18 Staycations Across the UK to Enjoy a Short Break
From utterly idyllic retreats to architectural masterpiece we’ve picked out some of the best
Duke of Portland Boathouse
In brief: Looking for an utterly idyllic romantic retreat? The iconic Duke of Portland Boathouse offers just that, and then some.
Our highlight: Taking in the stunning views over Ullswater from the boathouse’s balcony.
Insider guide: Step inside this boathouse perched on the banks of Lake Ullswater, which has been transformed into a beautiful open-plan cottage featuring a living area with leather sofa and log-burning stove, a fully equipped kitchen and a double bedroom leading out onto a private balcony overlooking the lake and hills. The bespoke kitchen with granite breakfast bar provides all you need for intimate dining a deux, before you enjoy an evening pamper in the luxurious slate shower room, complete with roll-top bath and complimentary matching robes.
Peak Edge Hotel
In brief: A four-star boutique hotel with perfect pub grub and cosy rooms on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
Our highlight: The award-winning Red Lion Restaurant. With eggs delivered direct from the owner’s farm, and bread baked fresh daily in-house, you’re served homely classics and seasonal dishes from seafood to steak.
Insider guide: A stay at this rural retreat offers luxury as well as home comforts. Relax in one of the 27 luxurious bedrooms and suites before indulging in the delicious meals here. Hypnos memory foam promises a perfect night’s sleep. What better base to explore? There’s a host of countryside walks and cycling trails on your doorstep.
Darley Road, Stone Edge, Chesterfield S45 0LW
In brief: A hotel and spa by the shores of Grasmere.
Our highlight: The stunning lake views from the Balcony Suite.
Insider guide: This delightful hotel boasts 78 stylish bedrooms and suites with unrivalled views across the Vale of Grasmere and out towards Helm Crag. After a bracing walk, unwind in the Daffodil’s spa, with its thermal pool, sauna, tepidarium, and the finest Germaine de Cappuccini spa products. When you’re feeling suitably pampered, enjoy fine dining and lake views in the Dining Room or relax over small plates and Champagne in the chic Lobby Bar. Indulgence meets beautiful escapism in this lakeside hotel.
Keswick Road, Grasmere LA22 9PR
In brief: A Scottish masterpiece of 19th century Baronial splendour housing 17 bedrooms and suites, all with their own unique design and character.
Our highlight: The backdrop of Ben Nevis, the gardens and woodland, reflected in the hotel’s glass-like loch.
Insider guide: If you can tear yourself away from the palatial comforts of the hotel, walk around the woodland gardens and down to the tranquil loch, and test your aim with clay pigeon shooting, archery and tomahawk throwing before heading back to the comfort of your spacious room. The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant has a menu crammed with locally produced, seasonal dishes, and with Michelin-star chef Michael Roux Jr at the helm, expect British cuisine with French influences.
Torlundy, Fort William PH33 6SN
In brief: A luxurious country house hotel wrapped in 17 acres of secluded grounds which lead down to the lake.
Our highlight: This impressive Grade II*-listed building is set in what is arguably the best location on Lake Windermere.
Insider guide: This is a family-friendly, family-run hotel. Choose to stay among the charming period features of the main house, in the secluded Boathouse or in the Lakeside Suites with hot tubs beside the water. In the restaurant and Tower Bar, you’ll discover timelessly popular dishes made using fresh local ingredients, with the emphasis on flavour. There’s also a daily pub-style bar menu and a carefully-curated cocktail list – what’s not to love? If you’re in the mood to get out on the lake itself, book a boat ride and be picked up from the hotel’s private jetty for a jaunt on the water, or try your hand at paddleboarding, wild swimming, kayaking or wakesurfing.
Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3LG
Killiehuntly Farmhouse & Cottages
In brief: A 17th century farmhouse which has been transformed into a Scandi-sleek destination.
Our highlight: The larder full of local produce – from eggs laid by their own hens to fish and meat from friends in the community.
Insider guide: Referring to their interiors as Scandi-Scot, this lodge is all about stripped-back style, a muted palette and sheepskin. More chalet than shooting lodge, there are just four rooms in the farmhouse, but there’s an honesty bar to help yourself to a cold beer, mountain bikes to borrow and jumpers by the door if you didn’t pack enough of your own. The house is on a working farm and has its own kitchen garden supplying much of the menu served at the communal dining table. Breakfast is another heart-warming affair, served in the farmhouse kitchen beside the AGA. There are also two self-catering cottages, perfect for a family getaway, all with the same cool vibe.
Kingussie PH21 1NZ
In brief: A Victorian country house hideaway at the gateway to the Peak District.
Our highlight: The hotel’s unique Hives – secluded woodland bedrooms complete with king-sized beds, mini-kitchen and an outdoor deck.
Insider guide: There are 15 individually-designed bedrooms in the house, two magnificent treehouses and 11 woodland hives – this retreat has a place for everyone and invites you to reconnect with your wild side. The treehouses are surrounded by a deck with a copper bath and a lounger for relaxing and stargazing and the hives have a fire pit outside for toasting marshmallows.The Garden Room restaurant and bar serves fresh, seasonal food and overlooks the valley, and the converted Coach House boasts wonderful wellbeing experiences from cycling to yoga.
Mappleton, Ashbourne DE6 2AA
In brief: An architectural masterpiece with 44 Art Deco bedrooms and magnificent views over Morecombe bay.
Our highlight: The Ravilious Rotunda Bar. Celebrating? This is the perfect place. Alongside an impressive selection of spirits, wines and cocktails, expect casual dining in stylish surroundings, with everything from Lancashire tapas platters to fish and chips on offer.
Insider guide: An internationally-renowned Art Deco building, The Midland was designed by Oliver Hill and restored for the 21st century. From classics cocktails to delightful dishes, whether you’re dining in the Sun Terrace Restaurant or indulging in afternoon tea, you’re promised the best service. The beach-front location means sea views without hopping on a plane, and it’s the perfect base for exploring the Lake District and Lancashire.
Marine Road West, Morecambe LA4 4BU
Kimpton Blythswood Square
In brief: A terrace of Georgian townhouses which have been elegantly transformed into a stunning, five-star contemporary spa hotel.
Our highlight: The seamless blend of original architecture and contemporary design.
Insider guide: This chic hotel is home to a luxury spa, cinema room, a restaurant and Salon Bar overlooking Glasgow’s leafy square. For a breakaway with a difference, try their Penthouse Suite complete with a private lift, sunken bathtub, kitchen, dining room, 153 square metres of space and a private rooftop garden. The accompanying restaurant, Iasg, serves authentic Scottish seafood, with the ambition to serve produce as sustainably as possible – £1 from every bill goes to The Firth of Forth Lobster Hatchery who rear and release lobsters to maintain their natural stock.
Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD
0141 248 8888
Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa
In brief: A luxurious lakeside retreat with Derwentwater on its doorstep.
Our highlight: The luxurious Falls Spa, with 18 state-of-the-art spa bedrooms, is a blissful escape.
Insider guide: Built in traditional Lakeland slate, this beautiful hotel at the foot of Derwentwater has a range of facilities, and there are kayaks, canoes and sailing boats to be commandeered nearby. All the opulent suites were constructed with the design philosophy of making each space as relaxing and elegant as possible. The spa includes treatment rooms, a Champagne bar, an extensive thermal suite and a 16-metre outdoor hydro-pool. Choose to dine on sushi, tempura, fragrant curries and spicy ramen in Mizu Pan-Asian restaurant (just by the Falls themselves) or head into the two-Rosette Lake View Restaurant for imaginative menus packed with local produce.
Derwentwater, Keswick CA12 5UX
In brief: A relaxed country house hotel with a great kitchen.
Our highlight: Although cocooned in its own gardens, the hotel’s views over Lake Windermere and the fells beyond are mesmerising.
Insider guide: A welcoming, whitewashed Edwardian hotel close to the major attractions of Bowness and Windermere yet a world away from their tourist bustle. Rooms here are generously sized and scream luxe country style. Book a junior suite with a hot tub (located in a secluded wooded area of the hotel grounds), or choose a Fell Suite in the grounds, which you’ll be escorted to in a golf buggy. Guests can relax in the conservatory and on the terrace but there’s also croquet, petanque, in-room spa treatments and a tarn for swimming or fishing. Simon Rogan’s outstanding Henrock restaurant at Linthwaite has a constantly changing a la carte menu inspired by his travels, and also uses local produce direct from Simon’s own nearby farm.
Crook Road, Bowness on Windermere LA23 3JA
In brief: A Scottish Edwardian country house hotel with magnificent views.
Our highlight: Like whisky? The Whisky Room hosts private dining for up to 12 guests surrounded by some of the finest malts from Scotland and around the world.
Insider guide: As well as whisky, Greywalls has a fine selection of wines to accompany your lunch or dinner and you can watch the sunset from the main dining room. In the hotel there are 17 bedrooms including one premium spa double room, 11 large rooms, one small double room and four single-bedded caddy closet rooms. Just 100 yards from the main house, there are also six self-contained cottage rooms and most rooms boast uninterrupted views either over Muirfield and the Firth of Forth or over to the Lammermuir Hills.
Muirfield, Gullane EH31 2EG
In brief: A three Michelin-starred restaurant with a number of distinctive rooms.
Our highlight: The rooms are lovely, but the food is the real draw here.
Insider guide: There’s a lot we could say about the food Simon Rogan and his team serve up at L’Enclume. It’s local, it’s seasonal, it’s innovative, based on a farm-to-table philosophy that has to be tasted to be believed – but really, you just need to try it. The restaurant (which holds an incredible three Michelin stars and a Michelin Green Star for sustainability) sits in a stunning riverside location, and the 16 rooms are scattered around the village of Cartmel. Room reservations include breakfast at L’Enclume’s sister restaurant, Rogan & Co, which is also in the village.
Cavendish Street, Cartmel LA11 6QA
The Bonnie Badger
In brief: A gastro-pub with rooms, with Tom Kitchin in the kitchen.
Our highlight: Tom Kitchin in the kitchen (and the beach five minutes’ walk away).
Insider guide: In the heart of East Lothian’s enchanting coastal village of Gullane, Scandi-style meets Scottish hospitality at The Bonnie Badger. There are 12 individually designed rooms and one master suite situated across the main house or in the two garden cottages, and all are designed to impress with sophisticated Scottish textiles and interiors. The food, as you would imagine, is cleverly comforting and the breakfast itself is worth staying for. The Bonnie Badger is child- and dog-friendly too.
Main Street, Gullane EH31 2AB
In brief: The new Edinburgh outpost of the iconic Perthshire country house hotel.
Our highlight: The buzzy rooftop Lamplighters Bar with its sweeping views across Edinburgh from the terrace.
Insider guide: With the same meticulous attention to detail as its famous sister hotel, this former bank building is the first brand extension for 97 years. Interiors are an elegant mix between town and country and the 33 bedrooms are spacious and stylish in a traditional sense with velvet armchairs, tester beds, panelled walls and pelmeted curtains, whilst the bathrooms boast marble tiling and slipper baths. A full fridge, in-room snacks, fluffy robes and hair dryers and straighteners come as standard here. The Spence is the all-day dining restaurant serving classics with a modern twist from head chef Jonny Wright, who works with local producers to create his seasonally-inspired dishes. Downstairs in the Strong Room is a state-of-the-art wellness space and gym. Walk out of the front door and you are straight into St Andrew’s Square in the heart of the city’s chic shopping district.
No 39 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
0800 917 4655
In brief: North Lincolnshire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, with luxurious bedrooms too.
Our highlight: The dishes created by Colin McGurran and his team of masterful chefs.
Insider guide: In the 16th century Main House guests can stay in the sumptuously furnished, oak-beamed ensuite bedrooms, whilst The Courtyard rooms offer spacious private suites, and the Dovecotes, just a two-minute walk from the restaurant, are the perfect hideaway for a restful and relaxing break. However, the food is the real highlight at Winteringham Fields, and chef patron Colin McGurran uses a farm-to-fork approach, taking every opportunity to add flavour to each dish. The eight-course tasting menu alongside the optional wine pairing is a must-try for any self-respecting foodie.
1 Silver Street, Winteringham, North Lincolnshire DN15 9ND
In brief: A four silver star Grade II-listed country house retreat in the heart of the Lake District.
Our highlight: Fine dining in the three-AA Rosette restaurant, with Head Chef Dan McGeorge rustling up heavenly Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired dishes.
Insider guide: The 19 lavish bedrooms here have all been individually designed with luxury furnishings. Some rooms boast balconies overlooking the gardens, while others have private terraces, and even a private hot tub for a truly indulgent stay. There are various dog-friendly areas throughout the hotel, (there’s a dedicated dog bath) including the relaxing Brathay Lounge, but head to the restaurant where Head Chef Dan and his team work hard to create beautiful, seasonal dishes all year round, and where the breakfast is also a must. For a small fee, your canine-friendly room will come equipped with a comfy George Barclay dog bed, towel, bowl, treats and doggy bags.
Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0EH
The Peat Inn
In brief: One of Scotland’s most enchanting Michelin-starred restaurants with eight beautiful bedrooms.
Our highlight: The very personal experience, excellent cooking, thoughtful service and fantastic wine.
Insider guide: The Peat Inn serves contemporary cooking guided by the seasons and Scotland’s finest ingredients, and with chef patron Geoffrey Smeddle at the helm of the kitchen, it’s no wonder they have held a Michelin star since 2010. Guests can enjoy thoughtful service and excellent cooking through the à la carte or six-course tasting menus, before retreating just a few steps to The Residence where eight individually designed and furnished bedrooms provide a welcoming space to relax. Seven of these eight bedrooms offer a split level room, with bedroom and bathroom on the lower floor, plus a separate living room on the upstairs mezzanine. The Peat Inn is a marvellous combination of culinary delights and comfort.
The Peat Inn, by St Andrews, Fife KY15 5LH