A pandemic is a long time to bunker down with someone – even if they are the love of your life. Reignite that flame on a romantic UK staycation outside of London in one of these incredible hotels…
Photo: Glenapp Castle
1 Bucolic Boutique Bolthole: The Bradley Hare, Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire
Stay: Situated in the beautiful village of Maiden Bradley in southwest Wiltshire, The Bradley Hare has twelve homely and unique bedrooms, seven in the main house and a further five in the Coach House. Couples can expect a really romantic and stylish stay here, as James Thurstan Waterworth, ex-European Design Director for Soho House, has overseen the interiors. Each bedroom is furnished with 18th and 19th century antique furniture including distinctive fabrics repurposed and used for the headboards.
Do: Take a romantic stroll around the estate, or venture further afield. Maiden Bradley is in the West Wilshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so take a longer walk through picturesque villages and undulating landscapes – perhaps to the Grade II Listed King Alfred’s Tower or National Trust garden Stourhead. You’ve also got Bruton (with the Hauser & Wirth gallery), Frome and Bath nearby should you want a scenic road trip to a charming town.
Weekend rates start from £130 per night per room, including breakfast; Church Street, Maiden Bradley, BA12 7HW; thebradleyhare.co.uk
2 Luxury Starry Skied Escape: Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland
Stay: Glennapp Castle is a 21-bedroom luxurious castle hotel tucked away on the breath-taking Ayrshire coast, Scotland. Hidden away in 110 acres of stunning gardens and woodland, the many turrets and crenulations make it the perfect fairytale-like setting. If you want to go whole hog on the romance, The Endeavour, the castle’s penthouse suite, takes up the entire top floor, boasting more than 420 square feet of luxe accommodation and comes with views of Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran, the Mull of Kintyre and on a particularly clear day, Ireland – incredible!
Do: Enjoy the serenity, isolation from everything, and being ensconced in rugged Scottish nature. Situated beside Galloway Forest Park – one of the only four ‘Dark Skies Parks’ in Europe – the location is perfect for a night of star gazing as the same, expansive skies can be viewed in comfort from the castle’s Victorian Walled Garden (with blankets, hand warmers, boozy hot chocolates and binoculars). A local astronomer will help you navigate the millions of constellations and you can use the castle’s telescopes to immerse yourself in the spectacle – if you’re lucky you’ll see the Milky Way or a brilliant display of the Northern Lights. You can also board a boat (with a private chef!) that will take you between remote islands and past costal castles for a glamping experience like none other.
Prices for The Endeavour start from £3950 during peak season, including breakfast; other rooms from £353; Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Scotland KA26 0NZ; glenappcastle.com
3 A Rugged, Relaxed Foodie Haven: Kylesku Hotel, Sutherland, The Highlands
Stay: On the northwest Scottish Highlands, surrounded by sea lochs, dramatic peaks and hills, Kylesku Hotel is a boutique hotel and restaurant and a hidden gem. Encompassed by dramatic mountainous terrain, it offers views of breathtaking landscapes and seascapes. Laid back yet luxurious, the hotel has simplistic, beach-inspired interiors and the restaurant specialises in ultra-local seafood, meats and produce. Couples can indulge in the delicious seafood platter that features fresh oysters, crab, lobster and langoustines and which changes daily, depending on what has been caught that morning.
Do: Explore the North Coast 500, visit Sandwood Beach – the most beautiful beach in Britain – or take part in the many activities organised by the hotel such as fishing, photography, kayaking, paddle-boarding, cycling, horse-riding, pony-trekking as well as arts and crafts to enjoy.
Rooms start from £147 for 2 people per night including breakfast; Kylesku, Sutherland IV27 4HW; kyleskuhotel.co.uk
4 Wild, Savage Beauty: Newton Lodge, Sutherland, The Highlands
Stay: For a romantic getaway with your beau and your pooch, Newton Lodge is a dog-friendly, small (seven bedrooms) boutique lodge nestled amidst stunning scenery near Kylesku in the far North West Highlands on the NC500. The hotel’s public spaces all have large windows showcasing panoramic views of the wonderful surrounding lochs. Newton Lodge is also home to Highland Bar No 4, a rustic bar with an extensive wine list and single malts on offer.
Do: Venture out and explore the rugged mountains, stunning coastline, golden beaches and crystal-clear waters and soak up the idyllic scenery and its savage beauty. Sutherland is a tonic for the senses; Kylesku, a couple of miles away, offers boat trips to the seal colony and the highest waterfall in Britain and a great restaurant overlooking Loch Glendhu. You can walk, hill climb, kayak, fish or cycle and drive the NC500 route. Spot otters, eagles and stags. There’s even a common seal colony and breeding grounds right on the hotel’s doorstep, in the loch below Newton Lodge.
A cosy double starts from £165 including breakfast; Kylesku, Lairg, Sutherland; IV27 4HW; newtonlodge.co.uk
5 A Regal Experience: Castle Hotel Windsor, Windsor
Stay: Castle Hotel Windsor has welcomed in guests since 1528 as The Mermaid Inn. It was renamed the Castle Hotel in the 18th century and has been regarded as one of the finest hotels in the area since. Rooms offer views across Windsor and Windsor Castle, and each suite features artworks relating to the hotel’s Royal Warrant Holders, who provided horses and carriages for the royal household.
Do: As part of the new Memorable Moments package, guests can treat themselves to a 30 minute carriage ride with Windsor Carriages followed by Captain Sir Tom Moore Tea at Castle Hotel Windsor. Windsor Carriages is the only company to operate carriages on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle and throughout The Great Park, so you’ll be able to take in stunning views of Windsor Castle, meet resident deer and encounter historical monuments, ancient forests and horticultural displays.
Memorable Moment package starts from £361; 18 High Street, Windsor SL4 1LJ; castlehotelwindsor.com