A collection of wellies standing guard in the lobby. Fireplaces flanked by stacks of logs, flames fending off the inevitable evening chill. The perpetual possibility of a cup of tea and something sweet any time of the day. English countryside hotels have a unique blend of upscale comfort and wholesome relaxation — perfectly complemented by Barbour jackets, a touch of tweed, and a good pair of walking boots. While more rustic accommodations (country inns, pubs, and Airbnbs) are always an option, travellers looking for luxury experiences among Great Britain’s rolling green hills have a variety of high-end hotels to choose from. By Lydia Mansel
For travellers seeking a world-class spa day in the heart of the Cotswolds, Thyme checks all of the boxes with its bespoke treatments and spring water swimming pool. If you’re expecting horses, clay pigeon shooting, and falconry, a stay at Lucknam Park just might be the ticket. And if seasonal produce and cider orchards tickle your fancy, The Newt at Somerset should be your next getaway.
While some country estates lean into old-world glamour, others take bits and pieces of a bucolic aesthetic and marry them with clean, modern design elements. A few can even claim the elusive Michelin-star title for their accompanying restaurants. Only a handful, however, have the elegance and style to be described as “chic.” Read on to discover more of our picks for the chicest hotels in the English countryside.
To say Heckfield Place does “chic countryside” well would be an understatement. The property’s proprietors spent nearly a decade making sure every piece of art, every rug, and every amenity was perfect — and that eye for detail is apparent the second you enter the front hallway. Spotless linen sofas (keeping a country house pristine is no small feat), rustic wooden tables topped with flowers grown on the estate’s farm, and even the room key envelopes monogrammed with guests’ initials come together to create something that can only be described as unforgettable.
But you can’t talk about Heckfield Place without mentioning its fresh air offerings. Those daring enough can try wild swimming in one of the ponds. Pro tip: If you’re visiting during the colder months, ask the front desk to arm you with a warm drink, towels, and a dryrobe. Further down the property, you’ll spot Home Farm, the on-site biodynamic farm that provides the estate’s multiple restaurants with everything from herbs, vegetables, and fruits to flowers, honey, and decorative pumpkins.
As one of the countryside hotel’s Instagram captions so accurately reads, “Heckfield is a place to feel in awe of and at home in.” You’d need a week to discover every magical corner and experience Heckfield Place has to offer — or at least a long, leisurely weekend.
Cliveden House‘s appeal is formed by its storied past, National Trust status, and top-of-the-line service. Not to mention its location overlooking the Thames and its ties to the Royal Family — Meghan Markle stayed at Cliveden before her marriage to Prince Harry. While it could’ve easily become something of a stuffy, old-school destination, the property has remained relevant and ever-so-stylish over the years. A large part of that comes from the team’s unrivalled knowledge of the hotel’s past, which makes guests feel included in the overarching story, and the luxurious spa, where specialists use contemporary products like Oskia and OTO.
Travellers who want that true Pride & Prejudice or Downton Abbey experience will certainly find it at Cliveden. From country walks across the sprawling estate to afternoon tea in the Great Hall, every inch of Cliveden feels simultaneously elevated and welcoming — and just a little bit magical.
You’ll need to head several hours north of London to find Callow Hall, a stylish country house in Derbyshire, right at the entrance of the Peak District. Opened in September 2021, Callow Hall not only has the whole chic countryside feel down pat, but it also has something unique: secluded tree houses. Guests can take a golf cart up to one of the 11 one-bedroom “hives” or choose to sleep in one of the 15 rooms in the main house. Staying in the hives may mean waking up among the trees, but these abodes don’t skimp on comfort. You’ll have access to an en-suite bathroom, a chef’s cupboard, and outdoor seating for two.
Found in the Surrey Hills, Beaverbrook isn’t far from London (simply take a 45-minute train from Waterloo to Leatherhead railway station), but its tranquillity and mystique transport you to a bygone era. Once the country home of Lord Beaverbrook, an influential media and political figure in the early 1900s, the hotel has all the charm of a fabulous second home, but with many of the amenities of a five-star hotel. Off the lobby, you’ll find a private movie theatre in a plush room once used by Winston Churchill. Guests can also partake in fishing, cycling, and croquet on the grounds. The Coach House Spa is a quick walk from the main house; here, you’ll have access to indoor and outdoor pools, a thermal spa, and a complete gym.
If you want the Beaverbrook experience but can’t make it out to the countryside, the team recently opened Beaverbrook Town House, a must-visit boutique hotel in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood.
Calcot & Spa
The most family-friendly hotel on the list, Calcot & Spa is just down the road from Prince Charles’s Gloucestershire abode. Like many countryside accommodations, Calcot & Spa is relatively unassuming upon first glance; it’s a traditional English hotel spread out across multiple buildings. When you get inside, however, and begin to experience the thoughtful touches and bright, modern rooms, you’ll never want to leave. Travellers who want to bring along the whole family will find all the amenities to keep everyone busy: an indoor pool, a heated outdoor pool, a playground, disc golf, and plenty of room to run around. For moments of quiet, head to the spa or the outdoor hot tub, perfectly placed in front of a cosy fireplace.
The Manor House
Castle Combe, one of the most photographed villages in the Cotswolds, is home to The Manor House. A 14th-century luxury hotel and golf club, The Manor House is the ultimate destination for those pursuing the finer things in life: a Michelin-starred meal, an 18-hole golf course, and plenty of picturesque moments in the quiet countryside. There’s no doubt the hotel is grand — dark woods, velvets, and rich hues — but it does cater to those who want the really rustic adventure. Guests are welcome to the wellies at the entrance, and long, countryside walks are heavily encouraged.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com