Room at Four Seasons Trinity Square

Hotels have really upped the ante in recent years when it comes to serving – and now even growing – great wine, says Alice Lascelles

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ine service is not something that British hotels have historically majored at – as anyone who’s cringed over the scene in Fawlty Towers where Basil Fawlty serves his guest a bottle of corked claret, will be painfully aware. But times have changed. These days, it’s possible to find world-class hotel wine lists, sommeliers and even full-blown vineyards, from the Cornish coast to the centre of town. At the lavishly-restored Ten Trinity Square (tentrinitysquare. com), an imposing Grade II-listed building in Tower Bridge which re-launched last year complete with a Four Seasons hotel, two restaurants and a private club, guests can now enjoy a fabulous wine programme overseen by sommelier Jan Konetzki, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Chelsea, Maze and Claridge’s. In the Far Eastern-style Mei Ume restaurant, the sake selection runs to several pages, while in the hotel’s flagship restaurant, La Dame de Pic, it’s Rhône wines that are the star (a nod to the Rhône roots of its three Michelin-starred chef, Anne-Sophie Pic). ‘The Rhône runs from Switzerland all the way down to Provence, through famous regions such as Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape – it offers extraordinary variety,’ says Konetzki. ‘These wines can be fantastic value, too, yet it’s a region that’s often under-appreciated.’ He singles out the lesser-known Château Grillet, ‘a sleeping beauty of a grand cru. Their viogniers could go head-to-head with a Montrachet’. The Four Seasons hotel also shares a roof with Château

ABOVE: Preparing the vineyards at Lympstone Manor BELOW: Rathfinny rosé, made on the Rathfinny Estate on the South Downs

Latour’s ultra-exclusive The Club, a fine wine hideaway where you can puff on a Cohiba Behike while sampling the biggest selection of Château Latour by the glass in London, surrounded by vintages going back to 1939. Being a guest at the hotel won’t gain you access here, alas – but an application just might (enquiries@club.tentrinitysquare.com). The booming English wine scene means that a growing number of country hotels are, quite literally, in the thick of it. If you want a luxurious room with vineyard views, head to Lympstone Manor on the mouth of the Exe estuary (lympstonemanor.co.uk), where they recently planted nearly 10 acres of chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir, with the intention of making their own fizz. That particular cuvée won’t

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320 years in the making We’ve been keeping shop in St James’s since 1698. Helping customers find the perfect bottle for more than three centuries, we’ve learned a thing or two. Whether you are looking for a special gift or something for Tuesday night supper, you’ll find it at Berry Bros. & Rudd. Visit our award-winning shop at 63 Pall Mall.

www.bbr.com

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

be ready for several years yet, but in the meantime you can raid a superb cellar featuring more than 600 different bins, and feast on modern British fare by chef Michael Caines MBE. For something a little more hearty, stay the night at Rathfinny Estate’s Flint Barns on the rolling South Downs, where they offer great food, comfy B&B accommodation and the chance to take part in a harvest (rathfinnyestate.com). Or dine at Chewton Glen in the New Forest, a welcoming family hotel with one of the biggest selections of English and Welsh fizz in the country (chewtonglen.com). Before tucking into dinner by chef Simon Addison, have a glass of Hambledon Premiere Natural wines Cuvée 2010, which is currently tasting very good, or such as Terre de Nyetimber’s single-vineyard cuvée Tillington 2009. Mistral are served at The Love it or hate it, more hotels are making a Scarlet feature of natural wine, too. At the The Scarlet hotel in Cornwall, biodynamic, organic and natural wines are at the heart of a concept that’s about wellbeing (scarlethotel.co.uk). Spend the day soaking in a cliff-top hot tub, or relaxing in the ayurvedic spa, and then re-tox in their dining room overlooking the sea, with a glass of biodynamic white from Bergerac’s Château Tour des Gendres, or full-bodied red from Terre de Mistral, a natural winery in the Rhône. Or, sod it, have an indulgent PX sherry with one of their delicious puds. There can’t be an oenophile alive who wouldn’t be wowed by the multi award-winning wine list at Michelin-starred The Northcote in Lancashire (northcote.com). MD Craig Bancroft’s passion is for Portuguese wine, but his vast selection encompasses the very best from around the world, from Champagne Philipponnat’s sought-after single LEFT & BELOW: Enjoy perfectly decanted Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac at Ballyfin

Peter Michael wines from the Vineyard Hotel owner’s own Californian winery

LEFT & BELOW: Hambledon’s Premiere Cuvée is an English fizz available at classic countryhouse hotel Chewton Glen in Hampshire

vineyard champagnes, and the rosés of Lebanon’s Château Musar to the top-class cinsaults of cult South African wine maker Eben Sadie. If you want to delve deeper into a favourite region, be sure to book your stay around one of their regular wine dinners hosted by industry experts – past themes have included Provençal rosé and Burgundy icons. Or perfect your sword skills at their annual sabrage night – with a magnum of Cristal 2006, perhaps. Some hotels have cellars which are a destination in their own right. Play house in style by booking out all 20 rooms at the jaw-droppingly lovely Ballyfin, a Regency mansion in County Laois with vaulted limestone cellars (ballyfin.com). Here, by candlelight, you can choose from a Francophile wine list that pays tribute to the Irish ‘Wine Geese’ winemakers of Bordeaux – a clan of 18th-century viticultural pioneers from Ireland whose legacy lives on in illustrious names like Château Lynch-Bages – and then have it decanted so it’s pitch-perfect by the time you descend to dinner. The 30,000 bottle cellar at The Vineyard hotel Château Musar in Berkshire also has to be seen to be believed rosé 2012 – guests crossing the threshold are greeted by the hotel’s wine vault bristling with 5,000 bottles (the-vineyard.co.uk). Privately owned by the family of Peter Michael, one of California’s most iconic winemakers, the five-star Vineyard hotel is renowned among fans of the West Coast. But the emphasis here is on the celebration, and elucidation of wines of all sorts – they regularly host one-day WSET courses that see participants emerge with an entry-level qualification recognised throughout the industry (as well as a bellyful of good food). But who wants homework when there’s wine to be drunk? Or in the case of Claridge’s, buckets of champagne (claridges.co.uk). There can’t be many places in the world that offer such an astonishing selection of prestige cuvées: Dom Perignon Oenotheque, Krug Clos Celebrate at Claridge’s with du Mesnil, Pol Roger Winston Churchill, Taittinger a glass of Pol Comtes de Champagne, as well as insider favourites Roger Winston Churchilll such as Salon and Jacques Selosse. If the Friday night buzz is killing your vibe, then whisk your date away for a bottle of pink fizz – they list more than 40 types – in the sexy little Fumoir Bar next door. Or even better, take it up to your room. With so many delights on offer you won’t give a second thought to the mini-bar. Or, indeed, Basil Fawlty.

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

Tales of bath What hoteliers put in their bathrooms is more important than you can imagine, says Lucy Cleland

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all me shallow, but while I don’t necessarily judge a hotel by the thread count of its sheets, I certainly am impressed (or disappointed) by its chosen bath and body product range in the bathroom. Show me oversized bottles of unguents with names that demonstrate that the management pay attention to this level of detail – whether they’re location-specific products or locally sourced from individual makers or just quirky new brands that I’ve never heard of – and my stay will get off to a great start and I’ll overlook other minor misdemeanours. If I see the same tired old names with their stingy sized packaging (although I’ll forgive Hermès, always), I’ll subliminally be harsher in my judgement of everything else. The same goes for their reading matter, by the way… The answer to the conundrum of what products to bless your bathrooms with is, naturally, to create your own. Step forward Chloë Luxton, wife of Charlie Luxton, who along with Dan Brod, runs a couple of properly good pubs, The Beckford Arms in Wiltshire (see page 61) and the 15thcentury Talbot Inn in Mells, Somerset (see page 70). Yes, pubs with their own home-created bathroom products. Who knew? It was a natural step for Chloë, who met Charlie when he was Soho House’s Nick Jones’

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: The Beckford Arms; Chloë and Charlie Luxton and their three young children; Chloë Luxton; bedroom at The Talbot Inn

right hand man. Chloë also worked for Jones for four years, as a product developer for the Cowshed brand (so named after Babington House’s old cowshed in the grounds). Chloë and Charlie decided to break out on their own in 2009, when he bought The Beckford Arms (with Jones’ full blessing – he is an investor). Their vision for Beckford was for it to be ‘an English country pub – and to bring back the “pubbyness”’. ‘We wanted to create a comfortable space, with great food that’s also a great place to hang out,’ says Chloë. Chloë’s story then becomes the typically impressive build a brand from your kitchen table-type fable. With the first of three children at her apron strings (she now has Otto, 7, Monty, 5 and Inca, 3), Chloë wanted to create a range of entirely natural bath products of her own for the pub that was inspired by the British countryside. So Bramley (named after the West London road they lived on) was born. For the pretty packaging, she drew on her love of the book Lark Rise to Candleford ‘which had beautiful images of pressed flowers’. She was determined also to make each of her six launch products to be standalone, ‘so it wasn’t a case of running the 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 33

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: 100 Acres can be found in Liberty; Georgie Pearman; Country Creatures’ first new venture, the New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns

ingredients across the whole range as some work better than others, depending on the need’. What the products do share is that they are based on the therapeutic effects of the ingredients and each one has a citrus base underpinning it, giving them a wonderfully fresh and invigorating spirit. It takes around 18 months to develop a product from start to finish and around £2,000 per product in investment, so Chloë’s biggest lesson has been to ‘go slowly’. ‘Cashflow is the biggest hurdle,’ she explains and there was a moment when she thought they’d go under. They’d somehow managed to overorder bottles by thousands but they got through it with grit, charm and determination – like most small business owners. To this day though, unlike most small business owners, she’s never had to borrow money. Now you can not only see Bramley products in the pubs, you might be running a bubble bath in any of Robin Hutson’s Pigs (see pages 52, 67 and 82); anointing yourself with her body oil in one of the five Artist Residences (see pages 42, 88 and 89); or washing your hands with her handwash in Gails bakeries. Her million-dollar phone call though would be from Liberty. She’d love to have the iconic London store as a stockist. A similar story can be found slightly further north, in and around the Cotswolds. Hoteliers Sam and Georgie Pearman, having sold their

shares in the Lucky Onion group last year (see pages 125 and 129), have launched Country Creatures with their first property – the New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns. No doubt their bath and body brand, 100 Acres, will be gracing the bathrooms of the 15 bedrooms which have yet to be updated in Georgie’s deeply comforting style. The bespoke range of 15 products are made using botanicals and plant-based ingredients. ‘100 Acres was named as it’s synonymous with the English countryside. I wanted a range based around orchards, herbs, the old physic gardens,’ says Georgie. ‘My eventual dream would be to grow all the essential oils myself too.’ Georgie’s level of involvement even went as far as painting the now recognisable green label of the products herself, which you can also find stocked in Liberty, in the rooms of Ellenborough Park and in the glamping areas of festivals like Wilderness and the Big Feastival. It was Cliveden’s women and the history of the astonishing Italianate, Charles Barrydesigned mansion, now a hotel that is part of Ian and Richard Livingstone’s Iconic Luxury Hotel portfolio (see pages 77, 90, 102 and 124), that inspired Ian’s wife, Natalie, to create Cliveden’s new bath and body range, for which she chose every tiny details from the ingredients to the packaging.

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Cliveden Spa’s Nancy body oil; Cliveden’s own range of nail polishes; Natalie Livingstone; the swimming pool at Cliveden

In 2015, Natalie wrote The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home, through which she got to know and love the women of the house, who were key to its story and key to Natalie’s new product line. ‘After the book, I thought it would be really nice to roll out that history into the spa,’ explains Natalie. ‘I used all the women’s favourite flowers and named the products after them.’ So for Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury (for whom Cliveden was originally built in the 1660s by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, with whom she was having an affair), she used sensuous roses, while for American

divorcee Nancy Astor, the first woman MP and the house’s last formidable chatelaine (before Natalie herself, of course), the product line is much more crisp and fresh. The spa even has its own nail colour range, with names such as Harriet (named after the Duchess of Sutherland), Scandal (after the Profumo affair) and Elizabeth Rose (after Natalie’s third daughter, aged two). With Cliveden’s latest high-profile guest being the new Duchess of Sussex on the night before her wedding to Prince Harry perhaps we’ll see a Markle colour before we know it. Although just used in the spa currently, the products will be making their way into the house’s 43 sumptuous rooms and suites before the year is out and a men’s range, Waldorf, is due next year – as, hopefully, says Natalie, are hotel specific ranges for Chewton Glen and the Lygon Arms (two of the other hotels in the portfolio). So, you see that having the right bath and body products can also help spin the story of your hotel – and that, in this crazy, modern world – is what people crave more than ever. A good old (sweet-smelling) yarn. bramleyproducts.co.uk; 100acres.co.uk; clivedenhouse.co.uk

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Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly Head to the wild wild southwest for England’s own riviera, dramatic moors and a tiny archipeligo of 140 islands that haven’t changed much in centuries

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Emsworthy Mire Barn in Dartmoor National Park, Devon by Jake Turner. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. jrturnerphotography.co.uk

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INTO WILD POOLS AND LIDOS 6 DIP

The Hot List

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Hie thee to Poldark country for spanking-fresh seafood, finding Eden and glorious gardens

7 LIVE LIKE A POLDARK

The family that’s owned the Trewithen estate, near Truro, since 1715, is rumoured to be the inspiration for Winston Graham’s Poldark novels. Awash with spring colour and a carpet of sub-tropical plants, the garden is considered one of the loveliest in England. trewithengardens.co.uk

EAT ICE CREAM

Unassuming and tucked away on a Cornish coastal path, The Hidden Hut has an impressive, locally sourced menu (the cooked pork focaccia is a firm favourite), including tasty cakes and ice-cream, so it’s no wonder their ‘feast night’ tickets sell out in minutes. The view’s not half bad either. hiddenhut.co.uk

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WANDER ROUND WATERFALLS

Walk off a Sunday roast at Dartmoor’s Lydford Gorge, by ancient woodland. See the dramatic 30-metre Whitelady Waterfall and the Devil’s Cauldron bubbling whirlpool. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers. nationaltrust.org.uk

PUFFINS 3ANDMEET SEALS

Step back to a simpler time on Lundy Island. Here you’ll find puffins, seals… and no cars. Bliss. You can stay in castles, old schoolhouses and lighthouses, through the Landmark Trust. landmarktrust.org.uk

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4 GO GREEN

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Imagine huge tropical Biomes containing exotic gardens, nestled in a crater the size of 30 football pitches. The Eden Project is an educational marvel. Breathe in the sultry scents of the Rainforest Biome or weave through lemon trees and olive groves in the Mediterranean zone. edenproject.com

INTO A DETECTIVE NOVEL 5 STEP

Burgh Island may be tiny but it was the inspiration for Agatha Christie’s Soldier Island (And Then There Were None) and the setting for her Hercule Poirot mystery, Evil Under the Sun. This idyll off the South Devonshire coast is privately owned by Burgh Island Hotel, the art deco landmark that was once a bolthole for the likes of Noel 3 Coward. burghisland.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; REX FEATURES

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Nervous about tides? How about going half-wild swimming. There are many tidal sea pools dotted around the coastline, from Bude’s 91m sea pool to the lido-sized rock pool at Treyarnon. Most impressive is Penzance’s newly restored Art Deco Jubilee pool. jubileepool.co.uk

Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza in Poldark, a BBC One series

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

A SEAFOOD 8 CONQUER TASTING MENU

At the top of Port Isaac, with views overlooking the jagged coast, stands Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, a seafood Mecca of these parts, with a tasting menu that reels in discerning visitors and locals alike. nathan-outlaw.com

INVESTIGATE AGATHA CHRISTIE’S 9HOLIDAY HOME

Nestled near the River Dart is Agatha Christie’s former holiday home, Greenway, where she would set down her pen to enjoy family time (and the odd bit of murder mystery inspiration). nationaltrust.org.uk

PAUL AINSWORTH’S DISHES 10 TASTE

The acclaimed British chef serves up playful, brilliantly creative dishes straight from Cornwall’s rich larder – at Paul Ainsworth at No.6 and Rojano’s in the Square. paul-ainsworth.co.uk

CLASSIC ENGLISH WINES AND CHEESES 11 TASTE

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Sharpham Wine & Cheese is a thousandyear-old farm with 500 acres and big ambitions to produce world-class wine and cheese. They use milk from their own Jersey cows for the cheese and meticulously select cool climate grape varieties for the vineyard. This place gives farm-to-fork a whole new meaning. sharpham.com

ETHICALLY AT RIVER COTTAGE HQ 15 SCOFF

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SMUG ON A SECRET BEACH 13SIT

Gara Rock Beach is an unspoiled cove between Prawle Point and the mouth of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary. The much-anticipated Gara Rock Hotel opens this year with a clifftop pool, spa and easy access to the beach. gararock.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; REX FEATURES

OYSTERS 14SLURP

MAP OUT MEDIEVAL 12 PASSAGES

Underneath the hustle and bustle of Exeter lurks what’s left of a network of medieval vaulted tunnels, built to supply the city with fresh water. Opt for a guided tour – it’s rumoured that a ghost cycles the passages by night, so you’ll want company… exeter.gov.uk

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Every October Falmouth’s Events Square hosts one of Cornwall’s favourite foodie festivals, The Falmouth Oyster Festival. Four days of feasting, live music, cooking demos and craft stalls celebrate the start of the oyster dredging season. falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk

Floppy-haired and enthusiastic Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall put Devon’s River Cottage on the map, raising awareness of the welfare and sustainability of animals and fish. Share his passion (and local produce) with regular Friday and Saturday night feasts in the rustic barn. rivercottage.net

CULTURE AL FRESCO 16 DO

Pack a picnic and head for the dramatic clifftop Minack Theatre. Rowena Cade first created the stage in the early 1930s, by moving tonnes of boulders from the cliffs below her garden so that local Shakespeare enthusiasts could perform The Tempest. Without doubt the most magical place in the county (or country) to go to the theatre. minack.com

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ARTIST RESIDENCE PENZANCE, CORNWALL

It’s unsurprising that Justin and Charlie (Charlotte) Salisbury turned to Cornwall with its vibrant art scene for their second venture. In the charming old quarter of Penzance, they have converted a handsome, 17th-century house into a delightfully eclectic hotel, decorated with works of art from top to toe. In the airy bedrooms, walls are adorned with funky murals painted by British artists, original canvases and limited-edition prints. From sleigh beds to packing crate tables, the carefully chosen furniture has panache, and seven new bedrooms were unveiled in 2017, plus the fabulous Lookout, a luxe retreat complete with roof terrace, and a self-catering cottage sleeping up to six. In the Cornish Barn restaurant, there are reclaimed wooden walls and bar, metal tables and more art. The look is a cross between kooky and industrial. Drinks and snacks are on tap all day, but don’t miss the outstanding cooked breakfast or sharing dishes served in the evening. CLAIM TO FAME... Like the other Artist Residence properties, the artwork is a big focus. Look closely and you may spy works from the likes of Tracey Emin and Peter Blake. Doubles from £85 +44 (0)1736 365664; artistresidence.co.uk

THE BEACH AT BUDE BUDE, CORNWALL

The hottest of Cornish hotspots, The Beach at Bude is a skilfully updated Victorian house that retains its original character along with decoration that feels fresh and modern and looks the epitome of seaside chic. The groovy Beach Bar positively hums at weekends, with its inventive cocktail menu and summer terrace. The hotel has a resplendent position, with views over Summerleaze Beach and the spectacular scenery around Bude. There are five types of room: Classic, Classic Plus, Superior, Deluxe and family-friendly suites. Opt for one in the top two categories if you can – they have the sea views. All are decorated in a breezy New England style, furnished with Lloyd Loom chairs, limed oak furniture and Vispring beds. Don’t miss lunch or dinner in the AA-two-rosette restaurant, where head chef Joe Simmonds, (who’s becoming a regular on the food festival circuit), has a passion for developing menus made from fresh local ingredients. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel is just a short stroll from Bude Sea Pool, a partially manmade tidal swimming pool, nestled under cliffs near Summerleaze Beach. Doubles from £125 +44 (0)1288 389800; thebeachatbude.co.uk 42 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

CARY ARMS & SPA BABBACOMBE BEACH, DEVON

Its location is nothing short of spectacular, approached by a steep lane that descends the cliff. Once ensconced, the Cary Arms & Spa – owned by Peter and Lana de Savary – feels like a setting from a Mills & Boon romance and Famous Five adventure rolled into one, its delightful bedrooms each supplied with a stick of rock on snow-white pillows. Eat Devon beef and Lyme Bay lobster in the stone-walled, slate-floored bar, or on pretty terraces that hang over the bay. Bedrooms in the Inn are sumptuous and seaside-fresh, beach huts and beach suites are beautiful and contemporary, and there are also two new cottages to choose from. While no-one would expect sybaritic luxury at an ‘inn on the beach’, there’s actually a state-of-the-art spa offering indulgent marine Thalgo treatments. Romantic, family-friendly and perfect for walkers, fishermen, sailors and dog-lovers: the Cary Arms & Spa has something for everyone. A worthy winner of Bronze in the recent Visit England Awards for Excellence. CLAIM TO FAME... Babbacombe Bay has long been a royal favourite – from Queen Victoria’s visit in 1846 to that of TV’s ‘Queen of the Jungle’, Georgia Toffolo, in October 2017. Doubles from £245 +44 (0)1803 327110; caryarms.co.uk

THE CIDER HOUSE BUCKLAND ABBEY, DEVON

Bertie and Bryony Hancock are enchanting: young and enthusiastic, they clearly love what they do. They’ve created an equally enchanting guesthouse in a beautiful old building in the grounds of The National Trust’s Buckland Abbey. As delightful as it’s historic, house guests are free to wander in the wildflower-filled Cider House Garden and see the immaculate monks’ kitchen gardens and beehives, all maintained by the National Trust. At the Cider House there are four sophisticated yet homely bedrooms, with all the right touches, including Roberts radios, magazines, flowers and Ren products. Breakfast is a feast cooked by Bryony and served by Bertie, and although dinner isn’t provided, there are plenty of local pubs (two within walking distance), gastro-pubs and restaurants. And there’s something else: a ten-minute walk from the Cider House, in the most glorious unspoilt countryside with views down to the Tamar estuary, are the guesthouse’s two exceptional and luxurious double-bedded shepherd’s huts. CLAIM TO FAME... Sir Francis Drake once lived in the Abbey and the Cider House was his brew house for the estate. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1822 259062; cider-house.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 43

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

DRIFTWOOD ROSEVINE, CORNWALL

There’s no more fabulous vista than from clifftop Driftwood. More Mediterranean than Cornish, it overlooks Gerrans Bay on the Roseland Peninsula and includes seven acres of gardens full of secluded, shady spots that lead to a perfect crescent of private beach. Halfway down is a restored cabin with two bedrooms and a sitting room, a magical place to stay in summer. A wildflower garden is home to bees that produce honey for the restaurant. The house itself, a 1930s building transformed with the aid of dusky blue clapboard, makes the most of the views. Whether relaxing in the bedrooms, drinking on the generous terrace or indulging in the Michelin-starred cooking of chef Chris Eden in the chic dining room, you’ll find yourself wanting to stay forever. When Paul and Fiona Robinson opened Driftwood 16 years ago neither had hotel experience, but Fiona’s skill as an interior designer, plus their hands-on approach and ease with guests, have created a delightful Cornish haven, stylish and seaside-fresh but devoid of pretension. CLAIM TO FAME... The Driftwood is one of the only hotels in Cornwall with its own private beach. Doubles from £190 +44 (0)1872 580644; driftwoodhotel.co.uk

FOWEY HALL FOWEY, CORNWALL

High above the delightful, literary, waterside town of Fowey, which famously inspired author Daphne du Maurier, stands the handsome country house that was also said to be an inspiration for Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Inside, as in every Luxury Family Hotel, the ingredients of a perfect grown-up establishment – heralded by a hall with open fires, antiques and chandeliers – are mixed with the essentials of a children’s paradise: indoor and outdoor play areas, Ofsted-registered crèche, baby listening and more. There are 36 rooms and suites, all different, all beautifully furnished with antiques and pretty fabrics; the oak-panelled dining room is the setting for delicious dinners, with special menus for children. But don’t think you have to have a family with you to come to Fowey Hall: cleverly, it’s a hotel that works just as well for couples. CLAIM TO FAME... Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame was a frequent visitor to the Hall. At the time he was writing letters to his son, which were to be immortalised in his enduring 1908 children’s classic, in which the town of Fowey is depicted as ‘The Little Grey Seaport’. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1726 833866; foweyhallhotel.co.uk 44 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

GIDLEIGH PARK CHAGFORD, DEVON

‘Keep heart’ reads a sign along the narrow, twisting lane to Gidleigh Park, ‘you are still en route.’ It may be remote, but it’s a haven of luxury. The Tudor-style house, surrounded by abundant gardens and embraced by river and woods on Dartmoor’s edge, has been in the deft hands of Andrew and Christina Brownsword since 2005. They sensitively upgraded the house, embellishing the interior with smart fabrics and arts and craft furniture, but refrained from adding a spa or gym (‘Dartmoor’s our gym!’). Instead, they created ‘spa suites’, the ultimate indulgence, with their own saunas and steam rooms. Gidleigh is as famous for its restaurant as its divine rooms, and January 2018 saw the arrival of an exciting new executive chef, Chris Simpson, who was previously at the two Michelin-starred restaurant, Nathan Outlaw, and has a reputation for outstanding but unpretentious cooking. The kitchen of one of England’s most spoiling country retreats will continue to delight. CLAIM TO FAME... Kay Henderson, who (with her husband) first opened Gidleigh Park as a hotel, taught herself to cook and is believed to be the first American woman to win a Michelin star. Doubles from £275 +44 (0)1647 432367; gidleigh.co.uk

THE GINGER PEANUT BAMPTON, DEVON

A restaurant with rooms with a difference, The Ginger Peanut is a charming bolthole not far from the Barle valley. The focus is on the food – and it is brilliant. Chef Peter Mundy champions the field to fork approach in the award-winning restaurant, sourcing the best local ingredients to create elegant yet hearty dishes that shine in the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. The wine list is also excellent and you should go with the knowledgeable staff’s recommendations. Why leave after dinner? The five beautifully appointed rooms are named after local wildlife: Duck, Rabbit, Hare, Quail and Grouse, each individually designed and the perfect base from which to explore the local pubs and shops of the town. Big, comfy beds, crisp cotton sheets and thoughtful interiors, plus open access to the pantry for tea, coffee and snacks, tick all the right boxes for a perfect Devon weekend. CLAIM TO FAME... The village of Bampton is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The annual Bampton Fair was established in 1258 and was where Exmoor ponies were traded until the Second World War. Doubles from £75 +44 (0)1398 332244; gingerpeanut.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 45

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

GLAZEBROOK HOUSE SOUTH BRENT, DEVON

The outside is conventional – a fine-looking Georgian house in a landscaped garden at the southern tip of Dartmoor – which makes the interior all the more of a surprise. It’s kooky, quirky and huge fun, filled with curiosities as diverse as a stuffed flamingo and a bulldog sculpture wearing a bowler hat. There are parquet floors and plaid carpets, lived-in leather furniture, theatrical chandeliers, a tasting room and walls covered with silver trays, bugles and drums. The brainchild of Pieter and Fran Hamman together with Timothy Oulton Studio, Glazebrook is a breath of fresh air at a time when hotels can look like clones. The nine bedrooms have a playful Alice in Wonderland theme but are also deeply comfortable, with knock-out bathrooms. The Hammans have executed a master stroke by installing MasterChef quarterfinalist Ben Palmer in charge of the restaurant. His original, well-priced menus and excellent, beautifully presented food are hard to beat. CLAIM TO FAME... The Queen Mother used to visit Glazebrook House after the war, when it was home to her cousin, naval commander Algernon Penrice-Lyons. Doubles from £149 +44 (0)1364 73322; glazebrookhouse.com

THE GURNARD’S HEAD ZENNOR, CORNWALL

‘It’s about the simple things in life done well,’ say brothers Edmund and Charlie Inkin about their three delightful hostelries, The Gurnard’s Head and The Old Coastguard here in Cornwall (see page 51), and The Felin Fach Griffin in Wales (see page 176). Nothing could be closer to the truth nor more perfectly exemplified than at this sunshine yellow dining pub with rooms, its name writ large on the long, tiled roof. Set in the wild landscape of Cornwall’s Atlantic coast, it’s an unpretentious haven where, in the brightly painted bedrooms, you’ll find luxurious beds, jam jars filled with fresh flowers and Roberts radios. No TVs or phones. But panic at being cut off quickly gives way to a sense of peace and satisfaction, reinforced by head chef Max Wilson’s divine local and seasonal menu, changed daily according to what’s brought to the back door. CLAIM TO FAME... This inn, with its quite extraordinary sea and moorland views, sits close to the artists’ community of St Ives, which in the 1950s and 60s became the hangout of painters such as Hepworth, Frost, Heron and Hilton and poets like WS Graham. Doubles from £125 +44 (0)1736 796928; gurnardshead.co.uk 46 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

THE HEADLAND HOTEL NEWQUAY, CORNWALL

With a spectacular location, perched on a private cliff-top overlooking the sand and surf of beautiful Fistral Beach, The Headland Hotel has been in the same family for nearly 40 years. An iconic Victorian hotel, it has been painstakingly restored and transformed into one of Cornwall’s stand-out places to stay – both welcoming and relaxed. Among its chief attractions are two highly regarded restaurants (the elegant and double AA rosette-awarded Samphire and the easy-going, contemporary Terrace), a spa, state-of-the-art gym and heated outdoor pool. In the 95 large rooms and suites, expect big, comfortable beds, squashy pillows and breathtaking sea views. For more flexibility and privacy, opt for one of the 39 five-star, seaside-chic cottages, idyllic as a secluded, romantic retreat and a favourite with families. The addition of cutting-edge facilities hasn’t affected The Headland’s delightfully discreet English ambience, making this one of the most understated yet personal spa hotels in Cornwall. CLAIM TO FAME... The famous 1990 production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, starring Anjelica Huston, was filmed here. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1637 872211; headlandhotel.co.uk

HELL BAY BRYHER, ISLES OF SCILLY

California meets the Atlantic Ocean at this terrific hotel on Bryher, in the Isles of Scilly. It takes commitment to get there by ferry and Jeep but when you do you’ll find nothing but grass, golden sand, a jumble of rocks and the vast ocean between you and America. It’s the creation of Robert Dorrien-Smith, hereditary owner of neighbouring island Tresco. He has filled the seaside-fresh hotel with modern art, all with a regional connection. The 25 beautiful, airy suites – many of which can be divided into two – can each sleep up to four, with huge double beds and attractive armchair beds for children; all are decorated with Malabar fabrics and Lloyd Loom furniture. There’s also a pool, tennis court, play area, games and fitness rooms, as well as a sumptuous spa treatment room. Delicious, colourful dishes, including local produce such as Bryher crabs and Tresco beef, are served in sunny weather on the wide terrace, where you can drink in the astonishing views. CLAIM TO FAME... Bryher is the smallest of the inhabited islands of Scilly and measures only about half a square mile. Doubles from £280 +44 (0)1720 422947; hellbay.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 47

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

HIGHBULLEN HOTEL CHITTLEHAMHOLT, DEVON

It may be wonderfully isolated, between Exmoor and Dartmoor, but this hotel, on its own 125acre estate, has everything you could wish for: 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, croquet lawns, swimming pool and spa. Plus a sports simulator for children. The handsome Arts and Crafts house, built by a prominent architect from stone quarried from the estate in 1879, has steep roofs and deep porches and an intriguing marble fireplace in the drawing room. The look is traditional but stylish and supremely comfortable: the sitting rooms invite long hours reading in front of crackling fires. There are 12 plush bedrooms in the main house, plus gorgeous contemporary rooms throughout the Estate, in addition to lovely self-catering cottages. Choose from fine dining in the aptly named AA 2 Rosette Devon View Restaurant or, for a casual dining experience, head to the Cellars. In addition, this autumn sees Highbullen open a divine Laura Ashley Tea Room. CLAIM TO FAME... The Sir Laurence Olivier Room was named after the great actor himself – he retreated to Highbullen during Hollywood’s Golden Age to relax and enjoy the peace. Doubles from £89 +44 (0)1769 540561; highbullen.co.uk

THE HORN OF PLENTY TAVISTOCK, DEVON

For more than half a century, one of Devon’s best restaurants has been housed in this gracious, peaceful country manor hotel, where superb modern British food is locally sourced and exquisitely presented. The breathtaking views over the Tamar valley are just one of many pleasures you’ll find here. The house was built in 1866 for a local Mine Captain, James Richards, and is perfectly located for visiting the West Country (most of Devon and Cornwall is within an hour’s drive). Surrounded by pretty gardens, where tea is served in summer, the house itself is airy and elegant, with wooden floors and picture windows. The 16 stylish bedrooms (four in the main house, six in the original coach house and six in a sleek new wing, most with balconies and stunning views) have thoughtful little extras including fresh milk, bottled water and fluffy bathrobes. The reception rooms are gracefully simple, with stripped floors and fine pictures. It’s a much loved address, in the best of hands. CLAIM TO FAME... The Horn has welcomed many famous guests over its 51-year history, including the legendary David Bowie. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1822 832528; thehornofplenty.co.uk 48 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

HOTEL ENDSLEIGH MILTON ABBOT, DEVON

This delightful Regency cottage orné is set down a mile-long drive in its own secret valley. Built for the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, its gardens were laid out by Humphry Repton, whose plans included siting hidden chimneys in the woods so they could see smoke curling prettily above the trees. Today, over a delicious meal, you can gaze on the same view from lovely terraces. Repton’s Yew Walk, the River Tamar and the tumbling woods beyond are a mesmerising sight. With its wooden floors and doors, Endsleigh brings to mind an endearingly old-fashioned Scottish shooting lodge, but one artfully blended with contemporary luxury and owner Olga Polizzi’s stunning eye for design. The sitting room is fabulous and two suites, one perfect for families, the other for honeymooners, have been created in the stable block, bringing the total number of stylish and unfussy bedrooms to 18. As for the grounds, they are a fantasy of dells and grottos, cascades and crags. CLAIM TO FAME... Room 8 has stunning handpainted chinoiserie wallpaper commissioned for a visit by Queen Victoria in 1856. Doubles from £190 +44 (0)1822 870000; hotelendsleigh.com

HOTEL TRESANTON ST MAWES, CORNWALL

With fabulous views over Falmouth Bay, Tresanton became a landmark when hotelier Olga Polizzi created the first truly fashionable and chic British seaside bolthole. This year, celebrating its 20th anniversary, it effortlessly continues to hold its own without any of the pretension of more recent, glossier addresses. Indeed, with its new Beach Club for lounging in the sun or eating gourmet burgers, it has never been better. Bedrooms are engaging and stylish and there’s a ship’s deck of a terrace. But the hotel also has cosiness, underpinned by professional service from waiters in white, silverbuttoned jackets. As well as the bedrooms in the main house, there are three each in separate Rock Cottage and The Nook. These fabulous suites are perfect for families, while the master suite in Rock Cottage has a wood burner and crow’s nest terrace. As for the locally sourced food, it’s served in a magical Mediterranean room, sunlit by day, candlelit by night. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel’s 8m yacht, Pinuccia, designed by Vincenzo Vittorio Baglietto to represent Italy in the 1939 World Cup, was allegedly once owned by Mussolini. Doubles from £210 +44 (0)1326 270055; tresanton.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 49

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

LYMPSTONE MANOR EXMOUTH, DEVON

This handsome country-house hotel is the culmination of the experience gleaned by Michael Caines over the course of an exceptional career. Once the playground of the Baring banking family, it now has 21 glamorous guest rooms that take their names from the birds of the Exe Estuary below. The soul of the place revolves around the Exe and its bird life, from the staircase wallpaper featuring all 21 birds, hand-painted by local artist Rachel Toll, to the pictures depicting surrounding Devonshire scenery and the soothing bedroom colour schemes. But the reason you come here isn’t really for the deep outdoor soak tubs that overlook the estuary or for the sensational views, pampering bathrooms or complimentary G&T tray in your room – it’s to experience Michael’s exquisite and intelligent food, informed by South West England’s larder and two decades at the helm of a two Michelinstarred restaurant. This is the future of the country-house hotel. CLAIM TO FAME... Michelin-starred Michael Caines is at the helm as Chef Patron. Doubles from £330 +44 (0)1395 202040; lympstonemanor.co.uk

MERCHANTS MANOR FALMOUTH, CORNWALL

The inspiration of dynamic young couple, Nick and Sioned Rudlin, Merchants Manor is a seaside country-house style hotel in the town with a focus on wellness. The Rudlins bought Merchants in 2012, since when they have breathed new life into the house, creating an environment that is chic and contemporary, but encourages guests to kick off their shoes and make themselves at home. Downstairs, light floods in through the large windows to rooms dressed with an interesting mix of vintage and locally made furniture. Two new timber-clad residences, Landlubber and Lookout, provide the ultimate in tranquil, stylish accommodation for one to four guests, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a private terrace with Jacuzzi and magnificent views. Further attractions include the Linen Rooms Spa, yoga classes, a Technogym, sauna, steam room and indoor pool, as well as the exceptional Rastella restaurant. Chef Patron and ace forager Hylton Espey follows the mantra, ‘what grows together, goes together’, and uses it to quite outstanding effect. CLAIM TO FAME... The original casts (as in 30 years ago) of many shows, including the original Poldark, have stayed at the hotel. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1326 369593; merchantsmanor.com 50 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NARE VERYAN, CORNWALL

Opened in 1989 by Bettye Gray, whose family has been central to the Cornish hotel scene since 1908, The Nare was the county’s first luxury establishment. Today, owner Toby Ashworth excels in upholding his grandmother’s vision of warm, traditional hospitality and his many regular guests are drawn by the enveloping kindness, the offer of collection by car from their home, the location on stunning Carne Beach and the fine food in the splendid dining room, where waitresses dart about in white pinnies and the flambée trolley is on hand. Children are embraced, dogs have their own menus, and there’s a fine spa with two pools. No bothersome advance booking is required for activities: in fact, Toby likes nothing better than to suggest a sail in his Cornish Crabber with picnic ready-stowed, or to visit one of the many gardens nearby. The hotel even has its own motor launch, Alice Rose. A unique address, perfect for extended families. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel is run by the fifth generation of Ashworth hoteliers in Cornwall, with over a century’s experience of inn-keeping between them. Doubles from £295 +44 (0)1872 501111; narehotel.co.uk

THE OLD COASTGUARD MOUSEHOLE, CORNWALL

Of Charlie and Edmund Inkin’s collection of effortlessly laid-back places to stay (see pages 46 and 176), this has the best location: overlooking the sea in the enchanting fishing village of Mousehole, noted for its artists, Christmas illuminations and invention of stargazy pie. A hotel since Victorian times, the 14 seafacing bedrooms have happily submitted to Charlie’s penchant for tongue and groove panelling, pale blue or mustard yellow walls, auction room finds and striped curtains. Downstairs, in the open-plan, wood-floored bar/dining room, you’ll tuck in to head chef Matt Smith’s superb dishes. Making the most of the view through picture windows, the sun-filled sitting area, embellished with striped armchairs and handsome sofas, runs the length of the ground floor. Lazing there, looking through the palm trees to the shining sea, you’ll keep delaying your departure by another hour. It’s that sort of place. CLAIM TO FAME... In 1930 Dylan Thomas described Mousehole as ‘the loveliest village in England’, a tribute that remains true to the present day. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1736 731222; oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 51

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THE PIG – AT COMBE GITTISHAM, DEVON

As you approach this Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor down the mile-long drive, surrounded by meadows, it slips tantalisingly in and out of sight, building a sense of romance that’s utterly fulfilled on arrival. Always a special place, now it’s brimful of life, bonhomie and stylish informality, having become the latest – and most exciting yet – PIG hotel (see pages 67 and 82). With the main bar installed in the historic Great Hall, the fun starts the moment you walk in. There’s a wonderful, double-aspect conservatory restaurant with bare wood floors, restored shutters and incredible views; cosy snugs with roaring fires; a bar with wood-fired oven in the ‘derelict chic’ Folly; huge raftered bedrooms in the attic; an atmospheric private dining room in the original Georgian kitchen and so much more. In the walled ‘infusion’ garden, two potting sheds are now delightful treatment rooms, beyond which lie 3,500 acres of lush Devonshire countryside. Close by are the wide open spaces of Dartmoor and the World Heritage coast. A total joy. CLAIM TO FAME... The Folly, now a rustic eatery in the grounds, is an original Georgian Pediment Glasshouse dating back to 1787. Doubles from £145 +44 (0)1404 540400; thepighotel.com

