Feeling the urge to get away from it all? Everyone needs a break from city life once in a while and heading to a cosy countryside retreat is often just the answer. The combination of comfortable lodgings with open surroundings and quiet calmness can help even the busiest minds to relax. Read our recommendations below and book a night at one of these rural UK retreats to experience just that.
Cover image credit: istockphoto.com/akabei
Credit: Jonathan Day/Wikimedia Commons
A night at this beautiful 900-year-old hotel is the next best thing to owning your own castle. Its location, in the heart of the South Downs, makes it the perfect spot to head to for some much-needed time out – guests can spend hours roaming the beautiful gardens, with only the resident peacocks for company. Keen golfers can practise their putting skills on the 18-hole course, before celebrating their hole-in-one at the hotel’s restaurant, which was recently awarded 3 AA Rosettes. We’re particularly smitten with the enormous portcullis which doubles as the entrance.
From £195 per room per night
Augill Castle has a fascinating history (as well as fantastic views over the Yorkshire Dales). It was built in 1841 by John Bagot Pearson in an attempt to outdo his brother, who owned an equally grand property nearby. No expense was spared – there are fairytale-like towers and twisting turrets, and much of the property has remained largely unchanged, whether it’s the original claw-footed baths or the beautiful stained glass windows. The property has 17 bedrooms, including six in the main castle. The other rooms can be found in the orangery, estate house and coach house.
From £240 per room per night
Tropical islands are overrated. Star Castle has it all – a wonderfully remote location, a fascinating history and all the mod-cons, including a tennis court and heated swimming pool. Built in the 1600s to help defend England from invaders, the castle is a brilliant destination for families – kids can explore the moat, garrison wall and cannons, or sign up for horse riding or kayaking sessions. The bedrooms can be found in the main castle as well as the sprawling gardens – if you’re feeling flush, splash out on the garden suite, which comes with a private veranda and breathtaking sea views.
From £160 per room per night
Credit: Sue Adair/ CC BY-SA 2.0
You’ll enjoy wonderfully wild sea views if you book a stay at this hotel – it’s perched on a particularly rugged stretch of the Antrim coastline. The 54-room property even has its own ghost (she apparently hangs out in the tower, and we’re assured she’s perfectly friendly), which is hardly surprising considering the property was built in 1625. In 2014, a £3 million refurbishment gave the castle a thoroughly modern makeover, and today, it’s particularly popular with hikers – the Glens of Antrim are close by, as is the Gobbins Cliff Path, a historic coastal route soon to be reopened.
From £130 per room per night
The Cottage in the Wood turns 100 next year, although guests planning on joining the celebrations should book early – there are just 30 rooms at this beautiful hotel. Our favourite spot is the beautiful 1919 restaurant and bar – the menu’s filled with delicious food sourced from local suppliers, and the head chef’s a huge fan of foraging. Then there are the gorgeous views – whether it’s the rolling Cotswolds hills or the forested valleys of the Vale of Evesham. If you overindulge in the restaurant, we recommend a hike to the nearby Worcestershire Beacon.
From £48 per room per night
Proof that remote doesn’t mean roughing it, the sprawling Torridon Resort comprises a five-star, 18-room hotel, traditional Scottish inn, fine dining restaurant, pub and private cottage. A fun fact? It’s one of the few hotels to have its own gin, which was created in partnership with the nearby Dunnet Bay Distillery and is made with locally-foraged plants, including seaweed and kelp. Gin-induced hangovers can be cured with a walk around the property’s 53-acre estate, at the foot of the Torridon Hills, or with the wide range of activities available on-site, including sea kayaking, archery, clay pigeon shooting, coasteering and gorge scrambling.
From £72.50 per room per night
It doesn’t get more remote than this – a loch-side country house hotel miles from the nearest town. The rooms are rather spectacular too – there are 16 bedrooms, but guests can also bed down in a converted wagon (it’s much comfier than it sounds), and there are plans to build eco-pods on the grounds of the property. We’re particularly fond of the achingly-cool interior design – think statement pieces of furniture, colourful pieces of wall art and lots of exposed brickwork. The beauty of this particular hotel is that it’s still a working farm – you’ll be able to visit the property’s black-faced ewes, cattle and Tamworth pigs, and the eggs you’ll feast on at breakfast will come from Monachyle Mhor’s very own chickens.
From £195 per room per night