Our homes have become so much more than the place we retire to at the end of the day. Over the last few months, they've morphed into our offices, our gyms, our coffee shops. So it's little wonder that most of us are itching to get away from them (albeit temporarily) and explore different surroundings to relax in a new space. But with a big question mark still looming over lots of overseas destinations, staycations are proving to be all the more appealing—particularly those in our glorious British countryside.
With mountains and rivers and lakes and forests, our countryside boasts a bountiful array of places to discover, but that's not the only reason to stay on home soil. Dotted across the country are some of the best hotels we've ever stayed in. While they'd undoubtedly be worthy of a visit any year, given the current circumstances, we think it's the perfect time to stay at one of the best countryside hotels the UK has to offer. Below you'll find a selection of some of our favourite chic outposts. Be warned: You'll never want to leave.
A favourite among those in fashion circles, The Pig strikes the perfect balance of luxury and relaxation—an elevated country bolthole. The food is certainly a highlight, with meals made using the finest local produce. The beauty treatments are also second to none. We'll never tire of the novelty of heading to the outdoor potting shed for a relaxing massage.
Serving as part of Soho House's impressive hotel roster, Babington House's reputation precedes it. During the summer months, you'll want to spend much of your time lying on one of the oversize sun loungers dotted around the outdoor pool, soaking in the picturesque surroundings. Should that not be an option, you may consider making use of the hotel's tennis courts, cinema, or indoor pool. Oh, and did we mention there's a Cowshed spa? If heaven exists on Earth, you'll find it at Babington.
If luxury is what you seek, look no further than Gleneagles. It's nestled in the rugged hills of Perthshire with a spa, a pool, gorgeous boutiques, the Bob & Cloche beauty lodge, as well as plentiful outdoor pursuits. You could comfortably spend an entire season here. First-class service comes standard, while the glamorous yet relaxed ambience ensures your time there feels deservedly special but not in the slightest bit intimidating. There are several restaurant options. From fine dining in The Strathearn to delicious Mediterranean classics in The Birnam Brasserie, you'll find delicacies for every palate. Round your evening off with a nightcap in The American Bar, comforted by the fact that Gleneagles's legendary breakfast awaits you the next morning.
The Rectory has all the warmth and homeyness of a country escape with the premium feel of high-end hotels we'd expect from the British capital. Romantic rooms overlook the chocolate-box village. After a day exploring the beautiful surroundings, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool, or perhaps you'd prefer to peruse the considered wine list in the bar.
A chic outpost run by the same family who owns Ballintaggart Farm—a cookery school and working farm a few miles down the road—The Grandtully is certainly deserving of its reputation. Perfectly positioned between picturesque Pitlochry and the market town of Aberfeldy in Scotland, this stylish, cosy, and comfortable hotel boasts rooms as beautiful as the food you’ll find on its plates. With lots of lovely cafes and independent shops to discover nearby, you'll soon find yourself falling for the local charm.
Sitting quietly in the heart of Pembrokeshire, mere miles from the region's idyllic coastline, is Grove at Narberth, a beautiful manor which is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places in Wales. At the Grove, you can expect the warm hospitality for which the Welsh are known; you'll be made to feel like old friends instead of fleeting guests. The rooms are equally appealing, as are the four lounges adorned with plush sofas that are just waiting to be sunken in to. You'll likely be tempted to spend your entire stay within the tranquil house, but with sandy beaches and woodland trails both within easy reach, it would be amiss not to enjoy what awaits outdoors.
Part boutique hotel, part adventure hangout, The Fish is a country escape like no other situated in a 400-acre estate. You can choose to stay in a sophisticated treehouse, a shepherd's hut or one of the chic rooms located in the converted farmhouse, coach house, or stables, ensuring there's a stylish space for every kind of guest. A highlight is undoubtedly outdoor tubs, which will make you question why you don't have one of your own at home.
If honeyed stone and hanging baskets are your thing, then a visit to the village of Blanchland should be of the utmost priority, particularly if you intend to stay at Lord Crewe Arms. Leaning into its old-world aesthetic, the property blends flagstone floors and pale-washed boards with church chairs, mahogany furniture, and old oil paintings to create a cosy but nonetheless refined ambience. During the day, borrow one of the property's bikes and enjoy the sweet surroundings. By night, toast your stay with a neat drink in stone-lined Crypt bar.
Having recently been crowned Hotel of the Year by The Sunday Times, The Fife Arms is so much more than the hype it has subsequently (albeit duly) garnered. It's a passion project undertaken by art dealers Hauser & Wirth, with works by Pablo Picasso decorating its walls and a monstrous Louise Bourgeois spider keeping watch over the courtyard. To say it's an art lover’s dream would be a grave understatement. Everything down to the doorknobs in The Fife Arms has a story to tell—the tales of which the highly knowledgeable staff will gladly divulge to you over a bowl of garden pea risotto in The Flying Stag, a pub frequented by the colourful locals, of whom hand-drawn portraits line the walls.
This 17th-century farmhouse has been transformed into a place of tranquility and style. Quaint, countryside interiors are enhanced by Scandi-chic flair, making for truly inspiring décor. With three very different restaurants, there’s a generous choice of dining, which is guaranteed to appease even the most knowledgeable of foodies. The Scandinavian-inspired spa is also a sight to behold; during a visit, one of our team treated herself to a facial and regales that it's the best she's ever had.