POLURRIAN BAY HOTEL MULLION, CORNWALL

If you want to take your kids on a bucket-andspade holiday, but need a break from time to time, Polurrian Bay provides the solution. Perched on the cliffs of the Lizard Peninsula, this one-time Victorian railway hotel, now attractively updated, offers an Ofsted-registered crèche for children over three months, play areas and pools, a games room, cinema room, gym and spa. It also has a lovely quiet beach, perfect for building sandcastles, plus comfortable, good-sized family rooms (some interconnecting) and four stunning new self-catering villas, accommodating up to six people. The hotel’s interior is pared down, Scandistyle, with blonde wood floors and furniture. Colourful chairs and sofas fill the contemporary Vista lounge, which opens out to a terrace with spectacular views of Mounts Bay. The dining room offers a menu that usually features organic beef reared on nearby Goonhilly Downs and locallycaught mackerel. There’s surfing, kayaking, horse riding, golf and walking, on the doorstep. CLAIM TO FAME... Guglielmo Marconi stayed here in 1902, when experimenting with the first transatlantic radio messages. His monument above Poldu Cove can be seen from the hotel. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1326 240421; polurrianhotel.com 52 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT PADSTOW, CORNWALL

Padstow is synonymous with Rick and Jill Stein. And if a restaurant can be a hub, then Rick’s famous Seafood Restaurant is just that, where red-aproned waiters whisk about in the airy, colourful dining room and a chandelier made of bobbing white fish creates an eye-catching start to a memorable meal. Alternatively, you can eat more simply at Rick Stein’s Café, St Petroc’s Bistro or Stein’s Fish & Chips, all equally fun. As for sleeping, choose from a variety of stylish lodgings, each designed by Jill and set in charming, whitewashed village houses. There are lovely rooms above the Seafood Restaurant, while the cheapest are above the Café and the most expensive in St Edmunds House, which has oak floors, American shutters and views across the Camel Estuary. There are four sunny rooms in Prospect House and a further ten in St Petroc’s, just behind it. Finally, one-bedroomed Bryn cottage, in the heart of Padstow, has estuary views, its own kitchen and a secluded garden. CLAIM TO FAME... When in Padstow, visit Ruby’s Bar to try out the incredible cocktail list by award-winning bartender, Mr Lyan. Doubles from £165 +44 (0)1841 532700; rickstein.com

ST ENODOC ROCK, CORNWALL

Well-heeled British families have flocked to Rock for their bucket-and-spade holidays for generations, but it wasn’t until the successful makeover of classic seaside hotel St Enodoc in the 1990s that they had somewhere stylish and relaxed to stay, that’s also perfect for all ages. With the ‘Cornish larder’ at its disposal, the modern European dishes served at the brasseriestyle restaurant are fresh, healthy and locally sourced. Its clean lines, easygoing comfort, mediterranean feel and wide terrace for outdoor dining are in perfect harmony with the location. Upstairs, the bedrooms – many with views across the water – are brightly painted, with original art on the walls. Together with the hotel’s spa, it makes the ideal seaside base, with sandy beaches, fine walking, the ferry to Padstow and a golf course on the doorstep. ‘Blesséd be St Enodoc’ wrote former poet laureate, John Betjeman, in his best-known poem, Trebetherick, in which he wished all children could enjoy the glorious holidays he’d spent there with his friends. CLAIM TO FAME... Betjeman is buried at the tiny, gorse-thronged and exquisite St Enodoc Church, which is just a ten-minute walk away. Doubles from £200 +44 (0)1208 863394; enodoc-hotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 53

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ST MORITZ TREBETHERICK, CORNWALL

More than simply a hotel, St Moritz has elements of a transatlantic beach resort. In the quiet hamlet of Trebetherick, between Rock and Polzeath on the north coast, it’s the ideal destination for a relaxing beach holiday, indulgent spa break or family get-together, and not only in summertime. The dramatic coastline, secret coves, green fields and sweeping beaches provide the perfect backdrop to a stay at any time of year. Inside, whichever one of the rooms, suites, apartments, penthouses and villas you choose, it will swiftly become your seaside sanctuary. Each is finished with the hotel’s chic, contemporary look, featuring modern furniture, spa goodies and stunning views. Book a King Room and a stripy poolside beach hut is yours too. In the leisure building you’ll find a Cowshed spa. In the Shorecrest Restaurant there’s a menu brimming with fresh, local, seasonal produce, to leave you more than satisfied. CLAIM TO FAME... St Moritz has notable neighbours including Gordan Ramsay and former Prime Minister David Cameron, both of whom are known to pop in for dinner or a coffee from time to time. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1208 862242; stmoritzhotel.co.uk

STAR CASTLE HOTEL ST MARY’S, ISLES OF SCILLY

Fashioned from a perfect, star-shaped, 16thcentury castle set on a headland above Hugh Town, this hotel is a stellar find. Stretching out behind are the modern Garden Rooms, perfect for families, plus an indoor pool and conservatory dining room, all set in lush grounds. It was once the most secure defence post in the British Isles but, nowadays, this castle has the charm and intimacy of a Cotswold cottage. As well as the cosy bar (formerly the dungeon), first-floor sitting room and stonewalled dining room, there are eight charming bedrooms in the castle itself, plus three in former guardrooms embedded in the castle walls. As for food, you can indulge in owner Robert Francis’s two passions, fishing and wine, by eating a steamed lobster that he has caught himself and drinking a fabulous bottle from his carefully selected wine list. At breakfast, Robert’s son, James, arranges guest outings along with the hotel’s boatman, Tim. A family affair, and a special one at that. CLAIM TO FAME... Wildlife lover, Ray Mears, visited the Isles of Scilly in 2018 for the first time and stayed at the Star Castle. Doubles from £185 +44 (0)1720 422317; star-castle.co.uk 54 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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DEVON, CORNWALL & THE ISLES OF SCILLY

TALLAND BAY PORTHALLOW, CORNWALL

On the south Cornish coast between Polperro and Looe, Talland Bay Hotel is set in two lush acres of subtropical gardens, a pebble’s skim from the beach. From the outside it’s a quite conventional, long, low, white-painted building, but the interior packs a cool punch. You’ll find sofas covered in zany zebra stripes, extravagantly high-backed chairs and quirky contemporary paintings and objets d’art. The gorgeous, panelled dining room is more classic, an appropriate setting for Nick Hawke’s topnotch Cornish cooking. A large terrace provides plenty of space for summer dining, while the brasserie-style Conservatory offers a more laidback alternative. The hotel prides itself on being dog-friendly, with pooches welcome in most bedrooms as well as in the garden suites in the grounds. Choose to stay in one of the beachchic rooms, perhaps one with a sleigh bed or four-poster draped in white fabric. For more space and privacy, the garden suites are ideal. CLAIM TO FAME... Talland Bay’s famous guests include Mick Jagger and Chris Evans, while Richard and Judy count the hotel among their top local lunch haunts. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1503 272667; tallandbayhotel.co.uk

TREWORNAN MANOR WADEBRIDGE, CORNWALL

Paul and Lesley Stapleton are natural hosts – genial, welcoming and knowledgeable about the area. In 2014 they rescued this handsome Grade II-listed manor, together with its eight-acre garden, from a state of dilapidation. They have refurbished the place immaculately, retaining fine architectural features whilst bringing the house into the 21st century. The seven bedrooms – including a brand new double and a suite – have been beautifully and individually decorated, with emperor-sized beds and state-ofthe-art bathrooms. The little things haven’t been forgotten either, with hotties and robes upstairs and crackling fires, delicious breakfasts and an honesty bar downstairs. Cream teas and crusty bread are hand-baked by Paul’s mother, while the large sitting room is a real home from home. The location could hardly be better, within striking distance of some of North Cornwall’s best and prettiest towns, beaches, golf courses and restaurants. This boutique B&B just for adults is a great place to escape the kids. CLAIM TO FAME... The Domesday book dates the house to 1211, making it one of the oldest in the country. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1208 812359; trewornanmanor.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 55

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Kennet & Avon Canal, Wiltshire by Philip Selby. Highly commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. flickr.com/photos/philselby

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The West Country With the Jurassic Coast and its famous fossil-hunting to the south in Dorset, to Wiltshire’s mysterious prehistoric stones and pretty as a picture villages, it’s no wonder why we all love going west

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BELIEF OVER BRISTOL 6SUSPEND

See Bristol from the water and float up the Avon Gorge, beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge and through the famous Bristol floating harbour. cliftonbridge.org

The Hot List

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7GO ON SAFARI

Who needs to trek to Kenya when you have lions, monkeys, gorillas and snakes at glorious Longleat? Opt for the VIP safari tour if you want to be wowed. longleat.co.uk

From soaring spires to prehistoric pleasures, head west for Wiltshire and Dorset’s best

UP IN SALISBURY 8 SWOT

AS BALLOONS FILL THE SKY 1SIGH

Salisbury Cathedral is an architectural marvel that demands a visit from anyone passing through Wiltshire. It also contains the best surviving copy of Magna Carta, boasts the tallest church spire in the UK and has medieval graffiti etched into the stonework. salisburycathedral.org.uk

Every August, Bristol hosts Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons (over 130 from across the globe). Screensaver gold. bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk

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GET YOUR FESTI ON

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AN ARCADIAN PARADISE 4 EXPLORE

Camp Bestival, the family-friendly sister of Bestival, held at Lulworth Castle, likes to call itself a ‘festiholiday’. There is entertainment from DJs to comedy acts and a whole host of fun activities for all ages. campbestival.net

When Stourhead Garden opened in the 1740s it was regarded as a living work of art. Amble down paths that lead to classical temples, over Palladian bridges and around the glorious lake. nationaltrust.org.uk

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Jazz Jurassica is a music festival held at Lyme Regis during the May bank Holiday. It’s a great way to see live jazz and blues, both trad and modern, while this pretty Dorset coastal town is pure chill. jazzjurassica.co.uk 3

Guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills, Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror and survived the Civil War, when Royalist Lady Bankes twice fended off Cromwellian attackers, before being fatally betrayed by her own side. Once you’ve gawped at the thousand-year-old ruins, settle in for a cream tea or head to traditional boozer The Castle Inn, for a local craft beer. nationaltrust.org.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

ON AT CORFE 5 CARRY

YOUR JAZZ HANDS 3SHOW

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THE WEST COUNTRY

A TINY PIG 9 TICKLE

Savour a medley of traditional British and modern European cuisine in the teeny-tiny Tickled Pig restaurant, a 17th-century town house in the equally quaint market town of Wimborne Minster. The flagstones, exposed beams and open fireplace make for a cosy evening refuge. thetickledpig.co.uk

THE SUNSET 10 WATCH

HIX Oyster & Fish House is the place to perch for an informal (yet delectable) array of locally caught fish and seafood with views of the Jurassic Coast. Mark Hix’s personal relationship with local suppliers sets the tone for the menu. His Hix Fix cocktail is dangerous. hixrestaurants.co.uk

INTO HARDY’S COTTAGE 11 PEEK

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You’re in Thomas Hardy country so head to the modest, thatched birthplace of this 19th-century literary great. The lovely pastoral surroundings inspired his early books Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. nationaltrust.org.uk

TO LULWORTH COVE 15 HIKE

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YOUR CROISSANT 13CHOOSE

YC’s Café and Wine Bar, found in Dukes Fine Art Salerooms, Dorchester, pits artisan French pastries against English ones, with two chefs, Jamie Jones and Yvon Coignard, behind the ‘food fight’ (they met at the Four Seasons). ycscafe.com

A RED SQUIRREL 14 SPOT

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

WASH LIKE 12 A ROMAN

Bath was founded in 863BC after a ‘miracle’ cure and its Roman Baths became one of the great spas of the ancient world, now deliciously restored. The baths still flow with natural hot water from the thermal springs that lie beneath the city. thermaebathspa.com

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Brownsea Island measures roughly a square mile, nearly half of which is lagoon, while the rest is covered in woodland and heathland. This makes it a haven for wildlife, a notable sight being the rare red squirrel. Take a ferry from Pool Quay or Sandbanks Jetty. nationaltrust.org.uk

Eroded by time, nature and Instagram, the Jurassic Coast’s limestone arch, Durdle Door, is still one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks. Hike along the coast from here to the white pebble beach of Lulworth Cove, with its blue lagoon-like water (in summer) and trendy boat shed café with homemade cakes. In the school hols sign up in Lulworth for a three-hour session of coached family coasteering. lulworth.com

A SHEPHERD’S HUT 16RENT

Handsome Georgian estate Deans Court has been in the same family for nearly five centuries and offers holidays in its picturesque cottages, shepherd’s hut and gatehouse, for those seeking escape. Go fly fishing in the chalk stream and eat fresh salads in the café – made with produce from the estate’s walled kitchen garden. deanscourt.org

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BACKWELL HOUSE BRISTOL

There is an exclusive feel to this independently owned hotel, opened in 2016 and a stunningly refurbished Georgian Bath-stone house, without it being the slightest bit stuffy. Despite large grounds and impressive proportions, it only has nine bedrooms. And, with its acres of woodland stretching to rolling hills, ornamental walled garden, immaculate lawns and ha-ha, it’s hard to believe that edgy Bristol is only a 15-minute drive away. Inside, it is a delight, with a host of interesting design touches such as a chandelier made of antlers. The imaginatively decorated bedrooms are masterclasses in upcycling, with reclaimed timber headboards, reconditioned vintage baths and bakelite telephones. Dine in the two-AA rosette restaurant, serving simple but inspired food all day. Afternoon Teas are a speciality or perhaps settle down with a gin and tonic or cocktail in the Cider Apple bar. A grown up retreat, which also lends itself to weddings and private parties. CLAIM TO FAME... Jeremy Hobbs and his family have owned Backwell House for over 50 years. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1275 794502; backwellhouse.co.uk

THE BATH PRIORY BATH

A golden-stoned former priory at the edge of Bath’s city centre combines all the attributes of a typical English country house hotel – spacious rooms, luxuriant garden, indoor and outdoor heated pools and spa – with the attractions of the Georgian city just a stroll away. The decoration is pitch perfect: sitting rooms are filled with fresh flowers, comfortable sofas and the family’s art collection. Bedrooms, overlooking the landscaped gardens, are luxuriously romantic. The Premier Deluxe rooms have been smartly refurbished with fresh fabrics and contemporary styling, while six gorgeous suites occupy a converted house next door. For lunch and dinner there’s the principal dining room or the more casual Pantry, both overseen by much-lauded Michelin-starred executive chef Michael Nizzero. For serious relaxation there’s the L’Occitane Garden Spa (the only one in the UK). Run with professionalism, seamless service and real warmth, The Bath Priory is part of the excellent Brownsword Hotels stable. CLAIM TO FAME... Actor Penelope Keith has been known to rehearse her lines in the gardens before appearing at Bath’s Theatre Royal. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1225 331922; thebathpriory.co.uk 60 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WEST COUNTRY

THE BECKFORD ARMS FONTHILL GIFFORD, WILTSHIRE

On the Fonthill Estate, founded by the eccentric William Beckford in the 18th century, the stylish yet immediately welcoming Beckford Arms combines country pub, restaurant and comforting place to stay in equal measure. Eat in the animated bar, elegant dining room, pretty conservatory, private dining room in the library or quiet sitting room, with log fire, sofas and table piled with books and magazines. You eat well: pickled quail’s eggs and homemade sausage rolls at the bar, hearty but imaginative lunches and dinners, peerless breakfasts. You sleep well too: owners Dan Brod and Charlie Luxton have thought of everything for the sophisticated guest, from luxurious beds to woolly hot water bottles, digital radios with iPod docks, pretty throws, garden flowers, great DVDs and Chloë Luxton’s lovely Bramley bath products. There’s an outdoor pizza oven and boules piste, and the garden rambles delightfully towards the stone arch framing views of romantic Fonthill and its lake. CLAIM TO FAME... In 2011 a ‘moonshine still’ was found in the drainage system, probably dating back to when the inn was a popular hangout for American fighter pilots in WWII. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1747 870385; beckfordarms.com

BOWOOD HOTEL, SPA AND GOLF RESORT CALNE, WILTSHIRE

There are 43 spacious, contemporary bedrooms in this fine estate hotel, but it’s the stunning reception rooms, designed by Lady Lansdowne, that make the place: soft grey hall, book-lined library and sweeping Shelburne Bar and Restaurant, made for elegant but contemporary dining. Stay here – within 2,000 acres of Capability Brown parkland – and enjoy one of the finest championship, all-weather golf courses in the South West. Alternatively, take over the four-bedroom Queenwood Lodge, perfect for special occasions. Bowood House, located on the estate just a mile from the hotel, has been home to the Lansdowne family since 1754. Tour the house and grounds and, in spring, don’t miss the spectacular rhododendron gardens. Alongside the hotel, enjoy a spell in the beautiful award-winning spa with infinity pool, or a round of golf, or mouth-watering afternoon tea in the library. So much to do, in such a lovely place. CLAIM TO FAME... One of the bedrooms is lined in Bowood wallpaper by Colefax & Fowler – where Lady Lansdowne trained as a designer. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1249 822228; bowood.org 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 61

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BROOKS GUESTHOUSE BATH

Part of Andrew and Carla Brooks’ portfolio of boutique B&Bs, which includes a Bristol guesthouse (see below) and hotels in Edinburgh (see page 186) and Herefordshire (see page 175), this double-fronted villa is set back from the road, with a magnificent magnolia outside and a colourful interior. Away from the bustling centre, it’s still within strolling distance of the sights. At its heart is the personal touch. If you want for anything, hands-on manager Magdalena will see to it. There are newspapers and stacks of leaflets in the cosy sitting room, where a coal fire glows in winter and you can unwind with a drink from the basement honesty bar. Breakfast is served in the airy room next to it, where locally sourced food is skilfully prepared in an open-to-view kitchen. Upstairs, 22 distinctive, well-equipped bedrooms offer an eclectic mix of furniture and sleek bathrooms. You’ll be hard pushed to find a better value base in Bath. CLAIM TO FAME... Every evening throughout the summer hot air balloons take off at 6pm from neighbouring Victoria park, so you can enjoy the excitement with a picnic or glass of wine while watching them ascend to the sky. Doubles from £99 +44 (0)1225 425543; brooksguesthouse.com

BROOKS GUESTHOUSE BRISTOL

From its entrance through a large, gated, Mediterranean-style courtyard, this chic bed and breakfast in Bristol’s vibrant old city is immediately appealing. Named after its owners Carla and Andrew Brooks, who have three other eponymous hotels in Bath (see above), Edinburgh (see page 186) and Herefordshire (see page 175), it occupies a revamped, creampainted former ’50s office building and is the sort of place that every UK city should offer. It has stylish, contemporary decoration, is both laid back and professionally run, and offers 23 compact but comfortable rooms at hardto-beat prices. The rooms have plantation shutters, half-height panelling, charming wallpaper, good beds and White Company toiletries. If you’re looking for something fun and funky, go for one of the four rooftop Rockets, gleaming aluminum retro caravans whose cosy interiors are equipped with a double bed and small bathroom. CLAIM TO FAME... Bristol is wonderful to tour by bicycle and you can hire a tandem at Bristol Tandem Hire to check out the Banksy Graffiti or enjoy a trip along the canal tow path. Doubles from £89 +44 (0)1179 300066; brooksguesthousebristol.com 62 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WEST COUNTRY

THE EASTBURY SHERBORNE, DORSET

An early Georgian gentleman’s residence that shows its handsome brick façade to Long Street in the historic heart of Sherborne, The Eastbury is an award-winning, boutique townhouse hotel, recently refurbished by new owners Peter and Lana de Savary. Guests keep returning for its understated charm, friendly staff, comfortable rooms, acre of lovely gardens and stand-out restaurant, and who can blame them? The 22 bedrooms are split between those in traditional period style and others which are fresh and contemporary with bold colours and abstract paintings. In all of them, the fabrics are of superb quality and the bedlinen is crisp Egyptian cotton. Guests in the Yew Suite can enjoy a semidetached bolthole to themselves, with a private patio and fountain. Executive chef Matt Street’s stand-out dishes on the à la carte menu include creative, delicate hake and cod of marvellously delicious proportions, while in summer nothing beats al fresco drinks and dinner among the walled garden’s vines and herbaceous borders. CLAIM TO FAME... Matt Street was a quarterfinalist in Masterchef: The Professionals, and a finalist in the Roux Scholarship. Doubles from £170 +44 (0)1935 813131; theeastburyhotel.co.uk

GROVE LODGE BATH

Along the streets of leafy Lambridge, among Georgian villas and town houses, this B&B fits right in with its elegant surroundings. The three suites within the 1788 villa, while themselves the height of elegance, are a divergence of luxuriously personalised style and story. With flamboyant colour palettes and whimsical wallpaper, the Georgian and Roman suites honour their respective eras – the Roman suite across an entire floor. The slightly smaller Chinese Suite celebrates chinoiserie, and the lovely Anglo-Italian owners literally cater to guests’ needs in all three. Mary and Giovanni accept any and all requests for breakfast, which is served on fine bone china, silver and linen, to be enjoyed in the comfort of the suite. A 15-minute walk down London Road (the ancient Roman Via Julia), or a stroll down the picturesque canal towpath, leads into town. This treat-filled experience raises the B&B bar with an effortless standard of comfort and character. CLAIM TO FAME... Many musicians stay at Grove Lodge. Mahan Esfahani, one of the world’s most famous harpsichord players, visits so often he’s become friends with the owners. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1225 310860; grovelodgebath.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 63

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

HOWARD’S HOUSE TEFFONT EVIAS, WILTSHIRE

Built in 1623 and tucked away in an unspoilt Wiltshire village deep in the Nadder Valley, Howard’s House blends into the landscape, reassuringly timeless and quintessentially English. A hotel since 1989, it offers an oasis of calm away from the bustle. In the glorious flower-filled garden, protected by an old topiary hedge, the only sounds you’re likely to hear are birdsong and the knock of ball on mallet. In the hands of Simon Greenwood and his team, Howard’s House is superbly run. The upgraded interior looks pretty and pleasing, and the nine comfortable bedrooms all sport fresh paint, floral fabrics and crisp white bedspreads. New this year is the converted Coach House, perfect for private parties up to 24. As for the food, experienced head chef Andy Britton uses only the finest locally sourced seasonal ingredients, skilfully combining them to release their true flavours in delicate, imaginative dishes. A hidden gem in the heart of Wiltshire, full of unpretentious charm. CLAIM TO FAME... The picture postcard hotel regularly receives accolades for its romantic qualities (including a César Award from the Good Hotel Guide). Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1722 716392; howardshousehotel.co.uk

LUCKNAM PARK COLERNE, WILTSHIRE

At the head of a double avenue of 400 lime and beech trees, Lucknam Park is a country-house hotel in a league of its own. It occupies a mellow 17th-century mansion, with gracious reception rooms and stylish bedrooms in the house and former stables. It’s impeccably run, with attentive yet discreet service. You’ll find Hywel Jones’ exceptional Michelin-starred cooking in his eponymous formal restaurant and the cool, contemporary brasserie with open kitchen. Then there’s the spa, with sleek indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, salt room, social lounge with mixology bar, and eight treatment rooms offering an oasis of relaxation. The impressive equestrian centre caters to all standards, and the innovative Cookery School runs numerous courses, such as ‘Michelin-starred cooking at home’. For your own slice of the estate, there’s a three-bedroom, self-catered cottage. With excellent amenities for children, including a family play facility, ‘The Hideaway’, and an outdoor play area, Lucknam is as great a choice for families as for romantic couples, groups of friends and celebrations. CLAIM TO FAME... The mile-long driveway was used during the war to hide Spitfires. Doubles from £320 +44 (0)1225 742777; lucknampark.co.uk 64 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WEST COUNTRY

THE METHUEN ARMS CORSHAM, WILTSHIRE

Ash and Abi are that rare but winning combination, hotel managers who are both professional and fun. Their enthusiasm and drive have secured the reputation of this former coaching inn as a first-rate local pub-restaurant on Corsham’s charming High Street. An inn since 1608, its handsome façade is Georgian, in common with many of its neighbours, and at the back a pretty courtyard comes into its own in summer. There might be a convivial buzz in the bar downstairs, but all is cool and harmonious in the decoration: Farrow & Ball colours, stone and wood floors, tall windows, tweed cushions and leather banquettes. Each of the 19 reassuringly calm bedrooms has comfy armchairs, Roberts radios, mini fridges, thick blankets and feather pillows. Award-winning head chef Leigh Evans is the Methuen Arms’ secret weapon. He chooses only local, top quality ingredients for the all-day restaurant to create simple, seasonal dishes, crammed full of exciting flavours. CLAIM TO FAME... The Duke of Edinburgh has played skittles and darts here with locals and his compatriots from the Royal Arthur Petty Officer Training School in Westwells. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1249 717060; themethuenarms.com

MOONFLEET MANOR WEYMOUTH, DORSET

What more idyllic setting for a family break than a hotel intriguingly named Moonfleet Manor? If it sounds like something out of an adventure novel, it is: steeped in smuggling history, the house formed the backdrop for John Meade Falkner’s swashbuckling novel of the same name. Built for Maximilian Mohune and overlooking Fleet Lagoon and Chesil Beach, the big, friendly Georgian house has a spectacular location. Its elegant, beautifully proportioned and welcoming interiors provide the perfect contrast to the spine-tingling landscape of Chesil Beach, an 18-mile long stretch of pebbles (about 180 billion, they reckon) and the setting for Ian McEwan’s novel and new film. With its Ofstedregistered crèche, Verandah, indoor play zone, outdoor sandpit and playground, tennis courts, spa treatment rooms and indoor pool, plus fine dining in the Mediterranean-style restaurant overlooking Chesil Beach, and bedrooms that range from grand Georgian to colonial chic and contemporary, Moonfleet is truly a family affair. CLAIM TO FAME... During the Second World War, Moonfleet was requisitioned for use by American and British troops. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1305 786948; moonfleetmanorhotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 65

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

NO.15 GREAT PULTENEY BATH, SOMERSET

This is a fabulous, on-the-pulse address from seasoned hoteliers Ian and Christa Taylor, with a small, yet wonderfully eccentric, spa and an informal restaurant. There are light dishes, afternoon tea and cocktails (each one described on a playing card, so you can knock back negronis while playing Racing Demon) in both the ground floor Bar 15 and basement Cafe 15. But what really distinguishes this gem is its quirky looks, magnificent attention to detail and various collections of kaleidoscopes, shells, snuff bottles, jewellery, chandeliers and much, much more. Be sure to check out the Ladies and Gents – fabulous. It’s all rather spicy for Bath, in a lighthearted and playful way. Bedrooms, many designed by Martin Hulbert (and others by the Taylors themselves), are fun and romantic, while Cafe 15, done up to resemble an old apothecary, is an engaging spot for breakfast. As for stately Great Pulteney Street, it’s one of the neoclassical wonders of the Georgian city. CLAIM TO FAME... No.15 is home to over 60 chandeliers. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1225 807015; no15greatpulteney.co.uk

NUMBER 38 CLIFTON BRISTOL

Having been brought up on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly and dedicated to the business of upmarket hospitality (see Hell Bay, page 47), brothers Adam and Michael Dorrien Smith are well placed to run a luxury guesthouse and at Number 38 they do so with aplomb. The double-fronted Georgian town house stands on the edge of chic Clifton village with fabulous views over the Downs and the city. You enter straight into the elegant sitting room, where superb breakfasts and cream teas are served at tables in the huge bay windows, and sofas and armchairs are grouped around an open fire (there’s also a suntrap terrace). There’s interesting, eye-catching art on the walls and the 12 gorgeous bedrooms range through four floors, each with attractively panelled walls painted in soothing shades, and all with panoramic park and city views. Now there are two more fabulous suites (called Park and City respectively), plus a meeting room, thanks to the recent purchase of the house next door. CLAIM TO FAME... Bristol and West Country artists are well represented in the B&B’s public areas. See if you can spot the original David Hockney. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1179 466905; number38clifton.com 66 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WEST COUNTRY

THE PIG NEAR BATH PENSFORD, SOMERSET

This may be just one of five rural-themed PIG hotels (see pages 52, 82 and below) but its 2014 advent broke new ground for the group: a proper, grown-up hotel that has all the country house attributes (space, proportions, dreamy views), but none of the drawbacks (staid, pretentious, eye-wateringly expensive). It’s fun and glamorous without ever losing sight of comfort. ‘It’s THE PIG on steroids,’ says owner Robin Hutson, though not the price, which is the opposite of pumped-up. Once again Judy Hutson created the look: Belgian tiles, quirky wallpaper, velvet curtains, oil paintings and chandeliers, plus a wonderfully louche private dining room based on The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet: ragamuffins feasting in a castle. As at all the PIGS, the kitchen garden is central and its abundant produce appears on your plate in the lovely conservatory. A great venue for one of the PIGS’ fantastic Smoked and Uncut festivals, when you can take a room or glamp in a bell tent if the mood takes you. CLAIM TO FAME... Previously known as Hunstrete House, the building is listed Grade II and dates back to 1820. Doubles from £155 +44 (0)1761 490490; thepighotel.com

THE PIG ON THE BEACH STUDLAND, DORSET

With its wacky profusion of turrets, gargoyles, stone casements and overlapping tiles on steep roofs, this enchanting, 18th-century house will bring an instant smile to your face and memories of Hansel and Gretel. As for the views, you’ll be entranced, especially looking across the sheepflecked fields and the sea to Old Harry Rocks. Built as a grand summer house, this Studland Bay delight is the much-loved seaside branch of the litter of PIG hotels (see pages 52, 82 and above) and it positively brims with charm. In addition to the usual conservatory restaurant and walled kitchen garden, there are quirkily different bedrooms, including a charming shepherd’s hut with log fire and separate bathroom (pictured). There’s a happening outdoor bar with wood-fired oven, a private dining room in a cute thatched hut (complete with its own ice cream cart), and essential beach bags, mats, buckets and spades in every room. A thrilling, wildly popular hotel. For fun in the sun, look no further. CLAIM TO FAME... On the headland right by the hotel is World War II observation bunker, Fort Henry, where in 1944 Churchill and King George VI watched firing practice before D-Day. Doubles from £155 +44 (0)1929 450288; thepighotel.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 67

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE RECTORY HOTEL CRUDWELL, WILTSHIRE

Just inside the Cotswolds, in a village that dates back to the Domesday book, The Rectory Hotel has long been cherished as a lovely bolthole. Now, after a sensitive and thoughtful refurbishment, it’s become a truly special address for those in search of a place to re-boot. If you yearn for a place that mixes the best attributes of a stylish hotel together with the easygoing welcome of a friend or relative’s gorgeous country house, then this is the retreat you’ve been looking for. There’s a sitting room with log fire, bundles of newspapers and stacks of glossy magazines, plus a drawing room where guests meet for after-dinner drinks or settle down to watch a film together. In the elegant wood-panelled restaurant that faces the pretty garden, menus are old school, updated for modern tastes and unpretentiously presented. The 18 bedrooms are simple but beautifully furnished, as is the whole house, and the owners’ own delightful pub, The Potting Shed, stands just across the road. CLAIM TO FAME... Known for making the best Pisco Sour in The Cotswolds. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1666 577194; therectoryhotel.com

RED LION FREEHOUSE EAST CHISENBURY, WILTSHIRE

A quintessential English pub, à la mode, the Red Lion continues on a roll, having launched its glamorous bedrooms and gained – and retained – a Michelin star in 2012. Best of all, it’s run with unpretentious warmth by committed owners Guy and Brittany Manning, along with their close-knit team, ‘rescue’ hens in the garden and Stowford the springer spaniel. Guy is the superb head chef, preparing wonderful dishes for the cosy pub and private dining room upstairs. He often uses garden produce – don’t miss local Wiltshire truffle season (Sept to Dec). Brittany (American: they met while working in a New York restaurant) is a talented pastry chef and also responsible for Troutbeck, the converted bungalow along the lane containing five stunning bedrooms. These sport chic furnishings, bespoke beds and Egyptian cotton linens, and each has a terrace overlooking the idyllic Wiltshire Avon, where you can fish for trout. Thatched and pretty as a picture, the Red Lion makes an exceptional bolthole in unspoilt countryside. CLAIM TO FAME... Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have honoured the Red Lion with a visit. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1980 671124; redlionfreehouse.com 68 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WEST COUNTRY

ROSEATE VILLA BATH

A breath of fresh air on the Bath hotel scene, the Roseate Villa is a striking Victorian house on a peaceful road that’s close to the centre yet with its own car park – gold dust in Bath. The Villa overlooks seven-acre Henrietta Park, a wonderfully peaceful place with a circular walk among glorious trees. In the Villa itself, the calm atmosphere continues, with decoration that is light, bright, contemporary with the odd quirk. The 21 rooms have been beautifully decorated, some with a grey and white palate, enlivened by splashes of colour and fun feature walls; others in warm reds and blues. Furnishings are a happy mix of antique and modern and there are huge, supremely comfortable beds. Feather-light duvets and Egyptian cotton bedlinen are hidden delights. A glass of complementary Buck’s Fizz or a smoothie comes with breakfast, always cooked to order. After a day in Bath – shopping, hitting the spa, or just soaking up its beauty, return to the tranquility of the Villa for a quintessential afternoon tea. Perfect. CLAIM TO FAME... Helen Stratton, famous British painter and illustrator, lived at Roseate Villa Bath as a child. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1225 466329; roseatehotels.com

THE ROYAL CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA BATH

In the heart of beautiful Bath lies The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, expertly combining first-class service and meticulous attention to detail. John Wood the Younger’s iconic 250-year-old Georgian terrace is truly magnificent and the hotel’s 45 suites and rooms, which offer unrivalled views over the hotel’s acre of secluded gardens or the impressive crescent lawn, are among the UK’s most special places to stay. There’s a choice of not one but three afternoon teas, to be taken in either the gardens or The Dower House Restaurant. Alternatively, enjoy a fabulously creative cocktail ‘flight’ in The Montagu Bar & Champagne Lounge. The Spa & Bath House is another wonderfully atmospheric haven, so after unwinding with an Elemental Herbology treatment why not relax in the Taittinger Spa Garden with a glass of rosé and a delicious lunch from the bespoke Spa Garden Menu? CLAIM TO FAME... The most central house in the crescent, number 16, hosted events for Elizabeth Montagu’s Blue Stockings Society in the 18th century. Doubles from £330 +44 (0)1225 823333; royalcrescent.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 69

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE SWAN HOTEL WELLS, SOMERSET

Hotels with memorable views are hardly lacking in Britain, but few can match the vision that awaits opposite The Swan Hotel in Wells. In England’s smallest cathedral city, the glorious 13th-century west front of Wells Cathedral – almost as wide as it is high and adorned with nearly 300 statues – directly faces the hotel. If you stay in one of the front rooms, or best of all in the huge and amazing Cathedral Suite, then the sight that greets you in the morning will stay long in your memory. Sharing that view is the divine Swan Terrace, open during summer for drinks and snacks in front of the hotel’s Georgian façade. Another al fresco café, the Walled Garden, is tucked away at the back. Inside, named after the extraordinary story (yours to discover) of the historic coaching inn, is Restaurant 15C A.D, noted for its excellent seasonal menus. View or no view, there are 50 romantic, individually designed and luxurious bedrooms. A gem. CLAIM TO FAME... In 1864 the hotel’s owners bought and demolished two buildings opposite, because they blocked the magnificent view of the cathedral. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1749 836300; swanhotelwells.co.uk

THE TALBOT INN MELLS, SOMERSET

The owners of the excellent Beckford Arms (see page 61), and their third partner, Matt Greenlees, scored an immediate hit with this second atmospheric inn, in Mells, with its lovely old stone houses. The cobbled courtyard makes a charming entrance, backed by a succession of cosy dining areas – one a Map Room, another with a roaring fire and yet another with a bar. There’s a separate sitting room, fashioned from a 500-year-old barn, and the impressive Coach House Grill Room. Meat and fish are grilled here at weekends on a huge open fire and served at long wooden tables. As for the eight bedrooms, they are stylish and amazing value, with all the extra touches you’d expect from The Beckford Arms, such as superb beds, rain showers and woolly hot water bottles. Explore the village and its exceptional church, full of poignant World War One memorials; enjoy excellent pub grub, from dayboat-landed fish and chips to well-aged steaks; and sleep in utter peace. A gem. CLAIM TO FAME... Neighbouring Mells Manor was purportedly procured when Jack Horner discovered the deeds in a pie, as popularised in the nursery rhyme Little Jack Horner. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1373 812254; talbotinn.com 70 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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A charming boutique hotel with Bath’s top attractions (quite literally) on our doorstep. An oasis of stylish elegance in the heart of the city with an exclusive restaurant brought to you by two of the UK’s most influential chefs; Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White.

Abbey Hotel Bath, North Parade, Bath, Somerset, BA1 1LF abbeyhotelbath.co.uk | 01225 461603 | reception@abbeyhotelbath.co.uk

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Hampshire & the Isle of Wight Elegant market towns, the open heath and woodlands of the New Forest, which is in fact over a thousand years old, the glory of the South Downs and a rich maritime heritage, mean there’s something for everyone

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Alum Bay, Isle of Wight by Matt Cooper. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. mattcooperphotography.co.uk

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UP ON JANE AUSTEN 6 SWOT

Jane Austen is Hampshire’s most famous literary light, so immerse yourself in her spirit with a visit to Chawton House, near Alton, where she lived and worked, creating such classics as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma. jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk

The Hot List

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7 TAKE A TOUR

Meghan and Harry may have skipped off to Canada for their honeymoon, but the Queen and Prince Philip, and indeed Prince Charles and Diana, spent at least part of theirs at Broadlands in Romsey, the stately Palladian home of the Mountbattens. In summer months you can book in advance for one-hour guided tours of the house, including special viewings in August. broadlandsestates.co.uk

Genteel Hampshire and the Isle of Wight take you from King Arthur to Ben Ainslie via the New Forest

1HOP TO HAYLING ISLAND They say it was here that windsurfing was invented and, true or not, the five-mile shoreline offers up every type of water sport, including kitesurfing. There’s also a seaside railway, award-winning beaches, cycle trails and excellent walking. Cross from Portsmouth. hayling.co.uk

Want to know how London restaurants used to get their famous Alresford watercress? On the Watercress line, of course, a railway that was saved from extinction by locals in the 1970s. Now it’s run as a non-profit organisation that puts on a series of fun, familyfocussed days throughout the year. watercressline.co.uk

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4 BOOK AHEAD

Park your rib up outside The Hut at Colwell Bay, quite the coolest way to arrive at the Isle of Wight’s thumping summer bar and restaurant (open April to October). There’s a rumour that post-prandial skinny dipping is de rigueur. thehutcolwell.co.uk

5HAVE TEA

3GO FOR THERAPY

But only of the alcoholic variety, at Wine Therapy, the Isle of Wight’s wonderful independent wine store in Cowes. Grab a bottle of Ambriel’s sparkling English rosé, pay a £3 corkage, and you can drink the night away in their sweet, secluded courtyard. winetherapy.co.uk

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The Bell Inn at Bramshaw in the New Forest serves up a mighty fine traditional English tea every day – finger sandwiches, cakes and scones – made all the more delicious by watching the wild ponies graze nearby. bellinn-newforest.co.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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CHUG ON A STEAM TRAIN

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THE ROUND TABLE 8FIND

It’s one of the most symbolic treasures of Arthurian legend, and the only surviving relic from medieval mythology. Come and gawp at the marvel of King Arthur’s round table, in Winchester’s Great Hall. visitwinchester.co.uk

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INTERIORS INSPIRATION 9 GET

The pretty market town of Alresford is home to more than its fair share of gorgeous interior design shops, from Susie Watson’s perfectly charming pottery (susiewatsondesigns. co.uk) to the tempting rugs at More by Design (handmaderugs.co.uk). And if you love lavender, don’t miss a visit to Long Barn, where they grow and distil their plants into wonderful original products, and also serve the best flat whites around (longbarn.co.uk).

