Whether you’re looking for ideas for a much-needed weekend away or simply how to redecorate your bedroom, our carefully chosen edit of beautiful design-led British country retreats should be your first port of call…
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Billed as the most exciting country-house hotel to have opened in the UK in recent years, Heckfield Place opened to well-deserved fanfare earlier this year. Interior designer Ben Thompson, a protégé of Ilse Crawford, has brought this Georgian manor house into the 21st century with pared-back elegance in its 45 bedrooms. Chef Skye Gyngell runs Heckfield’s two restaurants, which serve produce grown at its own biodynamic farm. This is the place to go for quiet sophistication.
IMAGES: SIM CANETTY-CLARKE
The Fife Arms, Braemar
A Victorian coaching inn rejuvenated by the couple behind international gallery Hauser and Wirth, The Fife Arms sits amidst the dramatic landscape of the the Cairngorms National Park. The interiors by Russell Sage are a masterclass in drama, with a strong Scottish narrative, while the gardens, designed by Jinny Blom gracefully link the the hotel to its surroundings. Unsurprisingly, the hotel features a wealth of contemporary art, much of it commissioned specially. The 46 bedrooms feature bespoke furnishings and pay homage to a place, event, person or activity integral to Braemar – the Queen Victoria Suite has some of her own personal objects in it.
The Painswick, Gloucestershire
Perched on the edge of the Slad Valley, this handsome Grade II listed mansion house was artfully transformed into the perfect Cotswold boutique hotel in 2015. Named ‘Hotel of the Year’ by The Sunday Times a year later, it remains a delightful home from home. With just 16 cosy bedrooms in restful tones, elegant but laid-back lounge areas, a cocktail bar in the converted chapel and a brilliant restaurant, The Painswick makes for the perfect weekend away.
Billed as a ‘village within a village’, Thyme is a collection of beautifully and sensitively restored historic buildings in the Cotswolds village of Southrop. Hotel rooms and cottages are nestled alongside the tithe barn dining venue, a pub, restaurant and gardens, even a cookery school, cocktail bar and spa. A sense of peaceful elegance abounds here, created by interior designer Roger Hall and gardener Bunny Guinness, and Thyme’s connection to the land, the seasons and nature, as well as its sustainability credentials, are the beating heart of this special place.
The Pig at Combe, Devon
It would have been easy to include every one of the phenomenally successful collection of hotelier Robin Hutson’s The Pig hotels; from the first opening at Brockenhurst in the New Forest, to the most recent launch near Bath. Each property has a kitchen garden at its heart and while they, somewhat modestly, describe themselves as home-grown restaurants with rooms, the beautiful interiors are a huge attraction. Robin’s wife Judy oversees the interior design and she has stamped each property with its characteristically rustic, laidback style; while, together, they source all the furniture, art, china and cutlery.
Feeling inspired for your next trip? Read more ‘home from home’ travel features here.