From honeymoon to mini-moon, 50 romantic UK hotels for newlyweds

Telegraph Travel experts
Babington House, set in a honey-coloured Georgian house, sits in expansive grounds that is surrounded by rolling Somerset countryside

The term 'mini-moon' is a growing trend whereby a married couple go away straight after their wedding for a few days of post-nuptial rest, relaxation and the like – before honeymooning somewhere usually more exotic later in the year. 

Our experts round up the best places to stay, from cosy gastropubs with rooms, to country houses with plentiful pursuits and hotels where you can go from breakfast in bed to the spa in a matter of minutes. 

ENGLAND

Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is positively made for romance. For a start, there’s that pretty-as-a-picture chocolate box appeal; those honey-stone villages oozing charm; the rolling landscape shaped by sheep through the centuries; the magical light. Then there’s the sense of being tucked away in a timeless sanctuary – of summer meadows awash with buttercups (head to Lower Slaughter); of winter fires crackling in long-established pubs (make for The Five Alls at Filkins). Best of all, though, is the exceptional choice of idyllic havens to sink into post-wedding: beautiful, laid-back glam hotels that combine style, history and gourmet ingenuity, and continuously raise the bar of luxury and gastronomy across the country. 

Where to stay

Dormy House Hotel

Dormy House

Broadway, Cotswolds, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Dormy House, near the village of Broadway, is a complete treat of a hotel with very stylish and deeply relaxing décor, terrific food and impeccable service. The core is a 17th-century farmhouse, complete with big stone fireplaces and flagstone floors. Facilities are glorious, especially the outstanding spa, with a lavender sauna, salt-infusion steam room, infinity pool and more. Treatments are from cutting-edge brand Natura Bisse, Temple Spa and Pure Massage whose facials are said to have a better effect than Botox. Rose Cottage is best for romantics and has its own hot tub, while the Courtyard suites particularly emphasise Scandinavian design. Read expert review From £258per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

Barnsley House, Cotswolds

Barnsley House

Cirencester, Cotswolds, England

9Telegraph expert rating

This gracious, 17th-century manor house is tucked into the heart of handsome Barnsley village. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows, this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Beyond is a terrific vegetable garden which, in summer, supplies the restaurant. Inside, bathrooms are a big thing: Room 14 in the stable yard has a dramatically glass-sided bathroom up spiral stairs; Room 15 has a sunken Turkish bathtub. The spa – hidden in a garden dell – has imaginative touches such as herbs drying outside the sauna so that the air is filled with their scent. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Soho Farmhouse, Cotswolds

Soho Farmhouse

Chipping Norton, Cotswolds, England

9Telegraph expert rating

This is not your standard rural retreat: a boutique hotel meets Canadian wilderness cabin meets American country club. What was once a derelict farm has been transformed with some 40 reclaimed timber cabins flanking four man-made lakes and the original 18th-century farmhouse buildings across 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside. The facilities are without peer – from the Cowshed spa with sauna, hammam, hot tubs and a broad range of treatments, to the luxurious cinema and cookery school. Add to this an indoor and outdoor pool, boating lake, tennis courts and horse riding. The cabins offer rustic interiors with creature comforts: untreated floorboards, hurricane lamps, wood-burning stoves, and huge beds, plus private decks complete with copper bathtubs, rocking chairs and waterfront views. Read expert review From £350per night

The most romantic hotels in the Cotswolds

 

Lake District

With its craggy fells, bewitching lakes, white-washed cottages and lonely tarns, the Lake District shouldn’t need much else to feel romantic. But throw in a serious foodie scene (three Michelin-starred restaurants, including the two-starred L’Enclume), some high-class
spas (often in beautiful settings) and stunning houses and gardens to drift around (the view from the all-white drawing room at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts house, is stunning), and you’re on to a sure-fire winner. Even when it’s wet (which it frequently is) it just gives you the perfect excuse to cosy up around a fire or in a roll-top bath…

Where to stay

Drunken Duck Inn, Cumbria, Lake District

The Drunken Duck Inn & Restaurant

Lake District, Cumbria, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The location is the charm of the Duck: it's at a cross-roads in the middle of nowhere with glorious fell views, yet is just two-and- a-half miles from bustling Ambleside, with its shops, tearooms and cruises on Windermere. The 300-year-old farmhouse retains a sense of a country inn mixed with a quirky contemporary style: faded rugs on oak floors, pale-washed beams hung with hops, tan-leather tub chairs, wood-burning stoves and a slate-topped bar. Food is served without fuss or pretension- the short-choice menu, which kicks off with a savoury taster, might include treacle-glazed beef shin as starter then hake with pickled samphire and fennel jam as mains. The bar always has around six or seven of their own-brew ales. Read expert review From £125per night

Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Lake Windemere

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Lake Windermere, Lake District, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The Gilpin might seem like a lost world, set in delightful landscaped gardens — but civilisation is on the doorstep (Bowness is a six-minute drive away). Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back: the five cedar lodges have their own personal en-suite spas with outdoor saunas, a hydrotherapy hot tub hemmed in by Eden-like walled gardens, a steam room, stone bath, crackling fires and views of the Lake District moors. Try a hot stone massage in the early evening, as the mists roll in. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. In the evenings, expect fine dining with white linen but zero pretentiousness. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

L'Enclume, Cumbria

L’Enclume

Cartmel, Cumbria, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Simon Rogan's two-Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms stay true both to the simple village location and rich surrounding land. All spaces retain an unadorned authenticity, which leaves the food to take centre-stage. Go for the tasting menu and you'll get 20 (tiny) courses of exceptional skill, balance and creativity: an egg shell containing a yolk in mushroom broth; a finger of turbot in nasturtium butter; the dinkiest caramel mousse sitting on compressed apple. All is presented exquisitely but without fanfare on rustic pottery, handmade glass, even a pebble. The Coravin wine system allows you to try top-rank or small-producer wines. You can then roll upstairs to bed – only to roll back downstairs again the following morning for an exceptional breakfast. Read expert review From £129per night

The best hotels with spas in the Lake District

 

New Forest

Whether you want the characterful eaves of a room in a gastropub, the period elegance of a boutique hotel, or the full-on fluffy robe experience of a spa-boasting country house, then you will not be disappointed by the New Forest. Add to that the romance of walks among wild horses and magical 1,000-year-old yews in ancient royal hunting ground and you have a place for some special togetherness. Choose your favourite vintage car in the Beaulieu National Motor Museum, feast on foraged food or wild boar in one of the area’s fine restaurants or sip some Dancing Cows New Forest gin.

