Looking for a luxury UK break this summer? We’ve got you covered with our guide to some of Britain’s best luxury hotels…
Desperate for a break, but thinking your overseas summer holiday is looking less and less likely? Us too!
We’d planned to head to France this August, but with so much uncertainty I’m glad we’ve also been looking at potential UK destinations as well. To be honest, this travel lover’s been holiday window shopping since the first lockdown, researching everything from romantic weekend breaks in the UK through blow-out luxury holidays abroad.
I’ve particularly enjoyed looking at luxury UK hotel breaks – so much so that I’ve put together this mini guide to some of the best luxury accommodation that Britain has to offer. Some of these are amazing places I’ve come across in my research, others are recommendations by fellow travel bloggers and there’s a good few in there I’ve been lucky enough to visit myself.
Perhaps one of these could be your perfect summer staycation destination…?
Table of Contents
Luxury UK breaks – our mini guide!
Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
Step back in time at Burgh Island Hotel. This beautiful white art deco building is set on a small island just off the coast of Devon.
At one time a favourite of Agatha Christie, Noel Coward and even Churchill, the hotel has been restored to its former glory and now has 25 luxurious rooms and suites all furnished with art deco antiques.
In the evenings, everyone dresses up to dance the night away in the main restaurant. During the day, you can walk round the island, swim in the beautiful mermaid pool, visit the island’s own pub, the Pilchard Arms, or just relax with cocktails looking out to sea.
It’s easy to understand why this was the setting for not one, but two of Agatha Christie’s novels (‘Evil Under the Sun’ and ‘And Then There Were None’). If you want a little more peace and quiet, you can hire the beach house that she used as a writer’s retreat – now self-catering with all the hotel facilities right on hand.
Glennapp Castle, Ayrshire
Is there anything more luxurious than a stay in a castle?
Glenapp Castle is a luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel tucked away on the breath-taking Ayrshire coast, Scotland, and with just 17 rooms – all uniquely decorated and furnished – even the smallest rooms seem grand in size!
Take in that Scottish sea air and get lost within the castle’s 110 acres of extensive grounds and woodland, which include a full-size tennis court and croquet green. And if you want to be even more decadent you could extend your trip and go out on a Hebridean sea safari, where you’ll spend two days exploring the islands of Jur, Islay, Eilean Mor MacCormick, Gigha and Ailsa Craig, sleeping in luxury glamping camps positioned in unique and remote locations.
Chefs travel with you, cooking up sumptuous feasts along the way, with goodies such as lobster, oysters, indulgent racks of lamb and mackerel. What a unique experience!
Linthwaite House, the Lake District
We love a good boutique hotel, and would love to spend our first ever visit to the Lake District somewhere like Linthwaite House.
Last year the AA Red Star Awards rated it as one of the top UK hotels, and it was also the only hotel in the region to make it onto Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards list last year.
Situated on a hilltop overlooking Windermere, Linthwaite House was built back in 1901 as a family home. Transformed first into a B&B and then a luxurious boutique hotel, it now offers guests a choice of 36 beautiful rooms. With 14 acres of landscaped gardens, you’re guaranteed your own space, with fun activities like a boules pitch and a giant outdoor chessboard and rowboats on the tarn (small lake) to entertain you.
Our recommendation? Book yourself into one of the six private Lake Suites that are scattered across the grounds.
Middlethorpe Hall and Spa, Yorkshire
Luxury accommodation is something the UK really excels out, particularly thanks to all those stately homes that have been turned into gorgeous boutique hotels. But did you know there are three National Trust properties in the UK that actually double up as
One of these is Middlethorpe Hall in York. Situated on the outskirts of the historical city, with its mix of traditional interiors and modern facilities, award-winning food, excellent service and tranquil gardens, this hotel the perfect place to indulge in a slow-travel break, away from the pressures of modern life.
The hotel has 29 rooms, in both the main building and the nearby courtyard and each one is individually decorated. We reached ours via a gorgeous oak staircase and stepped into a large, bright room, lit by three sash windows that looked out onto the extensive gardens. The four-poster bed was huge (and extremely comfortable!) but there still was ample room for a sofa, dressing table, desk and more.
There were so many beautiful things to look at – the antique tables, the bureau desk with marbled-paper covered desk stationary and an inkwell, a mini shelf of books and freshly cut flowers. And the attention to detail carried through to the bathroom with its period-style fixtures. fluffy monogrammed towels and robes and Floris toiletries.
