Category Archives: Country Hotels

Five Bespoke hotels to visit this Easter for five different experiences

Easter is a lovely time of the year to get away to one of the UK Bespoke hotels. It’s the first holiday when it really starts to feel like spring, and with any luck the sun will come out, the daffodils will be in full bloom, the days begin to get significantly longer, and the clocks will be changing.

All in all, there’s a positive feeling in the air and long, lazy summer evenings to look forward to. Just because we’re enjoying the same time of year however, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we’re all looking for the same things in our Easter break. So here are five hotels to visit for very different experiences over the bank holiday weekend.

Bespoke Hotels Cotswold House Hotel
Cotswold House Hotel

Spring gardens: hopefully the Easter weekend will bring blue skies and warmer weather, and if you’re anything like us then one of the great joys of this time of the year is getting out into the fresh air. After all those winter months of cuddling by log fires (because of course that’s what we spend all our time doing from November to March), now is the time for walking in the garden, smiling at the daffodils, and watching the blossom as it scatters from the trees.

With that in mind, Cotswold House Hotel and Spa in Gloucestershire, with its tranquil gardens that lead to the spa at the end of a cobbled path, is an idyllic place to spend the weekend. It probably goes without saying given that the Cotswolds as a rule are chocolate box perfect, but peace, quiet, tranquility, and exceptional food coupled with gardens that are just manicured enough without being pretentious makes for an escape that encapsulates the best of British.

Bespoke hotels  - The Grosvenor Arms Shaftesbury
Bespoke – The Grosvenor Arms Shaftesbury

Sunday roast: food is one of the great priorities at Easter, and whatever you find yourself doing on the Saturday, there can surely be no debate that Sunday is about the perfect roast lunch before tucking into that chocolate egg… With a spectacular view of both Lake Ullswater and the Helvellyn mountain range, the aptly titled Inn on the Lake in Cumbria from Bespoke Hotels has won Cumbria Tourism Awards for Large Hotel of the Year as well as Outstanding Customer Service. It has 15 acres of grounds sweeping to the shores, and five star standards in addition to the awe-inspiring location.

Food is every inch as important as all the other details at this hotel, and as such the Lake View Restaurant has two AA Rosettes and emphasises local produce. Of particular note on this occasion, you guessed it, is their Sunday lunch, which features a traditional roast with a luxurious touch complete with all the expected trimmings for a perfect Easter weekend.

Bespoke Hotels Tulloch Castle
Tulloch Castle

Romantic mini-break: as it is a school holiday it’s always a little bit of a juggling act between finding hotels that are suitable for families and those who want to get away for a long romantic weekend together, but few things spell romance quite like a castle befitting a role in the best loved fairytales. Tulloch Castle in Scotland fits just that bill. Dating back to the 12th century it has a lively history of changing fortunes and scandalous intrigue.

These days it’s all a little calmer without the Chief of the Clan ruling the roost, but with painstakingly restored original features, a 250-year old paneled great hall and 20 well-appointed bedrooms filled with character and charm, not to mention fantastic food, it’s an escape to the country that’s ideal for couples who want some peace and quiet over the weekend.

Bespoke Hotels The Spa at Night

Spa break: despite the abundance of chocolate eggs at this time of year, spring is a brilliant time to clear away any remaining cobwebs from the winter months and make yourself feel fresh as a daisy for all those summer holidays that you’re doubtless looking forward to. For that reason, a spa break over the Easter weekend can prove the perfect way to simply start feeling better, especially with a few more days to play with than your average weekend allows.

The Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex is surrounded by 12 acres of English Heritage gardens, and combines a historic background (including visits from the likes of JM Barrie and Winston Churchill), with a contemporary glass building. It’s light, airy and the spa itself is overseen by naturopath Sue Davis who curates spa breaks with her expert eye to make sure you achieve what you want to, whether that’s simple time out and feel good factor, a full-on detox, or tackling a particular health concern. The knowledge on hand is extensive without being domineering, making it ideal for everyone from seasoned spa goers to those who are quite literally dipping their toe in the water.

Family friendly: of course, nothing beats happy smiling faces on Easter morning, and with school holidays in full swing it’s about quality time for families where everyone can relax and unwind – not always an easy thing to achieve, but let’s give it a go. Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire combines a fantastic location on the edge of Sherwood Forest with contemporary design and a welcoming atmosphere, family friendly restaurant, and their New Leaf Spa as well.

