Enjoy a end-of-year getaway in one of the UK's many luxury abodes11/07/2021
FEELING end-of-year burnout?
Relax in the lap of luxury at one of these characterful abodes.
Burleigh Court, Cotswolds
Stylist Jess Evans and fiancé Jack luxed out
THE PAD: This Grade-II-listed boutique hideaway in the heart of the Cotswolds balances rustic, relaxed English country charm – picture roaring open fires – with pure luxe touches. Set in beautiful manicured gardens, the hotel has panoramic views across the golden countryside. It’s easy to see why the Beckhams chose to lock down in their nearby home. Inside, snuggle up in a sumptuous four-poster bed, and think about the hardest decision you’ll have to make during your stay – what to eat at the on-site gourmet restaurant.
EXPLORE: Work up an appetite by exploring the lush valleys, ancient woodlands and rolling hills that surround Burleigh Court – hotel staff can help with routes and give you maps of self-guided walks. And there’s no need to leave your four-legged friends at home – they are very welcome in one of the hotel’s huge, dog-friendly rooms. Just 15 minutes away by car, Gothic Revival masterpiece Woodchester Mansion is a must-visit. This unfinished, slightly spooky building would be right up Kevin McCloud’s street. Adult entry costs £8.50, children under 16 go free (Woodchestermansion.org.uk). The picturesque market town of Stroud is just around the corner. Visit on a Saturday, 9am-2pm, to enjoy a mooch around the farmers’ market. We must give a special shout-out to the incredible brownies at Baked by Beth’s stall (Fresh-n-local.co.uk/trader/stroud).
REFUEL: The hotel’s two-AA-Rosette restaurant, run by the talented James and Corinna, is a showcase for the very best local produce. At £24.50 for three courses, lunch is great value. Start with a charcuterie board, followed by pork belly with confit potato, and a dessert of pear and ginger cake with lashings of cream. Prefer to go plant-based? There are heaps of tasty options, including moreish potato and pea samosas with aubergine caponata, £9. Hit the super-cool bar to toast your stay with a tipple(or three) – you can even sample a glass of wine or beer from the nearby vineyards and breweries.
DON'T MISS: Burleigh Court offers incredible experiences without even leaving the hotel, including wreath making or the new wild foodie foraging experience, £65 per person.
BOOK IT: Double rooms costs from £119 per night, including breakfast (Burleighcourtcotswolds.co.uk).
The Mitre, Hampton Court
Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer and daughter Frankie, 18, enjoyed a trip fit for royalty
THE PAD: Sitting in a prime spot opposite Hampton Court Palace on the banks of the River Thames, this characterful boutique hotel dates back to 1665. Originally built for visitors to the palace, The Mitre underwent an extensive makeover during lockdown and boasts beautiful hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper, a cosy library and a vibrant bar. From the complimentary glass of fizz during check-in to the bag of freshly baked biscuits hanging on your door handle, the details are all delightful. Our stylishly designed room’s massive four-poster bed, super-comfy sofa area and fluffy bathrobes all made for a seriously indulgent stay.
EXPLORE: It’d be rude not to check out Hampton Court Palace next door. Enjoy a nose around Henry VIII’s private apartment and the kitchens, all of which are brought to life by character actors who deliver a live history lesson. After a stroll around the beautiful gardens, you’ll feel inspired to grow more blooms yourself. Tickets cost £23.50 per adult and £12.60 for children over five (Hrp.org.uk). Meanwhile, thrill-seekers can shake things up with a trip to Chessington World of Adventures, only a 20-minute drive away. New ride Croc Drop sees you plunge 25m right into the jaws of a giant crocodile. Tickets cost from £34 per adult (Chessington.com).
REFUEL: You can feast like King Henry VIII himself at The Mitre’s restaurant, 1665. Sitting on a terrace overlooking the shimmering Thames, Frankie and I kicked off with cocktails – mine a mojito, £11, and hers a passion-fruit martini, £12. After succulent starters of Devon squid, rocket and chilli salad, £12, and seared sesame tuna sashimi, £15, we enjoyed exceptional mains of Cornish lemon sole meunière with new potatoes, £27, and roasted bass in miso broth, £25. Be sure to save room for desserts of caramelised lemon tart, £8, and Nutella-and-raspberry-filled doughnuts called bomboloni, £8. Delish.
DON'T MISS: If the weather’s on your side, pack a picnic, hire a small motor boat from Martin’s Boat Hire and soak up the scenery along the river, £90 for two hours (Martinsboathire.com).
BOOK IT: Double rooms costs from £178 per night, including breakfast (Mitrehamptoncourt.com).
The Principal, York
Senior Video Producer Rachael Clarke and boyfriend Stuart found history, food and fun
THE PAD: Just a stone’s throw from the train station, this grand Victorian hotel is the perfect base from which to discover this buzzing historic city. Set in quiet gardens, the hotel overlooks York Minster, one of the country’s most magnificent cathedrals (Yorkminster.org). It’s quite a view to wake up to! Inside, the vibe is “home from home”, with comfy guest lounges, chic yet calming decor and a huge heated indoor pool.
explore With its cobbled streets and old-fashioned shopfronts, you could easily spend a whole weekend in York, but it’s still well worth going further afield. York Cycling Tours will take you off the beaten track on a two-hour pedal, £48 for two adults, to reveal the city’s fascinating hidden history (Yorkcyclingtours.com). Not just for kids – though they will love it – the York Dungeon is a must to see some of the city’s most gruesome stories come to life through frighteningly funny actors. Tickets cost from £17.55 (Thedungeons.com/york).
REFUEL: Start your morning off right with delicious freshly baked pastries from the hotel’s buffet breakfast. If you think the city’s grub scene is all Sunday roasts and Yorkshire puddings, think again. It has transformed into a serious foodie destination. Grab a table at Café 21, which serves hearty comfort food, much of it plant-based. We loved the aubergine parmigiana, £13.50 (Cafe21york.co.uk). Stop by Cave du Cochon for top-notch glasses of wine with gourmet treats such as Rockefeller oysters, £3.50 each, or a mean sourdough margherita pizza, £7 (Caveducochon.uk). For afternoon tea, Plush Café’s over-the-top affair – featuring bottomless tea, naturally! – will more than satisfy, £19.95 per person (Plushcafe.co.uk).
DON'T MISS: Love being spooked? Join Dorian Deathly (yes, really!) on a 90-minute night walk around Europe’s most haunted city, £8 (Doriandeathly.co.uk).
BOOK IT: Double rooms costs from £200 per night, including breakfast (Theprincipalyork.ihg.com). Plan your trip at Visityork.com.
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