Many flights abroad have been canceled, and international travel restrictions are rife in an attempt to keep Coronavirus at bay. But at some point, hopefully, soon, domestic travel restrictions will loosen, and hotels around England and the rest of the United Kingdom will re-open. This is the point that those of us in need of a change of scene will be able to book a staycation.
Whilst there is currently no effective treatment or vaccine against the Coronavirus, travel restrictions will be your main reason for choosing to staycation rather than to travel abroad, but there are so many other reasons to take your holiday within these shores.
Staycationing will reduce your carbon footprint, support local economies, avoid the language barrier, and will enable you to experience wonderful British hospitality, which has improved vastly in the last 25 years.
While this review may be somewhat pre-emptive given the horrific headlines we see every day, this nightmare will not go on forever, so let’s have a dream and start planning from our sofas.
Wherever you decide to stay, in England, or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
We have reviewed the top 10 best hotels for a staycation in England and around the UK. Where the luxury traveler or the family in need of a break should go, read on to find out where you should staycation…
1. Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
The stunning Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, (pictured above), lies tucked away on a 500-acre country estate. You are super near to the M3, and central London is only 50 miles away, and yet, you are worlds away. If your staycation dream is to experience a luxury country manor for the weekend, this Four Seasons has to be your top choice.
The hotel itself is housed in an elegant Georgian mansion, sitting on the top of a hill and looking down over swathes of grassland and wooded copses. More modern wings have been built onto the house containing many of the rooms, and outhouses have been extended and converted to accommodate a stunning spa and extensive pool, as well as a great gym and kids club. As you approach down the long winding drive, the rolling hills and lake welcome you first, and then you catch a glimpse of the beautiful building, and you are seduced.
As with every Four Seasons hotel, nothing is tatty, and everything seems perfect. The interior of this Georgian Manor has been beautifully restored. Marble has been used throughout, which gives the place a warm creamy hue. Enclosed glass walkways adjoin the manor and its various wings with underfloor heating – ideal for walking barefoot between the rooms and the Spa. Extravagant flower arrangements adorn the hallways, and open fireplaces add atmosphere and warmth.
We usually book a Garden Room which is much the same as their Mews and Heritage rooms except for the view. The Heritage rooms have views across the countryside, whereas the garden rooms look down upon the internal courtyard or out to the Spa, with the Hampshire hills in the distance.
The decor I would describe as a traditional country house with traditional curtain pelmets, a matching curtained headboard, a chandelier, and historic photos of the house on the walls. These rooms are actually in a modern extension of the hotel but are sympathetically designed with the usual Four Seasons super comfy bed, great sound-proofing, and a couple of armchairs for relaxing. The great room design includes a large walk-in wardrobe for your luggage, as well as the classic Four Seasons bathroom with a soaking bathtub and separate glass shower. All finished in marble.
For the ultimate in relaxation, the serene spa is one of the best in Hampshire and is located in the hotel’s beautiful, Grade-II listed, 18th-century stable block, which adjoins the main hotel. The first-class facilities at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Spa include a vast main pool ideal for doing laps, an entirely separate family pool (Sharkie’s Reef, and yes, it’s as child-friendly as it sounds!), a sauna, and a crystal steam room. There’s also an adults-only outdoor vitality pool that is warm enough to enjoy in chilly months (you slip through a curtain from the main pool, so there is no need to get out and do the dreaded dart across!). In the summer, chill on the loungers surrounding this pool when you want to top up the tan and let the zen vibe overtake you. The main pool is also rather spectacular. It has a large glass roof, so even on cooler days, it still feels warm and inviting. There are also plenty of loungers indoors as well as a selection of magazines and chilled water diffused with the fruit of the day.
There’s also a fully equipped gym and a spacious studio where fitness classes are held. Other facilities include Café Santé (the spa café; yes, you can dine in your fluffy bathrobe), which serves mouth-wateringly delicious Asian-inspired cuisine, relaxation rooms, and sleep retreats with additional sauna and steam facilities away from the main pool. There’s also a tea and coffee area where you can help yourself to sweet treats during the day and sit on the sofas there.
Wherever you are in the world, Four Seasons hotels are consistently one of the best hotels in that city or resort. Because they don’t have a Four Seasons loyalty program, you will never be able to book a free stay by racking up and redeeming points or by collecting points on your credit card and spending them on a Four Seasons hotel stay. It can’t be done. But you can get discounts at Four Seasons hotels and benefit from special rewards at Four Seasons hotels for no extra cost by booking your next stay via our luxury travel concierge.
2. Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa
Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa is a country house hotel near the beautiful city of Bath, on the edge of the Cotswolds set in acres of listed parkland.
You approach this impressive hotel up a long treelined driveway. In the Spring, carpets of yellow daffodils run down either side of the entire driveway – magic! Upon entering Lucknam Park Hotel through the double doors, you are met by a large elegant room with wooden clad walls and a reception desk to the corner. To your left, you pass through a beautiful library to reach a pastel pink cream tea room and bar. To your right is the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant. Straight on leads through the courtyard and to the swimming pool.
Our room (a “Grand Suite” called Apricot) was one of 42 rooms on offer and was situated at the front of the building, with a vista that included the driveway and ran across the entire front of the property. These views are simply breathtaking, especially first thing in the morning when the dew is catching the sun. I peered into a few more rooms and found the ones to the back of the building to be much darker and less appealing. Hence I would recommend booking a “Grande Suite” and requesting a view to the driveway.
The room itself was finished in a very traditional style with a pastel carpet, a hotchpotch of old antique drawer sets, and old-fashioned antique furniture, all sympathetic to the style and feel of the property. The room also had a fireplace that the hotel staff would light for you on a cold evening (a nice touch) and a large well-appointed marble bathroom. Without the television placed between the windows, I would have felt like I’d stepped back in time.
In the evening, we chose to enjoy a few beers in the bar/lounge area, which doubled as the cream tea lounge during the day. This lounge was decorated in ornate in pastel pinks with old-fashioned armchairs for seating. It again boasted the beautiful views across the parkland and was very large and very quiet. In fact, it was so quiet that I could actually hear the wind whistle through the crack in the window frame next to me. There were other guests here playing cards and speaking in muted tones, but it was almost as if no one group of guests wanted to disturb the other guests, all a bit too formal for my taste.
For food, we tried the Bistro, which was connected to the spa and pool area with a wood-burning pizza oven and a large terrace for the summer months. If I had a criticism, it would be that the modern feel and decor of the brasserie didn’t befit the style and mood already set by such a traditional hotel. The hotel’s main restaurant holds a Michelin star, but the formal dress code kept us out.
In the morning, we took breakfast in the main restaurant. This huge room with chandeliers and high ceilings and was populated with the same guests almost whispering in the same muted tones as in the bar the night before, I can’t fault the staff, and the breakfast itself was good, but the formal atmosphere persisted.
After breakfast, we explored a tiny portion of 500 acres of grounds which are just gorgeous and seem mainly used for numerous equestrian activities on a beautiful array of horses. Most guests seem to be choosing to spend the day visiting the nearby National Trust properties or had headed straight over to the excellent pool area, a huge modern pool with an indoor-outdoor spa pool that overlooks the gardens. This pool is an absolute highlight of this country house hotel, light, modern, large, and immaculate, just a great place to swim and sunbathe. There is also a separate Spa house beyond the pool and to the back of the main house, which I didn’t try.
3. Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa
Whatley Manor is a country house hotel in the heart of The Cotswolds countryside. This grand 19th-century farmhouse lies on the eastern fringes of the Cotswolds, situated in a beautifully relaxing location steeped in history, just a stone’s throw from the gorgeous market town of Malmesbury, packed with its pubs, coffee shops, and antique shops.
With its long drive-through grounds that roll out to fields, Whatley Manor feels a world apart from 21st-century pressures and just oozes character and style with gardens that seem to be straight out of a picture book. Built out of honey-colored stone and adorned with winding wisteria and roses climbing up the walls, it is set in immaculate rolling 12-acre grounds.
Verdant greenery climbs the walls, and the garden is full of color, framing the quintessentially British house. Strolling around the magnificent gardens, which are laid out in 26 distinctly different areas, you really experience true peace and tranquillity as there is no noise from passing traffic, just the sound of nature.
The public areas have a generous feeling of space with a graciously wide main staircase and several comfortable rooms to sit in and relax. Everywhere you explore within the hotel feels historic, with the floors being a mix of flagstone and wood, and each room sporting a majestic fireplace. There is a wooden-clad bar that feels like a small library leading into a spacious and charismatic lounge.
In fact, there are a variety of lounge areas throughout the hotel that give you the opportunity to sit and soak up the ambiance or even to sample an elegantly served Whatley Manor afternoon tea of traditional sandwiches, fluffy scones, and delectable cakes and sweet treats. The main lounges offer views across the gardens and doors, which open up enticing you outside; sitting overlooking the regal lawns, fountains, and flower beds bursting with color is truly idyllic.
Executive Chef Niall Keating gained a coveted Michelin Star within one year of taking on the role at Whatley Manor. His passion and creativity have reinvigorated all of the dining experiences at Whatley Manor. Breakfast here is good and brought to the table rather than served as a buffet, with a menu of pastries, cereals, and plenty of cooked options such as eggs Benedict.