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GALLOPING PONIES 14 DODGE

A LIVE PONY SALE 10 WATCH

If you are into horses and wonder what happens to the ‘suckers’ (young foals) that are taken off the forest during the annual round-ups (see number 14), head to the Beaulieu Road Pony Sales. These have taken place four times a year for the last 60 years and will give you an intriguing glimpse into traditional forest life. nfls.org.uk 12 11

12FIND FUNGHI

But don’t take too much. The New Forest is famous for its ceps, chanterelles and morels, but commercial pickers have recently been stripping the woods clean, so go mindfully or join a licensed guide. The best foray by far is with mycologist John Wright (who was behind the River Cottage Mushroom Handbook). ediblebush.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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COOK IN THE FOREST

… under the tutelage of Lime Wood’s Luke Holder and Angela Hartnett. Their courses range from Cooking with Fire – for parties – to Angela’s All Italian classics. You can always work it all off again by booking onto one of the hotel’s special Matt Roberts fitness weekends. limewoodhotel.co.uk/cook

Few people know this, but if you live in the forest you may be eligible for ‘commoners’ rights’, which means you can graze your livestock on Open Forest land. So all the free-roaming New Forest ‘wild’ ponies are in fact owned, and every year they’re rounded up on horseback for worming and branding, or even to be sold on. If you hear thundering hooves in the autumn months, make a dash for it. verderers.org.uk

15 LEARN TO SAIL

Lymington is a yachties’ paradise; a beautiful town on the Solent that offers ample opportunity for beginners to find their sea legs or experts wanting an ocean-worthy challenge. If it’s good enough for local resident Ben Ainslie… rseajayssolentsailingschool.co.uk

LIKE A LOCAL 13SMELL

As a child, Amanda Connock created buckets of floral water in the family’s garden shed in Fordingbridge. She went on to launch her eponymous brand Connock London in 2010. Load up at the Herb House spa shop at Lime Wood, or buy 13 online. connocklondon.co.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BAILIFFSCOURT CLIMPING, WEST SUSSEX

A stroll across meadows from the secluded Climping beach, Bailiffscourt is an engaging, medieval-style house created by Walter Guinness, later Lord Moyne, and his wife Evelyn. Both the traditional bedrooms in the house – some with four posters – and the series of interconnecting sitting rooms, stuffed with tapestries, oak chests and Knole sofas, feel charmingly authentic. Others among the 39 bedrooms, ranging from medieval to contemporary in style, are spread throughout a series of charming houses and cottages in the parkland; the newest, in the Moat House and The Oaks, stand beside the old moat, overlooking the fields beyond. Lawns are dotted with toy-town medieval outbuildings, flowers, shrubs and peacocks, and there’s an airy spa, with indoor and outdoor pools. The name, Bailiffscourt, recalls the monk who was sent over by the Abbess of Séez in Normandy to act as bailiff and watch over the 13th-century chapel, which still stands in the grounds today. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel is actually less than 100 years old although it has been carefully created using salvaged medieval materials from all over the country, Doubles from £265 +44 (0)1903 723511; hshotels.co.uk

CAREYS MANOR BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE

When life’s cares start to pile up, escape to this New Forest bolthole for a weekend of spoiling and relaxation. It occupies a red brick Victorian manor in tidy gardens on the outskirts of Brockenhurst and is the sister hotel of The Montagu Arms (see page 81). The welcoming reception room has oak-panelled walls and an open fire. Seventy seven large, comfortable bedrooms combine modern amenities with traditional country-house style, some with four-poster beds and others with their own patio. What really makes the hotel stand out is its award-winning Thai SenSpa, where you can be pampered with a mindboggling range of treatments, from a gentle mud wrap to a thorough detox. As for food, there are three great options: Cambium, refined yet relaxing and celebrating all that is best about New Forest produce; Zen Garden, serving delicious, authentic Thai food; and informal French bar and bistro, Le Blaireau. CLAIM TO FAME... During the Second World War, the hotel was used to accommodate the 2nd Batallion Welsh Guards. The New Forest provided the perfect training ground in the lead up to the D-Day landings. Doubles from £189 +44 (0)1590 624467; careysmanor.com 76 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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CHEWTON GLEN NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE

One of the country’s finest hotels, Chewton Glen has seamlessly moved with the times since it opened over 50 years ago. The eight-bedroom house, where Captain Marryat wrote Children of the New Forest, has gradually expanded to become a 72-room bastion of luxury, with gorgeous bedrooms, lavish spa, nine-hole golf course, croquet lawn and children’s club. With an open format grill menu that ranges from light dishes to splendid silver trolleys bearing meats and cheeses, The Dining Room stretches across five delightful rooms. Last year saw the opening, in association with James Martin, of The Kitchen, an informal restaurant and purpose-built cookery school within the 130-acre estate. Also in the grounds are seven extraordinary, tranquil Treehouses built on stilts, the most recent addition being the amazing Yews: wild luxury for a party of adults and children. After breakfast, delivered through a hatch for maximum privacy, stroll through the woods to the Solent coast. CLAIM TO FAME... In the 12th century the estate was known as ‘Cheventone’, ‘Chyveton’ or ‘Chewghton’, and the first document mentioning the house appeared in 1732. Doubles from £325 +44 (0)1425 282212; chewtonglen.com

EAST END ARMS LYMINGTON, HAMPSHIRE

Welcome to the New Forest, 145 square miles of ancient heath and woodland, where ponies, donkeys, pigs, cattle and deer still freely roam and where the East End Arms makes the perfect affordable base. The owner is Dire Straits’ bass guitarist John Illsley. When he bought the pub in the mid-1990s, he received a letter from the regulars, saying: ‘Hands off our public bar’. ‘They wouldn’t even let me repair the hole in the ceiling and when we repainted, it had to be exactly the same colour. Fine by me,’ he says. For a plain room with locals at the bar and real ales, turn right. For some of the best food in the New Forest, in a charming dining room, enlivened by monochrome photographs of musicians and celebrities that make a good conversation point, turn left. For a comfy night, head upstairs to one of the five divine bedrooms with their crisply-sheeted, king-size beds, Nespresso machines, Mulberry fabrics and walls decorated with John’s paintings. Breakfast is spot on. CLAIM TO FAME... The pub has featured in Rick Stein’s television series, Food Heroes, and been nominated a top UK pub-with-rooms. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1590 626223; eastendarms.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 77

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL HAMPSHIRE DOGMERSFIELD, HAMPSHIRE

It’s hard to believe you are only an hour from London at the Four Seasons’ only UK country hotel. Set amid 500 acres, you can watch the hotel’s horses frolicking in paddocks from the coolly sophisticated bedrooms (including a beautiful new Martin Brudnizki-designed Royal Suite). It’s easy to lose yourself in the grounds, playing croquet, clay pigeon shooting, fishing or canal boating, while children can be kept busy at the Kids’ Club, or even with an ‘own a pony’ experience. A large, light-filled spa occupies the original stable block, along with a 20m pool. Service is exemplary, and the food is everything you would expect from Four Seasons. Wild Carrot, the new restaurant and bar launched this year, makes the perfect setting for memorable meals and has been an instant hit. For tea made with honey from the hotel’s own bees, head for the library. Sunday lunch is a highlight, an interactive Farmers’ Market feast featuring entirely local produce. Go on, treat yourself. CLAIM TO FAME... The Dogmersfield Park Estate, in which the hotel stands, has welcomed visitors for close to a thousand years. Doubles from £285 +44 (0)1252 853000; fourseasons.com/hampshire

THE GEORGE, YARMOUTH YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT

The George’s location could not be more stunning, right by the water’s edge between the castle and the pier in bustling Yarmouth. In the panelled hall hangs a portrait of Admiral Holmes, the island’s governor, for whom the house was built in 1670. Isla’s Restaurant is noted for its fine cuisine, while the airy Conservatory has a distinctly Mediterranean feel and opens onto a waterfront lawn, perfect for summer dining. The 17 bedrooms are stylish and relaxing, with fabulous large beds, crisp white cotton linen, plump pillows, well-equipped bathrooms and designer furniture. The deft decorative touches – a sailboat, a bowl of shells, scented candles – make all the difference. Many rooms have spectacular sea or harbour views and two have wide wooden terraces, from which you can soak up the view: a canon on a battlement, the charming pier (perfect for a stroll after dinner) and the Solent, stretching across to the Lymington River, with its needle-like forest of masts bunched in the distance. CLAIM TO FAME... King Charles II stayed in room 12 in 1671. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1983 760331; thegeorge.co.uk 78 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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HILLSIDE VENTNOR, ISLE OF WIGHT

‘We are wary of accolades,’ says Gert, Hillside’s Danish owner. ‘We prefer to give people happy surprises rather than expectations. We know we are only as good as the last guest who left contented.’ The 12-bedroom, twoapartment, all-white Scandinavian boutique hotel – with classic Danish furniture and CoBrA-inspired abstract paintings – offers breakfast, dinner and a wonderful night’s sleep. Hillside’s kitchen team is proud to showcase homegrown produce from its walled garden which, together with island specialities, make the restaurant’s culinary experience stand out. All bedrooms are coolly contemporary, with colourful vintage Welsh wool throws. Hillside’s past – once the home of poet John Sterling and visited by Thomas Carlyle, as well as Dickens – is charmingly displayed in photographs and documents on the walls of one of the lounges. A one-off delight, set in the delightful time warp of a Victorian seaside resort. CLAIM TO FAME... Hillside’s coffee – a unique blend of artisan coffee from El Savador – is specially roasted on the Isle of Wight for the hotel. Doubles from £166 +44 (0)1983 852271; hillsideventnor.co.uk

LIME WOOD LYNDHURST, HAMPSHIRE

It’s all about attention to detail at this ravishing, deeply luxurious New Forest lair. Oak doors are thick, paint finishes lush and soft floor lights switch on as you walk into the bathroom from your quietly opulent bedroom. Stylised sitting rooms melt one into another, pale lemon into lilac into sage green, each with an open fire. In the sybaritic Herb House Spa, you can do yoga on the rooftop herb garden, take in forest views from the massive sauna and eat inspired raw food in the Raw & Cured café. Lime Wood is also home to Hartnett Holder & Co. In a brilliant partnership with that most grounded of celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, and the hotel’s own Luke Holder, Italian-influenced forest dishes and sharing plates are served in gorgeous, warmly coloured, laid back surroundings, centred on a sparkling circular bar. The glamour is there, but all the stiffness of formal dining has been swept away. It’s how we want to live today, and Lime Wood perfectly captures the mood. CLAIM TO FAME... You can’t catch any real fish in Lime Wood’s lake but you won’t miss its giant steel fish sculpture designed by self-taught sculptor Miranda Michaels. Doubles from £385 +44 (0)2380 287177; limewoodhotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 79

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THE LITTLE GLOSTER GURNARD, ISLE OF WIGHT

On a small bay overlooking the Solent is an outstanding restaurant-with-rooms run with verve and passion by islander Ben Cooke and his wife Holly. Its name harks back to the prestigious, now closed, Gloster Hotel in nearby Cowes, owned by Ben’s British grandfather and Danish grandmother, fondly known to all as Mormor. Head chef/owner Ben, who is found behind the range, produces excellent, unfussy dishes in an open kitchen within the simple, glass-encased dining room (don’t miss the home-cured gravadlax served with Danish style caviar). Holly, energetic and warm, is in charge of the front of house team and the many events held in this beautiful spot, as well as the office and three bedrooms. She also makes the ‘Uffa Pasta’ for their family-friendly, three-course Pasta Wednesdays menu, for just £20 per person. Scandinavian elegance defines the bedrooms and all three – including the stunning Garden Suite with private terrace, huge bathroom and separate sitting room – have wonderful sea views. CLAIM TO FAME... Jay Rayner held the launch for his book A Greedy Man in a Hungry World here, in association with Bestival. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1983 298776; thelittlegloster.com

THE MANOR AT SWAY SWAY, HAMPSHIRE

Four years ago, young hotelier Tim Holloway and his wife Edlyn decided to swap London for the peace and quiet of the New Forest, with happy results for anyone looking for an affordable yet stylish rural bolthole. In the village of Sway, surrounded by open heath and woodland, they found The Manor, built in 1906. With the help of interior designer David Bentheim they’ve given the solid brick house a stunning makeover, its 15 beautifully coloured bedrooms decorated with prints from Audubon’s The Birds of America, an open-plan restaurant and bar and a sitting room that daringly pairs William Morris fruit wallpaper with lime green furnishings and black and white check carpets, to stunning effect. The food, elegant, fresh and seasonal, from a constantly changing menu, is excellent, as are the wines. Best of all, the hotel overlooks five acres of sloping wooded grounds, surveyed from a splendid terrace that’s perfect for outdoor dining. CLAIM TO FAME... The 1836 novel The Children of the New Forest is set in the surroundings of Sway. Doubles from £100 +44 (0)1590 682754; themanoratsway.com 80 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE MONTAGU ARMS BEAULIEU, HAMPSHIRE

Combining all the attributes of a traditional country-house hotel – roaring log fires, oak panelling, pretty gardens and warm, comfortable bedrooms – with the pleasures of its picturesque village setting, The Montagu Arms makes an ideal base for a weekend away. Browse Beaulieu’s pretty high street, visit the National Motor Museum, take a riverside walk to Bucklers Hard or explore the surrounding New Forest. Back in the hotel, you’ll find a dark oak hall that contrasts with a light and bright cream-panelled sitting room, leading in turn to a sunny conservatory and flower-filled gardens. Upstairs, the bedrooms are either stylishly contemporary or charmingly traditional, some with four-posters. In the elegantly decorated Terrace restaurant, a treat is in store: the cuisine – sophisticated and unusual yet unpretentious – of chef Matthew Tomkinson. The excellent sommelier recommends imaginative and delicious wines. Matthew’s delicious pub grub is also served next door in convivial Monty’s Inn. CLAIM TO FAME... Eminent former guests include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry Irving and General Charles de Gaulle. Doubles from £149 +44 (0)1590 624467; montaguarmshotel.co.uk

NEW PARK MANOR BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE

The 17th and 21st centuries fuse impeccably at this New Forest hotel, part of the Luxury Family Hotels collection. The manor was Charles II’s favourite hunting lodge and still has its original fireplaces, panelling and oak leaf-patterned doors, alongside all the contemporary comforts that you – or your children – could possibly need. The 25 bedrooms are divided between the manor and a modern wing, which also houses an indoor pool and award-winning spa. While you unwind here, babies and toddlers can be cared for in the crèche (two free hours are offered daily), and older children might watch a movie at the on-site cinema or play games in the extensive gardens. For active families, there’s an outdoor pool and plenty of walks and cycle trails through the surrounding forest. Take a picnic and make a day of it. The hotel provides all sorts of equipment, from bed guards to bottle warmers, and a listening service so that parents can enjoy a stress-free, grown-up dinner in the sophisticated Stag Restaurant. CLAIM TO FAME... New Park Manor is one of the only New Forest hotels to be set in the heart of the forest, at the end of a long private drive, with direct access to the surrounding woodland. Doubles from £115 +44 (0)1590 623467; newparkmanorhotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 81

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE PIG BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE

Many hotels boast kitchen gardens, but few are as central to operations as that of THE PIG. Here, it’s an imaginative edible paradise from which the chefs source much of their daily produce. Indeed, this abundant patch was the inspiration for the original concept of THE PIG and its subsequent litter of four hotels in the rustic Home Grown Hotels sty (see pages 52, 67 and below). This handsome Georgian shooting lodge stands in a clearing in the New Forest, with walking, foraging and spa treatments on offer. There’s a wonderful Victorian-style conservatory dining room, glamorous bar and outdoor courtyard. Calm, countrified and deeply comfortable, the hotel’s seductive shabby chic comes in a palette of soft greens and chalky greys. Bedrooms include fun family rooms and rustic, romantic lodges tucked away in the woods. The walled garden leads to a lovely lily pond and wooden potting shed. Inside? You will be charmed. Oh, and there are pigs too. CLAIM TO FAME... Kitchen garden produce even reaches the bar, where vodka is infused with flavours ranging from salty bacon to rosemary, lavender, liquorice and... Christmas tree. Doubles from £155 +44 (0)1590 622354; thepighotel.com

THE PIG – IN THE WALL SOUTHAMPTON, HAMPSHIRE

If THE PIG in Brockenhurst (see above) is the country mouse, then this is its town mouse cousin, just 20 minutes away in Southampton, charmingly embraced by the city’s defensive walls. It’s gorgeous, affordable and makes a great choice for a hassle-free short break, easily reached by train. Hole up in one of its faultless shabby chic bedrooms with their retro radios, telephones and alarm clocks, rain showers and roll-top baths, superb beds, well-stocked fridge ‘larders’, bare floorboards, painted wood ceilings and pretty fabrics. In the morning, linger over pastries, cold meats, boil-your-own eggs and the morning papers in the Edwardian country style kitchen-cumparlour. For lunch you can graze from the inviting deli counter, which acts as reception too. Later you can do some damage in the West Quay shopping centre and then, at cocktail hour, jump into the hotel’s Land Rover for a free ride back to dinner at THE PIG. Back at The Wall for the night, you’ll be as happy as pigs in – er – manure. CLAIM TO FAME... It’s set into the medieval walls of Southampton. Doubles from £135 +44 (0)23 8063 6900; thepighotel.com 82 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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HAMPSHIRE & THE ISLE OF WIGHT

THE ROYAL HOTEL VENTNOR, ISLE OF WIGHT

That rare bird: a hotel that suits all ages and all types. Traditional (it was built in 1832) with a modern twist, The Royal is a handsome, threestorey building fronted by a pretty wrought-iron veranda that overlooks Ventnor’s Esplanade and the English Channel. The views are particularly marvellous from the hotel’s Riviera Terrace, across the (quiet) road, where chairs, sun loungers and blankets are provided. Today, The Royal is in peak condition, its elegant rooms painted in muted colours with new furnishings and a slick bar area. Stunning framed black and white photographs of the Isle of Wight add interest throughout the hotel, and the oriental touches in the corridors are charming and unusual. In the grand dining room, hung with portraits and chandeliers, the food is a happy mix of old favourites and more modern fare, and you can also eat in the stylish brasserie, colonial conservatory or relaxed bar. CLAIM TO FAME... Afternoon refreshments at the hotel were a favourite of Queen Victoria when she visited Ventnor. So a full tea, taken in the brasserie or conservatory, has been a sacrosanct tradition at The Royal ever since. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1983 852186; royalhoteliow.co.uk

THE WELLINGTON ARMS BAUGHURST, HAMPSHIRE

There’s something pretty special about ‘The Welly’. It’s a real foodies’ pub, owned and run with great charm by Simon Page (front of house) and Jason King (award-winning chef). Set in countryside on the Hampshire/ Berkshire border, it has a burgeoning kitchen garden and a field where hens, bees, sheep, geese and pigs are kept. The dining room – there are just 12 highly prized tables – is delightfully informal. Here, Jason uses homegrown ingredients in most of his carefully prepared, country-style dishes. There are four bedrooms: the Apartment is a one-bedroom suite above the pub; then, tucked away in a converted 17th-century, oak-framed hay store, are two striking guest rooms, all exposed brickwork and timber beams; finally, outside a green oak barn is the Cart House. They have all the extras, from rain showers with Malin+Goetz products to Nespresso coffee machines and excellent beds, dressed in topquality linen. Who could ask for more? CLAIM TO FAME... The building was allegedly the Duke of Wellington’s hunting lodge on the edge of his Stratfield Saye estate. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)118 982 0110; thewellingtonarms.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 83

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The Home Counties Tucked around the outskirts of London; Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, are easily accessible yet offer a quick and easy bucolic escape

Poppies & Linseed, Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire Border by Julian Eales. Special Award Winner, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. ealesphotography.co.uk

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A CHILDHOOD DREAM 6 LIVE

The Hot List

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Just outside the capital you’ll find miniature villages, lavender fields and a very decent prison restaurant

SOME PERSPECTIVE 7 GAIN

1 SMELL THE FLOWERS

The oldest model village in the world, miniature Bekonscot in Buckinghamshire portrays 1930s England and comprises six towns spread across 1.5 acres. With over 200 buildings, coal mines, castles, farms and racecourses, the Borrowers would have had a ball. bekonscot.co.uk

Lavender covers 25 acres at Mayfield Lavender Farm in Banstead. Wander through row upon row of these organic plants, inhaling their heady scent before ambling to the gift shop, where you can pick up lavender oils, plants, dried posies and more. The lavender shortbread is moreish. mayfieldlavender.com

Over 130 rare and valuable dog collars are on display at Leeds Castle Dog Collar Museum. The earliest, belonging to a mastiff, dates back to the 15th century, and there are many that you’d be forgiven for lusting after for yourself. leeds-castle.com

3DRINK COFFEE

After soaking up all that seaside town Margate has to offer (the Turner Contemporary gallery and a stroll along Main Sands beach make for a good start), drop by The Greedy Cow in the centre of the old town for fresh, simple lunches and excellent coffee (all palm oil-free). thegreedycow.co.uk

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4 LISTEN CAREFULLY

A forerunner of radar, the Denge Listening Ears at Dungeness nature reserve were strategically placed on the coast to provide early warning of enemy aeroplanes or ships approaching across the English Channel. The RSPB runs special open days to view the ‘sound mirrors’ up close. 7 July and 1 September. rspb.org.uk

5 CLIMB A HILL

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See the ruins of Vandalian Tower from Harting Down in West Sussex. Constructed in the 18th century as part of Lancelot Brown’s designs for Uppark, it was built to celebrate the new colony Vandalia in North America – a project scuppered by the War of Independence. Reputedly a Hellfire Club venue. historicengland.org.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

2SPOIL YOUR POOCH

Author Roald Dahl lived in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, for 36 years, taking inspiration from the village and surrounding area. Visit Danny’s dad’s petrol pumps, Matilda’s library and the wood that inspired Fantastic Mr Fox, using the Roald Dahl Museum Countryside Trail. roalddahl.com

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THE HOME COUNTIES

8 GO TO A FESTIVAL

Set in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, Into the Trees festival focuses on spending time in the great outdoors and encourages play, work and life among trees. Kids run free while adults enjoy local grub and some downtime. 14–16 September. into-the-trees.co.uk

9 GET GARDEN ENVY

Visit the East Sussex home of the late, great gardener Christopher Lloyd and turn green with jealousy. Horticulturalists flock from far and wide to marvel at the beauty of the 19 different areas of the garden. The 15th-century medieval part of the house is also open to the public if you’re feeling nosy. greatdixter.co.uk

10GO TO MARKET

The Goods Shed is a daily farmers’ market, food hall and restaurant in Canterbury. Make sure you visit Enzo’s Bakery for tasty loaves baked on site, with Italian and British influences. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner using the finest local produce. thegoodsshed.co.uk 15

11 EAT OYSTERS

15TURN BACK TIME

Founded in 1856, Wheelers Oyster Bar – the oldest restaurant in Whitstable – serves (you guessed it) oysters in many delicious forms such as in Guinness tempura batter and Japanese style – soy, mirin and pickled ginger. There’s also lobster, halibut, ceviche and scallops on the menu. wheelersoysterbar.com

Learn what it was like to live and work over a thousand years ago at the Weald & Downland Living Museum in West Sussex. The 40-acre site has over 50 historic buildings, from an Anglo-Saxon hall house to a 17th-century watermill. wealddown.co.uk

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SUPPORT A WORTHY CAUSE

The Clink Restaurant inside Category B High Down prison offers top-notch grub (roasts, catch of the day, strawberry, mint and coconut pannacotta) using fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared by inmates. The scheme offers employment training and has seen a 49 per cent reduction in reoffending. theclinkcharity.org

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

12FLY A KITE

Dust off your kite and head to the Victorian South Foreland Lighthouse near Dover. The first lighthouse to boast electric light, it was originally used to warn ships approaching the treacherous Goodwin Sands below, so it’s now the perfect vantage point from which to fly a kite. nationaltrust.org.uk

16 FORAGE FOR SUPPER

Join Fergus the forager in Kent for a day’s immersion course in finding edible plants, seaweed and fungi. This introduction to seasonally available wild plants also focuses on preservation techniques such as pickling, smoking and salting, as well as cooking your finds. fergustheforager.co.uk

AN ALPACA 14 WALK

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As well as providing wool for socks and scarves, alpacas also make excellent walking companions. Visit Spring Farm in Fletching and take a woolly friend on a ramble through the beautiful Sussex countryside. alpacawalking.co.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ALBION HOUSE RAMSGATE, KENT

The advent of Albion House is a story of triumph over adversity, and hope over experience – or rather inexperience. Arguably the most beautiful of all Ramsgate’s collection of Georgian and Regency buildings, it was rescued from neglect and is now a successful business run by Ben and Emma Irvine, who created a retro-chic boutique hotel and restaurant from its shell. Neither had any experience of hotel-keeping but sheer hard work, determination, good humour and bravery have seen them through. Albion House, which was the subject of an episode of Alex Polizzi’s The Hotel Inspector while it was being transformed, is now the stand-out place to stay in this fascinating yet often overlooked town, and a perfect weekend getaway. There’s a huge, stylish cocktail bar, characterful restaurant, Townley’s, serving uncomplicated seasonal, locally sourced dishes, and elegant bedrooms, some with breathtaking views across the Royal Harbour. A triumph for Ben and Emma and a great address for us. CLAIM TO FAME... Albion House was once owned by Mary Townley, the first prominent British female architect, after whom they have named the restaurant and bar. Doubles from £90 +44 (0)1843 606630; albionhouseramsgate.co.uk

ARTIST RESIDENCE BRIGHTON, EAST SUSSEX

Justin and Charlie (Charlotte) Salisbury first met as students and when Justin’s mum – who’d bought a run-down Brighton guesthouse – was seriously injured in an accident before she’d had time to renovate it, 20-year-old Justin stepped in. Having no idea how to tackle the redecoration, he filled the listed townhouse with artists and gave them a free hand. And so the couple’s first Artist Residence, successful and buzzy, was born. It was soon joined by three more in Penzance (see page 42), Pimlico (see page 88) and Oxford (see opposite). The Brighton original has sea views and retro-style bedrooms ranging from tiny crash pads to a huge suite and a brand new apartment. Each has bespoke or vintage furniture, hand-picked artwork, entertaining murals and excellent beds. Artists Maria Rivans, Charlie Anderson, Fox Fisher and Jessica Albarn have designed four fabulous rooms. There’s the sparky Fix Bar for drinks, easy-going Set Bar for seasonal British tapas and The Set Restaurant for Dan Kenny’s stunning seasonal tasting menus. CLAIM TO FAME... This was the first hotel of the group, often spotted on Channel 5 re-runs of The Hotel Inspector. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1273 324302; artistresidence.co.uk 88 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE HOME COUNTIES

ARTIST RESIDENCE SOUTH LEIGH, OXFORDSHIRE

Something different. Different, that is, for the burgeoning Artist Residence group of funky, art-themed hotels that have sprung up, courtesy of enterprising owners Justin and Charlie (Charlotte) Salisbury. Now this energetic couple has headed for leafy Oxfordshire and the former Mason Arms, stamping it with their inimitable look. There are five stunning bedrooms upstairs and a further three in the stables and outbuildings, plus a cool shepherd’s hut. Original features have been retained and restored, auction houses and reclamation yards scoured and modern art set against William Morris wallpaper. The restaurant features art by the Connor Brothers and their fictional character Mr Hanbury (a nod to the Mason Arms’ famously eccentric landlord Mr Stonhill), while the kitchen is run by rising star Tim Kewley. It’s early days, but you can be sure that Justin and Charlie have another richly deserved hit on their hands. CLAIM TO FAME... Previous landlord Gerry Stonhill flouted the smoking ban and installed a helipad to create an exclusive hangout for the likes of Marco Pierre-White and Raymond Blanc. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1993 656220; artistresidence.co.uk

BEAVERBROOK LEATHERHEAD, SURREY

Britain’s most exciting new country-house hotel flung open its stately doors a year ago. We’ve been, we’ve seen, and it’s fabulous. The former home, Cherkley Court, and estate of newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook, the newcomer has weekenders falling over themselves to revel in the 19th-century wedding cake architecture of the mansion and its stylish yet relaxed interiors. They are pretty keen, too, on the modern Japanese cuisine in The Dining Room, the gorgeous Shepherd’s Hut providing spa treatments nestled in the formal gardens that lead to the wider estate incorporating extensive woodland and a magical treehouse, centrepiece of the impressive Kid’s Club. Meanwhile, the separate Garden House, former home of Lady Beaverbrook after the death of her husband in 1964, offers a bar, restaurant, cookery school and 11 oh-so pretty bedrooms. The brick-and-flint house mixes cosy cottage charm with understated boutique hotel luxury and, like those in the main house, are spot-on successful. All this, so close to London. CLAIM TO FAME... Frequent guests of Lord Beaverbrook’s included Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Rudyard Kipling and Ian Fleming. Doubles from £280 +44 (0)1372 571300; beaverbrook.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 89

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE CAT INN WEST HOATHLY, WEST SUSSEX

A spell at The Cat will leave you purring with contentment. With its regulars chatting at the bar, its blazing fire in the huge inglenook, its hops, pewter and mix of airy and cosy dining areas, this early 16th-century, timber-framed village inn exudes character and bonhomie. One of our greatest gastropubs, its landlord Andrew Russell, previously GM at nearby Gravetye Manor (see page 92), mixes professionalism with a natural flair for people. As for the food, from chef Alex Jacquemin, there’s no trumpeting and no fuss and, as a result, its superb quality is all the more delightful. ‘I recommend the pie and chips,’ says Andrew. And what a steak, mushroom and ale pie it is. Leave space for a homemade pud too. Upstairs, there are four attractive, luxurious, well-equipped bedrooms, one very large, another with a view of the pretty church. In the morning, after a sophisticated breakfast worthy of Gravetye, follow the path through the churchyard for a spectacular view across the valley. CLAIM TO FAME... They have been here since the 1450s and are one of only two Cat Inns in the UK. Doubles from £125 +44 (0)1342 810369; catinn.co.uk

CLIVEDEN HOUSE TAPLOW, BERKSHIRE

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Few, if any, grand country-house hotels can match Cliveden. Set high above the Thames, in 376 acres of National Trust-owned land, the stately home was built in 1666 for the second Duke of Buckingham and became the home to the Astor family in 1893. Today, Cliveden is under the same ownership as Chewton Glen (see page 77) and The Lygon Arms (see page 124) and a comprehensive restoration and redecoration has left it looking quite ravishing. Its 48 bedrooms range from spectacular suites to deluxe doubles and include four with their own hot tubs. As for the food, it’s a choice of gourmet dishes in the amazing André Garrett Restaurant or informal ones in the charming former stables, now the Astor Grill, both courtesy of talented chef André Garrett. And now – drum roll – there’s a fabulous new spa. Cliveden was built for entertaining and no one, from Churchill to Chaplin, could resist an invitation. Nor should you. CLAIM TO FAME... The 2nd Duke of Buckingham built Cliveden as a gift for his mistress. Ever since it has remained a pinnacle of intrigue and glamour for the elite. Most notably, it’s where the ‘Profumo affair’ took place. Doubles from £445 +44 (0)1628 668561; clivedenhouse.co.uk 90 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE HOME COUNTIES

COWORTH PARK ASCOT, BERKSHIRE

Just 45 minutes by car from central London lies The Dorchester’s bucolic cousin, a creamycoloured, 18th-century country house set within acres of immaculate parkland. The hotel has its own stables and polo fields, as well as a wildflower meadow which blooms throughout the summer months. The gorgeous spa – also open to non residents for spa days – offers 13 different massage techniques with brands such as Carol Joy London and Kerstin Florian. Retreat to one of the sumptuously light and airy suites, decorated in a natural colour scheme derived from the landscape with swathes of cashmere, mohair and wool in natural pigments. Foodies are spoilt – the main restaurant, under executive chef Adam Smith, has just garnered its first Michelin star and serves up the best of British ingredients presented to let them shine, while The Barn offers more laid back rustic dining. Children are welcome and indeed encouraged; there is a special private Kid’s Club including a teen den, as well as plenty of outdoor activities such as mini Olympics. CLAIM TO FAME... HRH Prince Harry and his brother Prince William stayed at the hotel on the night before Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle. Doubles from £390 +44 (0)1344 876600; dorchestercollection.com

THE GALLIVANT RYE, EAST SUSSEX

Don’t you love the name? The dictionary informs us that ‘to gallivant’ is to ‘wander about, seeking pleasure’ and, indeed, this place started life in the 1960s as the Blue Dolphin Motel, when it no doubt saw its fair share of gallivants and their girls. It’s still immediately identifiable as a motel (some of California’s coolest hotels have been fashioned from them, so why not here?), but in its current incarnation, it’s also chic, seaside fresh, buzzy and fun. The relaxed and airy restaurant, with a Nordic/New England vibe, takes centre stage where the modern British cooking ticks all the boxes. As for the 20 bedrooms, they are pleasingly calm havens with wonderful beds dressed with the finest linens. For pampering, there’s the Beach Hut treatment room in the garden, but best of all, is that Camber Sands, that extraordinary expanse of dunes and beach, is directly over the road, and charming Rye is just a five-minute drive by car. CLAIM TO FAME... The supremely sporty receptionist Katie can challenge you to a set of tennis of two if you feel like a game, or for something more gentle, she also teaches guests yoga on the beach. Doubles from £125 +44 (0)1797 225057; thegallivant.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 91

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

GRAVETYE MANOR WEST HOATHLY, WEST SUSSEX

It was 60 years ago this year, in 1958, that Peter Herbert opened this Elizabethan manor and its famous gardens as a hotel. A classic of its kind, it’s now in the caring hands of Jeremy and Elizabeth Hosking, who have kept its integrity intact while beautifully renovating and subtly modernising. Today’s furnishings look elegant, fresh and attractive, but the feel remains the same: the unhurried calm, the polite but chatty staff, the profusion of naturally arranged flowers, and the smell of linseed oil and wood smoke from great open hearths. Andrew Thomason is the consummate general manager, while George Blogg’s Michelin-starred food, served in the stunning, glass-fronted dining room, is an accomplished delight. Best of all, the gardens have been restored to their former glory, thanks to a dedicated team headed by Tom Coward. They are quite wonderful and transform lunch on the terrace into an unforgettable treat. CLAIM TO FAME... The garden at Gravetye, spanning 35 acres, was originally created by visionary gardener William Robinson in 1885 and is now considered one of the most important historic gardens in England. Doubles from £275 +44 (0)1342 810567; gravetyemanor.co.uk

HARTWELL HOUSE VALE OF AYLESBURY, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

One of the great pleasures of hotels is that they’re often very special buildings to which ordinary mortals would never normally have access. One shining example is Hartwell House, a Grade I listed stately home that was once occupied for five years by the exiled Louis XVIII. Inside, there are beautiful rooms with Rococo ceilings, antique furniture and paintings and an extraordinary Jacobean staircase, lined with statues of the knights of Europe guarding the way. The king’s wife, Marie Joséphine of Savoie, had them removed because their candlelit shadows frightened her. But worry not, if you think all this grandeur means pomp and ceremony. As with fellow National Trust-owned Historic House Hotels, Bodysgallen Hall (see page 175) and Middlethorpe Hall (see page 165), the hospitality is natural and easy-going, the bedrooms as comfortable as they are grand and the food as delicious as you would expect. And the hotel’s spa is a classically-themed delight. CLAIM TO FAME... When Hartwell House was home to the court of the exiled King Louis XVIII, the rooftop was converted into a miniature farm for his small animals. Doubles from £325 +44 (0)1296 747444; hartwell-house.com 92 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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HURLEY HOUSE HURLEY, BERKSHIRE

It’s the friendly, laid-back atmosphere of this boutique hotel, not at all at odds with its immaculate, stylish decoration, that impresses as soon as you enter. A sensitive new build of 2016, it stands on the site of an old inn just outside the pretty riverside village of Hurley, within easy reach of the capital and with perfect terraces for outdoor dining. Inside, the ten country-chic bedrooms in pale greys are spotless but with a cosy feel, enhanced by floorboards, beams, blankets and fresh flowers. Some have freestanding roll-top baths and plenty of little luxuries, while one Superior Room has its own little patio. But what really makes Hurley House tick is the superb cooking, with a menu that features the freshest ingredients from Berkshire’s best producers and seafood brought in daily from Brixham in Devon. You can eat in the rustic bar or the more formal restaurant, each done up in granite, leather, oak and natural brick. CLAIM TO FAME... It is renowned for its excellent food. Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Tom Jones, Mary Berry and Tim Henman have eaten here recently. Doubles from £190 +44 (0)1628 568500; hurleyhouse.co.uk

OCKENDEN MANOR CUCKFIELD, WEST SUSSEX

You get the best of both worlds at Ockenden. If you prefer reassuring, traditional comfort, look no further than this charming Elizabethan manor. If you want slick, sophisticated modernity, that’s yours too. As well as the elegant drawing room, there’s an oak-panelled bar, the Burrell Room for private dining with its original Tudor ceiling, and an airy restaurant where Stephen Crane serves some of the finest food in Sussex. There are 28 bedrooms, some full of character with original panelling and four posters, others fresh and pretty. And then there’s the spa, utterly modern on the outside, airy and natural inside, with indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub and Jacuzzi, walk-through rain shower, steam room, sauna, gym, sundeck, guest lounge and café. As for the six knockout, first-floor bedrooms, they pack a thoroughly modern punch, with shutters in the bathrooms that open on to the bedrooms that in turn open on to a roof garden with marvellous views across West Sussex. CLAIM TO FAME... They boast over 25 English wines on their wine list, many of them from vineyards right on the doorstep in Sussex. Doubles from £199 +44 (0)1444 416111; hshotels.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 93

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

PARK HOUSE BEPTON, NR MIDHURST, WEST SUSSEX

A hotel for today that was created yesterday and has been considerably enhanced in recent years. In the same family for well over 60 years, it has all the graciousness, tranquillity and atmosphere of a privileged family home, where children and dogs are welcome. There’s a wall plastered with family photos and celebrated past guests, and the clink of china teacups in the garden outside. There are 12 bedrooms in the main house (plus a further nine in three adjacent cottages), which look down onto a leisurely, almost Edwardian scene: flower-covered pergola, two lawn tennis courts, croquet lawn, a testing six-hole golf course and emerald putting green, all perfectly maintained. Beyond the lawns are long views onto a lovely wooded section of the South Downs, with not another house in sight. Add a sleek spa with indoor and outdoor pools and fine food in the elegant dining room, and Park House, perfectly placed for Chichester and the Sussex Downs, is hard to beat. CLAIM TO FAME... The family first decided to convert their home into a hotel in the late 1940s in order to host the international polo players playing at nearby Cowdray Park Polo Club. Doubles from £135 +44 (0)1730 819000; parkhousehotel.com

THE PHEASANT INN SHEFFORD WOODLANDS, BERKSHIRE

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Looking for a stylish yet cosy bolthole that’s easy to reach from town? Here it is. Opened two years ago by charming young Jack Greenall, the Pheasant ticks all boxes. Though just moments from the M4, the old drovers’ inn stands alone and feels properly rural, with uninterrupted views across the Berkshire Downs. Inside, thanks to the spot-on taste of Jack and interior designer, Flora Soames, it’s smart and sophisticated yet also intimate and warm in its racing green and red (the inn is much frequented by trainers and jockeys) with a constant buzz at the bar and plenty of quiet, comfy corners. Upstairs, 11 immaculate, spoiling, incredibly good value bedrooms, full of thoughtful extras. As for chef Andy Watt’s superior pub grub, it’s spot on too: Scotch eggs like you’ve never tasted before, chateaubriand of Wiltshire beef to share and fabulous puddings. Jack has a hit on his hands, but he doesn’t stand still: now there’s a gorgeous new private dining room and a shoot room too. CLAIM TO FAME... Ask Jack about The Pheasant’s Curraghmore House single estate whisky, which can be poured from its oak cask in the bar. Doubles from £115 +44 (0)1488 648284; thepheasant-inn.co.uk 94 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE HOME COUNTIES

THE POINTER BRILL BRILL, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Oh, how we love pubs that deliver on every level, yet still manage to feel ‘pubby’. The Pointer is no exception and ticks all the boxes that a seriously good country stay requires: first up, its location is in the type of village that makes Americans swoon – quintessentially British and oh-so pretty; secondly, it has four delightful rooms in a separate cottage across the road from the pub that you can happily retire to (with yummy Bramley products in the bathrooms); thirdly, and crucially, the grub is top notch. Local is a word bandied around ubiquitously now, but here it’s the real deal – even the beer is brewed in the village. Lots of the ingredients come from the pub’s own farm and kitchen garden: farm to fork doesn’t get much better than that. Choose either the three-course farm menu or the short à la carte menu; you’ll be in for a treat either way. In warmer months, a chilled glass of the palest of pale rosé in the garden is unbeatable. CLAIM TO FAME... They have their very own butchers next door, where their meat, charcuterie and freshly baked bread is available to buy. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1844 238339; thepointerbrill.co.uk

THE ROSEATE READING READING, BERKSHIRE

It’s certainly a first for a hotel in Reading to be described as the ‘UK’s sexiest townhouse’ but that’s the accolade that the Evening Standard has bestowed on The Roseate Reading. Built in 1911 in grand Queen Anne style as the Shire Hall for the Berkshire County Council, it is now an opulent repository of good living where the tone is set by a chandelier made from 86,000 Italian glass beads that cascades from the top of the building. There’s specially commissioned art and sculpture throughout, huge arrangements of flowers, bold colours, dramatic fabrics and wallpapers. With contemporary restaurant, Cerise, a glamorous Cocktail Bar, afternoon tea and 24-hour room service, there’s little temptation to leave – especially if you splash out on a suite. The signature Roseate Suite, once the council chamber, is supremely quiet, beautifully decorated and deeply romantic, with lots of delicious extras: without doubt it’s one of the country’s most memorable rooms. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel was the former Shire Hall for Berkshire County Council and is regarded as a leading landmark in the area, regularly frequented by top models and actors. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)118 952 7770; roseatehotels.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 95

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE ROYAL OAK YATTENDON, BERKSHIRE

You’ll be greeted with a cheery welcome at this superb inn in charming Yattendon village. It’s all that a great pub should be, from the beamed ceilings to the stocky wooden bar with proper ales on tap. Beyond the main bar and dining room lies a large sitting room with deep sofas and a huge open fire. In summer the suntrap garden is the sort of place where bottles of rosé disappear with merry swiftness. Best to soak it all up with some locally-sourced grub: how about beef and game from the Yattendon estate, farmhouse cheeses from Greys of Pangbourne and eggs from Beechwood farm in Hampstead Norreys? Such fine ingredients don’t need messing with and are perfectly suited to head chef Nick McGregor’s unfussy approach. After a day of indulgence, where better to rest your sleepy head than in one of the ten light and airy bedrooms? A king-size bed beckons, prettily dolled up in the finest linens and soft pillows. CLAIM TO FAME... Fancy rubbing shoulders with the Middletons? They are said to be regular visitors. Doubles from £99 +44 (0)1635 201325; royaloakyattendon.co.uk