Where to stay

Lime Wood

New Forest, Hampshire, England

9Telegraph expert rating

It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. In the sybaritic Herb House Spa ­– airy, encased in glass and surrounded by greenery, there are private bathrooms with deep copper baths in the changing rooms, sensuous swimming, hydrotherapy and steam pools, a pioneering raw food café, a mud house, relaxation rooms and a beautiful rooftop garden, all with sylvan views. Go for a Pavilion room, which melt into their New Forest surroundings. At Hartnett Holder & Co, Angela Hartnett has joined forces with chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

Chewton Glen Hotel

New Forest, Hampshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

A traditional country house hotel with a world-class spa and award-winning restaurant. It's a popular family spot owing to the activities on offer, but couples should hide out at one of the treehouse suites, high in the forest canopy, which are a world away from ordinary life. Built atop stilts, they have hardwood private decks, wood burning stoves and floor-to-ceiling windows. Staff will drive you – as well as DVDs, pizza hampers, wine, beer and breakfast – to and from the main hotel in electric buggies. If you make it out of your balcony-located hot tub, you can enjoy an ozone-treated indoor pool, a pool in the gardens, aromatherapy saunas and crystal steam rooms. There's also archery, buggy riding and duck herding. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels in the New Forest

 

Devon

Devon’s brooding moors, exhilarating coastal walks and poetry-inspiring views leave you with glowing cheeks – and that’s before you’ve even spent a night at one of its sumptuous country house hotels. Closer than Cornwall, with trains from London taking just two hours, it’s a quicker, easier and cheaper bet for mini-mooners, and it’s quieter too, with plenty of secret corners for whispering sweet nothings, even in the height of summer. Team this with lazy evenings cosied up by pub fires or swooning at the night sky from the top of a tor, and you have a winning combination for affairs of the heart.

Where to stay

Hotel Endsleigh, Devon

Hotel Endsleigh

Tavistock, Devon, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, owned and designed by hotelier Olga Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. Purposefully low-tech, the rooms don’t have televisions, Wi-Fi or mini bars. Room five is the winner, with original hand-painted wallpaper, poetry-inspiring views of the River Tamar and a chaise longue that’s made for swooning. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. So too are the gardens, dotted with grottos and dells. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The Pig at Combe

The Pig at Combe

Gittisham, Devon, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Romantic Combe House slips tantalisingly in and out of view as you approach – it can be found at the end of a mile-long drive that begins in the thatched village of Gittisham. It's sexy and fun as well as romantic: trompe l’oeil, vintage finds, comfy shabby-chic furniture, velvet and gently patterned fabrics all feature. Outside, there are terraces, vintage sun umbrellas, and deck chairs on the lawn. In the conservatory-style dining room, expect locally sourced ingredients such as venison, lamb and scallops and Pig favourites such as slow-cooked crispy pig cheek. There are two Potting Shed treatment rooms in the garden. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

Lympstone Manor, Devon

Lympstone Manor

Exmouth, Devon, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm, and showstopping Michelin-starred food. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to poke at the boundary between sumptuous and sickly: pan-fried duck liver with marinated raisins and caramelised walnuts, for example. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary (sunsets are notorious here). Otherwise, borrow one of the free bikes or put on your Wellington boots and walk down to the Estuary, via the orchard and primrose-scattered grounds. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The most romantic hotels in Devon

 

Cornwall

Cornwall is the perfect spot for a short but sweet retreat: romantic seascapes, rural boltholes and sunset views. From the exposed North Cornish moorland to the maritime-rich Roseland Peninsula and the dramatic cliffs at the most southerly tip of the British mainland, Lizard Point, you can sink into stunning spas, reach hill-top vistas, find hidden coves and enjoy an exuberance of style that will linger long after you leave. Discover a plethora of award-winning restaurants boasting locally sourced, fresh produce, too (such as Coombeshead Farm or Rick Stein's quintet of restaurants in Padstow).

Where to stay

The Scarlet

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Glorious sea and sunset views make this the ideal hotel for honeymooners, while a child-free policy will be attractive to any other couples looking for a bit of peace and quiet. The womb-like spa specialises in Ayurvedic ‘journeys’, with tented treatment rooms and pods suspended in the dark for ‘deep relaxation’ and an all-glass sea facing roof for ‘light relaxation’. The reed-fringed, rock-strewn outdoor pool extends from the indoor one, punctuated by two bright scarlet wood-fired hot tubs perched between boulders overlooking the sea. Most rooms have a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that slides back to access outdoor space. Read expert review From £240per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Westcroft Guesthouse, Cornwall

Westcroft Guesthouse

Rame Peninsula, Kingsand, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Escape to this 17th-century Georgian bolthole and enjoy a fusion of mid-century modern and country-house-chic styling. The area is known as Cornwall’s forgotten corner – there are glorious walks from the doorstep with Kingsand beach just 20 steps away. The braver are welcome to join the local swimmers for their daily dip. For those who are after a romantic walk, champagne picnics can be provided, along with secret tips about hidden coves and beaches. Coasteering from Rame Head and surfing on nearby Whitsand Beach can also be arranged. The pick of the bedrooms is the first-floor suite, which spans the entire floor. Read expert review From £120per night

Coswarth House, Cornwall

Coswarth House

Padstow, Cornwall, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The hotel is situated just 150 yards from the charming Padstow Harbour and a five-minute ferry ride across the Camel Estuary from Rock. Both Padstow and Rock are renowned for their watersports as well as being a real hub for foodies, home to some fantastic restaurants from chefs including Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw. Coswarth House dates back to 1825, and many original features have been retained: flagstone flooring, exposed ceiling beams and stone walls combine with faux fur drapes and velvet cushions. Each room has a roll-top bath. The clincher: guests staying at the house are also treated to breakfast at Rick Stein’s Café. Read expert review From £161per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The world's 50 best honeymoon hotels and destinations

 

Bath

Bath is pretty much unbeatable for a short, romantic UK city break. You can wallow in the naturally warm waters of Thermae Bath Spa's open-air, rooftop pool, go for hand-in-hand strolls along the elegant Georgian streets or hike all or part of the National Trust's very scenic Bath Skyline Walk. Other lovey-dovey options include a horse-drawn carriage ride, a row boat down the river Avon, and a hot-air balloon flight over the city. Come evening, there's a host of cosy cafés, quality restaurants and gastropubs to choose from, as well as cocktail bars such as the Canary Gin Bar.