The accommodation upstairs is also full of character. All rooms are very quiet and spacious; even the smallest ‘classic rooms’ have ample space for a desk and comfortable chairs. Rooms have been refurbished to a very high standard with quality products and comfortable surroundings, giving a modern edge. There are only 23 rooms and suites that are completely unique in style and overlook the gardens and Cotswold countryside.
Hotel amenities also include full use of the award-winning Aquarias Spa throughout your stay to restore your mind and body, to reset and recharge. The beautiful honeystone building exudes a calming and relaxing environment that whispers “switch off” as you walk through the doors.
4. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Nestled amongst beautiful gardens in the rural Cotswolds countryside, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is a luxury hotel located in the picturesque village of Great Milton in Oxfordshire; the quaint streets of Oxford city center being only a 20-minute drive away.
Created by chef Raymond Blanc OBE, it is one of the country’s most cherished manor house hotels, with 32 individually designed guest rooms and suites. Opening in 1984, it was awarded two Michelin stars and has retained them ever since.
The food is French-inspired, using only the best seasonal produce, freshly picked from the hotel’s extensive vegetable and herb gardens, and is a true gastronomic experience. Sitting in the perfectly manicured gardens sampling the seven-course taster menu is out of this world, each course bringing something new, whether it be flavors or textures. Coupled with exemplary service, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons certainly does not disappoint.
5. Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
How about Bath? With its pretty main street, river, and the Roman Baths themselves, surely the perfect destination for a staycation, and I have two brilliant hotels that take spots 5 and 6 in our best staycation hotel listing.
The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath is set to the center of the infamous and stunning Royal Crescent. This hotel is a chic city retreat looking over the historic city of Bath. The main hotel is based in one of the Georgian residences that make up the Royal Crescent – identified by the doormen standing outside (they absolutely insisted on whisking all your bags away – wonderful).
Inside the main building, you’ll find classic decor with a grandfather clock and traditional furniture, all pristine, all beautifully elegant with sweet-scented fresh-cut flowers adorning every surface. The reception area is hidden away, far from the focal point. You feel like you are being welcomed into a friend’s home from another age rather than entering a hotel.
The magic of this hotel is clearly in part the wonderful rooms, but this hotel also has the most delightful garden. Absolutely bursting with color, this secret garden extends beyond the back of the hotel to include stunning clock houses with further rooms, suites, the restaurant, bar, and spa. Pretty flowering trees and plants battle their way to fill every pot and border. Dotted between the plants and perched on the lawn are numerous wooden tables and chairs with parasols and a stylish clientele reading their papers whilst sipping a cup of tea in the sunshine. At the end of the garden, you have the spa to your left, and in front of you, the restaurant and bar spill out onto the paving and grass.
I honestly have to say this is one of my favorite hotels. So if you do decide to visit, look out for me sipping a cup of tea or a beer in the garden.
6. Gainsborough Bath Spa
Gainsborough Bath Spa sits in a Grade-II listed building and offers Britain’s only private hot-spring-fed hotel spa. The spa pools sit under a glass-roofed atrium surrounded by Romanesque pillars and ornate archways. It forms the centerpiece of the impressive Spa Village at this hotel.
The rest of the hotel is made up of three buildings that have been joined and U around the spa pool. 99 rooms embrace a grand and majestic staircase that winds up behind the foyer, and there is a boutique bar and an excellent and popular restaurant in which to enjoy the latest local produce.
The impressive Spa Village is arranged around three thermal pools. There is also a sauna, a steam room, and 11 treatment rooms. Guests are encouraged to take the “Bath House Circuit” before their treatment, spending around an hour soaking in the three pools of varying temperatures and then rubbing themselves with crushed lavender ice before having a sauna.
If this sounds a bit hardcore (I have to admit I don’t indulge in this plan), there are plenty of warm relaxation decks under the glass roof where you can read a paper after soaking in the warm spa waters.
The rooms at the Gainsborough are immaculate with a rich deep blue color scheme, superbly comfortable beds, Nespresso machines, and a generous complimentary minibar (with crisps, popcorn, flapjacks, Coca-Cola, water, and Peroni beer). The bathrooms are modern and also immaculate, with Asprey toiletries.
Outward-facing rooms have beautiful views down upon the Bath streets, but if you are a light sleeper, you may want to request the utterly quiet inward-facing rooms with less of a view. All rooms have been beautifully refurbished with original high ceilings but contemporary furnishings and carpets.
The bar, like many parts of the hotel, has views down upon the spa pool. It is boutique in size and has a buzzy atmosphere with charismatic bar staff (your glass will never be left empty) and muted lighting. It is the perfect place to drink the night away.
The restaurant is excellent with innovative cuisine created by Head Chef Dan Moon and served in a stylish dining room. Breakfast is particularly superb with an array of fresh bread, cereals, fresh fruit and fruit salad, a noteworthily excellent bircher muesli and an a la carte menu with hot dishes served to the table. The perfect morning after your staycation night away.