SOPWELL HOUSE ST ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE

In 1665, the Duchess of Dudley fled the plague on the site of Sopwell House, while Anne Boleyn found refuge at the nunnery here before her marriage to Henry VIII a century before. And you too can find solace in the same stunning countryside. It’s just one mile from the M25/M1 junction, so within an hour of leaving London you could be lying on a deckchair in the spa garden dripping headto-toe in ESPA oil, savouring a buffet lunch in the Brasserie or dining on seasonal canon of salt marsh lamb in The Restaurant. Sopwell House, in the Bejerano family for 30 years, is bright and contemporary in style, its corridors lined with an eclectic mix of old French fashion magazine covers and animal giclée prints by artist Dan Hillier. There’s a tempting choice of rooms and suites to suit all budgets; most spoiling are the gated Mews Suites, set apart from the rest of the hotel in a heavenly, superbly landscaped garden. CLAIM TO FAME... Sopwell House was leased to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1900, whose daughter married Prince Andrew of Greece; their son is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Doubles from £154 +44 (0)1727 864477; sopwellhouse.co.uk 96 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE HOME COUNTIES

THE SPREAD EAGLE MIDHURST, WEST SUSSEX

Once the most celebrated coaching inn of its age, the Spread Eagle elegantly marries history, tradition and character with contemporary, spoiling treats. In the fine, old-fashioned dining room, earthenware pudding basins dangle from the ceiling, a tangible reminder of the days when puddings were presented to guests every Christmas. Yet the same inn also sports an on-trend gin bar, with more than 100 different brands and 12 different tonics, plus garnishes from the garden. In a building that dates back to 1430 and is set in the middle of Midhurst’s historic market town, what a treat to find an impressive spa and indoor pool beneath a contemporary Scandinavian-style roof. There’s a lovely conservatory, where you can drink and dine, and the bedrooms are both chic and traditional, with crisp bathrooms. One soughtafter room has a secret passage, while another is panelled, containing an original wig closet. And so past and present are perfectly united. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel has a prized Christmas pudding recipe that dates back decades – you can join them for Stir Up Sunday, when they share the secret. Doubles from £119 +44 (0)1730 816911; hshotels.co.uk

STOKE PARK STOKE POGES, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

If you don’t know it, privately-owned Stoke Park provides one delightful surprise after another. First of all, it’s a historic house, built in the 1790s by James Wyatt for soldier, scholar and poet John Penn. Secondly, it’s set in 300 acres, including beautiful water-filled grounds, designed by Humphry Repton and featuring a romantic bridge – all just 40 minutes from central London. Thirdly, it’s where the famous golf match from Goldfinger and the minibreak in Bridget Jones were filmed. Fourthly, it’s two hotels, not one: choose from splendid traditional bedrooms in the Mansion or contemporary ones in the Pavilion. Fifthly, it comes with a championship golf course, amazing tennis facilities (the pre-Wimbledon Boodles Challenge is played here annually) and a quite wonderful spa. And last but not least, the staff are very welcoming and the food is excellent. Stoke Park became Britain’s first country club in 1908; now it is open to all. CLAIM TO FAME... St Giles, the Saxon church where Thomas Gray penned ‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’ – and where he’s also buried – is a short walk away. Doubles from £240 +44 (0)1753 717171; stokepark.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 97

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London

Brexit or no Brexit, the UK’s capital is still world-class, drawing over 19 million visitors a year to its cultural institutions, restaurants, shops and tourist attractions

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Fractured Vapour Trail, London by Paul Lehane. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. plp.ie

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YOUR 7 QUENCH CURIOSITY

The Hot List

Head to a former call centre in the heart of Hackney to experience an incoherent vision of the world in the form of The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. Zero attempt is made at classification in this bizarre treasure trove of wonders. Make sure you leave plenty of time to enjoy the cocktail bar that is also far from ordinary. thelasttuesdaysociety.org

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Don’t forget to go off the beaten track in the world’s most cosmopolitan city

8VISIT VAN GOGH

1GAWP AT A VIEW

Tate Britain will hold the first Van Gogh exhibition since 1947, bringing together 40 works to show how the artist was inspired by Britain and how he, in turn, inspired British artists. 27 March to 11 August 2019. tate.org.uk

Survey London’s skyline with a cocktail in hand at the zen-like and leafy Sky Garden. Entry is free, but book well ahead. Particularly pretty at breakfast. skygarden.london

Big West End shows not your cup of tea? Head instead to the more down-to-earth and vivacious Soho Theatre for the best new British comedy, theatre and cabaret shows. The late-night slots are great for post-dinner entertainment and it’s slap bang in the middle of Soho, so make the most of the multitude of top-notch restaurants around. sohotheatre.com

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PIG OUT ON PIE

Few people know that Holborn Dining Room is home to The Pie Room, spearheaded by pastry expert Calum Franklin. No soggy bottoms here – Calum makes each intricate pie by hand and will even teach you how to do so yourself if you join one of the pie-making classes. 3 holborndiningroom.com

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4 DON’T MISS MORRICONE

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; VAN GOGH MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM (VINCENT VAN GOGH FOUNDATION)

2HAVE A LAUGH

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Legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone’s concert on 26 November at The O2 may be his swansong. enniomorricone.org

5 GET DOWN IN DALSTON

Step out of your comfort zone and join the East End cool kids, if only for the delicious Persian food served in the daytime at Café OTO, ‘the home of creative new music’ – aka a hotspot for lovers of challenging psych rock and free jazz. cafeoto.co.uk

6 GO WINE TASTING

The Wine Pantry is a great place to sample and buy the best quality English wines. Wine buffs will love the masterclasses and guided tastings that take you on a connoisseurs’ journey around the country in just a few hours. winepantry.co.uk

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Felt Hat (1887)

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LONDON

9 TAKE A DIP

Head to Hampstead Heath for a long romantic walk and a dip in the ponds to cool off afterwards. Then venture up the hill to picturesque Kenwood House and spend the afternoon exploring and nibbling on the café’s excellent cakes. english-heritage.org.uk

10 FIND PEARLS

Is there a more fabulous coupling than oysters and champagne? Enjoy the best at that most British of institutions, Bentley’s. Having served fish for over 100 years, no one knows their seafood better. Dine al fresco come summer, and pester Paddy the doorman for unbeatable tales of yore. bentleys.org

11MAKE MAGIC

Witness amazing magic with your own eyes at The Magic Circle, the world’s premier magic society. Now in its 20th year, catch a show in any season for an experience that will truly blow your mind. The Christmas show, in particular is fantastic, and kids will love The Young Magicians Club. themagiccircle.co.uk

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GO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

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FRENCH AT THE FOUR SEASONS 16 EAT

Four kilometres in length, the Parkland Walk is the longest Linear Nature Reserve in London, following a former railway line connecting Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace. Strangely spooky, it is said to be sci-fi author Stephen King’s favourite stroll when he’s visiting the city. parkland-walk.org.uk 14

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; VAN GOGH MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM (VINCENT VAN GOGH FOUNDATION)

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14 DISCOVER PERU

Sample the wonders of Peruvian baked goods at the newly-opened Andina bakery and café in Westbourne Grove. It’s a welcome addition to Ceviche’s growing family of Peruvian outlets on the London food scene. andinalondon.com

World-renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic has opened a fabulous outpost at The Four Seasons. La Dame de Pic is currently one of the hottest seats to bag in London, thanks to the delightful French cuisine and Pic’s signature flavour combinations, which won the place a Michelin star this year. fourseasons.com

17GET ON THE WATER

Or attempt to, as you practise pilates and yoga on paddleboards on the River Thames. The latest health craze to hit the city is perfect for warmer weather (if you manage to stay upright). active360.co.uk

15 SAY ‘KONNICHIWA’ FROM LIFE 13DRAW

It’s never too late to discover your artistic talent, especially at the drop-in life drawing classes that take place Tuesday lunchtimes at Vaulty Towers in SE1. Bringing together beginners and experienced sketchers alike, the buzzy atmosphere is so very London. londondrawing.com

You’ll find the best Japanese art, design, food, innovation and technology under one roof at brand new Japan House, a project funded by the Japanese Government. The art deco building in Kensington will offer a programme of exhibitions, shows, and even retail space. We’re particularly excited about trying the cutting-edge restaurant from esteemed chef Akira 15 Shimizu. japanhouselondon.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

11 CADOGAN GARDENS CHELSEA, SW3

Discreet on the outside, dramatic and decadent within, this distinctive Chelsea hotel is formed of four townhouses, with so many corridors and staircases it’s not unusual to find bemused guests wandering in search of their rooms. A member of staff will always be on hand to help, though – the service is exceptional, with concierge Richie Long capable of making the most outlandish request a reality. The entrance has a sense of theatre with its leather and dark wood panelling, mirrored wall and low lighting. The drama continues up the black, portrait-lined staircase to 56 individually decorated bedrooms and suites, some opulent and jewel-coloured, others elegant and feminine. The hotel still has the exclusive feel of the private members’ club it once was, with several sitting rooms to relax in, a terrace, wellstocked library, sophisticated bar and fabulous gilded Mirror Room for small private events. CLAIM TO FAME... The four red-brick houses that form 11 Cadogan Gardens were originally converted into a hotel by Lord Chelsea in the late 19th century, when it became a popular haunt of Victorian politicians and aristocrats. Doubles from £285 +44 (0)20 7730 7000; 11cadogangardens.com

45 PARK LANE MAYFAIR, W1

Part of Dorchester Collection (and just across the way from The Dorchester itself) sits its cool little sister; the eminently chic and sophisticated 45 Park Lane. The Art Deco, 45room hotel (plus a penthouse suite) exudes a contemporary air: think chrome spoked lamps, a black lacquer staircase and black-clad staff floating unobtrusively around, not betraying the military operation that goes into running a first-class hotel. Rooms are stylish, with rich dark materials contrasting with light colours and sensual fabrics. All have glorious views of Hyde Park, skipping ropes and yoga mats and envyinducing bathrooms. What also sets the hotel apart – apart from Wolfgang Puck’s (of Spago fame) first European restaurant, CUT at 45 Park Lane, which serves the best steak in town – is its investment in art and culture. The hotel curates a series of exhibitions each year which draw in arty crowds who then head to the buzzy bar for cocktail hour. Brand new this year is an American take on English afternoon tea. CLAIM TO FAME... The building used to be the famous London Playboy Club which at its peak was the most successful casino in the world. Doubles from £750 +44 (0)20 7493 4545; dorchestercollection.com 102 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

THE ARCH LONDON MARBLE ARCH, W1

Occupying an enviable position north of Marble Arch, The Arch London lies close to that excellent independent shopping and first class dining thoroughfare, Marylebone High Street. But if it’s central and urban it’s certainly not predictable – better described as one of the new breed of townhouse hotels rather than that 1990s phenomenon, the boutique hotel. It’s luxurious alright, but it’s not grand. Public spaces are art-filled, smart and glossy, but intimate too. The 82 striking bedrooms have been superbly executed and, for their quality and location, offer great value for money. The heart of the place, and its cleverest feature, is the subtly curtained champagne lounge that flows into a zinc-topped bar area and on into the Hunter 486, with open-to-view kitchen and woodfired oven. You could almost be in New York. Dine or breakfast anywhere in these three areas and enjoy the ambience – buzzy but relaxed. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel’s restaurant, Hunter 486, is named after the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone. Doubles from £280 +44 (0)20 7724 4700; thearchlondon.com

ARTIST RESIDENCE PIMLICO, SW1

The third hotel in the hands of dynamic duo Justin and Charlie (Charlotte) Salisbury – opened after their Artist Residences in Brighton (see page 88) and Penzance (see page 42) – used to be a down-at-heel local boozer. Together, with enthusiasm, hard work and artistic flair, they’ve transformed it into a charming, affordable London hotel with bags of character. On three elegant floors, it has eight comfortably rustic bedrooms and two fabulous suites, all imaginatively decorated and furnished with quirky, cleverly sourced finds. There’s also a laid-back sitting room, a glamorous cocktail bar and, taking centre stage on the ground floor, the Cambridge Street Kitchen. A welcoming social space by day, serving brunch, cold-pressed juices and Workshop coffee, it transforms into a modern restaurant at night. A separate entrance for hotel guests means there’s no awkward check in at the bar. CLAIM TO FAME... Tucked away in the basement is Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, where cocktails are inspired by cult movies – like a ‘Kill Bill’, complete with black vanilla sugar stripe, or ‘The Departed’ – so lethal there’s a limit of two per person. Doubles from £180 +44 (0)20 3019 8610; artistresidence.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 103

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE ATHENAEUM HOTEL & RESIDENCES MAYFAIR, W1

Since its beginnings as a 19th-century MP’s elegant mansion, The Athenaeum has continually reinvented itself. Today, you’ll find a boutique hotel with newly launched Townhouse Residences that offer guests a private London base but with all the benefits and services of a five-star hotel. The 14 plush apartments with their own private entrance are designed by the award-winning Martin Hulbert and are decorated in deep silks and sumptuous velvets to create a stylish yet supremely comfortable setting. The Residences exude English charm, complete with bay windows and traditional fireplaces. The hotel and Townhouse Residences are a stone’s throw from Green Park, and are the perfect base from which to explore London’s key landmarks. In-room dining is courtesy of the two Michelin-starred Galvin brothers, whose inspired menus champion British produce with a seasonal menu to delight all palates. CLAIM TO FAME... Steven Spielberg installed an editing suite in one of the hotel’s residences when working on E.T., Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Residences from £699 +44 (0)20 7499 3464; athenaeumhotel.com

BATTY LANGLEY’S SPITALFIELDS, E1

Walk through the double doors into this charming hotel, packed with character and Georgian detail, and you might be entering another era. In lively, gentrified Spitalfields, Batty Langley’s lives up to its unusual name. Inspired by an 18th-century architect and landscape gardener, who wrote guides to help his clients plan their houses and gardens with taste, it’s in the same ownership as the equally captivating Hazlitt’s and The Rookery (see pages 109 and 114). The panelled interior, with its open fires, countless books, mellow antiques and fine paintings, feels more private house than hotel. Your most difficult choice will probably be which of the three warmly decorated sitting rooms to occupy. Cocooning their inhabitants with comfort and calm, the 29 bedrooms and suites are furnished with antique carved beds or four posters, heavy silk curtains or wooden shutters and bathrooms with restored period fittings. Nods to the 21st century are discreetly hidden. CLAIM TO FAME... While it may be a home from home to rock stars and royalty alike, you will never catch staff bragging. Suffice it to say, if you think you saw them, you probably did. Doubles from £289 +44 (0)20 7377 4390; battylangleys.com 104 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

THE BEAUMONT MAYFAIR, W1

It was always going to be great. The first hotel from restaurant supremos Chris Corbin and Jeremy King was a glossy, stylish hit from the moment it opened in 2014. Its advent has put North Mayfair firmly on the map, partly thanks to its inhabitable sculpture, ROOM, by Sir Antony Gormley, a magnificent public artwork from the outside that contains an extraordinary one-bedroom suite within. The Beaumont is a classy joint (chequerboard lobby floor, early 20th-century paintings, gleaming antiques) yet also intimate. The muralled Colony Grill Room is Corbin & King at their best, here serving American classics. The 73 Art Deco-themed rooms and suites are handsome, sensible and supremely comfortable and there’s the added luxury of the Art Deco Hamam and Spa, inspired by the Turkish Baths at the RAC Club in London and original New York Y MCA. CLAIM TO FAME... The Beaumont’s aesthetic is based on Jeremy King’s fictional invention of a New York hotelier, Jimmy Beaumont, who moves from Prohibition-constrained New York in 1926 to open a hotel in Mayfair. Doubles from £395 +44 (0)20 7499 1001; thebeaumont.com

THE BINGHAM RICHMOND, TW10

This glamorous but intimate riverside hotel began life as two Georgian townhouses, later joined together by Lady Anne Bingham, a forebear of Lord Lucan. From 1899-1914 it was home to two writers, Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, who published poetry together under a nom de plume. ‘I have rubbed myself against nature’s great, warm hand,’ wrote Katherine, after a bout of gardening ‘in a spirit of pagan delight’. Crikey. Today’s owner, Samantha Trinder, ably assisted by brilliant general manager Erick Kervaon, has created a special place in which to stay and dine. Slick and contemporary, the hotel has the friendliest staff, a fun cocktail bar and a beautiful restaurant – a Richmond hotspot where modern British cuisine excels. But it’s the setting and the view that add the extra magic here: the river is just at the end of the expansive terrace with its pretty walled garden, and there’s a towpath alongside the water, with rowing boats and pleasure craft plashing by. And London on your doorstep. CLAIM TO FAME... Former tenants Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper were secret lovers, who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Field. Doubles from £164 +44 (0)20 8940 0902; thebingham.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 105

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE BLOOMSBURY BLOOMSBURY, WC1

A cherished member of The Doyle Collection, an exclusive Irish hotel group that also includes The Kensington (see page 110) and The Marylebone (see page 113) in London, and The Westbury (see page 198) in Ireland, The Bloomsbury is a sympathetic conversion of a Grade II-listed building, originally designed in the 1930s in neoGeorgian style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Recently, the hotel has been respectfully redesigned following a multi-million-pound investment led by the group’s chairman, Bernie Gallagher, in collaboration with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. The transformation includes a new reception area, new suites, guest sitting room and a stunning bar called The Coral Room. The hotel’s ever-popular Dalloway Terrace is an enchanting, colourful indoor-outdoor restaurant, while the wonderful wood-panelled Bloomsbury Club Bar is a must for a pre- or post-prandial drink. There’s a sense of calm in this hotel and an understated elegance. You feel shielded against the bustle of the outside world. CLAIM TO FAME... The exterior of the building was modelled on Queen Mary’s doll’s house, which Lutyens himself designed for the monarch. Doubles from £295 +44 (0)20 7347 1000; doylecollection.com

BROWN’S HOTEL MAYFAIR, W1

A five-star hotel with history and gravitas but none of the pomp or flashiness of some of its rivals, Brown’s was founded in 1837 by Lord Byron’s butler. In 2005, Olga Polizzi revamped the interior for her brother, Rocco Forte, lifting its Victorian looks with an injection of contemporary sophistication. In the award-winning English tearoom, original panelling sits easily with modern art. Queen Victoria herself was an early fan of afternoon tea at Brown’s. Heinz Beck’s menus for his London flagship restaurant have brought in relaxed Italian sophistication, while the famous Donovan Bar has been fabulously redesigned and now includes a new cocktail menu by Salvatore Calabrese. The bar, lounge and restaurant effectively form one large contemporary art-filled space, devoted to eating, drinking and entertaining. Polizzi’s style is also evident in the bedrooms, not least in the dazzling Kipling Suite, named after Rudyard, of course, who penned The Jungle Book while staying here. Downstairs, there’s a spoiling subterranean spa. CLAIM TO FAME... As London’s oldest hotel, Brown’s roll-call of famous guests includes Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill and Karl Lagerfeld. Doubles from £475 +44 (0)20 7493 6020; roccofortehotels.com 106 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

THE CAPITAL KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW3

This compact Knightsbridge hotel offers all the sumptuousness and service expected of its rare five stars, yet it’s also unexpectedly intimate and personal. Within high-heeled range of Harrods, The Capital, now part of Warwick Hotels, has one of the highest levels of repeat business in London. From the moment you encounter the concierge team, headed by the renowned Clive Smith (aka Superman), you know you’re staying somewhere special, where every element is fine-tuned and beautifully presented. In the Michelin-starred Outlaw’s Restaurant an ever-changing menu of dishes is orchestrated by Nathan Outlaw and his head chef Andrew Sawyer, while the elegant Capital Bar is home to an enviable collection of whiskies. Roomy and cosseting, the 49 bedrooms are decorated in classic, elegant style and have superlative beds and marble bathrooms. If you prefer your luxury English and understated, then The Capital is for you. CLAIM TO FAME... The Capital’s staff are as devotedly loyal as the guests: 15 team members have amassed over 250 years’ service between them. Doubles from £300 +44 (0)20 7591 1200; capitalhotel.co.uk

CLARIDGE’S MAYFAIR, W1

Do you love giving special gifts to special people? Then pop Claridge’s in a presentation box, tie it up with a red ribbon and give it – for a night or maybe two – to someone you love. It has always had a cachet. But while it used to be the staid and stately base for visiting royalty, today it is, as part of the Maybourne Group that includes The Connaught and The Berkeley, a spirited mix of glittering and gracious, hip and dignified, underpinned by superb service. It’s the details that count: pushing through the revolving door, past photographers waiting for a celebrity guest, into the glacial, marble-floored Front Hall; the wrought-iron lift complete with attendant and comfy seat; the Art Deco bathrooms; the 1930s jewel box of a bar, the Fumoir, not to mention fabulous, arboreal Fera restaurant – and so much more. If ever there was a hotel that felt like a present, it is this, now at the pinnacle of its 200-year history. CLAIM TO FAME... Spencer Tracy once said, ‘Not that I intend to die, but when I do, I don’t want to go to heaven – I want to go to Claridge’s’. Doubles from £570 +44 (0)20 7629 8860; claridges.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 107

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

COMO THE HALKIN BELGRAVIA, SW1

Can a hotel corridor be seductive? It can be here. Leave the lift, and you navigate a graceful arc of black-painted vertical strips of wood in which bedroom doors are all but invisible. In a city centre hotel built on a former parking lot, these gently curving walls give an impression of infinite length and create a Zen mood of calm. More than COMO The Halkin’s airy lobby, more than its Armaniclad staff, the corridors define its atmosphere. You tread softly and even when the hotel is full, it feels unhurried and those anonymous doors, some with red dots of light denoting ‘do not disturb’, speak silently of privacy, contentment and calm amid the storm. After 26 years, COMO The Halkin remains effortlessly cool and stylish, and those casting about for a spoiling, impeccably designed London base should look no further. In-room COMO Shambhala treatments are available, as well as yoga, and for sustenance, there’s the Michelinstarred Basque restaurant Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, with its unique ceiling. CLAIM TO FAME... Here, you can try London’s first Spanish inspired afternoon tea. Doubles from £390 +44 (0)20 7333 1000; comohotels.com/thehalkin

THE DORCHESTER MAYFAIR, W1

This iconic British hotel oozes a sense of self: it’s fun, magic and deliciously opulent yet manages to keep a tie with the past while seamlessly keeping pace with the changing times. It is magnificent during the festive season, when The Promenade comes alive with glittering Christmas trees. In other months, enjoy an elegant afternoon tea in ‘Mayfair’s best sitting room’, or relax in The Spatisserie for pure indulgence. The Dorchester has an unrivalled selection of restaurants and bars, including modern British favourites at The Grill, contemporary French cuisine at three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse and authentic Cantonese China Tang. World-renowned alchemist Giuliano Morandin, a legend among drink connoisseurs, dreams up first-class cocktails in The Bar. Bedrooms and suites are everything you’d expect from this Park Lane legend: classically opulent and exquisitely cosseting. CLAIM TO FAME... A bridal couple were surprised by Stevie Wonder, who was also at the hotel. He sat down at the piano and serenaded them with You Are The Sunshine of My Life. Doubles from £550 +44 (0)20 7629 8888; dorchestercollection.com 108 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

THE GORING BELGRAVIA, SW1

Opened in 1910, and still in the same family, The Goring is gloriously British. But although it’s a grand and dignified institution, it never takes itself too seriously, possessing what so many smart hotels lack: a sense of humour. Where else does Noël Coward sing Mad Dogs and Englishmen while your call is being connected? And these days, as well as great comfort, it has undeniable wow-factor glamour, beautifully decorated throughout and triumphantly capped by the wonderful, hand-painted wallpaper that now graces the Front Hall. The Bar, redolent of colonial grandeur, is a hub, where afternoon tea is London’s best, while in the scintillating Linleydesigned dining room, head chef Shay Cooper’s Michelin-starred modern British cuisine causes many a lip to smack. And then there’s The Goring’s secret glory: its huge private garden, complete with croquet lawn. CLAIM TO FAME... The walls of the master bedroom in the Royal Suite are lined with the same silk that graced the First Class Dining Room of RMS Titanic 1912, while the silk in the bathroom is a match for that which adorns the throne room in Buckingham Palace. Doubles from £445 +44 (0)20 7396 9000; thegoring.com

HAZLITT’S SOHO, W1

Hazlitt’s is the real deal: as genuine, amusing and revealing a hotel as you could hope for, especially in bustling Soho. It’s named after the radical essayist and master of English prose, William Hazlitt. He died in poverty in 1830 at number 6 Frith Street, one of three adjoining townhouses that the owners, experts on the Georgian era, fashioned into Hazlitt’s in 1986. A fourth building behind was converted to create a sitting room with an honesty bar and an additional eight bedrooms, reached by a lift. As befits an establishment with such literary connections, the hotel is popular with authors, who leave signed copies of their works when they depart. The sloping, creaking floorboards have been retained and the rooms, decorated with antiques, busts and prints, are individually furnished, with splendid bathtubs and Victorian fittings in the bathrooms. Like the rooms in its distinctive sisters, Batty Langley’s and The Rookery (see pages 104 and 114), they are delightfully different from other London hotels. CLAIM TO FAME... Sir Godfrey, the hotel cat, has lived at Hazlitt’s for eight years. Doubles from £289 +44 (0)20 7434 1771; hazlittshotel.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 109

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE KENSINGTON SOUTH KENSINGTON, SW7

What a great address, in an attractive and central part of London that has never before been noted for its hotels – not spot-hitting ones like this one, anyway. The Doyles are Irish hoteliers, headed by three sisters who also own The Marylebone (see page 113) and The Bloomsbury (see page 106) in London, and The Westbury (see page 198) in Ireland. One sister, chairman Bernie Gallagher, oversaw the interior design here to make it feel more like a beautiful private residence than a traditional hotel. It is comfortable, sophisticated, but never try-hard, and the public drawing rooms are stylish yet undemanding. Eat and drink wherever you like, including in the homely Town House restaurant or the K Bar, for its signature cocktails and bar bites. There are 150 beautifully -decorated bedrooms, two sumptuous signature suites and, if you want to explore, Pashley bikes on which to pedal around the capital, with baskets for a picnic – another great touch. CLAIM TO FAME... The Kensington is partnered with the Royal Albert Hall and the V&A as part of its ‘Slice of the City’, which means guests can get exclusive access and VIP tickets. Doubles from £235 +44 (0)20 7589 6300; doylecollection.com

KNIGHTSBRIDGE HOTEL KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW3

Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels, have the knack of creating places to stay that not only look fabulous but are also easygoing and smoothly run. Knightsbridge Hotel is no exception, an imposing house in a quiet cul-de-sac that has made the ideal canvas for their skills. Kit has designed the interior with panache, using vivid colour, specially designed fabrics, original British art and statement furniture. There are two public rooms downstairs, the drawing room and library, both with a working fireplace. Here, a fireside tea is a winter treat. Upstairs, there are 44 bedrooms and suites, all as fresh and as lovely to look at as to sleep in, with thoughtful extras such as iPod docking stations. If it’s a special occasion, book the stunning openplan Knightsbridge Suite, with its triptych of floor-length windows. No restaurant, but there is 24-hour room service. CLAIM TO FAME... Location. Tucked away in a quiet street in Knightsbridge, yet it’s just minutes from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Sloane Street, and close to the V&A, Natural History Museum and Science Museum. Doubles from £306 +44 (0)20 7584 6300; firmdalehotels.com 110 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

THE LANGHAM, LONDON MARYLEBONE, W1

Europe’s original ‘grand hotel’ opened in 1865 and has never looked more ravishing, with stunning public areas and wonderfully comfortable, recently renovated bedrooms. From Superior Rooms through to The Sterling Suite, they evoke the comfort of a private residence. Descend to the glittering, spacious, marble-pillared ground floor, where afternoon tea in the Palm Court is a real treat. Take a spell in the sparkling, coolly beautiful Chuan Body + Soul, a sanctuary of physical and spiritual healing. Go on to cocktails at the super chic bar, Artesian, or a drink in the recently opened modern British tavern, The Wigmore, then dinner at Roux at The Landau, overseen by Michel Roux Jr, reopened with stunning good looks earlier this year. In the morning, you might choose the Palm Court once more for breakfast: even the pot of coffee is a thing of beauty. If you really want to indulge, upgrade for entrance to The Langham Club Lounge. CLAIM TO FAME... The Langham has featured on screen numerous times. It became the Grand Hotel St Petersburg for Golden Eye and was the setting for dastardly events in BBC’s McMafia. Doubles from £400 +44 (0)20 7636 1000; langhamhotels.co.uk

THE LASLETT NOTTING HILL, W2

Spread across five beautiful white stucco Victorian townhouses in buzzing Notting Hill, The Laslett is part of Tracy Lowy’s Living Rooms collection of elegant, superbly located London addresses. Inspired by the neighbourhood’s rich cultural heritage, it takes its name from Rhaune Laslett, an activist who organised the original Notting Hill Festival, forerunner of the famous Carnival. The interior, with walls hung with carefully chosen photographs and paintings, features a dynamic ground floor, more local chill area than hotel lobby, with a library, an eclectic antiques shop and The Henderson Bar and Coffee Shop which serves a daily evolving menu of simple, seasonal dishes, home-made cakes and tip-top cocktails. Rooms and suites are classic but cool, looking and feeling like a very stylish private home, where Penguin Classics for bedtime reading rest comfortably beside Britishdesigned furniture and works by local artists. CLAIM TO FAME... Russell Henderson, a Trinidadian musician and a founder of Notting Hill Carnival, was the inspiration behind the eponymously named The Henderson Bar. Doubles from £220 +44 (0)20 7792 6688; thelaslett.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 111

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE LEVIN KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW3

Here’s a well kept secret, one that combines the luxury of a top hotel with the intimacy of a guesthouse. Women, solo or otherwise, love it. Why wouldn’t they when it’s a designer bag’s swing from Harrods and Harvey Nichols? The Levin is the baby sister of The Capital, almost next door (see page 107). If The Capital is small, The Levin is tiny: 12 bedrooms arranged around a staircase that spirals through five floors, with a dramatic, 18-metre shimmering chandelier cascading down the stairwell like an art installation. The lobby has beautiful duck-egg blue walls, with a feel of the 1930s, and the minute lift is a nostalgic throwback. The bedrooms are the sort you may never want to leave: suave, with particularly good lighting, a selection of interesting paperbacks and – best of all – the champagne minibar, with all the ingredients, including recipes, for the perfect champagne cocktail. Tucked away in the basement is The Metro, the hotel’s elegant little bistro. CLAIM TO FAME... The Levin is the world’s closest hotel to Harrods – only 67 steps away. Doubles from £275 +44 (0)20 7589 6286; thelevinhotel.co.uk

LIME TREE HOTEL BELGRAVIA, SW1

It’s rare to find an affordable hotel in central London; even more so in smart Belgravia. But the Lime Tree is just that, and what’s more, it has the air of a place in the country, with painted furniture and breakfast menus chalked jauntily on blackboards. Matt and Charlotte Goodsall took over the guesthouse from Charlotte’s parents and, after extensive renovation and redecoration, have created a delightful bolthole, with the added bonus of a garden, complete with lawn and potting shed. There are 25 simple, stylish and homely bedrooms, with pretty fabrics and personal touches. One has a small terrace and garden access; another has ‘bookshelves’ wallpaper across one wall that hides the door to the bathroom. Staff are notably friendly and helpful, and single travellers are particularly well looked after. There’s a cosy sitting room, awash with the latest glossy magazines, and breakfast is served at your table in a room full of chatter that feels like home. CLAIM TO FAME... The two Grade II-listed townhouses that form Lime Tree were joined together a century ago and have been welcoming travellers from around the world ever since. Doubles from £185 +44 (0)20 7730 8191; limetreehotel.co.uk 112 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

MANDARIN ORIENTAL KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW1

The celebrated Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is a byword for luxury and exceptional service. Its London outpost, in an exuberant red-brick Edwardian building, is no exception, currently about to complete a comprehensive, multimillion-pound renovation, with a stunning design by Joyce Wang. She has drawn her inspiration from Hyde Park’s natural beauty, the hotel’s royal heritage and the glamour of the early 20th-century’s Golden Age of travel, and the finished look is fabulous. The reception areas have striking glass chandeliers that represent the different stages of an opening flower, and carpets that recall fallen leaves, while the revamped art deco-influenced bedrooms have carefully curated artworks and bespoke furniture. There are two sumptuous penthouse suites, with private terraces and park views, and the new spa features an exclusive Mandarin Oriental express studio concept. Highlight of the fitness centre – a stylish, 17m stainless steel pool. CLAIM TO FAME... Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the late Princess Margaret first learned to dance in its ballroom. Doubles from £650 +44 (0)20 7235 2000 mandarinoriental.com/london

THE MARYLEBONE MARYLEBONE, W1

Which born-and-bred Londoners would have dreamed that Marylebone, once dusty and overlooked, could become such a chic, lively quarter, full of quirky, stylish shops, restaurants and cafés? And at its heart, this cosmopolitan community has The Marylebone, a great place for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner in its sassy 108 Brasserie, or simply a drink with friends at the bar. Sister to The Bloomsbury (see page 106) and The Kensington (see page 110) in London, as well as The Westbury (see page 198) in Ireland, The Marylebone has been recently refurbished with the addition of a chic new lobby bar, ‘seasonal’ lounges including an outdoor Summer Terrace and sparkling new party and event spaces, The Marylebone Rooms. The hotel is renowned for its spectacular terrace suites, offering Mary Poppins-esque views of Marylebone’s rooftops and complete with a retractable roof, TV and fireplace. Add the on-site Third Space gym, indoor pool and spa, and The Marylebone has it all. CLAIM TO FAME... Stay among the stars – Kendall Jenner, David Gandy, Denise van Outen, John Galliano and Ruby Wax have all visited. Doubles from £260 +44 (0)20 7486 6600; doylecollection.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 113

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

NUMBER SIXTEEN SOUTH KENSINGTON, SW7

Part of a mid-Victorian white stucco terrace, Number Sixteen is one of Firmdale’s collection of London town house hotels that includes the Knightsbridge Hotel (see page 110). Inside, it is imaginatively decorated by Kit Kemp in her inimitable contemporary and eclectic style, full of bold colours, joyful collisions of pattern and hand-picked artworks. The result: your spirits are lifted the moment you walk inside. The ground floor rooms are flooded with light from floorto-ceiling windows, and include two drawing rooms, a library with that Firmdale trademark, an honesty bar, and an orangery leading to a beautifully designed leafy garden – a rare treat for London. On warm days this is the spot for relaxing, drinking, eating or meeting friends. It only has 41 rooms, but all the facilities you’d expect from a larger luxury hotel are in place – 24-hour room service, valet, concierge and spoiling in-room Soholistic treatments. It’s also a stylish place to eat: breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea are all served in the orangery, opening into the garden in summer. CLAIM TO FAME... The tree-filled garden is London’s best-kept secret. Doubles from £276 +44 (0)20 7589 5232; firmdalehotels.com

THE ROOKERY CLERKENWELL, EC1

Those in the know don’t lay their heads in W1, they head east to London’s most fashionable districts. Luckily, we know of secrets beyond the hipster clientele and tech geeks. One such hideaway is the deliciously unique Rookery. Set in the heart of gastronomic Clerkenwell, after eating top-class grub and partying hard, you can retreat to one of its 33 quirky bedrooms, none of which are the same. Each, though, share gorgeous Georgian detailing, polished brass metalwork in bathrooms, antiques aplenty and bookshelves bulging with real books. You won’t worry about wonky floors or the lack of things like a spa or a gym, you’ll enjoy the calm and mannered atmosphere of a private club as you settle in the drawing room or courtyard garden, weather permitting, with the paper. On the doorstep? Well, you’re just moments away from St Paul’s Cathedral and then it’s only a walk over the wobbly bridge to Tate Modern. CLAIM TO FAME... In the 1800s, the area was teeming with thieves, tarts and ne’er-do-wells. A rookery was universally understood to mean criminal area and many of the rooms are named after local characters of ill repute. Doubles from £289 +44 (0)20 7336 0931; rookeryhotel.com 114 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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LONDON

ROSEATE HOUSE LONDON HYDE PARK, W2

A short walk from Hyde Park, this opulent boutique bolthole offers stunning views over leafy Westbourne Terrace. Once described as the ‘quite the finest street in London’, it faces St James Church, where in 1884 Oscar Wilde married Constance Lloyd. Three mid-Victorian, Grade II-listed townhouses, restored to the charm and allure of their original architecture, have melded into one to create Roseate Hotels & Resorts’ London outpost. Inside, it’s all Victorian furniture and oil paintings handpicked and curated by Jonty Hearnden, presenter of BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. The result feels elegant yet homely, rooted in the past yet cool and sophisticated, with 48 rooms and suites bursting with period features but also offering the latest cuttingedge technology. Settle down for drinks in the Hyde Bar, whose food menu offers dishes that complement rather than dominate the drink. CLAIM TO FAME... Jonty Hearnden, antiques expert, appraiser and presenter of BBC’s Antiques Road show and Cash in the Attic, has hand-selected all the unique antiques for Roseate House London. Doubles from £250.80 +44 (0)20 7479 6600; roseatehouselondon.com

ROSEWOOD LONDON HOLBORN, WC1

Since its opening in 2013, Rosewood has risen effortlessly to the highest echelons of London’s luxury hotels, combining English heritage with contemporary sophistication. The Grade IIlisted, Belle Époque building has been sensitively renovated with the feel of a stylish London residence. The highlight of the interior is the Grand Pavonazzo marble staircase, which soars to a dizzying 166’ high cupola. Two designers are responsible for the hotel’s fabulous look. Tony Chi created the splendid Rose Bronze Gallery entrance, the jewel box Mirror Room restaurant and 262 glamorous rooms and 44 suites. Martin Brudnizki designed both Holborn Dining Room – a bustling British brasserie with reclaimed oak, red leather banquettes, innovative locally-sourced cuisine and a trendy gin bar – and the wildly popular Scarfes Bar, its walls decorated with a collection of paintings by satirist Gerald Scarfe. Every suite comes with a dedicated butler, and service throughout is as faultless as you’d expect. CLAIM TO FAME... Chef Calum Franklin is well-known as the King of Pies and his creations are real work of art. His Instagram account @chefcalum is worth a visit. Doubles from £390 +44 (0)20 7781 8888; rosewoodhotels.com/london 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 115

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE SAVOY COVENT GARDEN, WC2

With its Art Deco front facing the Strand and its Edwardian back to the river, the iconic Savoy was Britain’s first luxury hotel. It was built in the 1880s by Richard D’Oyly Carte, who produced Gilbert and Sullivan operas at his Savoy Theatre next door. The 267 gorgeous rooms and suites hit all the right notes, and the most romantic have views of the Thames. While restaurants have always been integral to The Savoy, there has never been more choice than there is today, from the relaxed Kaspar’s at The Savoy to Gordon Ramsay’s splendid Savoy Grill and the recently restored Simpson’s in the Strand. Afternoon tea is served in the Thames Foyer, which takes on a more sultry setting in the evening, plus there’s live entertainment and cocktails in the legendary, louche American Bar, voted World’s Best Bar in 2017, or try the glossy, black and gold Beaufort Bar. A hotel for the 21st century and still the byword for luxury. CLAIM TO FAME... Churchill got the call telling him he was to be the wartime Prime Minister in 1939 while he was dining at The Savoy, where a suite was kept permanently at his disposal for the power naps he liked to take. Doubles from £450 +44 (0)20 7836 4343; fairmont.com/savoy-london

SOHO HOTEL SOHO, W1

This punchy, exciting and yet deeply comfortable and welcoming Firmdale hotel is tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of London’s characterful entertainment district, surrounded by some of its best restaurants, bars, cafés, theatre and nightlife. It’s full of bold statements typical of Kit Kemp and her eye for beauty, fun and colour, starting with the 10ft bronze Fernando Botero cat in the lobby that has become something of a symbol of Firmdale Hotels (see also Knightsbridge Hotel, page 110, and Number Sixteen, page 114). As well as the Drawing Room, a quirky take on a private home where light floods in, there is the Library, Screening Room and Film Club, plus the REFUEL restaurant and bar with its wonderful motoring mural and electric atmosphere, whatever the time of day. The 96 bedrooms, including suites, are blissfully comfortable, energetically decorated and full of personality, with floor-to-ceiling warehouse style windows. CLAIM TO FAME... This was the first ‘luxury hotel’ to open in the area and sits on the site of an old NCP car park, which is why the restaurant is called REFUEL. Doubles from £390 +44 (0)20 7559 3000; firmdalehotels.com 116 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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London’s most admired luxury florist Providers of sophisticated floral art to the UK’s most prestigious hotels and their discerning guests for 70 years 13 Flask Walk Hampstead Westfield Shopping Centre

Sayeh and Galton FULL PAGE.indd 1

+44 (0)20 7435 3661 info@galtonflowers.com

www.sayehgaltonflowers.com

13/07/2018 17:07


The Cotswolds A 90-minute run down the M40 or a private charter to Cotswold Airport, near Cirencester, will see you in the rolling green pastures of Britain before you have time to say, ‘picture perfect’

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Morning’s Reflection, River Thames, Lechlade, Gloucestershire by Peter Hulance. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. peterhulancephotography.co.uk

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5JAPANESE INVASION

The Hot List

Andrew Kojima has graced Cheltenham with Koj, a Japanese restaurant striving to push diners out of their sushi comfort zone. With Tokyo-style chicken ramen and sashimi fish donburis on the lunch menu, and tempura soft shell crab buns and pork shoga yaki for dinner, patrons will soon ditch their regular tuna nigiri. kojcheltenham.co.uk

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LIKE A NEW YORKER 6SHOP

From animal encounters and antique-hunting to wild walks and perfect pubs, the Cotswolds are cruising

The Cotswold Way is around 100 miles of glorious walking, taking in those far-reaching iconic views and starting from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south. If you don’t want to tackle the whole thing, join one of the monthly ten-mile guided walks instead. nationaltrail.co.uk

2 HUNT FOR ANTIQUES The Cotswolds is renowned for its antique shops, so head to Tetbury (home of Duchy Home Farm) for Lorfords Antiques which boasts the largest collection of decorative antiques in Europe, and Amy Perry Antiques for great finds (lorfordsantiques. com; amyperry antiques.co.uk). Café 53 is just down the road for a pit stop (cafe53. strikingly.com).

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UP AND SMELL THE ROSES 7 WAKE

The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers has a branch in Chipping Campden and offers classes on hand-tied bouquets, Christmas wreaths and even flower crowns. For those looking for something more intensive, the three-day taster course is a great insight into the world of flower design. academyofflowers.com

SOUND OUT AN ALTERNATIVE SCENE

Tap Social, about a mile out of Oxford to the west, hidden on an industrial estate, is a bar and microbrewery run as a social enterprise. It provides training and employment to ex-offenders and serving prisoners, teaching them to brew beer. It’s also just a great place to hang out, with live music and a cool atmosphere. tapsocialmovement.com

4 GRAB A BARGAIN 2

Discounted pieces from Anya Hindmarch, Sandro, Maje and Stella McCartney can all be found at Bicester Village. Make a day of it and stop for lunch at Farmshop for a hearty salad or, for something more snazzy, a Café Wolseley outpost has now set up shop there too. bicestervillage.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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Manhattan socialite Amanda Brooks has opened a lifestyle boutique in Stow-onthe-Wold. Here you’ll find Fair Isle knits, cottage-chic dinnerware and everything you could need to kit out your Cotswolds pad and look the part. cutterbrooks.com

WALK A BIT OF THE WAY

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THE COTSWOLDS

8 MARVEL AT MOGUL

Sezincote House is a slice of India in the Cotswolds. A copper onion dome sits atop a Rajasthani-style mogul house, which is said to have inspired the Prince Regent to change his plans for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The house and impressive gardens, near Moreton-in-Marsh, are open to the public for those feeling nosy. sezincote.co.uk

9GO WILD

Giraffes, camels, zebra, reindeer, rhino and now even baby wolverines call the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford home. Feed penguins, play with lemurs and get kisses from giraffes during an animal encounter. Feel good with the knowledge that the park raises funds for TUSK and Sifaka Conservation among others. cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

10 FEEL HUNGER PANGS

What started out as small butcher’s shop in Nailsworth has grown into William’s food hall and oyster bar where you can find cheeses, a charcuterie, terrines, fruit and veg and many other delicacies. If browsing has made you peckish, slurp down freshly shucked oysters and langoustines with a chilled glass of white. williamsfoodhall.co.uk

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15STEP BACK IN TIME

SHOP IN A SOUK

Built in the 12th century, Malmesbury Abbey is home to the tomb of King Athelstan (the first king of England), a 15th-century illuminated bible and the gravestone of Hannah Twynnoy who was killed by a tiger in 1703. Afterwards head to the gorgeous Abbey House Gardens. malmesburyabbey.com

With all the excitement and enticement of a Moroccan souk, albeit closer to home, Le Souk at Burford Garden Company offers hand crafted furniture, silver trinkets, art and plants. Many of the items are one of a kind so don’t dawdle. burford.co.uk 12 13

THE WIND IN YOUR HAIR 13FEEL

You don’t need to head to cooler climes to experience the thrill of a husky ride. Arctic Quest in Tewkesbury offers training on how to control the pack of dogs as well as plenty of time for playing with the pups. arcticquest.co.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

A JOLLY NICE TIME 12HAVE First class coffee, mouthwatering burgers (made from cows reared and butchered on site), a brilliant farm shop and a garden to enjoy it all in – The Jolly Nice Farm Shop is just that. jollynicefarmshop.com

16 GO FOREST BATHING

Westonbirt Arboretum is a treat at any time of year, but it’s at its most majestic in autumn when some of the 15,000 trees burst into burnished gold, flame red and burnt orange. See all that beauty from 13m up on the 300m treetop walkway for an added thrill. forestry.gov.uk

14 BUY FRESH BREAD

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There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread, especially when it comes from Hobbs House bakery’s wood-fired oven in Nailsworth. Buy to devour at home, or eat in and chow down on sourdough waffles with smoked bacon and maple syrup. hobbshousebakery.co.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BARNSLEY HOUSE NR CIRENCESTER, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

If you dream of a hotel that’s not too large and not too small, somewhere effortlessly chic yet close to nature, with not only a famous garden but also a discreet spa and intimate cinema, then look no further than this gorgeous Cotswold retreat. Since becoming sister hotel to the admirable Calcot in 2009 (see opposite), Barnsley House has never looked better. The handsome 17th-century manor house is set in an intricate yet natural garden created by renowned horticulturist Rosemary Verey, whose centenary of birth is celebrated in 2018. No two bedrooms are the same, yet all are cool and comfortable, blending classy furniture and state-of-the-art facilities (such as cinema suround sound and plasma screens in bathrooms) that blend with traditional elements like old beams, stone fireplaces and wooden floors. As for the lovely Potager Restaurant, its elegant, fresh and unfussy food is served in a cleverly-mirrored white and cucumber-green room, which leads to a pretty terrace overlooking that entrancing garden. CLAIM TO FAME... Barnsley House is a popular celebrity spot but they are naturally far too discreet to name names. Doubles from £244 +44 (0)1285 740000; barnsleyhouse.com

THE BRADLEY CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Whether you’re going to the races, to one of Cheltenham’s festivals, or simply sightseeing or shopping, The Bradley will be your home from home. This lovely, honeyed-stone Regency town house in the fashionable Montpellier district has been a B&B since 2011 and was recently given a significant refurbishment by Peter and Lana de Savary. The interior is elegant in style with antiques, paintings and objets d’art. There are ten lovely bedrooms, including one with a romantic four-poster and another in Art Deco style. Two are new contemporary dog-friendly rooms in the delightful courtyard garden. A friendly welcome from General Manager, Bea Seidler, and an honesty bar in the beautiful drawing room are just some of the little touches that make The Bradley stand out. It also holds an AA Breakfast Award: an excellent full English and numerous healthier options are on offer in the airy dining room or pretty courtyard. A gem! CLAIM TO FAME... The Bradley was formerly a refuge for widows returning from the colonies of the British Empire. It remains one of Cheltenham’s most important complete historical houses. Doubles from £145 +44 (0)1242 519077; thebradleyhotel.co.uk 122 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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CALCOT & SPA NR TETBURY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Calcot suits many occasions – honeymoons, family gatherings, spa breaks, country weekends – with equal success. With roots going back to the 14th century, the present stone manor became a hotel in 1984. Since then, the surrounding farm buildings have been revived and brought into appropriate play over the years: Calcot is brilliant at moving with the times and this year sees a fresh new look for both The Conservatory Restaurant and The Barn. Today, it has 35 rooms, refreshed and reinvigorated, a gorgeous spa, The Barn for private events, an Ofstedregistered crèche and two restaurants. Rooms in the manor house are designed with couples in mind, while family rooms and suites are in converted cottages and barns; deluxe suites have their own private garden. As well as the openfire cooking of The Gumstool Inn, the hotel’s principal restaurant, The Conservatory, cuts a scintillating dash for an occasion. The sweeping, open-plan space is a buzzing, easy-going, all-day arena, with a diverse menu to match. . CLAIM TO FAME... It’s located only a stone’s throw from both Highgrove and Gatcombe Park if you’re after a dose of royalty. Doubles from £209 +44 (0)1666 890391; calcot.co

THE KINGHAM PLOUGH KINGHAM, OXFORDSHIRE

Who can resist popping into a traditional English pub on a village green? On entering The Kingham Plough you would think: so far, so traditional. There’s real ale on tap, real locals on the wooden benches, scotch eggs and chips on the blackboard menu, and steak and kidney pie on the specials. Except there’s a twist – dining here is not your typical pub, or even gastropub, fare. Co-owner Emily Watkins, formerly with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck, is in the kitchen with numerous awards under her belt. Foodies flock here for her highly creative interpretations of bygone British dishes, often based on old Cotswold recipes. They then stay on for the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere she and her husband, Miles Lampson, have maintained throughout the pub – in the bar and dining room as well as the charming bedrooms upstairs, which are all equipped with hotel-style comforts. Eat well, sleep well. CLAIM TO FAME... Guests should sample one of the in-house speciality cocktails, perhaps a delicious Gusbourne Royale, featuring English White Heron Cassis and Gusbourne sparkling wine. Doubles from £145 +44 (0)1608 658327; thekinghamplough.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 123

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

LORDS OF THE MANOR UPPER SLAUGHTER, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

In a dreamy mellow stone village, surrounded by undulating woods, formal gardens and parkland overlooking lake and sheep-grazed fields, the Lords of the Manor is one of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious hotels. It’s also one of the most gastronomic, with a menu that’s noted as one of the most tempting in the area. Whether you regard the handsome manor house as a hotel with a notable restaurant, or a restaurant with delightful rooms (26 of them, with either village or garden views), you’ll appreciate the gentle, quietly indulgent experience of staying here, looked after by staff who are efficient, kind and unfailingly polite. As for dinner, it’s a beautifully paced piece of theatre, with a signature tasting menu, as well as à la carte and vegetarian menus from head chef Charles Smith, who creates inspired seasonal dishes and cites Wye Valley asparagus as his favourite summer ingredient. At breakfast, don’t miss the Burford Brown eggs, poached, boiled or fried. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel was honoured to welcome Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko Akishino, of the Japanese imperial family, as guests in 2014. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1451 820243; lordsofthemanor.com

THE LYGON ARMS BROADWAY, WORCESTERSHIRE

The venerable Lygon Arms has been revamped and it’s not just its guests who are pleased. ‘Everyone in town is thrilled,’ said the ice-cream vendor. ‘It’s the centrepiece of our village and we are so glad it’s back on form.’ Broadway can indeed be proud once more of its historic coaching inn where both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell dallied during the Civil War and whose former guests include Edward VII, Elizabeth Taylor and Prince Philip. Now it has joined Chewton Glen (page 77) and Cliveden (page 90) in the stable of Iconic Luxury Hotels and a multimillion programme of refurbishment has left it looking superb. There are many delights: more lounges (for cocktails, light meals, afternoon tea) than you can quite believe, a huge, unexpected garden and a sybaritic spa and pool, plus 86 bedrooms beautifully decorated by Anita Rosato. Most impressive of all is the Lygon Bar & Grill: glossy, glamorous and fun. CLAIM TO FAME... You can visit the room that Oliver Cromwell stayed in the night before the Battle of Worcester in 1651, and see the carvings of John Travis’ name on the arch of the front door, etched into the hotel’s history in 1620. Doubles from £240 + 44 (0)1386 852255; lygonarmshotel.co.uk 124 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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NO. 38 THE PARK CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

As well as The Wheatsheaf Inn (see page 129) and No. 131 (see below), No. 38 The Park is part of the brilliant Lucky Onion Group of Cotswold pubs and hotels. The fine Georgian house, tucked away in a discreet, genteel part of Cheltenham, has been converted into a 13-room B&B. Here, everything is sensual and textured, from overstuffed, velvet-padded headboards and mohair throws, to over-sized lamps and vast log baskets. Bathrooms are heaven, with underfloor heating and a mix of freestanding zinc baths and double showers. Attention to detail is outstanding, with the best-ever turndown service: for example, in winter, a mini flask of hot chocolate with homebaked cookies and a hot water bottle under your duvet. Breakfast in the contemporary, light-filled dining room is filled with continental delights from the counter and a selection of American pancakes, eggs any way, and smashed avocado on sourdough toast from the menu. CLAIM TO FAME... No. 38 hosts The Lucky Onion Supper Club, which not only provides outstanding food cooked by their own talented chefs, but also invites guest chefs such as Pierre Koffman and Yotam Ottolenghi. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1242 822929; theluckyonion.com

NO. 131 CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

The hip place to stay in Cheltenham is No. 131, a restaurant with rooms that opened in 2013. Part of Julian Dunkerton’s stellar Lucky Onion group (see The Wheatsheaf, page 129 and No. 38 The Park, above), this previously derelict Georgian villa has been refurbished with flair, without forgetting its 18th-century heritage. The elegance of the upstairs restaurant is complemented by the relaxed buzz of the downstairs one, late-night bar and Cheltenham hotspot, Crazy Eights. Food is seasonal and mainly organic, from a menu that focuses on prime cuts of outstanding local beef and fresh seafood, always sourced from British land and shores. As for the bedrooms, in three different categories, they are adorable cocoons with glorious Egyptian cotton linen on divine beds, original British paintings by David Hockney, Sir Peter Blake, Banksy and Henry Hudson, reconditioned antique radiators and, in some, Rogeat Lyon baths. Nothing has been overlooked – not even hot water bottles. CLAIM TO FAME... No. 131 hosts the Jazz House Party during the Cheltenham Festival, with impromptu performances by the likes of Gregory Porter and Jamie Callum. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1242 822939; theluckyonion.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 125

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE PAINSWICK PAINSWICK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

A glorious combination of eclecticism, heavenly food and creature comforts, all set in one of the Cotswolds’ prettiest towns, the Painswick was renovated and relaunched by new owners, The Calcot Collection, in spring 2016, and has been transformed into a relaxing, chic haven with ace cuisine and fabulous views over the Slad valley. The Calcot Collection are masters at the art of creating laidback luxury, having developed Barnsley House and Calcot Manor (see pages 122 and 123) and the Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland (see page 164). Now they’ve worked their magic on this 18th-century mansion, conjuring an arty, subtly funky feel in the sitting rooms and furnishing the 16 bedrooms in pale, soothing tones, with characteristic attention to detail. The Painswick is billed as a restaurant with rooms, so you can expect strong focus on delicious food; menus are brilliantly invent ive and wonderfully seasonal. Breakfast in the sunny restaurant is a delight too – don’t miss the zinging apple and ginger tonic. CLAIM TO FAME... Painswick is home to an annual arts festival that attracts fashion designers, creatives and artists to the village. Doubles from £139 +44 (0)1452 813688; thepainswick.co.uk

THE PORCH HOUSE STOW-ON-THE-WOLD, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Legend has it that this rambling, honeycoloured, charming building is the oldest pub in the country. These days it’s in two halves: the older part, of mellow Cotswold stone, has a characterful interior of low, beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, roaring fires, a cosy bar, and the airy Conservatory restaurant in a sympathetic extension. The second, handsome and painted white, is not much younger but houses a striking formal dining room, with higher beamed ceilings and quirky antler chandeliers. This is where no-nonsense, traditional British dishes are served, with the freshest local produce. At the end of the day, you’ll retire to one of 13 tasteful, muted bedrooms, each a real sanctuary furnished with hessian carpets, deep-buttoned headboards, old sewing tables and Nespresso machines. There are four levels: standard, superior, feature (the most interesting) and a duplex suite. Interconnecting rooms and those with sofabeds work well for families. CLAIM TO FAME... Part of the inn is said to date back as far as 947 AD. Doubles from £99 +44 (0)1451 870048; porch-house.co.uk 126 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE SHEEP ON SHEEP STREET STOW-ON-THE-WOLD, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

In the heart of beautiful Stow-on-the-Wold, the Sheep is a fine example of Brakspear’s elegantly updated inns. With 22 homely bedrooms it now manages to be a traditional, warm and hearty inn yet with a fresh and contemporary feel. Like most of the buildings in Stow, the inn dates back to the 17th century, while the cool blue and green tones of its refurbishment lend a welcome splash of colour, freshness and modernity. Nowadays the Sheep draws in guests from near and far and it’s easy to see why: there’s an immediately open atmosphere that, with the soft lighting, ensures relaxed dining for parties large or small, plus a view onto the open kitchen and wood-burning oven. The Sheep also ticks boxes in summer, with a suntrap outdoor dining area built around a feature fireplace. Here’s a rural home-fromhome that will soften even the hardest of city-dwelling hearts. CLAIM TO FAME... A popular location for famous actors, but they won’t tell who they are – you’ll have to pop in and hope you get lucky. Doubles from £90 +44 (0)1451 830344; thesheepstow.co.uk

THE SWAN INN SWINBROOK, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

In the perfect village of Swinbrook, The Swan Inn recalls the inimitable Mitford sisters, whose childhood home was here. The property belonged to Debo, who married the Duke of Devonshire. Though she died in 2014, it remains part of the Devonshire trust, and has been run for the past 12 years by the excellent Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing, who also have the King’s Head Inn at Bledington. The Swan is everything you want from an inn: a charming blend of tradition and quirky contemporary style, plus a dash of history in the form of Mitford memorabilia. Feather-footed bantams wander the garden and, in the bedrooms, Nicola’s divine Bantam body care products, drawn from plants and herbs that thrive in the Cotswolds, make bathing a pleasure. There are 11 calm, personable rooms divided between Old Stables and Riverside Cottage across the road. The food here is highly regarded, with 100 per cent Aberdeen Angus beef from Swinbrook Old Farm, game, smoked products and cheeses all from local suppliers. CLAIM TO FAME... David Cameron famously hosted François Hollande for an Anglo-Franco summit lunch here in 2013. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1993 823339; theswanswinbrook.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 127

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THORNBURY CASTLE THORNBURY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Thornbury Castle is the real deal: so real that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed here and Princess Mary, later Mary I, lived here. After centuries as a picturesque ruin, the Howard family transformed it in Victorian times into a splendid private residence. All the panelling and decorative features you find are original, or are hand-crafted reproductions, including much of the furniture and tapestry wall-hangings. Spiral staircases lead to 27 unique, romantic bed-chambers, most with coronet or four-poster beds. The rooms’ baronial style has been cleverly updated with 21st-century luxuries: they are well-heated with opulent bathrooms and in-room spa treatments are available. The magnificent Tudor gardens are currently being restored to their full glory. They comprise formal gardens, a vineyard, kitchen garden, wild-flower meadow and local heritage orchard. Thornbury also has fine dining in four dining-rooms, including the atmospheric Tudor Hall and private dining in the original dungeon. Best of all, it’s an authentic, magnificent, thundering castle. CLAIM TO FAME... King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn spent part of their honeymoon here. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1454 281182; thornburycastle.co.uk

THYME SOUTHROP MANOR ESTATE, GLOS

Paradise in glorious Cotswold countryside, Thyme offers luxurious bedrooms in a collection of fine stone buildings, all decorated with great attention to detail and furnished with every conceivable comfort. It’s far more than just a hotel. Food is its raison d’être, with first-class chefs, a highly regarded cookery school and exceptional produce from its own farm and kitchen gardens. Breakfast is in the Tithe Barn, lunch and dinner in The Swan, Thyme’s charming village pub, re-opened after restoration. The 17th-century former bakery has been transformed into an impressive space with a new bar and dining area, marking a collaboration between head chef Matt Wardman, and culinary director Charlie Hibbert. Their top-quality menus, inspired by British and French classics, change with the growing seasons. Not only an award-winning pub with a relaxed atmosphere, but also a foodie destination. Come September, keep your eyes peeled for the opening of The Ox Barn, a new restaurant and cafe. CLAIM TO FAME... Southrop Manor Estate is a site of considerable antiquity and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Doubles from £285 +44 (0)1367 850174; thyme.co.uk 128 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE WHEATSHEAF INN NORTHLEACH, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

This beautifully decorated former coaching inn serves as a hub for the local community. It combines an informal, welcoming atmosphere with the attributes of a fully-fledged hotel, including a glamorous private dining room, a relaxing sitting room and charmingly rustic treatment room. Locals crowd into the Game Bar for drinks and light meals, or dine under the beady eyes of the doughty Wills tobacco family, whose early 20th-century portraits decorate one wall of the dining room, gleaming with polished wood. The 14 bedrooms, imaginatively decorated, are elegantly equipped, with deeply comfy Hypnos beds, Egyptian cotton linens and original artworks. As for head chef Pete McAllister’s locally sourced, simple rustic food, it doesn’t miss a beat. Rambling, centuriesold coaching inns can be hard to modernise successfully, but the Wheatsheaf Inn is one that has triumphed. CLAIM TO FAME... British food writer and critic, Tom Parker Bowles, describes The Wheatsheaf as his dining default, declaring, ‘I think I’ve eaten at this restaurant more than any other in my life’. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1451 860244; theluckyonion.com

THE WILD RABBIT KINGHAM, OXFORDSHIRE

Heralded by two floppy-eared topiary bunnies flanking the entrance, The Wild Rabbit is both a Cotswold hotspot and a haven of eco-elegance. The moment you step inside, the mellow space invites instant relaxation with open fires, comfy sofas and armchairs. It is sophisticated, convivial and informal and the 13 rooms and five cottages – symphonies in designer cream and taupe – are sanctums of rustic chic. The restaurant – think boho-chic farmhouse kitchen – lies behind, with its pewter-hung dresser, long wooden tables and busy chefs in view. Alyn Williams and Nathan Eades are the new culinary masterminds behind the kitchen, with access to some of the country’s finest, locally sourced ingredients from sister enterprise Daylesford. Just a few fields away, guests can visit the Daylesford Organic farm shop, café, deli and Bamford Haybarn Spa, the wellness retreat of Carole Bamford, then return to The Wild Rabbit to meet, eat, party, chill and – if they want – bed down for the night in great comfort. CLAIM TO FAME... The names of the bedrooms have been inspired by animals found within a three-mile walk of The Wild Rabbit. Doubles from £175 +44 (0)1608 658389; thewildrabbit.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 129

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Two Trees, Chatsworth Park, Derbyshire by Jude Gadd. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. judegaddphotography.co.uk

Mid Country With its history rooted in the industrial revolution and its famous sons, including Shakespeare, the mid part of Britain may oft be ignored but undeservedly so

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5 HOLE UP

The Hot List

The owners of The Duncombe Arms, Johnny and Laura Greenall, have created the local that everyone wishes they had. The menu brims with classic pub favourites under head chef Stuart Langdell, who previously worked for Marco Pierre White. During the summer months Johnny runs unmissable tours of the water garden at his nearby family estate, followed by lunch. A lovely day out. duncombearms.co.uk

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From Shakespeare to the world capital of ceramics, you’d be mad to miss out on the Mid Country

A CURIOSITY TOUR 6 TAKE

1SCARE YOURSELVES

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QUOTE SHAKESPEARE

Or rather, the town. When Shakespeare wrote, ‘What is the city but the people?’ little did he know that the people of his birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, would preserve his homes and those of his wife, Anne Hathaway, for us to marvel at today. Did you know that we owe 1,700 words – including elbow, swagger and gossip – to the mighty Bard? shakespeare. org.uk

Visit ‘Curiosity’, the bespoke copper still at Warner Edwards gin distillery in Northants and learn the secrets and true craftmanship required to make each delicious bottle of gin. Don’t miss the botanical garden, all the better with a G&T in hand. warneredwards.com

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3PACK A PICNIC

Once an Augustinian priory and then the ancestral home of famed wordsmith Lord Byron, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire is a treasure trove of the rare, beautiful and historically significant. It’s also a perfect picnic spot in summer months – just watch out for the peacocks… newsteadabbey.org.uk

4 PIG ON PIE

2

Dickinson and Morris are the proud purveyors of world-famous pork pies. No other pork pie will do, sold from their bakery in the centre of Melton Mowbray, founded in 1851. If, having tasted them, you can’t bear to wait until your next trip, sign up for one of their baking masterclasses and learn how to recreate the magic in your own home. porkpie.co.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

There are not just one but seven ghosts walking the halls of the most haunted house in the Midlands. Luckily, Croft Castle sits among glorious gardens and parkland, which are worth a visit even if you don’t like the idea of seeing a spectral figure floating around, wearing a grey doublet and hose. nationaltrust.org.uk

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MID COUNTRY

7PLACE A BET

Uttoxeter Racecourse is home to the Midlands Grand National. Don your finest hats and dresses for Ladies Day, or take the little ones to one of the four Family Fun Racedays held throughout the year. The Ascot of the North. uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk

8SHOP LOCALLY

On the fourth Saturday of every month, foodies flock to the heart of Birmingham for the Moseley Farmers’ market, which attracts more than 50 stalls from across the Midlands. They’re thrilled to be the only three-time winners of the FARMA UK Farmer’s Market of the Year award. High praise indeed. moseleyfarmersmarket.org.uk

9 GO TO MARKET

The town of Treacletown in Macclesfield is so called after the age-old tale of a horsedrawn wagon overturning on the cobbles, spilling its cargo of treacle. If it’s the unusual or different that you seek, Treacle Market is for you. Full of quirky finds, including a taxidermy stall, it’s a chance to discover something special on the streets of the town once again – only this time, less sticky. treaclemarket.co.uk

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13GO GOURMET IN BRUM

JUMP ABOARD

Birmingham’s foodie scene is fast catching up with the capital. Head to El Borracho de Oro (elborracho.co.uk) for the most authentic tapas; drink craft ales paired with pub classics with a gourmet spin at Purecraft (purecraftbars.com); eat at the favourite of the four Tom’s Kitchen locations (tomskitchen.co.uk); and slurp noodles at the hottest new bao bar, Lucky Duck (luckyduckbirmingham.co.uk).

Go back in time on the The Nene Valley Railway. Jump off to enjoy a pub lunch at The Black Horse in nearby Nassington, or book in for a very British fish and chips served with local ale from the on-board bar. nvr.org.uk 11

14WALK ON WATER 13

POTTY FOR POTS 12GO

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

11CONK OUT

The World Conker Championships in Southwick, Northamptonshire, attract top players from across the globe, so brush up your skills and see if you can knock the 2017 conker king off the top spot… 85-year-old Chelsea Pensioner, John Riley. worldconkerchampionships.com

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Book a tour around the factory of legendary English ceramicist Emma Bridgewater in Stoke-on-Trent, a town officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics and affectionately known as The Potteries. Embrace your inner artist and create your own design on a classic EB shape in Emma’s decorating studio. emmabridgewaterfactory.co.uk

The National Trust offers specially curated waterside ambles. We recommend the vibrant canal paths by Packwood House and the Tudor grandeur of Baddesley Clinton, both in Warwickshire. For keen birdwatchers, the best spot for oystercatchers is Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. nationaltrust.org.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BARNSDALE LODGE OAKHAM, RUTLAND

On the north shore of Rutland Water, Barnsdale Lodge makes an exceptional base for exploring the area, whether by foot, boat or bike. Formerly a farmhouse, it stands on the Exton Park estate of the Earls of Gainsborough, and was converted by the Honourable Thomas Noel in 1989. Today it’s run with great passion by managing director Ed Burrows and, for the quality of the rooms, food and location, represents superb value for money. The 46 bedrooms are individually furnished, some with views of the countryside and others giving onto the pretty courtyard garden that enhances the hotel’s air of charm and spaciousness. The ground floor is engaging, warm and welcoming, with its long, cosy flagstone hallway and original cast iron stove. There’s a red, picture-filled sitting room, a relaxing garden room for coffee or drinks and two dining rooms: one in the conservatory and the other with a clubby feel, fit for the hotel’s aristocratic owner. A terrific address. CLAIM TO FAME... Rutland, in the East Midlands countryside, was named the best rural place to live in Britain. Doubles from £100 +44 (0)1572 724678; barnsdalelodge.co.uk

THE CAVENDISH HOTEL BASLOW, DERBYSHIRE

For a warm Derbyshire welcome, gracious bedrooms and an exceptional setting, this 250-year-old coaching inn overlooking the Chatsworth Estate ticks all the boxes. Stroll across stately parkland and fields dotted with Limousin cows towards the great house, resplendent after its restoration, with gleaming scrubbed sandstone, gilded windows and carvings. Owned by the Duke of Devonshire and run by Peak Hotel Management, The Cavendish Hotel maintains the personal touch: marmalade to take home, walls crammed with pictures and a divinely glamorous chef’s table amid the bustle of the kitchen. In the elegant dining room, head chef Alan Hill’s admirably fresh and simple cooking mixes classic French cuisine with a modern English twist – don’t miss his Dorset crab mayonnaise served with chicory, or his mum’s recipe for lemon tart. One thing’s for certain, once ensconced in this fine building in beautiful surroundings, you won’t want to leave. CLAIM TO FAME... The Cavendish, formally owned by the Duke of Rutland, became the property of the Devonshire Family in 1830, reputedly won at the card table. Doubles from £224 +44 (0)1246 582311; cavendish-hotel.net 134 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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HAMBLETON HALL OAKHAM, RUTLAND

Of all the luxury British country-house hotels that have opened in the last half-century, just one, Hambleton Hall, has remained impervious to fortune and is as fresh, magical and enveloping as the day its owners, Tim and Stefa Hart, first welcomed guests nearly 38 years ago. Contented but never complacent, it offers no more than sophisticated yet deeply comfortable classic English interiors, the brilliant, locally sourced cooking of chef Aaron Patterson (the hotel has held a Michelin star for a record 34 unbroken years) and a joyous wine list curated by revered sommelier Dominique Baduel. There’s a swimming pool, tennis court, kitchen garden and views across Hambleton’s south-facing terrace and formal gardens that take your breath away. After an afternoon in the fresh air, Hambleton’s many aficionados return to their haven, where key staff – general manager, restaurant manager, chef, sommelier, housekeeper, receptionist, laundress – have notched up 200 years of continual service between them. CLAIM TO FAME... Noel Coward studied the manners of the upper classes here in the 1920s. Doubles from £290 +44 (0)1572 756991; hambletonhall.com

HAMPTON MANOR HAMPTON-IN-ARDEN, WEST MIDLANDS

Give yourselves a treat and spend a night or two at this brilliant address. Run by a creative, hardworking and determined young couple, with an equally motivated team behind them, Hampton Manor is refreshingly full of life and imagination. In the vein of The PIG hotels, James and Fjona Hill have created a place that’s laid back, fun and full of stylish, thoughtful touches, including spoiling bedrooms. The Parlour is a spacious and glamorous place to indulge in a memorable afternoon tea or sip an inventive cocktail, while the Michelin-starred Peel’s restaurant is set in a gem of a panelled dining room, decorated with beautiful handpainted Fromental wallpaper, with food to match. Staff are dressed casually in chinos and tweed waistcoats... indeed it’s the little touches that count: firepits on the terrace, a Lalani & Co tea bar, handsome waiters who are funny too, spirited room information and spa treatments. All in all, Hampton Manor is the business. CLAIM TO FAME... An estate once owned by 18th-century prime minister Sir Robert Peel, Hampton Manor continues to host some of the most forward thinking business people. Doubles from £190 +44 (0)1675 446080; hamptonmanor.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 135

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

HART’S HOTEL NOTTINGHAM

It was back in 1997 that Tim and Stefa Hart, owners of the sublime Hambleton Hall (see page 135), transformed the old A&E department of Nottingham’s former Victorian hospital into Hart’s Restaurant. Refurbished in 2015, it’s a light and airy space serving superb modern British dishes with a cosy bar area. Next to the restaurant is Hart’s hotel, purpose-built in 2003 with striking lines, curved buttresses, a dashing yet welcoming lobby and a softly furnished, lightfilled residents’ bar. Bedrooms are faultlessly equipped, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light. Eight have private terraces, and all but eight inward-facing rooms present an unexpected surprise and a great bonus: far-flung views across the city to the countryside beyond. In the foreground: the Park Estate, notable Victorian residences begun by the Duke of Newcastle in the 1820s and now a conservation area. In the distance: the cooling towers of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. CLAIM TO FAME... Hart’s Hotel was built in 2002 to an award-winning design by architect Julian Marsh on the former ramparts of Nottingham’s medieval castle. Doubles from £134 +44 (0)115 988 1900; hartsnottingham.co.uk

LANGAR HALL NOTTINGHAM

The transformation of Langar Hall from private house to hotel is the achievement of Imogen Skirving who, over 26 years, transformed her apricot-washed Georgian house into an instantly likeable home-from-home, blending personality with country-house charm. Though Imogen died two years ago, aged 78, all is not lost: she lives on in the terrific portrait that graces the pillared hall and in her granddaughter Lila who, aged just 22, took over the reins and ensures that nothing, including the vibrant atmosphere, has changed. The food (‘classic English with a twist’), from long-standing executive chef Gary Booth, is better than ever, and Michael, the maître d’, remains an integral part of Langar’s appeal. With 13 adorable bedrooms, the house stands next to the village church, surrounded by a mature garden and overlooking medieval carp ponds. Imogen’s aim was to allow her magical house to survive into the 21st century… and it continues to do so. CLAIM TO FAME... There’s always been a strong female line at Langar Hall: Imogen Skirving’s great-grandmother bought the house in 1860, and her grandmother started the local WI. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1949 860559; langarhall.com 136 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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MID COUNTRY

THE PEACOCK AT ROWSLEY ROWSLEY, DERBYSHIRE

Charming and elegant, The Peacock at Rowsley is a stylish boutique hotel and celebrated gastronomic destination, where guests can expect first-class service, comfortable bedrooms and superb food. Built in 1652 as the dower house for Haddon Hall, it has been a hotel since 1820. Today, it showcases the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary design, with a sense of the family history of the hotel’s owner, Lord Edward Manners, including delightful sketches of the great and the good of the day by Lord Edward’s great grandmother. It has 15 distinctively decorated bedrooms with gleaming marble bathrooms, a fine-dining restaurant and splendidly atmospheric bar. Food is at its core, with head chef Dan Smith passionately creating new menus each season, based on the most seasonal and local ingredients. His spectacular nine-course tasting menu is guaranteed to excite. An ideal base for exploring the Peak District, it also has some of the country’s most extensive dry fly wild trout fishing on the doorstep. CLAIM TO FAME... With Haddon being a popular destination for filming, The Peacock has hosted stars like Keira Knightley and Judi Dench. Doubles from £205 +44 (0)1629 733518; thepeacockatrowsley.com

THE WILLIAM CECIL STAMFORD, LINCOLNSHIRE

A happy accident of geography, geology and politics has allowed Stamford to remain the ‘finest stone town in England’ since its rise to prominence, thanks to the wool trade, centuries ago. At the meeting point of four counties, it remains a little-known delight. An hour’s walk takes you to Burghley House, and it is the magnificent Burghley estate to which The William Cecil belongs. The building dates back to the 17th century, and has been sympathetically refurbished inside and out. Now, as befits a Hillbrooke Hotel, which excels in quirky, affordable luxury, it sports 27 Classic, Chic and Luxury bedrooms: richly decorated and oozing comfort and imaginative style, including the two-bedroom Lodge, ideal for families or friends. Downstairs, a relaxed bar and restaurant are the setting for simple, tasty, seasonal food. Friendliness is at the heart of The William Cecil – which could also be said for Stamford itself. CLAIM TO FAME... Their afternoon teas, which change throughout the year; from summer gininspired to a festive afternoon tea throughout December – join their #TeaTribe. Doubles from £105 +44 (0)1780 750070; hillbrookehotels.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 137

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East Anglia Welcome to ‘big sky’ country, with its famous fenlands, miles long (and wide) beaches and lush fertile farmland, plus an enviable cultural and foodie scene

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Sliver, Shingle Street, Suffolk, by Justin Minns. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. justinminns.co.uk

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6 HAVE A SMALL DRINK

The Hot List

1

Find the UK’s smallest pub and get paddling in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk

AT SOME MUSIC 7 MARVEL

IN CONSTABLE’S FOOTSTEPS 1 WALK

As well as hosting concerts from the likes of the National Youth Orchestra and pianist Angela Hewitt, Snape Maltings is home to a handful of independent shops that sell antiques, homeware and fashion. snapemaltings.co.uk

Follow the shadow of John Constable on a stroll through pretty-as-a-picture landscapes that inspired many of his works. If all that walking has made you thirsty, stop by The Marlborough Head in the quaint village of Dedham for a pint or two. dedhamvalestourvalley.org

Ingatestone Hall has been home to the Petre family for 15 generations and this Tudor house is open to the public from Easter until the end of September. ingatestonehall.com

4

SOME FRESH AIR 4 GULP

The empty, unspoilt expanse of Holkham Beach stretches before you. The Holkham National Nature Reserve is wellknown for its wildlife, such as pinkfooted geese. Head down the road to Brancaster beach to view the SS Vina shipwreck at low tide. holkham.co.uk

SOME ECLECTIC ART 3SEE

Head to Colchester, home of Boadicea, for a good dose of art. Think Hauser & Wirth’s original Bronze Age exhibition and Grayson Perry’s The Life of Julie Cope, a fictional multi-discipline biography told through tapestries, drawings and photographs. firstsite.uk

5BRING THE FAMILY

5

Run by a husband and wife team, White House Farm – an award-winning farm shop and deli on the edge of Norwich – has a monthly farmers’ market, café with homemade fare, veg shed and butchery. Their sausages recently won Battle of the Bangers... norwich-pyo.co.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

2

HAVE A HISTORY LESSON

At 15ft by 7ft, The Nutshell is the smallest pub in Britain (as confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records), so don’t arrive en masse. Enjoy some of Suffolk’s finest ales while admiring the weird and wonderful décor – though the mummified cat may not be to everyone’s taste. thenutshellpub.co.uk

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EAST ANGLIA

ON GOOD PUB GRUB 8GORGE

The Anchor Inn in Morston is run by school friends Harry and Rowan. They’re passionate foodies so expect good, well-presented, hearty British grub – burgers, steak, gnocchi and excellent roasts. morstonanchor.co.uk

9GET IN THE KITCHEN

The Cookery School at Braxted Park, Essex hosts an array of chefs to teach evening, day and eight-week courses. Join chef Padmaja Kochera in the kitchen for a day of cooking authentic Indian street food such as pav bhaji, paneer tikkis and minced lamb kebabs. braxtedparkcookery.co.uk

10 DINE FINE

Situated in the market town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, Maison Bleue offers delicate, artfully-presented seasonal French food and boasts an impressive wine cellar. It is run and owned by husband-wife duo Pascal and Karine Canevet, who are both originally from Brittany – you can taste the authenticity maisonbleue.co.uk 15

11TAKE A TOUR

15 GRAB A PADDLE

On the first Sunday of the month Wrest Park in Silsoe allows the public to view its collection of intricate hand-painted wallpapers, such as that found in the Chinese Room. Owing to the delicacy of the antique material, tours are limited to 12 people, so ensure you book early. english-heritage.org.uk

Punting is out and paddleboarding on the River Cam is in. Enjoy the beautiful scenery Cambridge has to offer from the water – views of Magdalene, St John’s and Trinity colleges – while getting a full-body workout. fenpaddle.co.uk

13 12

13

JOIN THE CARNIVAL

For one weekend in August the sleepy coastal town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk comes alive with fancy dress, fireworks and music. The Aldeburgh Carnival is family-friendly and visitors can expect military bands, a procession of floats and lots of ice cream. 18–20 August. aldeburghcarnival.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

Beth Chatto took an overgrown wasteland in Essex and transformed it into a stunning informal garden by meticulously matching plants to the right soil conditions. The Gravel Garden, which is never watered, was once a car park but now dazzles with flowers such as osteospermum, that favour a dry environment. bethchatto.co.uk

FISH ‘N’ CHIPS 14 EAT

ABOARD 12CLIMB

Enjoy a 10.5-mile round trip from Sheringham in North Norfolk, aboard a vintage steam train. It offers views of wooded hills, fields of wild flowers (primrose, bluebells, yellow gorse and heather) and the sea. Disembark at Weybourne station and stretch your legs in Sheringham Park. nnrailway.co.uk

16 LET IT GROW

14

This unassuming fish and chip shop (it’s bring your own bread and wine) is a must-do in West Mersea, Essex. Buy your locally caught and sourced meal there (the scallops seared in thyme butter with bacon is particularly good), find a spot where you can admire the water and enjoy. thecompanyshed.co

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BANK HOUSE KING’S LYNN, NORFOLK

