BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN ENGLAND
We have found some fabulous boutique hotels in England, all personally selected by Lulu and everything you would expect from a Chic Retreat. Kick off your stay with a few days in London which attracts millions of tourists every year - and for good reason. The capital city is packed with world-famous attractions (Big Ben and Westminster, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace, to name a few) and a huge selection of shops, restaurants, culture and entertainment. If you want to bed down somewhere central, Dean Street Townhouse, one of our boutique hotels in Soho, is the ideal place. Covent Garden, the West End theatres, China Town and the shops on Regent Street and Bond Street are all within walking distance. Chic Retreats has also chosen many London boutique hotels in other parts of the capital so do check out the complete collection.
When you do want to leave the buzz of London behind you can be surrounded by countryside in less than an hour. Stay in The Olde Bell in Hurley, one of our boutique hotels in Berkshire or its sister coaching inn, The Crown in Amersham, a boutique hotel in Buckinghamshire. Revered interiors expert Ilse Crawford has designed the bedrooms in both. Spend a day at the races (Ascot and Newbury both have important racecourses), visit Windsor Castle and go walking in the Chilterns, an area of outstanding natural beauty with wooded valleys and rolling hills.
One of England’s most picturesque spots is the Cotswolds, which straddles Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and several other counties too. Base yourself at the Old Swan & Minster Mill in the pretty village of Minster Lovell or country house hotel and spa Cowley Manor, another of our luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. From there you can easily explore the cities of Oxford, Cheltenham and Gloucester, shop in designer outlet Bicester Village and potter round tiny towns and villages. Amateur chefs and keen foodies wanting to brush up on their skills can book into one of several local cooking schools (Daylesford Organic in Kingham, Thyme at Southrop Manor). Then, dine at one of the many must-try eateries nearby: Michelin star French Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham and the restaurant in The Wheatsheaf Inn, one of our smaller boutique hotels in Gloucestershire, for example.
Literature fans should make a pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, the birthplace of Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company while anyone interested in historic houses should put Worcestershire somewhere on their itinerary. Consider checking into 13th-century Eckington Manor, on a 260 acre farm just outside the market town of Pershore from where you can easily spend time touring National Trust properties such as Coughton Court, Snowshill Manor and Hanbury Hall. It's one of a handful of boutique hotels in Worcestershire so do take a look at the full collection. Don’t miss the cities of Worcester and Warwick either, which between them boast a cathedral and a castle. Sports fans and fresh air fiends will love Leicestershire for its shooting, polo and equestrian events.
Herefordshire and the Lake District
If you’d prefer to stay in a country house in Herefordshire, perhaps take over Dewsall, a 10 room Grade II listed retreat surrounded by 1000 acres of Duchy of Cornwall countryside which you can rent exclusively. The Herefordshire Trail, which crosses through the Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains, makes the county a walkers’ paradise. Plenty of hikers and cyclists also make a journey to the Lake District in Cumbria for the breathtaking mountains and tranquil lakes, the largest of which is Windermere. Expect picture-postcard views and pretty villages. Our recommended boutique hotels in the Lake District include Linthwaite House and the romantic Boathouse at Knott’s End for two.
Of course, if you prefer the seaside to green fields, England has plenty of appealing coastlines too. In the furthest corner of the South West you can discover Cornwall, which has such gorgeous sandy beaches, hidden away bays and surf spots that it can sometimes hard to believe that you’re not abroad (weather permitting). Falmouth, Mevagissey, Fowey and Perranporth are just a few of many bucket and spade towns worth seeing. Our recommended boutique hotels in Cornwall include the chic Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes, The Scarlet, an adult-only, eco-friendly near Mawgan Porth and intimate Pebble House in Mevagissey.
Cornwall’s neighbouring counties Devon and Somerset are both equally beautiful. In Devon, Croyde Bay is the place to catch the waves; Lynmouth and Lynton are twin towns (one at the bottom of a cliff, the other at the top with a railway to take you between the two) and the golden stretch of sand at Woolacombe makes it ideal for families. Away from the sea, the cities of Exeter, Bath and Wells, are all attractive cities with a good selection of designer fashion boutiques and restaurants. Take children to Wookey Hole, the caves at Cheddar Gorge, the Eden project in St Austell and the Exmoor National Park. Art ranges from tiny local galleries and pottery in St Ives to big name international players like Hauser & Wirth in Bruton (opening summer 2014). Lulu has found boutique hotels in Devon and Somerset so scan the collection to find the perfect accommodation for you.
In Dorset the lively city of Bournemouth sits on the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic coastline. Stay at The Urban Beach Hotel, one of Chic Retreats recommended boutique hotels in Bournemouth 5 minutes’ walk from the sea. Or venture inland to the New Forest in Hampshire where you can roam miles of open heath. Book into The Pig hotel, near Brockenhurst, one of our boutique hotels in Hampshire: it’s a cosy restaurant with rooms and exactly the kind of chilled-out place you want to retreat to at the end of a day outdoors.
In the South East, top picks include buzzing Brighton, the medieval town of Rye and the rivers and lakes that make up the very special Norfolk Broads. You’ll be blown away by impressive cathedrals, castles and arts festivals, from the Folkestone Triennial where the whole town is transformed into a public art gallery to the classical music focused Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk.