It’s been just over a year spent in national lockdown and we’ve all been longing for the moment travel restrictions are lifted. With international travel uncertainties, it increasingly looks like staycations here in England are the way forward. Luckily, I know a few lovely places that are stylish and sophisticated, each offering something truly special to look forward to.
Dubbed as the perfect rural stay for two, Plum Cottages at Henley, West Sussex and Empshott Green, Hampshire offer a stylish, idyllic getaway destination. Both cottages are available fully equipped with all the luxurious necessities, each boasting its own character, while serving as the perfect break from London. Plum at Henley is a charming one bedroom cottage on two floors, tucked away at the end of the Lickfold valley in Henley, West Sussex. Complete with access to a local pub, indoor and outdoor log fires, a trout pond and a gorgeous restaurant – this cottage is the perfect stay for any couple. Plum at Empshott Green, on the other hand, is also a one bedroom cottage, located 61 miles from Hyde Park Corner and situated in the lavish gardens of an elegant country house. While there’s no private garden, take a walk in all the scenic footpaths Hampshire has to offer. With interiors drummed up by Paolo Moschino, look forward to hand painted walls, exquisite wallpapers, open fires, and an irresistible atmosphere.
Undeniably, Beaverbrook in the Surrey Hills is a hotel to be reckoned with. Stretched over 400 acres of land, this place is hard to turn down for the weekend: vast woodlands to discover on foot, a trout-filled lake, and rooms with views of rolling hills. The overall ambience is remarkable: imagine crackling fires, rich fabrics, designer art, vibrant colours, and unbridled elegance. What’s more, there’s also a 20-metre indoor pool and a spa. The food is top-notch and designed to suit the most sophisticated of palates. You’ll find the Japanese Grill, where seafood-inspired dishes are a favourite. And at the Garden House Restaurant, take delight in fresh European bites. This English Country House Estate offers something truly outstanding.
Picture dining on sustainably-sourced, seasonal produce in a quintessential countryside setting. This charming restaurant, with its open fires, wooden beams and cosy atmosphere is unmistakably British but also offers a changing menu with Italian and international flair. Situated in a 17th-century village inn, The Swan’s motto is simple: home grown, homemade. Baked goods such as fresh bread and dessert are a must. If you find yourself yearning for a countryside culinary experience, The Swan at Thyme is a crowd pleaser.
Since the 1880s, the Rhinefield House took its present form, dating back to a time when New Forest was first proclaimed by William the Conqueror. Steeped in history, the Rhinefield House Hotel is a magnificent blend of coast and countryside. Boasting a combination of Tudor and Gothic architecture, Rhinefield makes for a stunning country hotel. It’s also a delightful destination for an exuberant break from the city.
The forest was once a hunting ground, but today the 500+ square kilometre National Park serves as a playground for people of all ages and interests. For outdoor enthusiasts, this is truly a treat with activities such as archery, ropes course, bushcraft, horseback riding and golf on the menu. Kayaking, canoeing and raft building are similarly accessible activities. Long walks by the sea are also in the cards. For a bite to eat, head back to the 50-bedroom hotel, where the Rosette Armada restaurant is a great place for romantic or celebratory dining while The Conservatory offers up a less formal setting with pond views.
Gara Rock Hotel
The Gara Rock Hotel is situated on a clifftop enveloped by countryside and sea views. This is an easy-going, down-to-earth kind of destination that’s best experienced with a loved one, family members or a best friend.
Gara Rock offers a much deserved break from the everyday. With an easy-going and down to earth atmosphere, consider booking a getaway with a loved one. Why not try something truly out of the ordinary, with a weekend at the Secret Suite. Perched on the clifftop with endless sea views, this suite is practically made for luxurious getaway. A hot tub to call your own, tucked away from the main hotel – there’s no chance you’ll want to leave anytime soon.