Overlooking King’s Staithe Square and the Great Ouse River in the fascinating, historic centre of King’s Lynn, Bank House is a glorious Georgian merchant’s townhouse. It was here in the 1780s that Joseph Gurney, later a founder of Barclays, set up his first bank, and in 2008 owners Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich opened their stylish, relaxed and exceptionally good value hotel. Upstairs, 12 chic, individually decorated bedrooms comfortably blend old and new with antique furniture and modern art. Downstairs, the brasserie restaurant occupies Gurney’s purpose-built Counting House, now a buzzing local favourite serving highly recommended food. The adjacent bar, once the bank manager’s office, is open all day for tea, coffee and cakes, as well as drinks and cocktails. There’s also a large sunny room with sofas and comfy seating, as well as the Billiards Room and the Boardroom, ideal for private parties. If it’s warm, the riverside terrace offers the chance for al fresco drinks. CLAIM TO FAME... Bank House was built by a Georgian merchant who imported wine and stored it before sending it off down river to the Cambridge colleges and Bishops of Bury and Ely. Doubles from £115 +44 (0)1553 660492; thebankhouse.co.uk

BLAKENEY HOTEL BLAKENEY, NORFOLK

Loved by generations of the same families, the Blakeney stands in prime position on the charming quayside of one of North Norfolk’s prettiest coastal villages, with wonderful views across the estuary and salt marshes to Blakeney Point. The family-owned hotel has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and is now full of pretty fabrics in rooms that are white, light, stylish and very comfortable. There are panoramic views from the bar, terrace and restaurant, where hearty English or Continental breakfasts, light lunches and locally sourced, seasonal à la carte and table d’hôte dinner menus are offered, enhanced by prompt, polite, traditional service. Many of the 60 rooms (including singles) also have wonderful views. While some have balconies or south-facing garden views, others have patios leading onto the hotel’s gardens. They are charming, unfussy and seaside fresh, with crisp white linens on excellent beds. There’s also an elegant indoor pool, steam room, sauna, spa bath and mini gym. CLAIM TO FAME... The unique location means the hotel enjoys wonderful views of the spring tides across the salt marshes to Blakeney point. Doubles from £236 +44 (0)1263 740797; blakeneyhotel.co.uk 142 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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EAST ANGLIA

CLEY WINDMILL CLEY-NEXT-THE-SEA, NORFOLK

Cley Windmill is one of the most memorable and enchanting places to stay in Britain. In the late afternoon, when the wind whips across from the sea, there are few greater pleasures than stowing away hats, coats and binoculars (it’s bird-watching country) as you come home to this beautifully restored old windmill, complete with sails. Echoes of children’s adventure stories flood back as you climb higher and higher in the mill, finally mounting the ladder to the Wheel Room. Downstairs, there’s a beamed, lived-in circular sitting room with blazing fire, antiques and comfortable sofas, while the cosy dining room is part of the original 1713 warehouse. Candlelit dinners are just right: convivial affairs with proper country cooking. There are three circular bedrooms n the tower itself, their bathrooms ingeniously fitted into challenging nooks and crannies, nd six rooms in other parts of the building. All are charming and full of character with views over the waving reed beds to the sea. CLAIM TO FAME... James Blunt used to live at Cley Windmill – his parents owned it before the Godlees. Doubles from £159 +44 (0)1263 740209; cleywindmill.co.uk

CONGHAM HALL KING’S LYNN, NORFOLK

Set in 30 acres of gardens and woodland, this calm, handsome Georgian house has a special feature: its acclaimed herb gardens, containing almost 400 varieties, plus orchards and a kitchen garden. Owner Nicholas Dickinson has swept away the formerly dated furnishings and a lovely stone floor now graces the elegant hall, with its grey-green walls, antique furniture, sofas in front of the fire and vases of fresh garden flowers. To either side is a drawing room and library, and there’s also a slick bar. The airy dining room works both for smart gatherings and relaxed, informal meals. The bedrooms are all impeccable and comfortable, divided between those in the house (the top floor rooms are small but charming) and others in the garden wing, next to the pampering Secret Garden Spa. The house rooms are cool and classical in style, making lovely havens in which to relax. What else? Why not treat yourself to a private falconry experience, including afternoon tea. CLAIM TO FAME... Built in 1780 by a wealthy merchant from King’s Lynn, Congham remained a family home until 1982, when it was turned into a hotel. Doubles from £135 +44 (0)1485 600250; conghamhallhotel.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 143

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE CROWN HOTEL SOUTHWOLD, SUFFOLK

Sibling to the Swan (see page 149), The Crown is Southwold’s hotspot, where queues have been known to form at the Front Bar for the highly popular food and wines that are served all day. There’s also a charmingly diminutive Back Bar, the perfect place for a pint, and 14 delightful bedrooms. Though it has a handsome, porticoed façade and is termed a hotel, The Crown feels more like a warm, welcoming and always-buzzing inn. In the bedrooms someone has thought very hard about how to make smallish spaces inviting, pretty and fresh, and has succeeded admirably, providing cheering touches such as little wooden sailing boats on the bathroom shelves, anglepoise bedside lights and bright, cosy throws on the crisply-sheeted, comfortable beds. They make fine retreats for the night, but it’s the food that stands out: top quality, tasty, unmucked-up dishes, enjoyed in a great atmosphere. After a day on the beach, what more could you want? CLAIM TO FAME... It was here that M&S’s then marketing director spotted Twiggy having lunch and invited her to star in their next advertising campaign, a move that reinvigorated her career. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1502 722275; thecrownsouthwold.com

THE DABBLING DUCK GREAT MASSINGHAM, NORFOLK

In picturesque Great Massingham, The Dabbling Duck is a successful village pub, which might never have existed if it hadn’t been for two brave Norfolk farmers who stepped in to save their local from re-development in 2006. A third owner, experienced, hands-on manager Mark Dobby, was brought on board in 2013. He and his wife Sally (a professional photographer, whose striking prints decorate some of the walls) run the pub with great warmth and efficiency. As soon as you walk in, you’re struck by the friendly atmosphere and cosy, rustic decoration – wooden floors, tables and bar, hops hanging from beams, and shelves of books. There are nine bedrooms in total: six fresh and appealing spaces in the upstairs section of the pub, as well as a further three garden rooms. The pub has garnered a well-deserved reputation for its real ales, curated wine list and terrific food, particularly seasonal game dishes, all prepared by skilful chef Dale Smith. In summer you can eat in the attractive garden, where there’s street food, a wood-fired pizza oven and children’s play area. CLAIM TO FAME... The Red Room restaurant’s stone flooring is older than Westminster Abbey. Doubles from £100 +44 (0)1485 520827; thedabblingduck.co.uk 144 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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EAST ANGLIA

THE GUNTON ARMS THORPE MARKET, NORFOLK

Art dealer Ivor Braka’s recreation of a particularly delightful 19th-century coaching inn, with the huge help of interior designer Robert Kime, has been wowing guests ever since it opened in 2011. ‘In the words of Dolly Parton,’ Ivor says ruefully, ‘it took a lot of money to look this cheap.’ The look is helped by the quirkiness of the gabled, flint building itself, which sits inside vast, deer-filled Gunton Park. Chef Stuart Tattersall presides over delicious, imaginative dishes, including grills on an open fire, while guests tuck in at sharing tables. There’s a divine residents’ sitting room decorated with paintings by seriously famous artists, courtesy of Ivor. Indeed, the whole place is filled with edgy, sexy art: Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, you name it. As for the bedrooms, they are enchanting. If you stay in Ellis, look twice at the old prints to the left of the dressing table – but not if you objected to Tracey Emin’s naughty plates above the bar. CLAIM TO FAME... Lily Langtry, mistress of King Edward VII, had secret trysts with him here in the 1890s, when he was shooting on the Estate. One of the rooms is named after her, with photos of them both on the walls. Doubles from £95 +44 (0)1263 832010; theguntonarms.co.uk

THE HOSTE HOTEL & BEAUTY SPA BURNHAM MARKET, NORFOLK

An independent hotel with a difference, The Hoste is spread throughout a collection of separate buildings in pretty Burnham Market. At its heart is a 17th-century coaching inn overlooking the village green. Here, you’ll find the reception, a convivial bar, sheltered garden and two outstanding restaurants: an elegant panelled dining room and a contemporary brasserie. The talented kitchen team is committed to ingredient-driven, seasonal cooking, and the menus highlight the superb local produce, from Swannington Farm lamb to Brancaster oysters. There is also a small spa, fitness centre and a truly comfy 20-seater cinema. Choose to sleep in the main hotel, where each bedroom is different, but equally charming; in a cool, luxurious room in Georgian Vine House; in a self-contained cottage; or, most romantic of all, in Railway House, where you can tuck up for the night in a lovingly converted 19th-century railway carriage. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel dates back to 1651 and is associated with Admiral Lord Nelson, born locally in the village of Burnham Thorpe. There is an exhibition at the hotel portraying his life. Doubles from £165 +44 (0)1328 738777; thehoste.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 145

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE ICKWORTH HOTEL BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK

Of the Luxury Family Hotels group, The Ickworth is surely the most remarkable. For anyone, however aristocratic, it would make a memorably impressive place to stay, but the fact that the East Wing of Ickworth, home to the eccentric Hervey family for almost 200 years, now offers fun and relaxation to families, is remarkable indeed. Central to Ickworth is its vast Rotunda and views over formal gardens and the gently rolling Suffolk countryside. The hotel entrance is flanked with rows of Dubarry boots, and families romp happily about. Babies are looked after in the crèche, while older children can tire themselves out in the indoor pool or adventure playground. Parents can escape to the treatment rooms and enjoy a child-free supper, thanks to the baby listening service. Bedrooms range from traditional in style to modern and chic and include interconnecting rooms and suites as well as apartments, located in the separate Ickworth Lodge, a short walk from the main hotel. CLAIM TO FAME... Ickworth is reputed to have been the scene of wild parties for rich and famous friends of the 7th Marquess of Bristol during his extravagant tenure in the 1980s-90s. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1284 735350; ickworthhotel.co.uk

MAISON TALBOOTH DEDHAM, ESSEX

Overlooking Dedham Vale in Constable country, this handsome Victorian house has a sophisticated interior. Its 12 bedrooms act as the accommodation arm of nearby restaurant Le Talbooth. Both are owned by the Milsom family, who have run the restaurant since 1952 and whose portfolio also includes The Pier at Harwich (see page 148) and Milsoms Kesgrave Hall (see opposite). There’s a lightly applied poetry theme to the smartly decorated bedrooms, each bearing a poet’s name and stocked with their works. Along with a breakfast room, heated pool and spa, there’s the sense of being at a private house party. With its courteous personal service, Maison Talbooth particularly suits groups of friends for a house party. Breakfast, lunch and a spectacular afternoon tea are served in the Garden Room, while a courtesy car whisks guests to and from Le Talbooth, a half-timbered building with a filmset location on the River Stour. In all, the hotel and restaurant make for a winning combination. CLAIM TO FAME... The tennis court and outdoor pool – open all year round – have one of the best views in East Anglia. Doubles from £260 +44 (0)1206 322367; milsomhotels.com/maisontalbooth 146 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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EAST ANGLIA

MILSOMS KESGRAVE HALL KESGRAVE, SUFFOLK

With its exclusive collection of East Anglian hotels, the Milsom Group demonstrates the knack of creating sophisticated yet easy-going and contemporary places to stay. They achieved it with Maison Talbooth (see opposite) and The Pier (see page 148), and have done it again with Kesgrave Hall, opened in 2008. An impressive country house built in 1812, it stands in 38 rambling acres of woods, fields and immaculate, sweeping lawns. Its 23 rooms, ranging from ‘Standard’ to ‘Best’, with ‘Superior’, ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Principal’ in between, are all supremely comfortable and well equipped. Dining is particularly relaxed. The family-friendly, all-day restaurant, with its rustic good looks, doesn’t take bookings or have a dress code. Turn up whenever you like: hotel guests are guaranteed a table. In summer, there’s dining on the glorious covered terrace with views over the lawns. A separate building, the Hangar, can accommodate up to 300 people for weddings and private parties. CLAIM TO FAME... In World War II, Kesgrave Hall was the officers’ base for the USAF, hence the naming of the private dining rooms, The Mess and The Bunker. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1473 333741; milsomhotels.com/kesgrave-hall

THE NORFOLK MEAD COLTISHALL, NORFOLK

Three cheers for this sophisticated yet gentle address, brilliantly placed for exploring both the Norfolk Broads and Norwich. With a lovely walled garden, perfect for summer dining, and a wildflower mead that borders a pretty tributary of the River Bure, this fine Georgian house is a real haven. It comes with its own boat for exploring the Broads: book the launch, for up to six, with a picnic from the hotel; add a massage or a facial in the hotel’s treatment rooms and you have the ingredients for a delightful yet affordable break. Husband and wife, Anna Duttson and James Holliday, are the hands-on owners of the new-look Norfolk Mead, with 16 contemporary rooms and suites. Anna’s background at the helm of a successful catering company (they both worked for McLaren on the Formula 1 circuit, catering for the team around the world) means that the two AA-rosette food is as refined as the rest. CLAIM TO FAME... Built by a sugar merchant in 1740, the building stands in eight acres and retains many of its original features, including the walled garden and a private lake. Doubles from £135 +44 (0)1603 737531; norfolkmead.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 147

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE NORTHGATE BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK

There’s an inviting vibe to The Northgate. Its transformation in 2016 from genteel, family-run guest house into a quality yet relaxed place to eat, drink and stay quickly turned it into Bury St Edmunds’ most sought-after meeting spot. With its atmospheric cocktail bar, lovely dining room, stylish ‘Chef’s Table’ (the only one in Bury), huge terrace and ten deeply comfortable bedrooms, guests might have little reason to venture into town. But location and provenance are central to the guest experience. The young, casually dressed staff are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the area’s history and attractions, while the food – from highly experienced head chef Greig Young – exceeds guests’ already high expectations. His ‘Taste of East Anglia’ menu – where each course celebrates seasonal produce from a specific area in the region – is a big hit. Plus, the rates for the individually designed bedrooms and their luxurious en suite bathrooms are extremely fair. CLAIM TO FAME... The Northgate was home to reception manager, Genevieve, for 35 years before it was bought by The Chestnut Group. It’s no wonder the staff here know everything about its history and the surrounding area. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1284 339604; thenorthgate.com

THE PIER HARWICH, ESSEX

Designed to resemble a Venetian palazzo, The Pier is a striking hotel built in 1864 to accommodate passengers departing from Harwich for the continent. The diminutive Ha’penny Pier, so called for its admittance charge, is still intact opposite. The Pier Hotel sports a light and airy interior with a fabulous bar, terrace and relaxed first-floor restaurant, with five sought-after tables on the balcony. The views from here are mesmerising and the setting perfect for champagne, oysters, local lobster and the freshest Dover sole. Bedrooms are either upstairs or in a building next door. All are breezy, attractive and very good value and, from six of them, you can soak up the view: the Stour and Orwell estuaries snaking into the distance, the pier at your feet and boats beetling about on the water. Owned for over 40 years by the Milsom family (see Maison Talbooth, page 146, and Milsoms Kesgrave Hall on page 147), The Pier makes a delightfully different spot for a break. CLAIM TO FAME... The NAVYÄRD bar has over 130 gins in its Gin Library, so hop on board the Captain’s Gin Flight and learn more about this estoric world. Doubles from £130 +44 (0)1255 241212; milsomhotels.com/thepier 148 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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EAST ANGLIA

THE SUN INN DEDHAM, ESSEX

Privately owned since 2003, The Sun stands in the centre of Dedham and the heart of Constable Country, a charming base for visiting this beautiful area. They provide bikes so you can easily explore the banks of the Stour and Dedham Vale, or indeed go boating on the river, if it’s fine. The bright yellow façade of this handsome old coaching inn, with its distinctive pub sign, beckons you into an interior that manages to be airy, spacious and properly pubby, with a mix of beams and wooden floors, comfy sofas in contemporary colours, logburning stove and bar lined with jolly locals and their dogs. As for the food, you can take a picnic while you explore, stay in to graze at the bar, or feast in the dining room on fish from Mersea day boats, meat from rare breeds, wild game in season and, when possible, fruit and veg picked that very morning. The seven bedrooms are sophisticated havens, brightly decorated and sumptuously equipped. CLAIM TO FAME... Piers Baker, The Sun’s owner, once cooked lunch for Sting, who then went for a walk in the village, causing a stunned woman driver to have a minor collision. Doubles from £145 +44 (0)1206 323351; thesuninndedham.com

THE SWAN SOUTHWOLD, SUFFOLK

In the delightful, oh-so-English seaside town of Southwold, with its beach huts, pier, pretty shops, pubs and churches – plus Adnams, its famous family brewery and wine merchant’s – The Swan (owned by Adnams) has always been beloved by residents and summer visitors alike. In recent years it had gently, demurely aged, cherished for its old-fashioned qualities by some, considered past it by others. But now, behind its striking Georgian façade, something electrifying has taken place: a generous top-to-toe refurbishment that starts with shocking pink armchairs in reception and carries through to bedrooms that are soothing and beautifully equipped, with a fresh, modern, seaside palette. In the convivial restaurant, The Still Room, the chef is celebrating the receipt of two AA Dining Rosettes, while the addition of butlers (all delightful characters and local residents) has added another fillip for this heart-warming, much-loved seaside hotel. CLAIM TO FAME... 1345 is the earliest record of brewing taking place at The Swan. Court records show that one of the ‘ale wives’, Johanna de Corby, was charged with continually selling ale in unmarked measures. Doubles from £200 +44 (0)1502 722186; theswansouthwold.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 149

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

TITCHWELL MANOR TITCHWELL, NORFOLK

Titchwell Manor is a family affair. The Snaith family have transformed this Victorian farmhouse into a stylish boutique hotel, with Eric Snaith overseeing the hotel management and their two award-winning and three AA Rosette restaurants. In the relaxed Eating Rooms or more formal Conservatory Restaurant, you can sample his innovative European cooking on regularly changing menus. Not only for foodies: its stunning seaward views over the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh make it the perfect spot for birdwatchers, while the nearby coastal path and child-friendly Brancaster beach will keep walkers and families equally happy. Inside, the style is chic and contemporary, with bold coloured walls and retro furniture. The 26 individually decorated rooms in the main house and outbuildings are enlivened with colour, from a scarlet carpet to a cobalt headboard. Top of the range are the new Signature Rooms in muted greens and greys, two of which offer French windows opening to a private terrace and their own wooden hot tub. CLAIM TO FAME... Sir Thomas Courtenay stayed at the Manor in the late 90s to learn the Norfolk accent in preparation for an upcoming film. Doubles from £170 +44 (0)1485 210221; titchwellmanor.com

THE WHITE HORSE BRANCASTER STAITHE, NORFOLK

A mysterious grey-blue sea, a vast flat sky, a jigsaw of muddy tidal creeks and saltmarsh, dotted with little boats, and Scolt Head Island in the distance. The view from The White Horse is elating, and the inn itself is the perfect match for its coastal setting, with an informal conservatory dining room and deck terrace beyond. Sit here and gaze at the view, eating buttery local samphire or asparagus in your fingers, alongside Cromer crab, lobster, oysters or whatever happens to be fresh that day. Indeed, if the tide and season are right, you’ll see local fishermen bringing home their catch, or Cyril and Ben, the local ‘mussel men’, cleaning and netting their molluscs, grown and harvested at the bottom of the garden and delivered to the kitchen door. The 15 Nantucket-style bedrooms are divided between those in the main house and those in the flint-fronted annexe that snakes towards the water, with a ‘living’ roof, thick in summer with sedum, thrift and wild herbs. CLAIM TO FAME... It is said that Admiral Lord Nelson learnt to sail in the tidal creeks that can be seen from the hotel. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1485 210262; whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk 150 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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The North While the Northern Powerhouse may be a policitical construct, this land of vital cities, devastatingly beautiful landscape and wonderful character has been potent for centuries

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Spirit of Ecstasy Skipwith Common, North Yorkshire, by David Hopley. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. drawswithlight.co.uk

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YOUR SWEET TOOTH 5INDULGE

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6ENJOY HIGH CULTURE

The north has always been a powerhouse of fantastic culture, fabulous food and epic scenery

Catch the outstanding dancers of Northern Ballet as they plié and jeté their way through Leeds and Doncaster with Mixed Programme, a cutting-edge ensemble featuring a new work by awardwinning choreographer Kenneth Tindall. Fans of more traditional classical ballet will love The Three Musketeers coming later in the year. northernballet.com

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS 1 FIND

It’s a little known fact that Northumberland actually beats Iceland and Norway for stargazing during the winter months. As the third largest protected Dark Sky reserve in the world, a visit to the Kielder Observatory is a must. Interestingly, it is also home to over 50 per cent of the UK’s entire red squirrel population. kielderobservatory.org

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THE CASTLE 3 CAPTURE

2GET CHEESY

The Courtyard Dairy is a specialist cheese shop, producer, café and museum in the Yorkshire Dales. The ‘Cheesemonger of the Year’ (as voted at the World Cheese Awards, naturally) sources and sells speciality cheeses from small, traditional artisans and farmers – so see it as your national duty to buy as many wheels as you can carry. thecourtyarddairy.co.uk

Bamburgh Castle is widely regarded as one of the finest castles in Britain, with its picturesque location on the north-east coast. Its rich and fascinating history goes back to 420, when it was the site of a Celtic Brittonic fort, while the rugged seaside location and striking architecture make it a must-visit for history buffs and keen Instagrammers alike. bamburghcastle.com

THE STREETS 4 EXPERIENCE

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Vibrant street performances, spectacular exhibitions and cutting-edge culture at the annual Great Exhibition of the North, an 80-day programme of events in Newcastle. Look out for the 80m water sculpture on the Tyne that’s being created to celebrate the occasion. 22 June to 9 Sept. getnorth2018.com

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PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; YVES SAINT LAURENT RIVE GAUCHE, SPRING/SUMMER 1974, PARIS; CHRIS MOORE ©CATWALKING

The Hot List

Visit the oldest sweet shop in England, which has been keeping sugar levels high in the historic town of Pateley Bridge since 1827. Bring your pennies and stock up on traditional and retro confectionary, all made locally. oldestsweetshop.co.uk


THE NORTH

7 IMBIBE HOLY WINE

Visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, with its recorded history going back to the sixth century. The birthplace of the legendary Lindisfarne Gospels (now controversially housed at London’s British Library), it was one of the most important centres for early Christianity, with a history of Viking raids and later Norman settlement. Don’t leave without trying the island’s own holy wine, in the form of Lindisfarne Mead. lindisfarne.org.uk

8BAG A RESERVATION

If Michelin-starred The Black Swan at Oldstead is anything to go by, Tommy Banks’ latest venture is going to be huge. Fresh from the glory of being voted best restaurant in the world, Banks will be venturing to York to open a new restaurant called Roots. Start queueing now… blackswanoldstead.co.uk

9WATCH YOUR STEP

Do not stop and smell the flowers in Alnwick’s Poison Garden, which houses over 100 noxious plant varieties behind imposing black iron gates. Bring only your nearest and dearest… alnwickgarden.com

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THE LADY OF THE NORTH 14 MEET

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; YVES SAINT LAURENT RIVE GAUCHE, SPRING/SUMMER 1974, PARIS; CHRIS MOORE ©CATWALKING

THE NORTH’S NEW FOOD CAPITAL 10VISIT

This gargantuan human landform sculpture of a reclining woman, ‘The Lady of the North’, spans a quarter of a mile. Enjoy a walk through award-winning Northumberlandia Country Park to see her for yourself. thelandtrust.org.uk

Join the monthly Malton Food Tour in Malton, Yorkshire, to taste the best of the area, including Florian Poirot macaroons, Roost roasted coffee and the best bacon butty from Food 2 Remember butchers. visitmalton.com 10 11

TRADITION 12EMBRACE

Visit the cathedral city of Ripon to experience a tradition that’s been in place for over 1,100 years. Every night at 9pm the Ripon Hornblower sounds a horn in the middle of the city’s market square, to set the night watch. discoverripon.org

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13MAKE GIN

JOIN THE FRONT ROW

The Bowes Museum in County Durham is hosting an exhibition of Chris Moore’s striking catwalk photography, from the most legendary fashion shows of all time. Until January next year you can take a peek behind the scenes with never-beforeseen snapshots of Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior and McQueen shows through the ages. thebowesmuseum.org.uk

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Distil your own gin at Corks and Cases’ ‘Spirit of Masham Gin Experience’, in the picturesque Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Choose from 100 different botanicals to create a bespoke bottle you can take home after three hours of sampling. corksandcases.com

15 GO CRAZY

The Mental Health Museum in Wakefield is run by a local NHS trust and houses a vast collection of objects that span the history of mental health care, including a padded cell and rather terrifying-looking surgical equipment. southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk

DRINK & BE MERRY 16EAT,

Manchester’s weekly GRUB Food Fair serves up the best street food in the north, also featuring craft beers, live music and plenty of cocktails. With DJs every Friday and Saturday night, the streets of Mayfield are the best place to party when the sun’s shining. grubmcr.com

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ASKHAM HALL ASKHAM, CUMBRIA

If you lean toward staying in homes rather than hotels, and warm to ‘boho chic but professional’, then head for Askham Hall. It stands in a magnificent corner of the Lake District, between Ullswater and the Eden Valley. The mighty yet approachable manor house, Grade I listed, was the family home of Charlie Lowther and his parents, the Earl and Countess of Lonsdale. Having made a success of the George and Dragon at nearby Clifton (see page 161), Charlie has now given Askham Hall a new lease of life. Its wonderful, romantic and edible gardens are open to the public, plus an atmospheric Kitchen Garden Café, barn and medieval hall for private parties. Its 18 bedrooms are best described as countryhouse style, without rules, and there’s a pool and small spa. In Allium Restaurant, set in the rustic, yet lavishly comfortable Garden Room, chef Richard Swale’s from-the-land cooking is little short of marvellous. CLAIM TO FAME... When Askham Hall was a private home, the Duke of Edinburgh was a regular guest. He competed in horse carriage driving at the nearby Lowther Show. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1931 712350; askhamhall.co.uk

AUGILL CASTLE KIRKBY STEPHEN, CUMBRIA

Quirky and delightful, Augill Castle is a Victorian gentleman’s folly in the magnificent Eden Valley. It has the trappings of a neoGothic castle – tower, turrets, castellations and mullions – but in miniature. Its wonderfully warm owners, Simon and Wendy Bennett, rescued it from dereliction and have lovingly created an award-winning and very special place to stay. It retains the relaxed atmosphere of a family home amid its vast rooms, with large fireplaces and antique furniture. There are 17 charmingly eclectic bedrooms, with four-poster baths as well as beds, turrets for wardrobes and splendid views. You’d be hard pushed to find a family-friendlier castle, with treehouse, playground, 12-seat cinema and children’s cookery school. It’s also a splendid place for a wedding. You can have the castle to yourself and there’s no formula: every guest is as unique as the place itself. Simon gives an honest glimpse of life at Augill in his books, Undressed for Dinner and Stop for Breakfast. CLAIM TO FAME... Queen Victoria is said to have stayed a night at the castle on her way to Balmoral. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1768 341937; stayinacastle.com 156 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

THE BAR CONVENT YORK

Hotel locations are wonderfully varied – you can find them in stately homes, prisons, windmills and castles – and in York there’s one in England’s oldest surviving convent. Dating from 1686, it is still home to the apostolic members of the Congregation of Jesus, an Ignatian order founded in 1609, at the height of Catholic suppression post-Gunpowder Plot, by an extraordinary woman called Mary Ward. As you might expect, it makes a tranquil and affordable place to stay and you can even sleep in one of two attractive rooms designed by Olga Polizzi, a supporter of the sisters and their work. Recent refurbishment has ensured simple but spotless and well-equipped bedrooms. There’s an all-day café with sumptuous breakfasts, a glorious garden, the Baroque chapel and a superb exhibition on the convent’s history and remarkable founder. Uplifting. CLAIM TO FAME... Due to its unique surroundings and fascinating history the Convent has regularly appeared on television, from Michael Portillo’s Railway Journeys to Antiques Road Trip. This year it featured on Secrets of Great British Castles. Doubles from £92 +44 (0)1904 464902; bar-convent.org.uk

BROCCO ON THE PARK SHEFFIELD

Once you get inside this restaurant with eight rooms, beside leafy Endcliffe Park and close to Sheffield’s upmarket Nether Edge district, Brocco on the Park is a shining example of how imaginative yet practical design can lift a place far above the bar. Its owner and creator, Tiina Carr, is half Finnish and the hotel – once the Peace Guest House where Picasso is believed to have stayed on his trip to the Peace Congress in 1950 – is now a perfect marriage of pareddown Scandi chic and British comfort. Tiina’s theme, executed with the lightest of touches, is birds (think Picasso and his dove); her mantra is ‘sleep well, eat well, live well’ and in her pretty, carefully-crafted interiors that is just what you do. The ground floor, with honesty bar for hotel guests, is given over to a stylish indoor/outdoor ‘neighbourhood kitchen’ for relaxed all-day dining (‘seasonal, a little bit Scandinavian and unmistakably Sheffield’) with plenty of choice. CLAIM TO FAME... Pablo Picasso is alleged to have slept under Brocco on the Park’s rafters during his trip to Sheffield’s Peace Congress in 1950. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1142 661233; brocco.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 157

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BROWNBER HALL NEWBIGGIN-ON-LUNE, CUMBRIA

Even before we visited, we knew that Brownber Hall would be special, and it is. A welcome new address overlooking the lovely Howgill Fells, perfectly placed for both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, it’s a modern take on the quintessential English country home, complete with delightful hosts. Human rights barrister Amanda Walker and artist Peter Jaques dreamed of escaping the city and when they discovered this charming early Victorian house in the secret Lune Valley, they knew they had struck gold. Now immaculately restored, with many original features, including stained glass windows and William Morris wallpaper, it offers eight cosy and chic bedrooms, a stylish and homely sitting room and a laid-back restaurant serving homemade sourdough pizzas and Italian specialities, cooked by Peter. The house is full of lovely things, there’s an honesty bar and a freshly baked cake each teatime, a warm welcome and above all a sense of wellbeing that only good living in the countryside can bring. CLAIM TO FAME... Brownber was home to Mary Elizabeth Gaunt, the last woman in Britain to be burnt at the stake for high treason, in 1685. Doubles from £90 +44 (0)1539 623208; brownberhall.co.uk

THE CHESTER GROSVENOR CHESTER, CHESHIRE

It could be the setting for a film, an upstairsdownstairs saga about a glossy, old-school hotel that’s set in a provincial city but aims ‘to match anything you might find on the ChampsElysées’. And it certainly does. The pleasant sense of fantasy begins, for many, in the taxi; only accredited hotel guests can be driven to its door in Chester’s pedestrian quarter. Then there’s the larger-than-life doorman, swathed in liveried coat, to greet and usher you into the lobby with its vast staircase and glittering 28,000-piece chandelier that once hung in London’s Junior Carlton. You’ll find a perfect example of a grande dame European hotel, glossy and plump. The bedrooms live up; the food at Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor is Michelin starred, and the shopping outside is to die for. The hotel’s newly refurbished restaurant, La Brasserie, also houses the city’s first Champagne bar. Paris? You can keep it. CLAIM TO FAME... Eastgate Clock, which is adjacent to the hotel and sits on the City Walls, is said to be the second most photographed clock in England after Big Ben. Doubles from £170 +44 (0)1244 324024; chestergrosvenor.com 158 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

THE COACH HOUSE AT MIDDLETON LODGE RICHMOND, NORTH YORKSHIRE

This perfectly proportioned country retreat (on the Palladian estate of Middleton Lodge, a superb private house and wedding venue) is just about the coolest hotel in Yorkshire. Once a neglected estate, owners James and Rebecca Allison are conjuring it back to its former glory. Following the restoration of the Coach House, the hotel now has 17 bedrooms, a buzzing, yet relaxed restaurant and superb treatment rooms. Another six bedrooms are on the way in the Dovecote – expect stone barns, huge beds and metal bathtubs. They’ve also spent the last two years restoring their two acre Kitchen Garden. The Fig House (once the site of the estate greenhouse) is now styled in bottle greens, with church doors and garden antiques, creating a beautiful, unique venue. This autumn, the Forge Restaurant is opening in an old barn, set to serve an ever-changing tasting menu picked straight from the estate. Think of Middleton Lodge as a sleeping beauty, which James and Rebecca are coaxing back to life. CLAIM TO FAME... The recently restored kitchen garden was designed by renowned landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith. Doubles from £170 +44 (0)1325 377977; middletonlodge.co.uk

THE DEVONSHIRE ARMS BOLTON ABBEY, NORTH YORKSHIRE

It’s hard to think of a more luxurious country escape surrounded by more stunning countryside. Set on the Bolton Abbey Estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire – 33,000 acres of prime Yorkshire Dales – this deeply spoiling, welcoming and cosy hotel offers richly decorated bedrooms, fine dining in the Burlington restaurant and home cooking in the contemporary brasserie. The Devonshire Spa uses Temple Spa treatments and is housed in a separate barn conversion across the road with a pool and gym. The handsome coaching inn, built in 1610, stands in landscaped grounds and has wings that wrap around a formal Italian garden. Inside you will find impressive artwork, antiques and elegant furnishings, much of it chosen by the Duchess herself. Dinner is a highlight, thanks to Paul Leonard, who was trained at Gleneagles and gained a Michelin star at the Isle of Eriska hotel. His bountiful fruit, vegetable, herb and flower garden is a natural extension of his kitchen. CLAIM TO FAME... Much of the interior artwork has come from Chatsworth House’s Devonshire Collection, one of the finest private art collections in Europe. Doubles from £139 +44 (0)1756 718100; thedevonshirearms.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 159

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

EASBY HALL RICHMOND, NORTH YORKSHIRE

A one-mile walk along the River Swale from Richmond, John and Karen Clarke have turned their classic Georgian country house into a charming and friendly B&B. Although the architecture is grand, the flower-filled interior is homely and the welcome warm. The magnificent drawing room seems to cry out for a party: it has an open fire, grand piano, good antiques and paintings, roomy sofas and large windows to take advantage of the sensational view of the romantic ruins of Easby Abbey. The snuggest place to sit is beside the fire in the stone-walled garden hut and, in summer, the glorious and profuse walled garden is perfect for afternoon tea. In-house treatments are on offer for extra pampering, and as for the three bedrooms, they are luxurious and madly romantic, each with stunning fabrics, open fire or log burner and champagne fridge. There’s also a two-bedroom, self-contained cottage. At breakfast, the soft fruit, compotes and jams all come from Easby’s organic garden. CLAIM TO FAME... They have never had an unhappy guest; most visitors come back again and again. Doubles from £180 +44 (0)1748 826066; easbyhall.com

FEVERSHAM ARMS HOTEL HELMSLEY, NORTH YORKSHIRE

A wonderfully spoiling hotel with all the advantages of being in a town, plus stunning countryside on the doorstep. Next to the church, in the picturesque market town of Helmsley, this former coaching inn, built in lovely old York stone, makes an elegant yet laidback bolthole, with chic contemporary interiors, in-house art gallery, heated outdoor pool, glossy Verbena Spa and dedicated staff. The food is served in the airy restaurant, and is rooted in Yorkshire, including as many handpicked ingredients as possible. It’s worth checking out the packages on offer, including spa and family breaks and the ‘Sunday Club’, which makes the most of Sundays with a fantastic one-night stay, including a three-course Sunday lunch, use of the spa and a full Yorkshire breakfast to get you going on Monday morning. The 33 rooms and suites have all the little extras in place, from duck down duvets (unless you prefer sheets and blankets) to huge soft towels. CLAIM TO FAME... If you’ve enjoyed a relaxing pint at the Feversham Arms, you may have sat next to Steve Coogan or Michael Parkinson, who happily chatted to guests. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1439 770766; fevershamarmshotel.com 160 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

GEORGE AND DRAGON CLIFTON, CUMBRIA

A lovely place to stay, eat and relax. Close to the Eden Valley, and part of the huge Lowther Estate, the village inn has been imaginatively revamped by Charlie Lowther, who also owns nearby Askham Hall (see page 156). The ground floor is a triumph of conviviality and authenticity. The wood-topped bar, wood-burning stoves, banquette seats strewn with kilim-covered cushions and the sightline that allows you to see all the way through to the slate-floored, duck egg blue-panelled restaurant, create a delightful place in which to while away time. As for the food, almost all the produce comes from Askham Hall’s gardens and the Estate. New head chef Gareth Webster creates just the sort of tasty, unfussy, locally sourced cooking one craves in the countryside. Talking of which, anyone staying in one of the inn’s 11 comfortable bedrooms should take advantage of its impressive fishing and stalking. CLAIM TO FAME... The famous Rebel oak tree, where the rebel army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated and driven out of England, is situated behind the George and Dragon. Clifton marks the site of the last battle to take place on English soil in 1745. Doubles from £100 +44 (0)1768 865381; georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk

GILPIN HOTEL & LAKE HOUSE WINDERMERE, CUMBRIA

Family-run and fabulous, the Gilpin opened in 1987 when John and Christine Cunliffe bought John’s grandmother’s 1901 home and created a five-bedroom hotel. In 2001, their son Barney and his wife Zoe joined them and the house was later seamlessly expanded by their second son, architect Ben. Today there are 31 bedrooms in all, including six wildly popular Garden Suites with hot tubs, five luxurious Spa Lodges with private en suite tubs and saunas and, a mile away at Gilpin Lake House, six rooms on their own private estate with lake, boathouse, pool and spa. As for the locally sourced food, you’ll be bowled over by the Michelin-starred creations – modern British with a twist of Asia – of Hrishikesh Desai in his restaurant HRiSHi and the tapas-style panAsian dishes in laid-back, open kitchen Gilpin Spice. Gilpin is warm and welcoming, but also very glamorous – a mix of Arts and Crafts charm and glossy, contemporary design. CLAIM TO FAME... The Lake District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside iconic sites such as the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon. Doubles from £245 +44 (0)1539 488818; thegilpin.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 161

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

HARE & HOUNDS LEVENS, CUMBRIA

Not only is the modest but charming Hare & Hounds that rare find these days, a thriving watering hole, it’s also the only place for miles around that serves food all day, every day. It’s their background as managers at branches of All Bar One in London that makes it natural for owners Ash and Becky Dewar to offer continual dining. Coupled with their easygoing and friendly approach, this has once again made the centuries-old inn a popular local and village hub. The website says it all: ‘We are friendly and welcoming to all: families, tourists, walkers, cyclists, children, muddy boots, dogs.’ The menu of homemade pizzas, burgers and pub classics, plus drinks – including cocktails – teas and coffees, goes down a treat. For overnight guests there are four bedrooms, smartly decorated and luxuriously equipped, two with large tubs as well as showers. In an elevated position overlooking fields, the pub is close to the wonderful topiary garden at Levens Hall, a must-see. CLAIM TO FAME... The pub has been standing for over 300 years and there’s a list of former occupants in the bar, with amusing notes on each tenant. Doubles from £85 +44 (0)15395 60004; hareandhoundslevens.co.uk

HEADLAM HALL COUNTY DURHAM

The Robinson family are exemplary hoteliers: not only have they created the quintessential English pub in the Rose & Crown at Romaldkirk (see page 168), but also the archetypal English country house hotel at Headlam Hall. It helps that the hall is a fine looking, 17th-century building of the palest stone with an idyllic setting in the rolling Durham dales. In its beautiful walled gardens you can play tennis and croquet, or just stroll around and admire the immaculate lawns and roses. Vegetables, herbs and fruit are grown here to provide the excellent kitchen with the freshest possible ingredients. Inside, exquisitely proportioned rooms have panelling and elegant furnishings, and the 38 restful bedrooms (split between the Main Hall, Coach House, Mews and Spa) contain everything you could possibly need. With its own testing nine hole golf course, fabulous spa and iconic classic cars (for daily hire in summer), this is a hotel for everyone… even the most dedicated petrolhead. CLAIM TO FAME... Shooting parties in the past have included guests such as Count Cinzano, Count Zanon, of Formula 1 fame, and a former president of France. Doubles from £145 +44 (0)1325 730238; headlamhall.co.uk 162 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

THE INN AT WHITEWELL FOREST OF BOWLAND, LANCASHIRE

Charlie Bowman is the third generation of his family to run this charming, 23-bedroom inn. With roots in the 14th century, the inn is full of character and their taste for antiques is evident. It’s an eclectic mix, from Victorian bathing machines in some bathrooms to the pictures and prints lining the bedroom walls. Bookcases groan with travel and cookery books for sale, while the reception doubles as a wellstocked wine shop. Modern-day pampering has not been forgotten, with a new SkinSense treatment room. The unfussy food, from head chef Jamie Cadman, now in his 21st year there, is locally sourced. Bar meals are served in the spacious sitting room, while the window-seat views in the elevated restaurant are so compelling that it’s almost impossible to maintain a conversation. The road leading to tiny Whitewell descends through the wild, steep-sided Trough of Bowland, and into a natural amphitheatre of meadows and hills, with the River Hodder, where fishing is available, running by. CLAIM TO FAME... Her Majesty the Queen owns the hotel and they had the pleasure of her last visit in 2006. Doubles from £137 +44 (0)1200 448222; innatwhitewell.com

