The first of the British country hotels was opened in 1949. Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District, was the first hotel where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with an owner offering also offering a warm welcome and good food.
Today’s British country hotels continue to offer the same pleasures, but the best also offer excellent service, comfortable rooms with all the facilities you could wish for including fine dining, spas and much more.
Gleneagles Hotel and Spa, Auchterarder
Built in the 1920’s as a railway resort hotel, Gleagles Hotel is a mixed style of Scottish Baronial with French château. Considered as one of the best British country hotels, here you will find opulent comfort from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. The hotel is so big that you will need the map provided when you arrive, so give your self time to enjoy the best of Scotland.
Lime Wood, New Forest, Hampshire
Lime Wood is a country house hotel where the attention to detail in design makes it the best of British. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms flow together seamlessly: pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. With food prepared by celebrated chef Angela Hartnett working with Lime Wood’s own chef Luke Holder you will be eating the best Italian inspired dishes in the country that will be as magnificent as the surroundings.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William, Highlands
Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy as at the Inverlochy Castle hotel. Jacobean rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos are combined to perfection. Time appears to have stopped with the amount of swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood. Yet waterfall showers, state-of-the-art stereos and televisions, bring this one of the British country hotels that is completely up-to-date. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by one of the best Scottish five-course menu.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
Probably the most well-known of the British country hotels, thanks to its two-Michelin starred restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is a stately Oxfordshire home with an eccentric French mix. The honey-coloured Manor house sits within an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch. The menu is influenced by the British seasons to provide exquisite food. A 1930’s-style bar serves cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines.
Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Brecon Beacons
In the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk, Gliffaes is a peaceful retreat within 33 acres of grounds. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, but not overdone. Their restaurant has an excellent menu.
Cliveden, Taplow, Berkshire
Recognised as one of the best of British country hotels, the Cliveden is set in spectacular ancient woodland running down to the Thames. The house has history spanning more than three centuries, including powerful personalities, debauched parties and scandalous affairs, including the Profumo affair that changed British politics forever. Enriched with antique furniture and period features, whilst also providing a luxurious setting, you can walk through one of the best Grade I listed formal gardens and woodlands that give panoramic views over the Berkshire countryside.
The Pig at Combe, Gittisham, Devon
This secluded Elizabethan gem of a country hotel is set in 3,500 acres Devonshire countryside, yet is easily accessible. The 27 rooms are charming, traditional yet cleverly stylish with mini-bars hidden inside antique cupboards and some televisions disguised as antique mirrors. The menu is all sourced from within twenty-five miles of the hotel, adding to produce from the kitchen gardens.
Llangoed Hall hotel, Wye Valley, Powys
The Sunday Times 2016 Best Restaurant in Wales, Llangoed Hall is another one of the elegant and historic country hotels situated in the Welsh countryside of the Wye Valley. It offers the quintessential Edwardian country house experience with charming rooms, full of character; a rich, fascinating history; a fine art collection and beautiful gardens. The restaurant offers an intimate fine dining experience with food sourced locally and fruit and vegetables from the hotel’s very own kitchen gardens.
Killiecrankie House Hotel, Perthshire
With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the hotel has 10 elegant and comfortable rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two rooms are the same, they are all different shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. The service is superb with a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets turned down while you dine.