Crucially there are plenty of activities available on site for guests of all ages, as well as others nearby such as pony trekking, cycling, walking, and the Clumber Jungle, which offers everything from archery to laser tag and Segway trails. Suffice to say, there really is something to make sure everyone has a happy Easter!

So what are you waiting for, book your favourite of our Bespoke hotels by following this link >>>>>

Discover Ripley and a famous Coaching Inn in Surrey

The beautiful village of Ripley has a storied history extending over several centuries, from its mediaeval priory and coaching inn, to a crucial role played in the growth of cricket, as well as being Eric Clapton’s birthplace. Set in the lovely Surrey countryside, it’s surrounded by sites well worth a visit and just a short drive from Guildford and Woking.

Coaching Inn bedroom Talbot Ripley
The Talbot – bedroom

It is also the home of The Talbot , which has more than played its part in history. It is even said to have provided the stage for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s love affair to blossom in 1798, and remains one of England’s finest coaching inns.

The Village

The 2007 winner of the Calor Surrey Village of the Year, Ripley reflects its long history. Full of picturesque historical buildings and a large village green, Ripley hosts a monthly Farmer’s Market, a Christmas Fair and a spectacular bonfire and fireworks event that includes a procession, a funfair and live music.

Sport is well catered for. The area is rich in golf courses, the closest being The Wisley, a 27-hole course whose members include Colin Montgomerie, while the 250-year-old Ripley Cricket Club plays regularly on the Green.

Local Attractions

Historic Ripley Coaching Inn
Historic Ripley

The countryside around Ripley offers some beautiful walking routes, especially along the tow-path of the17th-century River Wey Navigation. This offers superb views of the ruined Newark Priory on an island in the river, and the historic Walsham Lock and Weir is near the village.

Just a few miles up the road, you can find the world-famous Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley, 240 acres of the beautiful and the experimental, with the best garden bookshop in the country. If you need more, it’s only seven miles to the university city of Guildford, which offers museums, galleries and a truly elegant cathedral.

Shopping

Ripley has quaint, unusual shops to explore. Besides the expected antique outlets, such as Sweerts De Landas and J. Hartley Antiques, you can bring out your musical side at Ripley Guitars, or purchase glassware at Jo Downs Handmade Glass, as well as browsing A. Luff & Sons garden centre.

If you’re looking for a more cosmopolitan shopping experience, Guildford and Woking are each ten minutes’ drive away.

Eating Out

Ripley offers a wide choice of restaurants for its size, from the Michelin-starred Drake’s Restaurant to the fine cooking of the Talbot coaching inn, Anchor, Seven Stars and the Ripley Curry Garden. For afternoon tea and cakes, Pinnock’s Coffee House and the Nest Home & Café are both excellent.

Pubs and Night-life

Ripley is well supplied with pubs, many of which also offer food. A number of them go back to the age of the coaching inn, and pubs like the Anchor and the Jolly Sailor have a traditional feel matching the village.

In keeping with Ripley’s character, you won’t find lively nightspots here if you are staying overnight. If you’re looking for trendy bars and nightclubs, though, you’ll find a wide selection just seven miles up the road in Guildford.

There are many Places and Country House Hotels to visit in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is one of England’s favourite destinations, famous for its rolling hills and idyllic villages. The quintessentially English towns that dot the region boast fairy-tale names like Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh, with Chipping Campden always on the tourist route. You’ll also find thatched cottages, twisting footpaths and honey-colour limestone villages in a beautiful rural setting filled with fabulous country house hotels .

Plan Your Visit

Plan ahead for your visit to this part of the English countryside. You can walk over hills or through idlyllic villages and head out on cycle paths with the family. Stop at a Cotswold pub for lunch or browse outdoor foodie and artisanal markets before returning to your idyllic country house hotel  for a great meal and a good night’s rest.

This part of the gently undulating and seemingly evergreen countryside is enough to send Anglophile tourists into rapture

However, long before the tourist invasion, the Romans left their legacy in Cirencester, and the remains of villas and forts can be seen from Bury Hill to Woodchester.

Chipping Campden – a great Cotswold Village

Chipping Campden is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the Cotswolds . It is ideal for that short break. The location in the North Cotswolds is an ideal base for your accommodation for a touring break.

You can enjoy this charming old wool merchants’ town, and the nearby surrounding shire counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Chipping Campden Country House HotelsEvery year, the scenery around Chipping Campden delights visitors to this ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds‘. From snowdrops pushing through the snow in winter; bluebells in the woodland in springtime; to the fields carpeted with poppies in early summer. As summer progresses, you can take some short walks around the hills surrounding Campden and view the fields of lavender.  Finally, Autumn sees the fields of bales of hay and trees and fields turn gold.