LINTHWAITE HOUSE WINDERMERE, CUMBRIA

Linthwaite House, built in 1900 as a private home, is in many ways the perfect Lake District hotel: understatedly elegant and professional but also warmly welcoming and deeply relaxing. And the view over Lake Windermere, with the sun slanting across the water, is simply unbeatable. You’ll find a crackling fire in the hall’s carved mahogany fireplace, beyond which beckons the light and airy Bar & Conservatory, with those mesmerising views. Outside, in the wooded, gently sloping grounds, there’s a tarn with a secluded summerhouse and, as of autumn 2018, six Woodland Suites with picturesque panoramic views of the lake. Back in the hotel, innovative restaurant Stella is the domain of award-winning international chef Ritu Dalmia, who combines the best local Cumbrian ingredients with Italian culinary flair. The bedrooms, one with hot tub, are the last word in lakeland luxury. Add a croquet lawn, pétanque, outdoor chessboard and fishing on the tarn, and you have a Lake District hotel that ticks all the boxes. CLAIM TO FAME... Linthwaite is South African-based Leeu Collection’s first international hotel. Doubles from £190 + 44 (0)15394 88600; leeucollection.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 163

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

LORD CREWE ARMS BLANCHLAND, NORTHUMBERLAND

In 2014 this wonderfully characterful and historic inn was bought and superbly revamped by one of the best small hotel groups in the country, The Calcot Collection. In the honey-stoned medieval village of Blanchland, amid the gorgeous countryside of the North Pennine moors, this posh pub-cum-hotel dates back to the 12th century. It comprises 21 soothing and tasteful bedrooms, ranging from cosy doubles to suites, with relaxed eating areas displaying baronial and monastic touches as befit the building, originally part of Blanchland Abbey. The look throughout is spot on: English country calm mixed with cosmopolitan beat and pace. As for the honest, robust food, it’s in the excellent hands of Simon Hicks, formerly head chef at Hix Soho. The restored 15th-century Gatehouse is now a slick spot for special events, culinary demos and private gatherings of up to 30 people. Readers, this haven is a true delight, in one of the loveliest spots in the country. CLAIM TO FAME... Expect a warm welcome from Richard, aka ‘The Beard of Blanchland’, who’s as much of a hit on Instagram as he is with guests. Doubles from £119 +44 (0)1434 677100; lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk

THE MALABAR SEDBERGH, CUMBRIA

Graham and Fiona Lappin returned to England from India and the Far East with exotic interior decorating ideas and a name for their upmarket B&B in magnificent countryside on the edge of the Yorkshire dales. They have converted this former 18th-century barn with the greatest care and style, creating rustic, contemporary rooms that have beams and stone or white-painted walls. There’s an honesty bar in the cosy sitting room, where comfortable sofas cluster round a wood-burner. Breakfast and an irresistible complimentary afternoon tea are served in the oldest part of the barn. Named after the family’s favourite places, the six bedrooms are light and well-equipped, with Roberts radios, walk-in showers and huge boat baths. You make your own hot drinks at the ‘Tea Station’ outside. If you don’t feel like dining at one of the excellent local pubs or restaurants, there are several excellent supper options available at The Malabar. Ideal for private parties. CLAIM TO FAME... Graham’s father and grandfather were tea planters in southern India, where he grew up, giving the Lappins a perfect excuse to offer their own loose-leaf selection. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)15396 20200; themalabar.co.uk 164 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

MIDDLETHORPE HALL YORK

If the exterior of this gorgeous, mellow red brick 1699 house looks straight out of a Jane Austen novel, the interior is no disappointment. You’ll find a magnificent oak staircase, quaint sitting rooms, each with a roaring fire, and even a ballroom. The atmosphere is serene and there’s a tranquil spa across the road. Expect four-poster beds, floral bedspreads, homemade shortbread and kind attention from the staff. For dinner, try the catch of the day: perhaps plaice or halibut landed at Whitby, followed by Yorkshire poached rhubarb crumble souflé with vanilla ice cream and white chocolate. A hotel that’s as alluring in winter – all cosy and snug – as it is in summer, when you can stroll through the grounds and make friends with the resident deer. It also makes the perfect base for visiting York. Rescued from decay in the 1980s, Middlethorpe Hall is a National Trustowned Historic House Hotel. CLAIM TO FAME... In 1878, Fanny Rollo Wilkinson – one of the first women to make a professional career as a landscape gardener – moved to Middlethorpe Hall. This is where she began to devote her life to gardening, and the historic gardens are well worth a visit. Doubles from £219 +44 (0)1904 641241; middlethorpe.com

MOOR HALL AUGHTON, LANCASHIRE

A new gastronomic hotspot – with fabulous bedrooms – destined to reach the stars. It’s the joint venture of Andy and Tracey Bell and Mark Birchall. The former are responsible for the transformation of the 16th-century Moor Hall into an opulent restaurant with rooms; Birchall, for nine years executive chef at L’Enclume, is the self-effacing culinary genius responsible for creating a temple of gastronomy à la mode. And what a temple. And how mode. You could put a baby to bed on the cushioned carpets in the huge, gorgeous bedrooms (think silver, glass, purple, white leather, satin), while the new wood and glass dining room might easily transport you to Cape Town, Sydney or California. Mark’s food, served on local, specially-designed pottery, is nothing short of sensational, with wines to match. But that’s not all: the converted medieval barn is a showcase for local produce, with a brasseriestyle restaurant above, and the fulsome walled kitchen garden a wonder to behold. CLAIM TO FAME... Albert Roux OBE and his wife Maria are regulars. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1695 572511; moorhall.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 165

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

NORTHCOTE RIBBLE VALLEY, LANCASHIRE

Northcote is a luxury, independent, boutique hotel in the beautiful Ribble Valley. An oasis of gastronomic excellence, it has held a Michelin star for over 20 years, with a chef’s table, cookery school and biodynamic kitchen garden alongside its restaurant. Executive Chef Lisa GoodwinAllen, known for her appearances on Great British Menu, has created a modern menu that makes the most of seasonal produce from the garden and the best local ingredients. Choose from À La Carte or the new four-course Gourmet or six-course Tasting menu. Managing Director, Craig Bancroft, oversees a carefully curated cellar of unique wines. Don’t miss the Afternoon Tea: beautiful cakes, tasty sandwiches and the option to add a glass of Louis Roederer champagne. There are 18 bedrooms in the original 1880 Manor House and a further eight in Garden Lodge. All are thoughtfully decorated with distinctive furniture, discreetly integrated hi-tech multimedia equipment and modern bathrooms. CLAIM TO FAME... Produce in the kitchen garden is cultivated in line with the lunar calendar, using specialist biodynamic techniques to harvest a pure flavour from the crops. Doubles from £215 +44 (0)1254 240555; northcote.com

ODDFELLOWS CHESTER, CHESHIRE

Fancy a spot of retail therapy? A day at the races? Then hop on a train and head for Chester, whose compact medieval city centre, with its roots in Roman times, is graced by its cathedral and encircled by its city walls. If you feel like some fun, head for Oddfellows, a perfect base for any age, but especially for the young at heart. Set in a beautiful neo-classical mansion house, the decoration is nicely zany, with old typewriters crawling up the wall, huge appliqué birds and foxes on the panelling in the bar, plus an indoor/ outdoor courtyard with water feature, booths, firepits and oversized lamps. The comfortable, well-equipped bedrooms are stylish, full of curios and fun accessories, and good value (great housekeeping here). There are also cool, spacious self-catering apartments. Downstairs, you’ll find terrific cocktails in the bar, while the food in the revamped restaurant is outstanding. CLAIM TO FAME... The frieze above the entrance to the building says Oddfellows Hall and indeed the building was once home to the Oddfellows Society – where philosophers, dreamers and artists would congregate. Doubles from £149 +44 (0)1244 345454; oddfellowschester.com 166 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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THE NORTH

ODDFELLOWS ON THE PARK CHEADLE, GREATER MANCHESTER

This handsome Oddfellow is the sister (or should that be brother?) of Oddfellows in Chester (see opposite), and the second headed by Jonathan Slater, who for 30 years ran The Chester Grosvenor Hotel. Once again, a distinctive building has been reimagined as a chic and happening hotel, this time within the glorious Gothic mansion of Bruntwood Hall, surrounded by Bruntwood Park’s 120 acres of mature woodland. Inside, the Hall’s Victorian Gothic roots and history have been allowed to shine, through a rich palette of petrol greens, brass and gold, but as at Oddfellows in Chester, a light-hearted spirit is also in evidence. Names such as The Galloping Major (the restaurant, remembering a famous former owner) and The Pigsty (a salon de beauté complete with mud room where guests can slap detoxifying mud on each other), give an idea of the sense of fun at this fine, historic hotel. CLAIM TO FAME... A private home for many years, Bruntwood Hall has also housed a town hall, a recording studio and a fashion designer’s HQ. If only walls could talk... Doubles from £185 +44 (0)1616 973066; oddfellowsonthepark.com

ROCKLIFFE HALL DARLINGTON, COUNTY DURHAM

A seamless blend of old and new, Rockliffe Hall is proof that luxury hotels are not the preserve of southern England. It opened in 2009 in an imposing 18th-century house, set in parkland beside the river Tees. Not just a hotel but a resort, it has its own world-class golf course and state-ofthe-art spa. The golfers and spa enthusiasts who flock here are joined by foodies who come to sample celebrated chef Richard Allen’s sublime cooking. In the flagship Orangery, he takes diners on a journey of textures, temperatures and tastes via his tasting menus, beautifully executed and very memorable. The Brasserie is less formal and it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a robe, making it the choice for lunch after a morning in the spa, pool or gym. Don’t miss the new Mischmasch parkland, inspired by Alice in Wonderland and with younger guests in mind, there are play pods, a cinema room, an interactive water feature, adventure playground, tennis courts and more. CLAIM TO FAME... Lewis Carroll lived in neighbouring Croft on Tees, whose sulphur springs were known for their healing properties in the 1800s and may have inspired the potion Alice drinks in Wonderland. Doubles from £195 +44 (0)1325 729999; rockliffehall.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 167

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE ROSE & CROWN ROMALDKIRK, COUNTY DURHAM

For anyone seeking a quintessential English inn, loved by regulars and first-time visitors alike for its warmth, character, comfort and good, honest food, all set in beautiful surroundings, then you need look no further than the wonderful Rose & Crown. Run by the excellent Robinson family, who also own the popular County Durham hotel, Headlam Hall (see page 162), this 18th-cenury coaching inn continues seamlessly to do what it has always done so well: offer honest hospitality in an archetypal rural hostelry. There are thick stone walls, beamed ceilings and stone fires, but with enough contemporary touches to blend old-fashioned charm with modern comfort and expectation. In the two AA rosette restaurant, you’ll find locally made oak tables and gleaming silver; in each of the 14 inviting bedrooms (Main House, Courtyard and Monk’s Cottage) expect good books and a Bose sound system. Well-placed for walking in the spectacular Dales countryside and fly-fishing on the nearby Tees (tuition can be arranged). CLAIM TO FAME... Recent visitors have included Greg Wallace and Ben Fogle. Doubles from £115 +44 (0)1833 650213; rose-and-crown.co.uk

RUDDING PARK HARROGATE, NORTH YORKSHIRE

A glorious, privately owned gem and one of Yorkshire’s finest hotels, Rudding Park has many luxurious features including its new destination spa, which offers a UK first in the form of its rooftop spa garden. When you’re not bobbing about in the hydrotherapy infinity pool, in the sauna infused with herbs from the kitchen garden or having a Carita facial, there’s plenty to do within the 300 acres of park and woodland, including an 18-hole golf course. The accommodation is in two contemporary wings, with a range of bedrooms, from doubles to luxurious spa suites with a steam room and private garden. Food wise, there’s contemporary fine dining in Horto, dishes served all day at Clocktower with its south-facing terrace, healthy offerings in Horto café and the option to dine al fresco. The personal touch runs throughout and with its amazing kitchen garden and gorgeous spa, Rudding Park has created a hotel splash whose ripples reverberate far and wide. CLAIM TO FAME... Botanicals from the garden are used in Slingsby Gin, an award-winning gin created by The Spirit of Harrogate which celebrates Harrogate’s spa heritage. Doubles from £172 +44 (0)1423 844822; ruddingpark.co.uk 168 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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www.heveningham.co.uk www.heveningham.co.uk

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Wales & The Marches A land of fairytale castles, snow-capped mountains and a walkable, 870-mile wild coastline, 2018 marks Wales’ Year of the Sea, so get your boots on and you might even see the flutter of a Welsh dragon, if you’re lucky

Gondola to the historic Transporter bridge, Newport by Chris Goddard. Category runnerup, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. cjgoddard.co.uk

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6DRENCH YOURSELF

The Hot List

1

From Cardiff’s cultural hub to Pembrokeshire’s wild coastline, Wales and its borders are breathtaking

CULTURAL IN CARDIFF 7 GO

1 EXPLORE BEACHES

2HOP ON A BOAT

Sail from the glorious landscape of the Llŷn Peninsula (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) across to Bardsey Island, a nature reserve steeped in history. Christians have been travelling here since the sixth century, when St Cadfan established a monastery on the island. visitwales.com

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SING FOR YOUR SUPPER

Catch your mackerel to cook that evening… or take the easy route and buy it straight off the boats as the sun goes down at Little Haven, Pembrokeshire. They taste best once you’ve showered off the sand and salt after a long, sun-soaked day at the 3 beach. visitpembrokeshire.com

Wales Millennium Centre showcases top talent from across the globe. Watch out for their stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s much-loved Miss Marple thriller, The Mirror Crack’d, which is touring from February 2019. wmc.org.uk

4

IN THE PARK 4 WALK

Trot on down to the Canwood Gallery in Herefordshire and feast your eyes on a carefully curated selection of contemporary art. Wander through the sculpture park to work up an appetite for the café – we hear the cream tea is unbeatable. canwoodgallery.com

A LITERARY LUVVIE 5 BE

Each May the Hay Festival of literature and arts attracts names from all corners of the globe, from Eddie Izzard and Jake Bugg to Margaret Atwood. If you’re more of a shaker than a reader, the electronic music and arts festival, Gottwood in Anglesey, takes place every June. hayfestival.com; gottwood.co.uk

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

The Stackpole estate nestled on the rugged south coast of Wales in Pembrokeshire boasts Barafundle Bay, which is only accessible on foot and is a picture-perfect secret beach that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of About Time. Freshwater West is another popular beach, that’s a paradise for surfers. nationaltrust.org.uk

The dramatic Swallow Falls near Betws-y-Coed have been a popular tourist attraction since Victorian times. But they’re far from the only spectacular waterfalls in Wales. Visit the Vale of Neath in winter to see frozen cascades or marvel at the dramatic Aber Falls in Gwynedd. betws-ycoed.co.uk; visitnpt.co.uk; abergwyngregyn.org.uk

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WALES & THE MARCHES

8

FOR A NIGHT-TIME STROLL 8 GO

The Brecon Beacons National Park has Dark Sky status. Winter is the best time to see the brightest stars but you’ll need a flask of Welsh whisky to keep warm as you walk the paths by night. Claim to fame: Jurassic World 2, released this year, was shot on location here. breconbeacons.org

AN ITTY BITTY CITY 9 VISIT

St Davids, the smallest city in Britain, is in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. It has less than 2,000 inhabitants but boasts more eateries per person than anywhere else in the UK. If you only have time for one meal, check out St Davids Kitchen – a farm-to-fork restaurant born out of love for the local area. Their St Davids Welsh Black Beef is melt-in-themouth delicious. stdavidskitchen.co.uk

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MEET THE BARRIE BROS

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Liam and Ellis Barrie set up quirky restaurant The Marram Grass, Anglesey, in a caravan park. At the heart of their set-up is the abundance of exceptional local produce – we recommend the Menai Straits mussels that are found in the stretch of water at the foot of the caravan park. The brothers keep pigs and chickens and even produce their own handmade sausages on site. Bravo. themarramgrass.com

13RELAX, DON’T DO IT

By ‘it’, we mean anything remotely strenuous. The haven of tranquillity that is the Mermaid Spa is part of Hotel Portmeirion, overlooking the picturesque Dwyryd Estuary. The treatment menu is carefully curated and includes only the purest vegan products. Freshly made smoothie facials and deep sea aroma massages are all that you need to leave feeling tip-top. portmeirion-village.com

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14 APPRECIATE BEAUTY

Bosherston Lily Ponds in Pembrokeshire would give Monet’s Giverny a run for their money during the summer months. The beautiful water gardens are at their blooming best in June and July, but the water is crystal clear all year round with impressive wildlife, including pairs of otters if you’re lucky. In winter, listen out for a booming bittern. nationaltrail.co.uk

FOR ICE CREAM 12SCREAM

11 PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

FILL UP ON WELSH FARE

This year’s Abergavenny Food Festival, held in September, has a lineup that includes Grace Dent, Skye McAlpine and Jack Stein. Tastings, masterclasses, cookery school, forages and after-hour gigs are all on the menu – take your pick. abergavennyfoodfestival.com

12

Indulge in brown butter caramel or triple shot chocolate ice cream at Science Cream, Cardiff. It is made fresh to order, right before your eyes, using liquid nitrogen to ensure a rapid freeze and a luxuriously smooth texture. Snazzy. sciencecream.co.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE BEAR HOTEL CRICKHOWELL, POWYS

The Bear and Crickhowell go hand in hand, like Welsh cakes and bara brith: hardly surprising when you know that the former coaching inn has been offering hospitality to the people of the delightful Brecon Beacons town and weary travellers alike since 1432. The Bear brims with character; low beams, antiques, roaring log fires and, most of all, bonhomie, you couldn’t ask for more. Outside, the attractive white and black-beamed building drips with hanging baskets, with a cobbled forecourt and archway into the inner courtyard. In the bar, a 19th-century stagecoach timetable is still on display. The oak-beamed bedrooms in the main house are charming, comfortable and a step back in time, while there are larger, more modern rooms in the converted stables and coach house. Best of all is the highly regarded food. ‘Eat at the Bear and leave satisfied, that’s our aim,’ they say. And you will. CLAIM TO FAME... After his split from Take That, Robbie Williams stayed at The Bear for two weeks while recording at a nearby studio. He played the piano and sung in the function room in the evenings. Doubles from £112 +44 (0)1873 810408; bearhotel.co.uk

THE BELL AT SKENFRITH SKENFRITH, MONMOUTHSHIRE

Contemporary and cosy rarely coincide, but this stylishly converted, 17th-century coaching inn is one place that convincingly combines the two. The Bell has been winning awards since 1999, when it was fully restored, and committed owners Sarah and Richard have been busy since they took over in 2014, maintaining its warm atmosphere and enhancing its reputation for seasonal food. The Dog and Boot Bar is a flourishing meeting spot for locals, where both mutts and wellies are equally welcome, and food and drink are served all day. The inn has a magnificent setting beside the River Monnow, with comfy sofas beside the fires. In the candlelit flagstone dining room, modern British dishes (with ingredients from the kitchen garden) are supported by a well-organised wine list. Many of the 11 sophisticated bedrooms, each charmingly named after a trout fly, have beams, fourposters and billowing white duvets. CLAIM TO FAME... Prue Leith visited with her (now) husband to talk about her latest book and said it was one of the best meals she’d ever had. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1600 750235; skenfrith.co.uk 174 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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WALES & THE MARCHES

BODYSGALLEN HALL LLANDUDNO, CONWY

Bodysgallen Hall is a dignified, gentle paced island of calm, close to Llandudno’s famous promenade and beaches. Climb its tower, built as a lookout for Conwy Castle – the medieval core of the fine 17th-century mansion – and you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view. The house has enormous character, with 15 antiquesfilled bedrooms and 16 postcard-pretty cottages scattered around the estate’s 200 acres of wooded parkland. Grass terraces overlook the awardwinning gardens, which include a walled rose garden, cascade and rare 17th-century parterre of box hedges filled with herbs. There is a formal dining room in the main hall: Llandudno’s best restaurant, serving delicious locally sourced dishes. The former farmhouse now houses the spa with a large indoor pool, plus steam room, sauna and solarium. All in all, Bodysgallen Hall is one of the loveliest hotels in Britain. CLAIM TO FAME... Bodysgallen’s was once the home of the Mostyn family, who have a rich heritage that stretches back many hundreds of years. They are prominent landowners in North Wales and were instrumental in the development of the coastal resort of Llandudno. Doubles from £190 +44 (0)1492 584466; bodysgallen.com

BROOKS COUNTRY HOUSE ROSS-ON-WYE, HEREFORDSHIRE

Carla and Andrew Brooks don’t let the grass grow under their feet. With three town house addresses (see pages 62 and 186) under their belt, they have now opened a fully-fledged country house hotel, and one that has the bonus of being eminently affordable. It’s quite a place. A long drive leads through parkland to smart Georgian Pengethley Manor, now Brooks Country House, with stunning views. Step inside the dark panelled hall and you’ll find, leading off, a sitting room, bar and dining room, with big bay windows that soak up the view. The chef is Scott Morgan, who worked under Raymond Blanc for 18 years. Bedrooms are divided between the main house and the stable block, and there’s a fun vintage horsebox too, as well as a new two-bedroom apartment. With the very reasonable price tag comes the whole country house caboodle: pool room, games room, gym, swimming pool, croquet – and the hotel’s own vineyard from which the very drinkable Pengethley Estate house wine is produced. Cheers. CLAIM TO FAME... Its roll call of famous guests includes Led Zeppelin, Jamiroquai, Rory Bremner and Prince Charles, who came for tea. Doubles from £89 +44 (0)1989 730211; brookscountryhouse.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 175

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

CASTLE HOUSE HEREFORD, HEREFORDSHIRE

Castle House is an elegant Grade II-listed mansion in an unrivalled location, owned by the Watkins family. Hereford is a tranquil city with a fine cathedral containing the world-famous Mappa Mundi and Chained Library. Peace reigns in the hotel’s enchanting terraced garden, overlooking the old castle moat. Of the lightfilled public rooms, the smart sitting room and restaurant have French doors leading onto the garden. The latter is the domain of one of the country’s top female chefs, Claire Nicholls, whose imaginative food has won a clutch of awards. For light meals and cocktails, there’s the Ballingham Bar & Bistro or Garden Terrace. You absolutely mustn’t miss their famed afternoon tea – the best in Hereford. The 24 bedrooms and suites are all stylish and individual, split between the main building and Number 25 Townhouse, where there are eight striking rooms, each offering an array of treats, from a hospitality box filled with local produce to underfloor heating in the bathrooms. It’s a hotel that fits perfectly into its surroundings and ticks all the boxes. CLAIM TO FAME... Castle House was one of Elgar’s favourite watering holes. Doubles from £155 +44 (0)1432 356321; castlehse.co.uk

THE FELIN FACH GRIFFIN BRECON, POWYS

This is the first of Edmund and Charlie Inkin’s three wonderfully unpretentious and enjoyable establishments (see also The Gurnard’s Head, page 46 and Old Coastguard, page 51). Set amid magnificent scenery between the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, the plain but pleasing old inn has become a sanctuary for food lovers, walkers and bookish visitors to nearby Hay-on-Wye, famed for its lit fests. They love the honest simplicity, the warmth of welcome, colour and comfort, both in ground floor rooms whose names say it all – Library, Tack Room, Aga Room – and in bedrooms where the beds and linens are second to none. Curl up here with one of the books that lie around the building, listen to your Roberts radio or simply gaze out at the hills. You feel truly as though enveloped in a big embrace here and after a surprisingly refined dinner, based on the Welsh larder, you’ll head for bed with an equally big smile on your face. CLAIM TO FAME... Nearby Hay has over 20 bookshops and is both the National Book Town of Wales and the site of the annual Hay Literary Festival, which draws around 80,000 visitors. Doubles from £135 +44 (0)1874 620111; felinfachgriffin.co.uk 176 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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WALES & THE MARCHES

GLIFFAES CRICKHOWELL, POWYS

Adorable Gliffaes. Standing above the River Usk and crowned by two quirky campaniles, the house was built in the 1880s in Italianate style. There are lovely grounds and, for fishermen, five salmon and trout beats along the river. For the last 70 years it has been in the same family, and Susie and James Suter have run it with hands-on dedication for nearly 20 years. It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful hotel. Sitting on the wide stone terrace with nothing but the sound of birdsong and the rushing river below certainly helps, but for peace to really take hold, the hotel itself has to be loved by its owners and genuine, unpretentious and satisfying for its guests. It is. There are 23 bedrooms, four of which have superlative views over the river and the sky-high hill that shoots up beyond it. With country house fabrics and comfortable bathrooms, the rooms are traditional and pretty. There are copious afternoon teas, James Suter’s knockout martinis and, in the dining room, satisfying dishes that hit the spot. A gem. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel’s grounds are home to some of the largest trees in Wales. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1874 730371; gliffaeshotel.com

GROVE OF NARBERTH NARBERTH, PEMBROKESHIRE

This striking country house was derelict when husband and wife, Neil and Zoe Kedward, restored it in 2007. Today, this most charming and luxurious of hotels has 26 beautiful bedrooms and suites, each with a view of the lovely gardens, surrounding fields or Preseli Hills, including six stunning cottage suites by top interior designer Martin Hulbert. Of the two main façades, one is three storeys high, gleaming white and many windowed; the other gabled, with arts and crafts elements that are continued inside. Martin Hulbert has recently created a gorgeous and inviting new look for the ground floor: handcrafted and Welsh-influenced, with charming vintage and local elements. Dinners in the Fernery restaurant, with stunning wallpaper made from ferns pressed by Neil and Zoe, are a highlight, and you can eat more simply in Hulbert’s rustic new Artisan Rooms. The food is superb: executive Chef Allister Barsby’s creations are imaginative, locally sourced and delicious. CLAIM TO FAME... Many Hollywood films, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Snow White and the Huntsman and Robin Hood, have been shot locally, with the stars staying here. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1834 860915; thegrove-narberth.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 177

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

LLANGOED HALL LLYSWEN, POWYS

One of the best country-house hotels in Britain, with numerous awards to prove it, Llangoed Hall has never felt better. Won by a previous owner in a card game, it was Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, who later bought and restored the Jacobean mansion – redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912 – as a showcase for his wife’s fabrics and wallpapers. Today it is still managed by the excellent Calum Milne and filled with Sir Bernard’s furniture and fine collection of mainly early 20th-century British art. The bedrooms are particularly lovely, full of personal touches and pretty accessories, with views of the Wye Valley and Black Mountains. Dinner is a real treat, courtesy of head chef Nick Brodie: imaginative and intricately presented, yet rooted in local produce, much of it from his burgeoning kitchen garden, where there are also ducks, hens, quail, bees and even a maze. You can wander the hotel, playing snooker, admiring the paintings, tinkling on the piano and feeling thoroughly at home. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel’s famous multiaward-winning dedication to sustainability is a talking point. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1874 754525; llangoedhall.com

NANTEOS MANSION ABERYSTWYTH, CEREDIGION

A star in the firmament of Wales’ small selection of standout luxury hotels, Nanteos Mansion is a handsome Grade I-listed Georgian house set in its own parkland and surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside, yet just four miles from Aberystwyth and the seaside. Until 1951 it was the historic home of the Powell family and their estate was one of the largest in the region. After millions of pounds of investment it has become a romantic, harmonious, palatial-yet-homely retreat, decorated in the best possible ‘modern country’ taste. Ring the doorbell when you arrive, and service is discreet but attentive. The food, served in a chandelier-lit dining room hung with oil portraits, is modern, inspired and packed with flavour. There are walks aplenty from the front door and a member of the team is always at hand to give you a tour of the house, followed by a fulsome afternoon tea. A relaxing yet beautiful and stylish – and affordable – home from home. CLAIM TO FAME... Writers and poets feature frequently throughout the hotel’s history and no literary genius is more revered in Wales than Dylan Thomas, who was inspired by Nanteos and its grounds. Doubles from £90 +44 (0)1970 600522; nanteos.com 178 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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WALES & THE MARCHES

PENALLY ABBEY TENBY, PEMBROKESHIRE

Penally Abbey exudes bonhomie – you instantly relax and feel at home. Owners Lucas and Melanie Boissevain have brought the lovely, late 18th-century Strawberry Gothic house, with its characteristic ogee-headed doors and windows, stunningly back to life. You enter a spacious hallway with wood-burning stove; there follows a bar opening onto a pretty conservatory, an elegant yet homely sitting room and a glamorous candlelit dining room set with pristine white cloths. The restaurant serves delicious, locally foraged ingredients in imaginative ways. Melanie’s look – she’s an interior designer – mixes the traditional with judiciously stylish touches, and the 11 bedrooms are equally charming: restful and comfortable spaces, most with sea views, in which it’s a pleasure to spend time. Each one includes a delightful hand-illustrated guide of things to do in the area, which sums up the charms of this exceptional hotel and its lovely gardens. CLAIM TO FAME... Penally Abbey is located in the biggest Coastal National Park in Britain and the coastal path passes 58 beaches and 14 beautiful harbours. Doubles from £160 +44 (0)1834 843033; penally-abbey.com

THE RIVERSIDE AT AYMESTREY LEOMINSTER, HEREFORDSHIRE

Set in the heart of the rich and verdant Herefordshire countryside, this black-and-whitetimbered, 16th-century inn sits prettily on the banks of the river Lugg, where guests sip local real ales and cider, contentedly watching the river meander slowly under the ancient bridge. The six bedrooms are cosy, clean and very comfortable. The Riverside has just won the Visit England Best Tourism Pub award 2018 and is perfect for walking, fishing and shooting parties – but what people really come here for is the food. Andy Link, chef/patron, is cooking up a storm. As well as foraging for myriad ingredients, he grows 50 different fruits and vegetables on site and specialises in cooking with local Herefordshire, Shropshire and Welsh border produce. Simply the very best very local ingredients, cooked beautifully and fabulous value. A true gem. CLAIM TO FAME... The pub is located on the Mortimer Trail, with allegedly-haunted Puckhouse Wood behind it, and the surrounding fields and hills were the scene of the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1461, a key conflict in the Wars of the Roses. Doubles from £80 +44 (0)1568 708440; riversideaymestrey.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 179

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

VERZON HOUSE LEDBURY, HEREFORDSHIRE

Verzon House is nestled deep within the rolling hills of the Herefordshire countryside. It’s not too remote though – only a hop, skip and fullyfunctioning-satnav jump away from London. With an inviting entrance and welcoming staff, there’s an instant home-away-from-home feel, but with luxury extras such as Egyptian cotton bedlinen and home-made cookies in each room. Owned by the Chase family, whose award-winning gin and vodka distillery is only a 20-minute drive away, the hotel tastefully integrates the family history into an impressive cocktail menu in its cosy bar, where you can luxuriate in the agony of indecision. The restaurant has a seasonal and locally-sourced menu, guaranteeing a hearty culinary ride, with the presentation values of the finest of London restaurants. Don’t forget to buy one of their bottles before you leave – our favourite is the rhubarb vodka. And if you want to bring your beloved pooch along to share the gorgeous walks, just pre-book the dog too, at £10 a night. CLAIM TO FAME... Fancy sharpening up your taste buds along with your gin gen? Take a tour of Chase’s unique Single-Estate distillery. Doubles from £110 +44 (0)1531 670381; verzonhouse.com

YNYSHIR MACHYNLLETH, POWYS

Ynyshir is a special place and it harbours Wales’s most exciting restaurant, spearheaded by young chef owner Gareth Ward, who has achieved a Michelin star and five AA rosettes, as well as countless other awards. Diners can choose from two four-hour dinning menus where the focus is meat obsessed and fat-fuelled dishes with much time and care taken in ageing, pickling, foraging, salting, preserving and souring. Wine also plays a large part in the dining experience with a list that combines classic wine styles and growers with smaller producers. Tucked away between the golden sands of Borth Beach and the rugged mountains of Snowdonia National Park in Wales, Ynyshir’s location makes it the perfect, remote restaurant and rooms for food lovers looking for a completely unique culinary experience. It is in the surrounding area that the chefs forage ingredients that are used in the kitchen and upon which lambs graze. CLAIM TO FAME... Ynyshir is the only restaurant in the UK with a fully wraparound Himalayan salt chamber from Saltan where they age meats for real depth of flavour. Doubles from £150 +44 (0)1654 781209; ynyshir.co.uk 180 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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Explore a world of luxury travel your way Home Exchange | Holiday Home Rentals | Adventure Travel London Office 212 St. Ann's Hill London, SW18 2RU

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+44 (0)20 7193 3091 contact@thirdhome.com

www.thirdhome.com

20/07/2018 18:08


Scotland From the cultural hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the glories of the Scottish isles, with the majestic Highlands in between, this is a land of breathtaking beauty and warm welcomes

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Horses on Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris by Paul Sansome. Commended, Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. paulsansome.com

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6TAKE A BREAK

The Hot List

The intimate, free Fruitmarket gallery is just behind Edinburgh’s Waverley train station. It’s a good pit stop for those just arrived and in need of a contemporary art fix or lunch from the gallery’s charming café, which serves wholesome food and cakes. fruitmarket.co.uk

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7 ENJOY SOME FRUIT

Certainly the most ornate fruit-inspired motif you’ll see for a while, the National Trust’s The Pineapple in Dunmore is ripe for visits. Built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore, pineapples were a most exotic food in Scotland. Explore the eccentric grounds and look out for the rare great crested newt in the pond. nts.org.uk

From ghouls and ghosts to kombucha and pineapples, Scotland is a land of plenty

1FROTH UP THE FORTH

Celebrity Cruises are offering Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures – a high-speed rib boat excursion, led by the handsome TV presenter, that takes in the three Forth Bridges and the ruins of a 12th-century Augustinian Abbey on the Island of Inchcolm. celebritycruises.co.uk

Loch Lomond is more accessible and less touristy than Ness. It makes for the perfect hike, replete with footpaths, cycle trails, the neighbouring Trossachs National Park and ancient Luss village. The highland area is home to red deer and the climber-friendly mountain Ben Lomond. lochlomondtrossachs.org

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HEALTHY FIZZ 4 DRINK

Craft brewed Left Field Kombucha is produced by husband and wife team Geraint and Jo on the Scottish Borders and is available at independent retailers throughout Scotland. leftfieldkombucha.co.uk

THE UNEXPECTED 5EXPECT

3GO TO MARKET

Cobbled streets and canopied stalls welcome you to Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market, dense with discoveries like discounted cashmere, local game and vegetables, vegan baked goods, giant paella pots, homemade soaps, sizzling gyoza and artisanal marshmallows. stockbridgemarket.com

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The village of Plockton has its own interpretation of a Highlands landscape. Its secret? A bayside location with the benefit of the Gulf Stream. Rhododendron-clad crags and bamboo are among other plant surprises. visitplockton.com

PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

2LEG IT TO THE LOCH

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SCOTLAND

8 JOURNEY UNDERGROUND Avoid naff ghost tours of Edinburgh and head straight to Mary King’s Close for the really spooky stuff. Underneath the Royal Mile is a warren of hidden streets, frozen in time since the 17th century, when they were built over after the plague. realmarykingsclose.com

9 CELEBRATE A LEGEND

2018 marks 150 years since Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born, the ‘father of Glasgow Style’. See the celebratory new exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, check out the Willow Tea rooms and head 23 miles north-west to see his masterwork, The Hill House, which features a favourite Mackintosh emblem, the Glasgow Rose. glasgowlife.org.uk; willowtearooms.co.uk; nts.org.uk

10BE DOWN TO EARTH

Edinburgh’s New Leaf Co-op in Marchmont is a rare gem in the city. Farms tout earth-covered carrots, bakery drop-offs are still warm, and everything from amaranth to za’tar is in stock. The lovely staff are passionate about ethical food and work from the firm principles of a co-operatively owned business. facebook.com/TheNewLeafCoop

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15HIT THE BEACH

GET WILD

The Falls of Shin visitor centre, once nicknamed ‘Harrods of the Highlands’, now serves local Scottish fayre. Mac & Wild set up shop there in June 2018 and offer a series of haggis-making masterclasses. macandwild.com 13 12

13HAVE LOW TEA

Sit on floor cushions and in alcoves at Glasgow’s mythic tea house, Tchai Ovna. At the end of a cobbled lane and inside old stables, 100 varieties of tea are on offer (don’t overlook the masala chai). The menu is rounded out with a range of vegan/vegetarian options. tchaiovna.com

PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

12 SEE FOOD

In Tobermory, whose brightlycoloured homes look like a packet of Skittles spilled along Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Café Fish reinvents a popular food trend. Trade the usual experience of watching chefs make your food for the enjoyable sight of fishermen catching your supper. Fresh fish tastes so delicious that the café champions ‘gentle’ cooking: simply grilled with a wedge of lemon. thecafefish.com

Scotland’s Outer Hebrides boast one of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Luskentyre. Situated on the isle of Harris (famous for its tweed), Luskentyre’s turquoise waters and white sand are the stuff of dreams. Thankfully the windy isle fends off midges, the scourge of many a summer in Scotland. visitscotland.com

16 TASTE TRADITION

Using the traditional method of smoking fish over a barrel, Arbroath smokies enjoy protected status, like Parma ham and Champagne. They can be produced only within a five-mile radius of the town. arbroath-smokie.co.uk

LIKE THE QUEEN 14 DINE

Queen Bey, that is. Down a little lane, Glasgow’s original Vietnamese restaurant, Hanoi Bike Shop, makes every plate from scratch and, yes, has fed A-listers such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Their housemade tofu and prawn crackers are un-bey-lievable. (So are the bicycles that hang from 14 the ceiling.) hanoibikeshop.co.uk

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE BALMORAL EDINBURGH

The Balmoral is Rocco Forte’s historic Edinburgh landmark. It was built in 1902 in impressive Scottish renaissance style as a railway hotel serving Waverley Station. Pronounced one of the great railway hotels, its iconic clock was set three minutes fast so that guests and locals wouldn’t miss their trains. It has turrets at its corners and a central courtyard, occupied by the dazzling glassdomed Palm Court. Exuding a timeless elegance, the bedrooms have been designed by Olga Polizzi, Director of Building & Design for Rocco Forte Hotels, with their castle view rooms framing some of the Scottish capital’s most famous vistas. The Balmoral’s two restaurants offer guests a choice of fine or brasserie dining. Number One, with its red lacquer walls and dove grey seating, offers a Michelin-starred menu celebrating Scottish produce. Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux meanwhile serves up a new alliance marrying the best of Scottish ingredients with French cooking. The service throughout the hotel is faultless. CLAIM TO FAME... Celebrity visitors to the hotel have included Sophia Loren, the Queen Mother, J.K. Rowling and Paul and Linda McCartney – to name a few. Doubles from £245 +44 (0)131 556 2414; roccofortehotels.com

BROOKS HOTEL EDINBURGH

Carla and Andrew Brooks have their fingers on the pulse of the city hotel scene. As with the Brooks Guesthouses in Bath and Bristol (see page 62), they’ve created an affordable yet spoiling home from home with their bed and breakfast hotel in Edinburgh’s lively West End. The interior of this 19th-century Gothic stone building preserves many of its original features, which make a fine backdrop for their fresh, easy-going decorative style. With bold designer wallpaper and furniture, goose down duvets and crisp cotton linen, the 46 bedrooms feel like they belong to a much more expensive establishment. Classic and contemporary styles happily collide in the sitting room, with hunting trophies and eye-catching modern furniture. An open fire in winter makes this the perfect place to relax with a drink from the well-stocked honesty bar, while the delightful courtyard, a summer suntrap, is the place to head to when it’s warm. Brooks Country House is the latest addition to their portfolio (see page 175). CLAIM TO FAME... Built in 1840, the hotel is a listed building that was used to house workers during the industrial revolution. Doubles from £79 +44 (0)131 228 2323; brooksedinburgh.com 186 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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SCOTLAND

THE GLASSHOUSE EDINBURGH

There’s plenty to make you smile in this luxury YTL Hotels-owned boutique property, from the welcoming young staff to the breathtaking views from countless floor-to-ceiling windows – The Glasshouse is no misnomer. The hotel was built in 2003, incorporating the listed, weathered-stone façade of a Victorian Gothic church and keeping its elegant crenellations, tower and arches intact. The Glasshouse’s best-kept secret is a glorious two-acre roof garden tucked under Calton Hill, transporting you from the heart of the city to the depths of the country. Among the most inviting of the 77 contemporary rooms, which blend wood veneers and bold colour, are the Garden View Rooms, with doors to the outside. Some of the suites have generously sized balconies large enough for a cocktail party. Enjoy a sumptuous picnic while admiring the remarkable views on the rooftop or retire inside to enjoy a traditional dram of Scottish Whisky in the intimate Snug. CLAIM TO FAME... Founded by philanthropist Lady Glenorchy, the 1846 chapel was originally constructed as a free church for Edinburgh’s under-privileged. Its 19th-century façade forms the hotel’s distinctive entrance today. Doubles from £200 +44 (0)131 525 8200; theglasshousehotel.co.uk

GLENAPP CASTLE BALLANTRAE, AYRSHIRE

Be inspired, reflect, recharge, reconnect. That’s what the owners of Glenapp Castle, Paul and Poppy Szkiler, hope you will do when you come to stay – and that is surely what will happen. The 19th-century sandstone castle, once the seat of the Earl of Inchcape, is suitably grand, with oak-panelled hallways and corridors, lavishly decorated reception rooms and 17 highly individual bedrooms and suites. But it’s the wonderful gardens and grounds overlooking Ailsa Craig that make this Relais & Châteaux hotel truly special, where guests have exclusive access to the huge Victorian glasshouse, walled garden and woodland walks. Not to mention the hotel’s own 11-metre rib for fishing and birdwatching trips, as well as a host of world-class golf courses nearby. Then there’s the seriously good food, sourced from the Scottish larder. Ultimately, it’s the staff – local, warm, always professional, who are Glenapp Castle’s best asset. CLAIM TO FAME... Glenapp has an incredibly colourful past. One of its most famous visitors, Winston Churchill, is rumoured to have visited in 1944 with Lord Inchcape and Eisenhower – history in the making. Doubles from £245 +44 (0)1465 831212; glenappcastle.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 187

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

KINLOCH LODGE ISLE OF SKYE, ROSS-SHIRE

Skye is one of the most spectacular places on earth and Kinloch sits in one of its most beautiful parts, the shores of Loch na Dal. Fittingly, given its history as a hunting lodge, it offers the services of its own ‘ghillie’ for stalking, fishing or foraging. Foodies flock here. Hardly surprising, since it belongs to cookery writer Lady Claire Macdonald and her husband, Lord Godfrey. Although no longer living here, their reputation for the best Highland hospitality continues as their charming daughter, Isabella, is now at the helm. Brazilian-born Marcello Tully, in charge of the restaurant for more than a decade, has kept Kinloch’s international culinary reputation flourishing. Inside there is a welcoming mix of the well-bred and the unpretentious, with antiques, family portraits and a cosy whisky bar for a nightcap before bed in one of the attractive, seriously comfortable rooms. Kinloch is somewhere to relax and recharge, and almost impossible to leave. CLAIM TO FAME... Kinloch has its own ghillie, a personal guide for fly fishing, foraging, deer stalking and wilderness walks, known for sharing his knowledge and providing great ‘craic’. Doubles from £140 +44 (0)1471 833333; kinloch-lodge.co.uk

KNOCKINAAM LODGE PORTPATRICK, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY

This former Victorian hunting lodge is an award-winning small luxury hotel, located on its own beach, with lawns sweeping down to the sea. There are ten bedrooms, one of Scotland’s finest restaurants and a wood-panelled whisky bar, home to more than 100 malts. Historically significant, this stunning spot was a secret meeting place between Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower during World War II and continues to offer the perfect tonic for anyone wishing to escape the limelight for a slower pace of life. Fresh produce from the hotel’s kitchen garden and local suppliers provide head chef Tony Pierce with the perfect ingredients for his delectable tasting menus, presented over five courses. There’s plenty to see in this wonderful corner of the country: Scotland’s National Book Town, the UK’s first Dark Sky Park, pretty fishing village Portpatrick and beautiful gardens, such as the Royal Botanic Garden at Logan. CLAIM TO FAME... Few small country-house hotels in Scotland can match the glittering array of awards possessed by Knockinaam, including three AA food rosettes and a five gold star restaurant with rooms rating. Doubles from £300 (including dinner) +44 (0)1776 810471; knockinaamlodge.com 188 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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SCOTLAND

PRESTONFIELD EDINBURGH

Let’s face it, they don’t make hotels like Prestonfield anymore. Not usually. It’s romantic, it’s opulent and it’s shamelessly seductive. The mansion, in a quiet location, gives no hint of what lies inside. Minimalism be damned. There are swags and columns, brocades and velvets, rich colours and intimate corners. Bedrooms are better described as boudoirs, where velvet, silk and antiques mix with high-tech playthings, and surfaces are scattered with flowers, fruit and candles. Suites are even more lavish: a Gothic day bed, a velvet-hung four-poster, silk toile wallpaper, a silver chariot bath. The two oval-shaped dining rooms become a candlelit Gothic fantasy at night, and the food and the hotel’s impressive wine cellar live up to the ambience. Staff are relaxed and friendly, and will track you down in whatever intimate sitting room (there are at least four) you are curled up in. And, once you manage to uncurl, Edinburgh awaits. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel has always welcomed presidents, princes and stars of stage and screen, such as Lauren Bacall, the Dalai Lama, Elton John and Sean Connery. Doubles from £345 +44 (0)131 225 7800; prestonfield.com

THE WITCHERY BY THE CASTLE EDINBURGH

James Thomson’s Gothic conversion of this 16th-century building is as darkly mysterious and thrillingly exotic as Prestonfield House, his other hotel (see above). At the top of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, you enter through an ancient close into a flamboyantly theatrical world, where ceilings are richly gilded and painted walls are hung with tapestries or panelled in oak, and rooms are decorated in jewel-like colours with swathes of velvet. Its nine suites are vast, sumptuous and wickedly romantic, furnished with four-posters or extravagantly curtained beds, antiques and oil paintings. A celebrity haunt, the Witchery restaurant not only looks magical, with its red leather seats, panelling and candlelight, but showcases the best produce Scotland has to offer. The Angus beef steak tartare is legendary. In summer, there’s al fresco dining on the private terrace of the hotel’s other restaurant, the Secret Garden. CLAIM TO FAME... The Witchery takes its name from the hundreds of women burned at the stake as witches on Castlehill during the 16th and 17th centuries. Doubles from £345 +44 (0)131 225 5613; thewitchery.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 189

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Ireland The Emerald Isle is a land of wild wildernesses, literary legends, artisan food and, of course, Guinness

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View of Kylemore Abbey, County Galway

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QUESTION QUAYS 6 DON’T

The Hot List

The family-friendly restaurant Quays, in Co Down, might not catch your eye at first, but once you’ve sat down you’ll be struck by the fine view of boats coming in to this Portavogie pub, which serves phenomenal fresh fish and shellfish straight from net to shore. quaysrestaurant.co.uk

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7GEEK OUT

Take an all-day Game of Thrones Black Taxi Tour and cover 150 miles of the parts of Northern Ireland that moonlight as HBO’s fantasy land. Start at the Game of Thrones Studio in Belfast and continue to memorable locations like Carncastle (where Ned Stark beheads the nightwatch deserter in season one). blacktaxitours.com

From a Game of Thrones tour to swimming with dolphins, you’ll find great craic in Ireland and Northern Ireland

BEFORE YOU LEAP 1LOOK

Coasteering is gaining a following in Ireland as an adrenaline-pumping water sport that combines rock scrambling, cliff jumping and adventure swimming. Clare Island Adventures will help you find the best vantage points and leaping spots along the craggy rockfaced coastline and can also instruct on cave swimming techniques. clareislandadventures.ie

The Crawford in Cork has had Peter Murray to thank for its exceptionally good taste over the past three decades and now Mary McCarthy has taken over as the gallery’s first female director, overseeing an exciting new refurbishment and perhaps a more contemporary directon. crawfordartgallery.ie

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RIDE INTO THE SUNSET

Ireland’s only cable car crosses the 150-metre channel between Dursey island and Lamb’s Head, on the Beara Peninsula. It’s precariouslooking, but preferable to braving the strong currents of Dursey Sound in a boat. Unsettlingly, there is a prayer pinned inside the cable car, just in case. durseyisland.ie

4 CYCLE LIKE CRAZY

The Great Western Greenway is the longest trail in the country reserved for cyclists and walkers. County Mayo’s 42-kilometre off-road experience runs along the islanded coast of Clew Bay, presenting many a good reason to hop off your bike and explore. greenway.ie

WITH A STAR 5 SWIM

Ireland’s favourite dolphin, Fungie, is a friend to all in Dingle, a seaside town off the coast of County Kerry, where he has lived and played with swimmers, surfers and kayakers for 30 years. Quite the adored celebrity, they’ve even built a statue in his honour. Greet the dolphin by boat tour or don a wetsuit and try your luck in the water. dingledolphin.com

PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

TO THE GALLERY 2GET

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IRELAND

8 ASK FOR MOURNE

The menu at Brunel’s in Newcastle, County Down, is as bold as the location, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. Guests can enjoy dishes like rhubarb-cured salmon, malt-braised chicken breast and rabbit five ways, from chef Paul Cunningham. brunelsrestaurant.co.uk

9 EAT MICHELIN STARS

True to its name, Wine and Brine in Moira, County Armagh, updates age-old processes like brining for its modern table, where the provenance of meat is as important as the succulent cut. Thanks to Michelin-starred Chris McGowan, it was 2017 Restaurant of the Year in the Waitrose Good Food Guide. wineandbrine.co.uk

10 WATCH THE SUNRISE

Only 30 minutes from Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains offer a spectacular reward for anyone who makes it in time for the sunrise over Lough Tay in Glendalough National Park. Get your thermoses and blankets at the ready! visitwicklow.ie

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INISHBOFIN 15INVESTIGATE

This small island off the coast of Connemara in County Galway has only 160 inhabitants – definitely fulfilling the ideal island’s ‘get away from it all’ quotient. Walks, beaches, a dive centre, stables and bicycle hire make it possible to explore in whatever fashion you wish. connemara.net

11 DO YOUR HOMEWORK Walk through the cobbled campus of Trinity College Dublin to see the legendary Book of Kells in its ravishing purpose-built library. The ninth-century book is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. tcd.ie

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FOR GLENDALOUGH 13GO

A passion for Ireland’s craft distillery history, which reigned supreme in the 18th and 19th centuries, fuels the spirit of innovation – and innovative spirits – at Glendalough Distillery. One of the few remaining craft distillers, the company is reviving craft heritage using whiskey, poitín and wild botanical gin. glendaloughdistillery.com

PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

FOR FERMENTATION 12FLIP Get on trend and attend a half-day ‘Fermented Foods for a Healthier Life’ workshop at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. A demonstration session and tasting opportunities will have your pantry shelves lined with jars of the gut-boosting elixir in no time. cookingisfun.ie

16 GO GREEN

The Glens of Antrim are about as green as you’ll get in Ireland. Whether you’re walking or hiking, a vibrant mythical heritage complements the area’s vivid greens with the spirit of faerie, warriors, banshees and ghosts alike. discovernorthernireland.com

14 TAKE COVER

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The English Market in Cork is one of the best covered markets in the UK and Ireland – good enough for The Queen herself, who famously visited with Prince Philip, chatted to producers and left with a hamper of Irish artisan food. englishmarket.ie

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

ADARE MANOR ADARE, COUNTY LIMERICK

The advent of this astonishing hotel, along with its new championship golf course, has caused great excitement. The creation of J P McManus and his family (who also own Sandy Lane, Barbados), it has all the trappings of luxury, set in an exceptional building and restored to its former splendour. Adare Manor was originally the brainchild of Lady Caroline, wife of the 2nd Earl of Dunraven, who in 1832 wanted a diversion for her miserably gout-ridden husband. Together they spent 30 years constructing a superbly crafted neo-Gothic fantasy, inspired by the cathedrals and chateaux of Europe. Take the engrossing audio tour and then, once familiar with the house, relax and enjoy all its new-minted benefits: tea in the unforgettable Gallery, drinks in the beautiful Drawing Room and sultry Tack Room, Michael Tweedie’s exquisite food in the Oak Room, the tranquil spa, the country sports and, of course, a special round of golf. CLAIM TO FAME... A rare ‘calendar house’, Adare Manor is adorned with 365 leaded windows, 52 ornate chimneys, seven stone pillars and four towers that mark the annual tally of days, weeks and seasons in a year. Doubles from €325 +353 61 605 200; adaremanor.com

BALLYFIN BALLYFIN, CO. LAOIS

One of Ireland’s most important neo-classical houses, Ballyfin stands in its own 614-acre demesne, including lake, Victorian fernery, Edwardian rockery and walled garden, not to mention the tower with panoramic views. A Downton-esque knot of staff awaits guests on the steps as they arrive, setting the tone for service that is old school, yet warm and friendly. The reception rooms are filled with superb antiques and paintings, and there’s a fabulous indoor pool, vitality pool, sauna and four treatment rooms. The 20 bedrooms are all gorgeous, in classic Irish country-house fashion. As for the food, with the highly regarded Sam Moody, formerly of Michelin-starred Bath Priory, at the helm, it effortlessly lives up to the surroundings. Standards are sky high at Ballyfin, and it’s the sort of place where one jarring note would spoil the show. Happily, it never does: this is one of Europe’s great hotels. CLAIM TO FAME... Richard E Grant said, ‘Ballyfin, it was like stepping back in time without the inconvenience of no electricity. The welcome, the setting, the food, I should be their PR Manager.’ Doubles from €590 +353 (0)5787 55866; ballyfin.com 194 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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IRELAND

BALLYMALOE SHANAGARRY, COUNTY CORK

Set on its own farm, Ballymaloe is a Georgian house built on to a Norman castle keep. The home of the Allen family, it has also been for over 50 years the best sort of hotel and restaurant, still presided over by the descendants of Myrtle Allen, who started it all. The genuine feel of a family concern, with wonderful cooking and unpretentious comfort, is as endearing as it is relaxing and unusual – few such multigenerational places exist these days. The sunfilled yellow drawing room, awash with flowers from the garden, is the place to relax by the open fire, and there’s a pretty conservatory for drinks and snacks. Everything that’s served in the restaurant is home-made, homegrown and naturally recycled. A highlight of the marvellous five-course dinner each night is the pudding trolley – which to choose? – and the cheese one. While you are here, take a day course at the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School down the road, founded by Myrtle’s daughter-in-law, Darina. CLAIM TO FAME... Myrtle Allen opened her family dining room at Ballymaloe House in 1964, inviting guests to ‘Dine in a Country House’, and went on to pioneer an Irish food revolution. Doubles from €255 +353 21 465 2531; ballymaloe.ie

BALLYVOLANE HOUSE CASTLELYONS, COUNTY CORK

Imagine a grand, Italianate, Georgian, Irish country house, gorgeous but lived-in, run as a guesthouse by its old-school owners since the mid-1980s. Imagine their son growing up there, then leaving to work at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and later as general manager at Babington House. Imagine that he then returns, takes over the reins and runs the hotel his way. You are imagining Ballyvolane. Filled with antiques, oozing atmosphere, it’s also – thanks to Justin Green’s deft touches – somewhere that’s cool and stylish too. It’s that hard to achieve thing: a place where you can unwind, but also feels glamorous and special. There are Persian rugs, antiques, quirky retro tables, roaring fires and a lavishly stocked honesty bar, with Justin’s own delicious gin, Bertha’s Revenge, taking pride of place. The bedrooms are lovely and the food, eaten communally, unless you specify otherwise (you won’t), delicious. There’s glamping too, in the lovely gardens and grounds, and fishing. CLAIM TO FAME... The award-winning Bertha’s Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin is made from local cow’s milk, water from their own well and locally grown, foraged and imported botanicals. Doubles from €198 +353 25 36349; ballyvolanehouse.ie 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 195

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

CASTLES AND THE CRAIC THE FIRST LUXURY RAIL EXPERIENCE OF ITS KIND IN IRELAND, BELMOND GRAND HIBERNIAN EXPLORES THE UNSPOILT LANDSCAPES, FASCINATING HISTORY AND STUNNING VISTAS OF THE EMERALD ISLE ON JOURNEYS OF TWO TO SIX-NIGHTS.

HOTELS | TRAINS | RIVER CRUISES | JOURNEYS | BELMOND.COM

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CLIFF HOUSE HOTEL ARDMORE, COUNTY WATERFORD

A good hotel in an unusual location is such a joy because it offers extra spoiling attractions including, in this case, a fabulous building, all glass, slate and ‘living’ roofs. Cliff House Hotel drops to the sea in a series of levels, connected internally by a lift and a spiral staircase, with all rooms facing the water. It has fabulous bedrooms, an airy restaurant, jazzy bar and semicircular, lime green spa. As for the Michelin-starred food, it’s courtesy of hugely talented 6’8” Dutchman Martijn Kajuiter. But it’s the clifftop waterside setting, the views and the charming local staff that really make it special. Ardmore is special too, it’s Ireland’s earliest Christian settlement, founded by St Declán around 400AD. Nowadays a summertime seaside resort, its charms include a famous 12th-century round tower and a gently curving beach. At Cliff House you are guaranteed to rest, explore, make friends and eat well in equal measure. A delightful spot. CLAIM TO FAME... The Cliff Walk beside the hotel is a must-do. This easy walk takes you around Ardmore Head, passing the Sampson wreck and Father O’Donnell’s healing well. Doubles from €199 +353 24 87800; cliffhousehotel.ie 196 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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IRELAND

CLIFF AT LYONS CELBRIDGE, COUNTY KILDARE

More like a village than a hotel, Cliff at Lyons comprises a number of glorious old rose-clad buildings centred on a paved courtyard at Lyons Demesne, a 600-acre estate outside Dublin. The privately-owned Irish hospitality group bought what was known as ‘The Village at Lyons’ in 2016 and opened it as a hotel. Split between the buildings, the 39 rooms range in style from classic – chintz, wood panelling and antiques, to contemporary – smart plain fabrics and fashionable design. There are also selfcontained apartments and cottages. Nobody could resist dinner in the all-glass, domed Orangery, the perfect setting to showcase Nathan Dimond’s elegantly-designed menus. These focus on local produce, including the famous Dublin Bay prawns, Galway oysters and Irish cheeses. Activities include canal-side walks and bike rides, or a pampering session in Well in the Garden, a luxury spa in the beautifully restored Carriage House. Fabulous for a wedding, celebratory event or simply a holiday. CLAIM TO FAME... Arthur Guinness, the founder of Ireland’s famed black stout, is buried 20 minutes’ walk from here. Doubles from €170 +353 1 630 3500; cliffatlyons.ie

CURRAREVAGH HOUSE LOUGH CORRIB, COUNTY GALWAY

‘Things have always stayed the same here,’ says Henry Hodgson, fifth generation of his family to run their home as a guesthouse, ‘it would be rude to change them now.’ And that’s the joy of this Victorian country house. Beautifully set on Lough Corrib, with huge sash windows and original shutters, the house was built in 1840, though the family has lived here since the 17th century. Inside, you are transported to a calmer, more dignified time (wifi is the only modern concession), where a gong heralds dinner and the breakfast coffee is served in original ’50s glass Cona receptacles, warmed by methylated spirit burners. Henry is charming and funny and totally at ease; his wife Lucy (they have three young daughters) is a marvellous cook and dinner is always delicious. You feel completely relaxed: what more could you possibly want? Room keys? ‘We don’t have them,’ says Henry, ‘your things will be perfectly safe.’ And you know, without doubt, that he speaks the truth. CLAIM TO FAME... The hotel is Ireland’s longest-running, operated by the same family since 1885. Doubles from €160 +353 91 552 312; currarevagh.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 197

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

MARLFIELD HOUSE GOREY, CO WEXFORD, IRELAND

A haven can come in different shapes and sizes, and Marlfield House – with its 40 acres of woodland with an ornamental lake, plus rose, vegetable and herb gardens – is an Arcadia flush with peacocks, hens, dogs and ponies waiting to greet you on your garden walk. There are 19 glorious rooms – from bijoux Standard to The Sheraton Room with magnificent views of the lake and wildfowl reserve. Or there’s the recently renovated Duck Lodge, a contemporary two-bedroom cottage with mini bar, open-plan kitchen and living area with an open fire. The abundance of fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit grown in the grounds are gathered daily and appear in delightfully inventive dishes in both restaurants: fine dining in The Conservatory, with its sparkling silver and crystal overlooking the glorious gardens and lawns, or the casual, stylish Duck Terrace Restaurant. Marlfield House has also been a location of choice for weddings since 1978 – providing the perfect backdrop to many a Big Day. CLAIM TO FAME... Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks stayed at Marlfield for six weeks while making Saving Private Ryan. Doubles from €220 +353 53 942 1124; marlfieldhouse.com

THE WESTBURY DUBLIN

Standards are always high at The Doyle Collection, and never more so than at The Westbury. Like its sisters, the three London hotels The Kensington (page 110, The Bloomsbury (page 106) and The Marylebone (page 113), it marries sleek design with intuitive staff and luxuriously comfortable rooms. Its unrivalled location, overlooking Grafton Street, brings a galaxy of consumer delights. After a long day your room will seem like the answer to a prayer – enveloping and soothing in shades of taupe, with custom-woven Irish wool carpets, mohair-covered chairs and underfloorheated marble bathrooms. For dining there’s Balfes, a contemporary cross between New York eatery and Parisian brasserie, where the dishes match the edgy decor, or haute cuisine at the sophisticated Wilde. Don’t miss afternoon tea at The Gallery, surrounded by one of the country’s finest private art collections – an Irish institution. The Sidecar, meanwhile, is a stylish modern version of a ’30s cocktail bar. CLAIM TO FAME... The Sidecar bar features the Emerald Cocktail, an Irish take on the classic Manhattan, with Irish whiskey and orange bitters. Doubles from €350 +353 1 679 1122; doylecollection.com 198 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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FROM ABOVE: The Treehouse is the latest property offered by self-catering company Luxury Lodges

LUXURY TREE TOP LIVING Luxury Lodges has just added a gorgeous new treehouse to its portfolio of self-catering properties

L

uxury Lodges has distinctive, self-catering properties, no two exactly alike, scattered across five resorts in the UK from Scotland to Cornwall via the Lake District. What they all share is location – places that are perfect for glorious British staycations, especially given the summer the UK is enjoying right now – whether that’s near the stunning beaches of North Cornwall or – soon to come – the majestic mountains of Wales’ Gower Peninsula at newly redeveloped resort, Laugharne. Its latest property, however, elevates things somewhat – literally. Open for bookings right now at their Clowance resort, situated within 97 acres of woodland and close to St Ives in South Cornwall, is The Treehouse, which, at 20m across, is large enough to swing the proverbial cat. Open-plan living space, from which to enjoy those seductive sylvan views, comes with two spacious bedrooms (complete with deeply cossetting

Hypnos beds, no less), a wraparound terrace – and, just to complete the outdoor experience – an open-air, roll top bath (don’t worry, no passersby will get a peek). Inside, its sparklingly fresh interiors ensure the ultimate in bosky comfort: think hide rugs, leather chairs and driftwood tables. Nor do you have to go feral when it comes to catching your supper: a fully equipped kitchen means that cooking is a pleasure. The location is just as beguiling: close to miles of sandy beaches, dramatic clifftops, rolling hills and pretty coastal towns, this retreat makes for an unforgettable getaway. Sleeps four. Three-night minimum stay, from £1,050. Use code C&TH00 for 10 per cent discount, excl. peak season. 01994 438218. luxurylodges.com

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Cornwell Manor, near Chipping Norton on the OxfordshireGloucestershire borders

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Private Houses For large parties, your own private home is a perfect choice where you can lay down the rules or throw out the rule book

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

BARSHAM BARNS BARSHAM, NORFOLK

We wish that all barns came complete with a Jacuzzi, steam room and four-poster bed. We wish, too, that they were half as glam as Barsham Barns, a collection of six conversions designed by an award-winning architect and perfectly positioned just 15 minutes from the stunning Norfolk coastline. There’s the sunny Little Barsham for small families (up to four), a typical Norfolk beauty of a flint building with views of All Saints Church. Then there’s Long Meadow (sleeps eight), dating from 1715 and originally the milking parlour. For bigger groups, try the impressive Great East Barn (up to 14), which used to be a 19th-century granary. If you can’t bear to choose, just rally more troops and book the lot – but rush to be the first to write your name outside the spa, using their informal booking system. When you can tear yourself away from this rural retreat, shop for delicious local produce in Burnham Market, go seal-spotting at nearby Blakeney or test your windsurfing prowess. CLAIM TO FAME... The Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge already have homes in Norfolk, and rumour has it that soon the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be joining them. Weekends from £440 +44 (0)1328 821744; barshambarns.co.uk

BATTEL HALL LEEDS, KENT

A Kentish hall house complete with arrow slit windows and carved stone corbels, Battel Hall now forms part of Leeds Castle’s burgeoning accommodation portfolio, which includes rooms in the castle itself, holiday cottages, bed and breakfast, and glamping in jousting tents. Guests can enjoy all the fun of the island castle as part of the rental fee, but Battel Hall, across fields and cricket pitch, is far enough away to be entirely private. It’s also, in an understated country house way, the height of luxury. Smothered in wisteria, with a newly-planted English country garden, the mellow, old-beamed manor house has been modernised with no expense spared, while Francesca Rowan-Plowden has created the stunning yet homely and very English interiors. Sleeping ten, it has an oak-panelled dining room, drawing room and morning room (decorated in exquisite hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper). Cook for yourselves in the family-style traditional kitchen or request a private chef. Heaven. CLAIM TO FAME... Built in the 14th century, Battel Hall’s architectural features suggest it was occupied by a member of Queen Isabella’s retinue during her ownership of Leeds Castle. From £6,250 per week +44 (0)1622 767877; battelhall.leeds-castle.com 202 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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PRIVATE HOUSES

CLUNY CASTLE SAUCHEN, ABERDEENSHIRE

Cluny Castle is every inch the enchanting, Cinderalla-esque venue you would expect to find hidden deep in the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire. Set in over 200 acres of landscaped parkland, the castle itself dates back to the 15th century and remains a private home. However, when you choose to celebrate a special occasion – or just spend quality time with family and friends – its magnificent granite walls and turrets become all yours. Relax in the delightfully decorated West Wing Apartment (sleeps ten), the perfect base from which to explore the stunning landscapes and beautiful beaches along the Aberdeenshire coastline. The refurbishment of eight en-suite bedrooms on the top floor is nearly complete and means that, by the end of the year, up to 26 guests will be happily accommodated. All this heritage and splendour doesn’t have to mean seclusion; Cluny Castle is a 20-minute drive from Aberdeen airport. This is country living like you’ve never seen it before. CLAIM TO FAME... Cluny Castle was the stand-in for Balmoral in acclaimed British film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren. From £1,365 for three nights +44 (0)1330 833302; clunycastle.com

CORNWELL MANOR CHIPPING NORTON, OXFORDSHIRE

It’s not just the honey-coloured house with its windows peeping out from behind fronds of wisteria, nor the hazy views down to the lakes, nor even the individually decorated bedrooms. No, it’s the constant allusion to the fact that Cornwell Manor is a beloved family home that makes it such a special place – the family silver in the dining room, the portraits hanging in the hall and the photograph albums in the drawing room. Ideal for large gatherings (sleeping up to 24) – with a dining room seating 16 and a ballroom seating 70 – it’s a home from home that has seamlessly become the perfect rural retreat, complete with a swimming pool, tennis court and croquet lawn. The team at Cornwell Manor are particularly well known for their party planning prowess – to make a weekend unforgettable, dine under the stars at one of their famous Field Suppers or invite friends to a summer garden party and enjoy retreating to the house at the end of the evening, under the jealous gaze of guests who must depart. CLAIM TO FAME... Cornwell Manor has been in a number of films and TV series, including The Holiday, starring Jude Law and Cameron Diaz. From £3,000 per night +44 (0)1608 698673; cornwellmanor.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 203

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

DAIRSIE CASTLE CUPAR, FIFE

Stepping inside Dairsie Castle is like stepping back in time. Once the site of secret Scottish parliaments, military sieges and even the hiding place of James VI from his Ruthven captors in 1583, the property has a colourful history. Today, the six-bedroom castle with six acres of grounds – including a walled garden, orchard and parkland – is the perfect place for a weekend retreat. While many of the original features remain, the modern amenities discerning guests have come to expect from rental properties are in place. There are quirky touches throughout, such as the Hokusai-esque mural found on a bath, the compass room’s floor which tilts north and the washroom which takes inspiration from the old ducat that once occupied it. Hole yourself up with supplies – or bring a cook – and you won’t feel the need to leave. But if you do, Edinburgh is a 70-minute drive away and St Andrews, with its golf courses, spas and cute cafés, is just a few miles down the road. CLAIM TO FAME... On 27 June 1583, a 17-year-old King James VI stayed at Dairsie to escape his Ruthven captors by pretending to go hawking. Weekends from £1,600 info@dairsiecastle.com; dairsiecastle.com

EDRADYNATE PERTHSHIRE, SCOTLAND

Set in 4,000 acres of breathtaking Perthshire countryside, with views across the Tay Valley, 18th-century Edradynate is the sort of house to which guests return again and again to enjoy all it has to offer. And there is an abundance of choice: fishing lessons, clay pigeon shooting, walking, a terrace for drinks on balmy evenings and a billiards room to retreat to with a wee dram afterwards. Sympathetically refurbished to retain its Highland charm, it has benefitted from some modern touches: each of the nine bedrooms are ensuite and there is Sky TV in the playroom in case of rainy days. Return from a walk up the hill to a roaring log fire and much-lauded homecooked supper (you can choose to stay here on a catered basis if you wish) with the promise of comfy beds with crisp sheets to follow. It ticks all the boxes for an extremely relaxing holiday in dramatic landscapes found nowhere else. CLAIM TO FAME... In 1689, General Hugh Mackay’s Government Army was defeated by the Jacobites at the Battle of Killiecrankie. The survivors retreated and rested that night in the park below Edradynate House. Weekends from £2,400 +44 (0)1256 381821; edradynate-estate.com 204 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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PRIVATE HOUSES

HUNTSHAM COURT HUNTSHAM, DEVON

This whopping Grade II gabled marvel, which functions as a home to its enterprising owners, a fabulous wedding venue and a spoiling private rental house, is accessed, like all great houses, by its own driveway, which in turn is surrounded by quintessential Devonshire countryside. Rumour has there are 55 sofas on which to loll about on and – as the property accommodates up to 80 in 34 gorgeously designed rooms – from four posters to generous twins – they may well all come into their own. You can do the selfcatering thing, but why bother when a raft of knowledgeable and well-trained local staff can be brought in to look after you and your guests in quite the right manner. All generations will feel perfectly at home, whether in the library, the bar, the drawing room, the children’s play area, on the croquet lawn or the tennis court. The interiors are suitably grand – many original features remain – yet stylishly cossetting. CLAIM TO FAME... Author Douglas Adams most famously worked on his book So Long and Thanks for all the Fish (the fourth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series) while staying at Huntsham Court. From £7,220 for a two-night midweek stay +44 (0)1398 361277; huntshamcourt.co.uk

LOYTON LODGE TIVERTON, DEVON

In 2003, Alick and Sally Barnes launched Loyton Lodge as a country destination to gather parties of people with the principles of uncluttered comfort, relaxed atmosphere, good food and good wine. It is indeed all that and much more besides – their daughter Isobel now manages the ten bedrooms, hosting shooting parties throughout the winter and tailor-made private parties and B&B during the summer season. She is also behind the creative nature of Loyton, running music events, food festivals and artist workshops in their unique party tent. The Lodge itself is a mix of slate roofed, traditional whitewashed buildings, and slick expanses of oak strutted glass. Bedrooms are big and airy, with sleigh beds, huge roll top baths and charming touches like fresh flowers and homemade biscuits. In-house chef Adam Fanson’s breakfasts are so good that they have a monthly Breakfast Club throughout the summer. CLAIM TO FAME... Royalty, musicians and artists have stayed but the family take pride that they have created somewhere that can appeal to the well-heeled and the impoverished artist alike. Doubles from £120 +44 (0)1398 331051; loyton.com 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 205

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

THE MANOR HOUSE ASHBY ST LEDGERS, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Rooms and gardens by Lutyens, a mention in the Domesday book, the home of the Gunpowder Plot – The Manor House is certainly not short on history. It is also not short on charm, comfort and the mod cons we’ve come to expect when hiring a private house. Ideal for a family get-together, the sprawling golden house sleeps 18 and resides in 30 acres of glorious gardens, including a lake and walled garden. This is a children’s paradise: there’s a former medieval kitchen turned playroom – complete with pirate shack – heated outdoor pool, tennis court, bridge for Pooh sticks and enough space for nannies, grannies and everyone in between. The interiors might not be what you’d expect: an eclectic, clever curation of the classic and contemporary has been overseen by the owner, who made the bold but brilliant decision to paint it white throughout. Steeped in history yet with a firm foot in the world of luxury private house hire, you will struggle to find a more interesting venue. If only walls could talk… CLAIM TO FAME... Guests have included Edward VIII, Winston and Clementine Churchill (on numerous occasions) and composer William Walton. Weekends from £5,500 +44 (0)7946 343383; ashbymanorhouse.com

PLAS DINAM LLANDINAM, POWYS

Eldrydd and her family returned from Australia to begin Plas Dinam’s new adventure when her parents decided to downsize and move out of their 15-bedroom home. She and her husband are now renowned for going the extra mile to make your stay as magical as they can. Located in a picturesque valley with breathtaking views, you’ll never be short of things to do: amble through the 12 acres of woodland walks, cook on the al fresco pizza oven or organise an informal doubles tournament on the tennis court. You’ll find fluffy white towels, top quality linen and REN skincare products in the beautifully decorated bedrooms. The house has retained the feel of a much-loved family home – cue the fancy dress box, perfect for after-dinner charades. Plas Dinam’s walls happily welcome guests for every occasion, from large family get-togethers or weddings to restorative weekends away ‘just because’… CLAIM TO FAME... Gwendoline and Margaret Davies lived here from 1882 until the 1920s, during which time they amassed a significant Impressionist art collection, later bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales. Weekends from £4,200 +44 (0)7415 503554; plasdinamcountryhouse.co.uk 206 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 2018/19

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PRIVATE HOUSES

STANFORD HALL LUTTERWORTH, LEICESTERSHIRE

The current Hall, which has been in the Cave family since 1430, is an imposing Queen Annestyle manor that once played host to Queen Mary, who stayed in the South East bedroom. Ideal for a big celebration, there are 15 tastefully themed bedrooms and a magnificently restored ballroom with golden frescos, where up to 90 guests can dine under the watchful gaze of the Stuart kings of England. Ten bedrooms are located in the Stables Courtyard, complete with a self-catering kitchen, dining area, two large reception rooms and a dance floor. There are 900 acres of gardens including a walled rose garden and oak-lined approach. For those interested in botany, the grounds have been named a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the species of lichen found. Simon Jenkins once described Stanford as, ‘The perfect William and Mary house. The south front floats like a palace of romance across a distant meadow,’ and, when that palace is just a 50-minute train ride from Euston, we should be knocking on its door in droves. CLAIM TO FAME... The current owner, Nick Fothergill, is an excellent shot: book a clay pigeon lesson with the man himself. Contact the team for individually tailored prices. +44 (0)1788 860250; stanfordhall.co.uk

TWO BARE FEET WINCHESTER

The owner of this quirkily designed and utterly unique house, Hannah, is particularly adept at taking properties that feel a little lost in their purpose, and turning them into brilliant hospitality spaces. Her other project, the B&B named Hannah’s, was once a former livery, then a dance hall. Two Bare Feet, her new selfcatering venture, was a scout hut then an office in its former life. Now beautifully refurbished with Hannah’s excellent eye for splashes of colour amid serenity, it makes the perfect base from which to explore the picturesque cathedral city of Winchester. Hire the whole place and make use of the excellently equipped kitchen for a family weekend away, or book just one of the individually designed, fresh and contemporary duplex style bedrooms with snazzy en suites as a bolthole for a work trip. Expect touches of luxury such as Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy white towels. Eggs and bread are included, and there is a marvellous breakfast honesty tray for any extra morning nibbles. As comfortable as it is convenient. CLAIM TO FAME... Jane Austen died in Winchester and is buried in the cathedral. Doubles from £75 +44 (0)1962 840623; twobarefeetwinchester.co.uk 2018/19 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK/GREAT-BRITISH-AND-IRISH-HOTELS | 207

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C&TH GREAT BRITISH & IRISH HOTELS

Index 11 Cadogan Gardens 45 Park Lane

A

Adare Manor Albion House The Arch London Artist Residence Brighton Artist Residence Oxfordshire Artist Residence Penzance Artist Residence Pimlico Askham Hall The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences Augill Castle

B

Backwell House Bailiffscourt Ballyfin Ballymaloe Ballyvolane House The Balmoral Bank House The Bar Convent Barnsdale Lodge Barnsley House Barsham Barns The Bath Priory Battel Hall Batty Langley’s The Beach at Bude The Bear Hotel The Beaumont Beaverbrook The Beckford Arms The Bell at Skenfrith The Bingham Blakeney Hotel The Bloomsbury Bodysgallen Hall Bowood Hotel Spa and Golf Resort The Bradley Brocco on the Park Brooks Country House Brooks Guesthouse Bath Brooks Guesthouse Bristol Brooks Hotel Brownber Hall Brown’s Hotel

C

Calcot & Spa The Capital Careys Manor Cary Arms & Spa Castle House The Cat Inn The Cavendish Hotel The Chester Grosvenor Chewton Glen The Cider House Claridge’s Cley Windmill Cliff at Lyons Cliff House Hotel Cliveden House Cluny Castle The Coach House at Middleton Lodge

102 102

COMO The Halkin Congham Hall Cornwell Manor Coworth Park The Crown Hotel Currarevagh House

D

194 88 103 88 89 42 103 156 104 156

60 76 194 195 195 186 142 157 134 122 202 60 202 104 42 174 105 89 61 174 105 142 106 175 61 122 157 175 62 62 186 158 106

123 107 76 43 176 90 134 158 77 43 107 143 197 196 90 203 159

The Dabbling Duck Dairsie Castle The Devonshire Arms The Dorchester Driftwood

E

Easby Hall The Eastbury East End Arms Edradynate

F

The Felin Fach Griffin Feversham Arms Hotel Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Fowey Hall

G

The Gallivant George and Dragon The George, Yarmouth Gidleigh Park Gilpin Hotel & Lake House The Ginger Peanut The Glasshouse Glazebrook House Glenapp Castle Gliffaes The Goring Gravetye Manor Grove of Narbeth Grove Lodge The Gunton Arms The Gurnard’s Head

H

Hambleton Hall Hampton Manor Hare & Hounds Hart’s Hotel Hartwell House Hazlitt’s Headlam Hall The Headland Hotel Hell Bay Highbullen Hotel Hillside The Horn of Plenty The Hoste Hotel & Beauty Spa Hotel Endsleigh Hotel Tresanton Howard’s House Huntsham Court Hurley House

I

The Ickworth Hotel The Inn at Whitewell

108 143 203 91 144 197

144 204 159 108 44

160 63 77 204

176 160 78 44

91 161 78 45 161 45 187 46 187 177 109 92 177 63 145 46

135 135 162 136 92 109 162 47 47 48 79 48 145 49 49 64 205 93

146 163

K

The Kensington The Kingham Plough Kinloch Lodge Knightsbridge Hotel Knockinaam Lodge

L

Langar Hall The Langham, London The Laslett The Levin Lime Tree Hotel Lime Wood Linthwaite House The Little Gloster Llangoed Hall Lord Crewe Arms Lords of the Manor Loyton Lodge Lucknam Park The Lygon Arms Lympstone Manor

M

Maison Talbooth The Malabar Mandarin Oriental The Manor at Sway The Manor House Marfield House The Marylebone Merchants Manor The Methuen Arms Middlethorpe Hall Milsoms Kesgrave Hall The Montagu Arms Moonfleet Manor Moor Hall

N

Nanteos Mansion The Nare New Park Manor No.15 Great Pulteney No.38 The Park No.131 The Norfolk Mead Northcote The Northgate Number 38 Clifton Number Sixteen

O

Ockenden Manor Oddfellows Oddfellows on the Park The Old Coastguard

P

The Painswick Park House The Peacock at Rowsley Penally Abbey The Pheasant Inn The Pier THE PIG THE PIG at Combe

110 123 188 110 188

136 111 111 112 112 79 163 80 178 164 124 205 64 124 50

146 164 113 80 206 198 113 50 65 165 147 81 65 165

178 51 81 66 125 125 147 166 148 66 114

THE PIG – in the Wall THE PIG near Bath THE PIG on the Beach Plas Dinam The Pointer at Brill Polurrian Bay Hotel The Porch House Prestonfield

R

The Rectory Hotel Red Lion Freehouse The Riverside at Aymestrey Rockliffe Hall The Rookery The Rose & Crown Roseate Bath Roseate London Roseate Reading Rosewood London The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa The Royal Hotel The Royal Oak Rudding Park

S

The Savoy The Seafood Restaurant The Sheep on Sheep Street Soho Hotel Sopwell House The Spread Eagle Stanford Hall Star Castle Hotel St Enodoc St Moritz Stoke Park The Sun Inn The Swan Hotel, Southwold The Swan Hotel, Wells The Swan Inn

T

The Talbot Inn Talland Bay Thornbury Castle Thyme Titchwell Manor Trewornan Manor Two Bare Feet

V

Verzon House 93 166 167 51

126 94 137 179 94 148 82 52

W

The Wellington Arms The Westbury The Wheatsheaf Inn The White Horse The Wild Rabbit The William Cecil The Witchery by the Castle

Y

Ynyshir

82 67 67 206 95 52 126 189

68 68 179 167 114 168 69 115 95 115 69 83 96 168

116 53 127 116 96 97 207 54 53 54 97 149 149 70 127

70 55 128 128 150 55 207

180

83 198 129 150 129 137 189

180

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5 & 6 Wood Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon. 01789 267072 14 Mount Street, Mayfair, London. 020 7409 2845 www.pragnell.co.uk

5 CARAT ROUND BRILLIANT CUT DIAMOND IN A PLATINUM PRAGNELL SETTING

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Great British & Irish Hotels 2018/19  
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