Where to stay

The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, UK

The Royal Crescent

Bath, Somerset, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This luxury hotel spreads over two townhouses in the centre of Bath's showpiece Georgian crescent, overlooking the end of Victoria Park, the city's main green lung. The swanky Spa & Bath House is a big draw for many visitors. The main communal area includes a 12-metre indoor relaxation pool, vitality pool, sauna and steam room. There are also six treatment rooms and a Mediterranean-styled walled garden. Rooms range from palatial suites with ornate ceilings and fireplaces on the first floor of the townhouses, to still elegant but much cosier (and more affordable) accommodation in the upper floors of the townhouses. Read expert review From £251per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath, UK

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Bath, Somerset, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The first five-star hotel in Bath in 30 years, the Grade-II listed Gainsborough is also the only one in Britain to have access to natural thermal waters. Roman columns and a glass roof dominate the compact and exquisite Spa Village, which comprises three thermal pools, a sauna, steam room and 11 treatment rooms. Guests are encouraged to take the traditional and invigorating “Bath House Circuit” before their treatment, spending around an hour soaking in the three pools of varying temperatures, rubbing the body with crushed lavender ice and having a sauna. Book one of the Bath Spa rooms, whose bathtubs have an extra tap which sources water directly from the hotel’s well, meaning you can draw a bath filled with thermal water. Read expert review From £165per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

No.15 Great Pulteney, Bath

No.15 Great Pulteney

Bath, Somerset, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The loveliest street in Bath, running between Pulteney Bridge and the Holburne Museum, is home to this well appointed and imaginatively designed boutique hotel set in a Georgian Grade I-listed building. The owners have blended original features with some quirky touches, from the artworks by students at Bath Spa University to hand-blown glass lights, chandeliers made out of earrings and collections of kaleidoscopes and other odd curios.There are four treatment rooms in the spa, alongside a cedar wood hot tub, sauna and steam room. There are now 40 rooms, eight of which are in the charming coach house with its mock Gothic façade just to the back of the hotel by the garden. Read expert review From £115per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels with spas in and around Bath

 

Somerset

Slow-paced, sleepy and largely off the beaten track, Somerset is just the place to hole up for a few days of intimacy. Accommodation options include a particularly good selection of snug, foodie pubs with rooms. Once you've had your fill of the local Cheddar and cider, explore the county's romantic countryside. Among the highlights are mystical Glastonbury, its landmark tor thrusting out of the moody Somerset Levels, the pretty Quantocks (once home to the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), and Exmoor's ancient woodlands, hidden valleys and open moorland. For a dose of art, head to Bruton's Hauser + Wirth gallery. 

Where to stay

The Lord Poulett Arms, Hinton-St-George, Somerset, England

The Lord Poulett Arms

Hinton-St-George, Somerset, England

8Telegraph expert rating

A memorable pub with rooms in a gorgeous, sleepy Somerset village. It dates from 1680 and oozes character from every pore. Inside, the interconnected bar areas have beams dripping with dried hops, boarded and flagstone floors and antique tables laid out with brass candelabra and fresh flowers. The garden is also a delight, with a mini French-style formal garden with a wisteria- and vine-shaded terrace and a boules court, plus a wilder orchard with picnic benches beyond. The four, characterful bedrooms all have freestanding roll-top or slipper baths. In-the-know locals come from afar to eat at the pub - the menu showcases what is special about the area, including beautifully presented pub staples along with more complex dishes that will appeal more to foodies. Read expert review From £52per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Babington House, Somerset, UK

Babington House

Somerset, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The honey-coloured Georgian house and converted outbuildings sit in expansive grounds that is surrounded by rolling Somerset countryside. Babington House's extensive facilities are a major selling point: there are sizeable indoor and outdoor swimming pools (both heated year round), a sauna and steam room, plus a cinema showing films every evening. There's also the substantial, rustic-chic Cowshed Spa. If you want to explore, complimentary bikes are available. The 32 individually designed, rather gorgeous and very comfy bedrooms feature soft colour schemes, big, squishy sofas, indulgently stocked minibars, Roberts radios and big TV screens; many rooms also have working fires or wood-burning stoves, and baths. Read expert review From £220per night

At the Chapel

Somerset, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Ecclesiastical elegance meets boutique verve at this former 12th-century chapel that has been stylishly repurposed into an eight-bedroom hotel in the arty village of Bruton. Modern art gallery Hauser & Wirth is a five-minute drive away; Westcombe Dairy – and its award-winning cheddar – 10 minutes. National Trust property Stourhead is 20 minutes away. All rooms are different but share features such as cowhide rugs, mid-century seats, Egyptian cotton-dressed bespoke beds, modern art and monastic-like, grey-marble bathrooms with Ren toiletries – all but two rooms have a freestanding oval-shaped bath for two. Guests receive chubby, still-warm croissants each morning in a paper bag hung on their doors, with extra butter and jam. Otherwise, you can head downstairs for bacon sandwiches. Read expert review From £125per night

The best hotels in Somerset

 

Dorset

Dorset has a serious romantic milieu: a landscape of rugged coastline, snaking lanes skirted by hedgerows, and meadows spanning all shades of green woven into Thomas Hardy’s ‘Wessex’, as well as the prose of Austen and Fowles. You can slip into genuine seclusion on aimless countryside walks but be sure of a thatched pub just beyond a cattle grid. A passionate foodie scene can be found in beachside restaurants serving local seafood – try it wood-fired under the ‘Broadchurch’ cliffs at West Bay’s Watch House – or the county’s string of farm shops (be sure to fill up your mini-moon picnic hamper).

Where to stay

Dorset House Boutique B&B, Lyme Regis, Dorset, England

Dorset House Boutique B&B

Lyme Regis, Dorset, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Dorset House has been one of the county’s secret boltholes, but this splendacious Regency nook is starting to attract national attention. It’s not hard to see why: gorgeous boutique interiors, a stroll from the Jurassic Coast and the best breakfast for miles - think smashed avocado, feta and poached egg on sourdough or a full English option with slow-reared bacon and sausages cooked on the Aga. All rooms but one have decadently dressed king-sized beds, topped with Hungarian goose down duvets and Egyptian cotton linen, plus pillows that are marshmallow soft. Sea View is the ne plus ultra: a generous space with lofty sash windows opening to views of Lyme Bay. The snug honesty bar – packed with local tipples including Black Cow vodka, Conker gin and Gyle 59 craft beers – is a mellow place to unwind. Read expert review From £175per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

The Pig on the Beach

Studland, Dorset, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The hotel stands in a stunning position overlooking the sea, with the dramatic chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks in the foreground and the Isle of Wight in the distance. The beach is a five-minute walk away. It’s cosy inside, full of antiques and curios, and relaxing outside, with terrace, huge lawn and walled kitchen garden (which provides for the daily menu). All the rooms are delightful, many with interesting original features. They employ vintage style fabrics, chandeliers and beautifully dressed beds, with the Pigs’ signature Roberts radios, well-stocked ‘larders’ and excellent bathrooms. Two rooms are delightful two-storey thatched follies overlooking the kitchen garden, and another is in a converted shepherd’s hut under the trees, with its own bathroom. Read expert review From £209per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

The Bull Hotel, Dorset, UK

The Bull Hotel

Bridport, Dorset, England

8Telegraph expert rating

A Georgian coaching inn, painted zaffre blue and popular with stars of Broadchurch and Far From the Madding Crowd. It's a favourite destination for city dwellers searching for country charm that retains urbane style, with a secret speakeasy for late-night cocktails. The 19 rooms each have their own identity but running throughout are French influences — Parisian side tables, French-style rattan beds — with an East Asian edge (an antique painted wardrobe from China). The restaurant — informal, with a fireplace and neutral wood-panelled walls — serves a British menu with a speckle of Europe (and a commendable commitment to sourcing locally). The ‘Moules Frites’ nights every Wednesday are still a ritual among Bridport folk. Read expert review From £102per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

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Norfolk

With miles of soft-sand beaches backed by hushed pine forest and atmospheric marshland, the Norfolk coast is a place where romantic solitude is guaranteed. Wander through the dunes, stroll around Holkham’s deer park or take a ferry trip to see the seal colony at Blakeney Point before cuddling up in a fire-warmed pub in one of region’s idyllic, brick-and-flint built villages. Get into the mood over a platter of succulent Brancaster oysters, a fish-and-chip supper on the quayside at Wells-next-the-Sea or a topnotch, candle-lit dinner at Michelin-starred Morston Hall.

Where to stay

Morston Hall

Norfolk, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Morston Hall lies a five-minute walk from the quayside at Morston, the starting point for seal trips, and two miles from Blakeney. It's a flint- and brick-built Jacobean country-house hotel, with large conservatory extensions that provide extra dining space. Inside, you’ll find open fires, squashy sofas and cosy corners in a hushed, fairly formal atmosphere. Eating is the main reason to come here, one of only two restaurants with a Michelin star on this stretch of coast. Galton Blackiston’s cooking is rated highly by both visitors and locals: he offers a set dinner based on fresh, local ingredients, served at 8pm daily. Four courses usually include two meat dishes (perhaps confit of duck or beef fillet) and a fish course. Read expert review From £340per night

the victoria inn, holkham, norfolk

The Victoria Inn

Holkham, Norfolk, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Affectionately known as The Vic, this 19th century inn lies equidistant between a vast, sandy beach and the parkland surrounding Holkham Hall. The location is a paradise for walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers and outdoor lovers. The atmosphere is appropriately hunting, shooting and fishing. Staff are fitted out in tweed waistcoats, there are antler displays on the wall and pictures depict wild fowling and hunting scenes. One of the most popular bedrooms is the sun-filled Crabbe Castle Pit in soothing blue-greys, with large sash windows. Welcome touches include fresh milk in the mini-fridge (complimentary prosecco is provided in Ancient House rooms), a room gift of stripy seaside rock and a complimentary pass for Holkham’s beach and estate car parks. Read expert review From £125per night

Cley Windmill, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom

Cley Windmill

Cley next the Sea, Norfolk, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This early 19th-century windmill turned cosy guesthouse is in a scenic coastal location, making it a good base for walkers and birdwatchers. From the grassy, walled gardens, there’s direct access to the pebble and shingle beach of Cley, a 15-minute walk away along a raised sea wall. The building is a brick-built five-storey tower, with a domed cap and four, whitewashed sails. There are nine rooms, including three in the circular tower of the mill: Wheat Chamber, Stone Room and Wheel Room (the last is accessed by a steep ladder). These have the best views and the most character, so need booking well in advance. Guests can pre-order locally smoked kippers or haddock for breakfast from the village smokery. Read expert review From £159per night

The best hotels in Norfolk

 

Suffolk

Combining an unspoilt coastline with glorious, rolling countryside and peaceful, half-timbered market towns, this East Anglian county has all the ingredients for an amorous interlude. Characterful hotels, some offering pampering spas, offer seductive rooms and enticing restaurants with menus which draw on the region’s local produce. Take a romantically windswept walk along Southwold’s shingle beach, saunter around the captivating, centuries-old castle at Framlingham, indulge in a seafood extravaganza at the no-frills Butley Orford Oysterage or succumb to the mysterious allure of medieval Lavenham.

Where to stay

The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk

The Swan at Lavenham

Lavenham, Suffolk, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The Swan’s timbered complex of buildings dominates the centre of the old Tudor wool town of Lavenham, so the location could hardly be better. The hotel has been here for a very long time indeed, but it has done a pretty good job of reinventing itself over the years, blending the unique character of the building with a contemporary look in the rooms and in public areas that are well cared-for, up-to-date and not at all dowdy. The spa in particular is lovely whose sparkling and ultra-soothing facilities offer the chance to time-travel forward several centuries as you leave the creaky corridors of the main hotel. Go for a Gainsborough suite if you want a four-poster bed. Read expert review From £105per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Long Melford Swan, Suffolk

Long Melford Swan

Long Melford, Suffolk, England

9Telegraph expert rating

This restaurant with rooms boasts a fantastic location and all the necessities for a weekend away. The overall feel is on the cosy side of contemporary, and it has a deli, a very cool garden extension and a chef’s tasting room. Each room is different, subtly lit and eclectically furnished – some have seductively-lit, old-fashioned bathtubs. In the restaurant, the menu shows a lot of variation, from a changing choice of half-a-dozen à la carte starters (eg. mackerel fillet or breast of quail) and mains (eg. dry-aged beef wellington or skate wing with cockles and suckling pork) to a selection of pub classics (steak and kidney pudding or fish and chips) to canapés and oysters. Read expert review From £95per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best spa hotels in Suffolk

 

York 

History-soaked streets, atmospheric alleyways, one of Europe’s largest Gothic cathedrals, cosy cafés and low-beamed pubs… York can never be accused of not providing romantic settings. Stride the medieval walls for a blast of air, immerse yourself in Viking-age York at Jorvik Viking Centre, marvel at the royal carriages at the National Rail Museum or tip-toe into the Minster at Evensong and enjoy the peace. Then head for an indulgent afternoon tea at Bettys tea rooms. And the best part? No car is needed. Arrive by train and within 10 minutes you’re in the heart of the city.

Where to stay

The Grand Hotel & Spa, York, England

The Grand Hotel & Spa

York, Yorkshire, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The exterior is vast, impressive, turn-of-the-century metropolitan grandeur, with restored red brick and creamy moulded stonework. Original marble fireplaces, stunning washrooms and leaded windows lend a Golden Age glamour to the place. All bedrooms have opulent marble bathrooms, large beds and desks filled with free drinks and local fudge. The hotel also offers a helicopter transfer service - two choppers can pick guests up from anywhere in the country and transport them to a nearby airfield, to be whisked via Range Rover to the hotel. Read expert review From £133per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Grays Court

York, Yorkshire, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Flanked by York Minster to one side and a delightful acre of mature garden on the other, Gray’s Court enjoys one of the finest locations in York. There is a palpable sense of history in the wood-panelled long gallery where Kings have dined and in the grand formal rooms; other features include a collection of rare Gyles painted glass, leaded windows, thick wooden doors and limestone fireplaces. Breakfasts are exemplary and involve omelettes, kippers, pancakes and traditional fare. Plump for the black pudding full English served outside with the sound of blackbirds and the Minster bells and you will be in seventh heaven. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best luxury hotels in York

 

Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s diverse landscape – from the wild, windswept North York Moors, where the ghosts of Cathy and Heatchliff still linger, to quaint seaside villages and modern, exciting cities like Leeds and Sheffield – make England’s biggest county a shoo-in for a romantic break. Book a table for two at the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome, a chocolate-box thatched pub and restaurant with rooms, or take a stroll arm-in-arm up to the triple flight waterfall at Aysgarth Falls, one of the loveliest spots in the Yorkshire Dales and the honeymoon destination of that old romantic-in-chief Wordsworth.

Where to stay

The Star Inn, North Yorkshire

The Star Inn

Harome, Helmsley, England

9Telegraph expert rating

The late-medieval, thatched pub is partly as you would expect – flagged floor, low beams – but opens into two smart yet comfortable dining rooms. Bedrooms are across the road in converted farm buildings. Whitby-born chef-owner Andrew Pern was one of the first champions of local sourcing - and why wouldn’t you be, he says, with his ‘back garden’: moorland game and pasture-fed meat, coastal fish, Yorkshire Wolds’ fruit and vegetables… He now has a huge kitchen garden at the back of the pub. His menus are punchy, robust yet skilfully balanced and as much about texture as taste: crab stick with seashore vegetables and avocado ice, perhaps followed by roasted lamb chop with truffled faggot or honey-roasted duck with tea-poached quail’s egg. Read expert review From £150per night

Swinton Park Hotel

Swinton Park

Ripon, Yorkshire, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The baronial pile, with corner turrets, battlements and stupendous entrance tower, looks like a castle but its largely Victorian embellishments of a 17th- and 18th-century core. Inside, it’s an old-school, English stately home. You will not be bored. Apart from a range of country pursuits – fishing, shooting, pony-trekking, bird of prey centre – there are walking trails, a four-acre walled garden, nine-hole golf course, plus a cookery school. The sleek and airy spa aims to compete with Europe’s finest, combining indoor pools and thermal experiences with an outdoor pool, sauna and heated loungers. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Yorebridge House, Yorkshire Dales

Yorebridge House

Bainbridge, Yorkshire Dales, England

9Telegraph expert rating

This stout, stone-built property, set in a former school, has seven rooms in the what was the schoolmaster's house and four riverside rooms across a courtyard in an old school wing. It's well placed for Aysgarth Falls. At the main house, guests will find a plush lounge with open fireplace and a stylish lounge-bar and restaurant overlooking the extensive grounds. Go for the elegant Pienza room on an upper floor, which features an embellished carved bed and matching armoire, his-and-hers walk-in rain showers and a slipper bath that looks out to Penhill Scar. Two ground-floor rooms have outdoor hot tubs. Read expert review From £194per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith

The Black Swan at Oldstead, York

The Black Swan at Oldstead

York, Yorkshire, England

9Telegraph expert rating

An outstanding family-run, Michelin-starred pub with rooms in a pastoral paradise 30 minutes drive from York. On arrival, you are presented with a superb local ingredient-led cocktail menu (‘Pineapple Weed Dark & Stormy’, anyone?), and an evening kitchen garden tour with Tommy Banks, the father and farmer. The fruit, vegetables and foraged ingredients come from the fields outside, the meat and game from the farm next door. Tommy's gift for invention, flavour and presentation is staggering: think pickled hen-of-the-woods mushroom in a crisp potato skin, or a langoustine ‘taco’ in a cabbage leaf. There are nine rooms: four in the pub with private terraces overlooking the kitchen gardens and five in a rose-draped and recently converted Georgian village house 10 yards up the road. Read expert review From £250per night

The best hotels in Yorkshire

 

Brighton

Once promising more cheek than a nudist beach, the original dirty weekend destination is now a cool, cosmopolitan city and perfect for a weekend à deux. From romantic strolls along the Regency prom and champagne flights on the space-age British Airways i360, to dining out in eclectic independent restaurants like the brilliant Isaac At, a champion of great Sussex produce. And while the gloriously kitsch, Indo-Saracenic-style Royal Pavilion is not currently available on Airbnb, the seaside city has an abundance of boltholes fit for a regal romp.

Where to stay

Artist Residence Hotel, Brighton, UK

Artist Residence Brighton

Brighton, East Sussex, England

8Telegraph expert rating

Spanning two smart townhouses at the top end of grassy Regency Square allows for fabulously lofty sea views. The look is cool private club meets East Village boho - with reclaimed furniture, exposed brickwork, densely pigmented colour schemes and a fabulous collection of paintings and prints by contemporary artists. There are 13 artist-designed rooms and even the smallest (Room 6) oozes character, with a bold life-sized stencil by Paris’s first graffiti artist, Blek le Rat. Pick a south-facing room for comfy bedside views over to the sea. Don't miss the fabulous array of unusual bevvies in the hip sea-facing Cocktail Shack: recommended is Braveheart - a pear gin martini with chilli and cardamom. Read expert review From £90per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Drakes hotel, Brighton, England

Drakes Hotel

Brighton, East Sussex, England

9Telegraph expert rating

This fabulous boutique hotel spans two late Georgian townhouses and has a great location almost opposite the pier and Brighton Wheel. This hotel oozes style and while remaining sympathetic to its Georgian footprint, there are attractive Poirot touches to the rooms: elegantly curved ocean-liner styled walls and rippled stucco, blond-wood panelling and fabulous on-trend bed throws. Superior and feature rooms have freestanding baths facing floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can splash in the tub while enjoying the twinkly lights of the pier. Breakfasts are excellent – ranging from eggs Benedict and Florentine to poached haddock, griddled toasts and homemade preserves. Read expert review From £94per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The most romantic hotels in Brighton

 

West Sussex

Rolling hills scattered with medieval market towns, Norman castles and venerable vineyards, West Sussex could easily be a stunt double for the Champagne region. Potter around Arundel's antique bookshops or romp through the South Downs National Park, stopping off for a magnificent roast at the Ginger Fox in Albourne. After a day of racing at Glorious Goodwood maybe hunker down with a bottle of local Nyetimber fizz and a fresh crab sandwich at the 350-year old Crab & Lobster pub in Sidlesham. Ah, la vie est belle.

Where to stay

Ockenden Manor, West Sussex, UK

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa

Cuckfield, West Sussex, England

8Telegraph expert rating

An attractive Elizabethan manor house in the pretty village of Cuckfield, with nine acres of grounds and fine views over West Sussex to the South Downs. The contemporary spa makes a startling contrast to the Elizabethan manor. An uncompromisingly modern building with a startling box-like exterior and an airy and natural interior, it has an indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, walk-through rain shower, steam room, sauna, relaxation area, sundeck, guest lounge and café. Go for one of the six knockout bedrooms in this building, with shutters in the bathrooms which open on to bedrooms that in turn open on to a roof garden with superb views. Read expert review From £149per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Park House hotel, West Sussex, England

Park House

West Sussex, England

8Telegraph expert rating

This intimate country house hotel, tucked in the bucolic folds of the South Downs, has been in the O'Brien family for more than sixty years. A swish spa, fine dining restaurant and an six-hole golf course brings it bang up to date and proves that great things are often found in small packages. The modern PH² O spa has both indoor and outdoor heated pools, saunas and steam rooms, and Voya treatments, including the muscle melting Voyager total massage journey. In the summer, a pool bar serves frozen mojitos. Rooms in the main house favour a more traditional country house palette of baby blues, pale gingham and dusky rose, and have views over the grounds or the South Downs. Read expert review From £135per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best spa hotels in the south of England

 

London

The bustling Big Smoke might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of home-grown romance, but look and ye shall find: a sunny walk along the South Bank, a picnic in a park (go for one of the lesser known gardens, such as Chelsea Physic Garden), a rooftop bar at sunset (such as at Boundary Hotel), or stargazing at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Culture vultures have the great and good of the theatre world on their doorstep, plus countless galleries and musueums, while foodies can opt for anything from Michelin-starred highs to the must-hit spots of cool new chefs in practically any neighbourhood.

Where to stay

Corinthia Hotel London

Charing Cross, London, England

8Telegraph expert rating

The Corinthia is in walking distance of numerous attractions – Trafalgar Square, St James's Park, the South Bank, the Houses of Parliament. Stay here and London really is on your doorstep. This is a hotel that wants to impress – and it succeeds. Get ready for fabulous chandeliers, intriguing modern art, palatial public rooms, a Daniel Galvin hair salon and a mini-branch of Harrods. There's also a magnificent four-floor spa with ESPA treatments and features which include a steam room, a private spa suite, nail studio, super-cool indoor swimming pool, vitality pool, an amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, marble heated loungers and private sleep pods. Some rooms have river views. Read expert review From £390per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Ham Yard Hotel, London