“Chipping” means market or market place from the old English “Ceping”. Campden was already established in the 7th century and derives its name from the Saxon “Campa-denu” or “Campadene”, meaning a valley with fields or enclosures of cultivated land.

Chipping Campden was a rich wool trading centre in the Middle Ages enjoying the patronage of wealthy wool merchants. Today it is a popular Cotswold tourist destination with old inns, a country house hotels, specialist shops and restaurants. The High Street is lined with honey-coloured limestone buildings, built from Cotswold stone, and boasts a wealth of fine architecture. In the town stands the Market Hall with its splendid arches, built in 1627. In 1970 the High Street and much of the rest of the town was officially designated a conservation area to preserve the ancient town for centuries to come.

Other attractions include the grand wool church of St James – with its medieval altar frontals and vast and extravagant 17th-century monuments – as well as the Court Barn near the church is now a museum celebrating the rich Arts and Crafts tradition of the area

Hidcote near country house hotelsThere are two famous and historic gardens nearby: at Hidcote Manor Garden, owned and managed by the National Trust, and at Kiftsgate, privately owned but open to the public.

As you can see, the Cotswolds and the area around Chipping Campden make a perfect place to visit. Whether in summer or winter, there’s always something to fascinate you.

Why Nothing Beats a Trip To a Pembrokeshire Country Hotel

According to National Geographic, the Pembrokeshire coastline ranks as the second best in the world… and if anyone knows about these things it’s National Geographic.

A magnet for walkers, nature lovers, foodies and families, this Western part of Wales has become a favourite amongst tourists, and for good reason. Take for example the city of St. David’s – with a population of less than 2,000 it is the smallest city in Britain and one of the prettiest too, with its 12th century cathedral dominating the skyline.

Lamphey Court country hotel
BW Lamphey Court Hotel

On the other hand the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its abundant flora and fauna is a sensory feast. Impossibly beautiful and breathtakingly dramatic, it’s one of those places that’s typifies all the reasons to travel around the UK in the summer time – surely there’s nowhere more beautiful?

For families, Oakwood theme park with its Megafobia rollercoaster is the place to go (proudly tipped as the best ride in Britain according to Visit Wales), and the Victorian seaside town of Tenby is renowned for the health-giving properties of its sea air.

In amongst the reasons to head to Pembrokeshire while the sun is shining however is Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa, a gracious country hotel. Set in beautiful grounds and within two miles of a collection of beaches and secluded coves near Tenby, the Georgian mansion dates back to 1823 and is nestled into the Pembrokeshire National Park.

view from a country hotel

Accommodation is divided between the original building (complete with confection like white columns and light pouring in through the sash windows) and a collection of courtyard rooms and studios, which all have an equally beautiful but very different vibe, so if you do choose to go then have a proper gander through the pictures to get a better idea of which one’s for you.

Despite the building’s history, the décor is contemporary, and nowhere is that more evident than in the spa and leisure facilities of this country hotel. There’s plenty to keep you entertained, from floodlit tennis courts to the 14-metre pool and herbal sauna, as well as Aromatherapy Associates and Cinq Mondes spa treatments – if you haven’t tried either brand, you’re in for a treat.

Conservatory at the country hotel
Lamphey Court Hotel Conservatory Restaurant

When you visit this hotel you absolutely must potter over to Lamphey Bishop’s Palace. Adjacent to the hotel, the palace is a National Trust site and the former retreat of medieval bishops seeking solace away from the everyday demands of Church and State. These days it’s a ruin, but the scale and proportions give you a hint of the decadence it promised these worldly men accustomed to power and status – something to contemplate over a picnic perhaps.

Tenby’s four beaches are also a must, all boasting a variety of environmental awards and beautiful views, perfect for a walk from this Georgian country hotel. From the cove that is Castle Beach it’s possible to walk out to St. Catharine’s island at low tide (just be careful that it doesn’t cut you off while you’re there), and Harbour Beach is a sheltered little spot at the rear of the bay offering a path back to the town and a walkway around to another sunbathing hotspot – North Beach, which welcomes the crowds in the summer months thanks to its large stretch of golden sand and easy access.

Bedroom at Lamphey Court country hotel
Lamphey Court Hotel Bedroom

Finally, after all that fun the food at Lamphey Court is an experience in its own right. Adhering to the Slow Food Movement, ingredients are locally sourced and the natural production process is interfered with as little as possible – all rather pleasant things to think about when tucking into that Sunday lunch after a bracing swim in the sea.