7. Chewton Glen Hotel
Chewton Glenn hotel which lies near in New Milton on the edge of the New Forest is ideal for a forested staycation. If you book in, be sure to opt for a room with your own private walled garden, balcony, or terrace, or better still, one of the contemporary treehouse suites.
The elegant spa is award-winning and boasts Europe’s largest hydrotherapy pool as well as not to be missed, aromatherapy saunas, crystal steam rooms, an outdoor hot tub, and a swimming pool. The spa has a distinctly Grecian feel with mosaic tiles and columns galore.
8. Lime Wood
Another New Forest favorite and another hotel perfect for your staycation is Lime Wood, which is known as a luxury country-house hotel but is also home to the luxe Herb House Spa. Facilities here include an outdoor and outdoor pool, hydrotherapy and steam pools, a mud house, relaxation rooms, and a gym.
The changing rooms are rather lovely, with deep copper baths in the private bathrooms. And don’t miss a trip up to the rooftop garden to admire the views. The treatment list includes massages and facials as well as innovative Sarah Chapman skincare treatments, such as micro-needling and LED light therapy. Head to Raw and Cured for a healthy, raw food treat, stay hydrated at the juice bar, or really indulge at the rather eccentric restaurants on site.
9. Seaham Hall
With dramatic views of the North Sea, one of the best clifftop staycation hotels has to be Seaham Hall, an immaculately restored Georgian country house, just three hours by train from London. This is one of the best Spa hotels in North East England.
This luxurious hotel has just 21 chic suites. Each delivers king-size beds, luxurious crisp cotton sheets, sumptuous seating, fluffy bathrobes, exclusive toiletries, and views out to sea or across the beautiful gardens.
Seaham Hall is a blissful place for a relaxing mid-week or weekend escape, and its location makes it a perfect spot for long, uplifting walks along the cliffs and the new England Coast Path.
This award-winning hotel dates back to 1791, so the property is steeped in history and charm. Set within 37 acres of gardens and with a stunning clifftop location overlooking the sea, Seaham Hall is ideally located to allow guests to explore Durham, Newcastle, and Sunderland.
The hotel’s award-winning Serenity Spa is particularly special and covers a huge 44,000 sq ft. Accessed via a subterranean walkway, facilities include an indoor pool, outdoor hot tubs, Zen Garden complete with hydrotherapy pool, and much more. In recognition of the positive benefits of spa therapy for reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, increasing self-esteem, and improving quality of life, this five-star hotel and spa have been building its portfolio of treatments and therapies aimed specifically at promoting calm, cohesion, and positivity.
Seaham Hall offers two excellent restaurants. The Dining Room celebrates the best of British ingredients, showcasing local suppliers and seasonal produce, which means the menu changes daily. The Ozone is a Pan-Asian Restaurant where guests can enjoy a tasty experience within the calming surroundings of the Serenity Spa.
10. Headlam Hall Country Hotel & Spa
Headlam Hall Country Hotel & Spa is located in a picturesque hamlet in lower Teesdale and is ideal for a countryside staycation. Headlam Hall is just 8 miles from Darlington train station on the East Coast Mainline making it just 3 hours from London Kings Cross.
This independent hotel is run by the Robinson family, who has also farmed in Headlam for four generations. This idyllic rural retreat is set in beautiful gardens and is surrounded by a golf course and rolling farmland.
Staycation within the UK, and you will be reducing your carbon footprint and supporting local economies while experiencing the great British hospitality, which has come on leaps and bounds in the last 25 years.
Teesdale is an undiscovered gem. This picturesque dale follows the river Tees from its middle course near Piercebridge up to its source at Cauldron Snout. It sits snuggly between Swaledale to the south and Weardale to the north.
Headlam Hall lies at the lower end of Teesdale amidst rolling countryside and is the perfect base for a staycation this summer. On-site at Headlam, there is much to do for the active, and its tranquil setting is ideal for those seeking relaxation.
The four acres of walled gardens provide exactly that with colorful herbaceous borders, smart lawns, flowing waterways, and little treats such as the Rose Garden and the impressive kitchen garden. Beyond the garden lies our own 9 hole golf course, which is set over mature pastureland.
The spa at Headlam is a haven of tranquillity and relaxation. Enjoy a dip in the 15m pool, the outdoor hot tub, and sun terrace, or work up a sweat in the fully equipped gym. There are also 5 treatment rooms to enjoy a range of spa therapies and beauty treatments, and the brasserie café is great for a relaxed drink or bite to eat with fabulous views over the golf course and an outdoor seating area for sunny days.
The quiet lanes around Headlam and in Teesdale are perfect for cyclists, and there are some excellent routes to choose from, including gentle tours with coffee shops and pubs on route or more demanding climbs for the serious cyclist.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.