Ham Yard Hotel

Soho, London, England

9Telegraph expert rating

Ham Yard Hotel's setting, at the bottom of Regent Street, is perfectly placed for Mayfair and Soho. It'a all about fun here, from Kit Kemp's signature cosy-cool interiors to the neon light-lined bowling alley and bar. There is even a magical fourth floor roof terrace, with olive trees, lavender and vegetable beds. The 91 rooms and suites are huge for London. Several colour schemes run across all grades of room, interpreted in cushions, curtains, walls and headboards. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean triple glazed Crittall glass and modesty blinds are crucial: some rooms overlook the courtyard and tables and others the Soho jungle. Read expert review From £312per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The most romantic hotels in London

 

WALES

Pembrokeshire

Foreign beaches may be on your mind, but Pembrokeshire has spectacular ones in spades. The clear water and bright white sand of Barafundle Bay or Marloes Sands’ long curve – all part of the National Park – can rival far-flung tropics; plenty of shoreline is only accessible on foot, meaning couples could easily find themselves alone with the swell. Quirky limestone structures, forests and castles keep things interesting while exploring; cute coastal towns – like the pastel-shaded Tenby – call for lazy hand-in-hand mooching and stopping to share ice creams.

Where to stay

Penally Abbey, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Penally Abbey

Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

9Telegraph expert rating

A delightful family-owned small hotel on the Pembrokeshire Coast, close to the attractive harbour town of Tenby with its multi-coloured houses, art museum and interesting shops and cafés. It’s a late 18th-century Strawberry Hill Gothic house full of period details, not least the characteristic ogee head doors and windows. The 11 bedrooms are lovely. Two in particular, numbers five and seven stand out: you'd stay in them for their sweep of Gothic windows alone, but they are also comfortable, calm, homely and attractive spaces in which it’s a pleasure to while away time. Number five has a four-poster; while seven has a Narnia wardrobe door: step through and you are in the sunken bathroom. Read expert review From £140per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Roch Castle Hotel, Pembrokeshire

Roch Castle Hotel

Roch, Pembrokeshire, Wales

8Telegraph expert rating

The castle is grafted onto a rocky outcrop above grounds of sloping lawns. It is on the outskirts of the modern village of Roch, roughly halfway between St Davids and Haverfordwest. The coast is five minutes' drive away at Newgale, a vast strand popular with surfers. A key part of the appeal of staying here is the panoramic views from most of the rooms: far out to sea across St Brides Bay, and inland across the rolling Pembrokeshire countryside and up to the gaunt Preseli Hills. Though 800 years old, the castle has designer interiors with 21st-century comforts and specially commissioned works of art. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The Grove, Pembrokeshire

The Grove

Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales

8Telegraph expert rating

The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. You may wake up to the sound of a woodpecker. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. The 14 rooms in the main house have ornate fireplaces, gilt mirrors, well-lit modern art and floral or William Morris-style wallpaper. The Grove serves some of the best elaborate meals in Pembrokeshire, with an award-winning wine list. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels in Pembrokeshire

 

Snowdonia 

With its pristine coastline (the whole stretch is a Special Area of Conservation), forgotten villages and valley lakes mirroring green summits, Snowdonia has a very forgotten, primeval beauty. Avoid the magnetism of Wales’ highest peak and you’ll find peace anywhere in the national park. This is a very traditional region where Europe’s oldest language is still widely spoken. It’s the perfect place to lose signal, explore the outdoors, share a platter of local mussels and ‘cwtch’ (it’s Welsh for cuddle).

Where to stay

the old rectory on the lake, snowdonia, wales

The Old Rectory on the Lake

Snowdonia, Tal-y-llyn, Wales

8Telegraph expert rating

A sun-trap hideaway on the shores of a huge lake, and at the foot of the mountain, Cadair Idris. Boats reflected in still water; strawberry sunsets lighting the mountains opposite; mist hanging in the valley at dawn: an ever-changing panorama can be viewed from the huge windows and sunny terrace of this peaceful and historic former rectory. There are four bedrooms: the two upstairs have huge bathrooms with free-standing Victorian baths, plus showers. The Mynydd Rugog room overlooks this mountain, as well as the lake, while the pretty Craig Goch room has a white-painted four-poster. The terrace is the perfect place to enjoy the sunset over the lake with a Welsh gin & tonic. There's also an outdoor hot tub. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Plas Dinas hotel, Gwynedd, Wales

Plas Dinas

Snowdonia, Caernarfon, Wales

8Telegraph expert rating

An elegant country house hotel set between the mountains and sea in rural Snowdonia. It was the ancestral home of the photographer Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret’s husband. Historic family artworks and furniture are woven with bright, modern rural styling. Weather permitting, the well-kept gardens are pretty and peaceful for a pre-dinner stroll. Meals are cooked by an award-winning local chef. Most of the food is locally sourced, and specialities include Abedaron crab, Menai mussels and mountain lamb. The nine bedrooms have strong, personal characters. Read expert review From £109per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels for London weddings

 

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh 

Beautiful, fascinating Edinburgh is guaranteed to inspire romance in even the most mercurial relationship, with something to please at any time of year, whatever the weather. The secretive Old Town wynds and vennels will make you want to cuddle a little closer before cosying up in the nearest pub with a fire. If world-class museums and galleries don’t tempt, the fabulous architecture or a candle-lit Michelin-starred restaurant almost certainly will. For those who like their culture a little less cultured, there are nightspots to suit every persuasion… and did we mention the Cashmere?

Where to stay

The Witchery by the Castle

Edinburgh, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

This extraordinary collection of fantasy suites near Edinburgh Castle is the ultimate romantic hideaway: sumptuous, indulgent, and slightly (delightfully) mad. If Pugin designed gothic revival love nests they would look like this: an outrageous riposte to modern minimalism. The nine suites are an antique dealer’s dream: the rooms set-dressed with fascinatingly eclectic clutter; all jewel-coloured velvets, silks and brocades, carved wood, gilding and candle-light - think decadent ecclesiastical. Beds are dramatically draped or four-postered (or both); chin-deep bateau baths are perfect for sharing. Read expert review From £235per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The Balmoral, Edinburgh

The Balmoral

Edinburgh, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

Although an Edinburgh landmark for more than a century, there's nothing old-fashioned about this Forte flagship. Built as a railway hotel, this is a splendid example of a Victorian take on Renaissance architecture with sweeping staircases, classical columns and royal icing plasterwork complimented by designer Olga Polizzi's calmly contemporary interiors. Classic rooms overlook an interior courtyard, so consider upgrading to Executive or Deluxe and ask for a city view, or go spendy on a Superior Deluxe – virtually a suite, with views across Princes Street Gardens to the castle. The spa offers Rocco Forte Rituals and ESPA treatments, and a 15-metre lap pool, sauna and steam room. Read expert review From £280per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The most romantic hotels in Edinburgh

 

Isle of Skye

If your idea of romance involves heart-stopping scenery, white coral beaches, secret lochans, endless summer twilights, walking, waterfalls and whisky, then Skye has all the essential elements for a blissed-out escape to the wilder shores of passion. Nor do you have to worry about being deprived of the finer things in life, with a range of accommodation from charmingly intimate guesthouses to five-star luxury, as well as several of the best restaurants in Scotland. For maximum impact travel on the West Highland Line, taking the ferry over the sea to Skye.

Where to stay

Cottage Stein, Isle of Skye

The Cottage Stein

Inner Hebrides, Isle of Skye, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

This terrific bed and breakfast has it all: a dreamy west-facing location just above the shore, overlooking a sea-loch and the headland beyond, and all the comfort you could desire in two light-filled, delightful bedrooms with awe-inspiring sunset views (and if you’re lucky, northern lights). The bedrooms are very different in style; the downstairs more cottagey, with a pretty art deco king-sized bed and bi-folding doors opening on to a private section of deck. The bedroom upstairs is larger and more luxurious in style, boasting a super-king bed with a window reaching from the floor to the eaves, looking out over the sea. A short walk along a road of whitewashed cottages brings you to a great local pub (The Stein Inn) and the Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant. Read expert review From £105per night

The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Three Chimneys and The House Over-By

Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

The essential ingredients are there: attentive service, attractive rooms with mesmerising views and a talented young chef. Choose from a three-course à la carte menu or the epic Skye Showcase Menu, served at the ‘Kitchen Table’, right in the heart of the action. Dishes on the latter menu might include the likes of Dungvegan crab, seaweed and miso-cured halibut, Orbost Farm beef and pot-roasted young grouse. A road (albeit single-track and quiet) runs between the House Over-By and the shore of Loch Dunvegan, slightly eroding what would otherwise be a feeling of privacy, but not unduly distracting from the peaceful views. Read expert review From £345per night

Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant

Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant

Kinloch, Isle of Skye, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

A former 16th-century hunting lodge and later family home to the Macdonalds, whose hands Kinloch is still in today. Marcello Tully's destination restaurant is the focal point, though by the time you get there you'll have already been won over by the stellar views. The menu draws heavily on the local bounty of the island, so fish and seafood feature prominently. There's a decadent treatment menu for post-hiking relaxation (there's great walking to be had from here - try the route that takes you up over to the abandoned township of Leitir Fura, for epic views). Go for a room with a loch view. Read expert review From £240per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best Scotland hotels for loch-side living

 

Highlands

There is no more romantic destination than the wild Highlands, especially when the sun is shining and the mountains mirrored in the still loch surface. And if the weather isn’t on your side, don’t let that dampen your spirits. It’s a popular spot for nature lovers: plentiful salmon fishing abounds; hillwalkers have their pick of the peaks; and in the summer, sea kayaking and boat charters offer opportunities to spot whales and seals at close range. Hotels in this region have improved immeasurably in recent years: now there’s no need to compromise between sublime isolation and superlative accommodation with fine dining.

Where to stay

The Torridon, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland

The Torridon

Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland

8Telegraph expert rating

Basking on the shore of Loch Torridon with sublime views of 3,461-foot Liathach, The Torridon could not be in a more attractive setting and makes a perfect opportunity to soak in the grandeur and solitude of the Highlands. You can hike into the hills from the back door. The former shooting lodge has an air of understated opulence and countless charming features. Each room has its own character, so select with care. Several boast beautiful baths; some have four-posters. Master rooms offer glorious vistas of loch and mountains. The 1887 restaurant is formal, but seriously impressive. Martin Wishart-trained chef David Barnett pulls no punches while showcasing the best of local produce, including beef from the shaggy Highland cattle grazing outside. Activities include rock climbing, sea kayaking and archery. Read expert review From £165per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Inverlochy Castle, Scotland

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Fort William, Highlands, Scotland

9Telegraph expert rating

Queen Victoria said she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’ than Inverlochy Castle in 1873, and it remains as impressive as ever. Lying at the foot of Ben Nevis, girdled by a ring of highland peaks (particularly lovely when coiffed with snow), this is a place of quiet beauty, with no indication that the hustling, bustling tourist town of Fort William is only a mile or two up the road. Everything is possible, with activities including skiing, white-water rafting, off-road driving, stalking or fishing (the ghillie will assist). With Albert and Michel Roux Jr in charge of the kitchen the food is as good as the peerless service. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Arisaig House, Highlands, Scotland

Arisaig House

Arisaig, Highlands, Scotland

8Telegraph expert rating

This grand Victorian country house, overlooking Loch Nan Uamh, offers an escape from the pressures of modern life and serves as a luxurious home-from-home. The striking grey-stone house dates back to 1864, and was designed by Philip Webb, the ‘father of Arts and Crafts Architecture’. Inside has bags of character, with traditional hunting lodge fixtures counterbalanced by contemporary design pieces and modern art adorning the walls. The set menu changes daily, and is highly seasonal, locally sourced and tailored to guests’ tastes and requirements. Fruit, salad, herbs and vegetables are grown in the walled gardens, and wild mushrooms picked in the neighbouring woodland. Venison is sourced from the Isle of Muck; fish and shellfish fresh from the pier at Mallaig. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

Contributions by Suzy Bennett, Sophie Butler, Jade Conroy, Tracey Davies, Cal Flyn, Linda Macdonald, Fred Mawer, Natalie Millar-Partridge, Harriet O'Brien, Ben Parker, Helen Pickles, Sarah Stirling, Tina Walsh and Antonia Windsor