And there’s no slow-boiling mini kettle and plastic cartons of milk here. Instead, whenever you need a cup of tea, you call reception and quick as a flash, you’re presented with a tray with a pot of tea, china mugs (and perhaps a sneaky scone or biscuit) right to your room. Sound up your street? Then be sure to check out our full review and this video of Middlethorpe Hall from the air!
No 15 Great Pulteney, Bath
No 15 Great Pulteney is just a short ten-minute walk from Bath Spa station. Although just a hop, skip and a jump from the city’s centre; including the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, the hotel’s on a peaceful yet grand street made up of stately Georgian townhouses.
Exuding historic class, its exterior belies what’s found within, and this boutique luxury hotel surprises you with its quirky, design-led interior. Going inside I felt like I’d been transported to somewhere like Wes Craven’s Grand Hotel Budapest, as the reception kept room keys in a giant dolls house, there was a massive model of Big Ben’s tower (Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the tower, fact fans!), decadent features like chandeliers and large artwork like that of a bell boy. I loved it.
Not only is there an amazing spa hidden away, the hotel’s 37 rooms are all unique in their size and style. There are bijou attic rooms that would once have been servants’ quarters through to decadent coach house rooms complete with standalone tubs and chandeliers.
Even if you don’t end up staying at No 15, I highly recommend a visit for afternoon tea – this ‘boujee’ vibe continues in the Sitting Room, with giant mirrors, colourful art and comedy books. Even the tables are a work of art – under each glass top is a spread of gaudy jewellery, trinkets and antique hairbrushes that wouldn’t look out of place on an old lady’s dressing table. How original!
Why not check out our full review of afternoon tea at No 15 Great Pulteney?
The Bodmin Jail Hotel, Cornwall
If you like your luxury a little quirky, we’ve got you covered. This brand new luxury hotel was originally an 18th century prison!
The Bodmin Jail Hotel has 70 rooms, each created by combining three former cells. Many of the original features remain, like the old cell doors and weathered stone walls, but these are juxtaposed with decadent features like free standing baths and walk-in showers.
There’s also plans to soon open a 75-pod glamping site and an onsite spa, featuring a swimming pool, sauna and hot tubs.
Dining and drinking’s at the heart of this hotel. There’s the gothic elegance of the Chapel Restaurant, while the Jolly Hangman Tavern is a more a relaxed affair. The Chapel Bar -– once the Governor’s Office – complete with over 100 varieties of gin, offers the perfect spot for a pre-dinner tipple or a late-night cocktail.
For fans of history and/or the macabre, you can even book yourself on a jail tour, where you’ll learn more about its history and learn fun facts like the Queen’s Jewels were kept here during World War II.
If this hotel’s right up your street I also recommend a trip to Malmaison Oxford. Housed in what was originally Oxford Castle and later a jail, this is another great example of prison cells being turned into luxury accommodation!
The Bybrook at Manor House, Wiltshire
Castle Combe is one of those picture-perfect Cotswold villages built from honey-coloured stone. Located in a recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Manor House was once a grand stately home, with much of the village originally built to house staff.
Today, the main house and several cottages adjacent form a luxurious country house hotel, offering a quiet and relaxing stay to guests. Not only are rooms beautiful, luxuriously fitted out and charming, they really showcase the original features of both manor house and cottages. There are also a few self-catering suites available.
The hotel has its own high-end restaurant on site; Bybrook Restaurant offers elegant tasting menus for dinner, and is also where residential guests take breakfast in the morning.
The Cookie Jar, Northumberland
The Cookie Jar is a hotel in Alnwick, Northumberland. The 11-room property is about a minute’s walk from the market town’s castle.
This chic and welcoming boutique hotel opened in 2017 on premises that formerly housed a convent. That historic connection explains why the highest of the hotel’s four room categories is its Mother Superior rooms. Each of the rooms is individually furnished and suites feature freestanding bathtubs.
The bistro on the ground floor serves a delightful breakfast with warm options in addition to an impressive buffet. The terrace features a fire pit with outdoor seating.
The town of Alnwick is a great base for exploring rural Northumberland. The Alnwick Garden, Alnwick Castle and walks in the nearby Hulne Park means there’s plenty to do in the immediate vicinity of the hotel.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath
The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the only hotel to offer guests the opportunity to experience Bath’s natural thermal waters.
A modern icon of luxury wellness, the hotel and its award-winning spa offers the ideal sanctuary to escape to and rest and restore body and mind.
But when you’re all refreshed and ready to go, it’s also perfectly placed to explore this beautiful Georgian city, as it’s right in the city centre. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Roman Baths, and why not pop next door to treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Pump Room.
The rooms are a beautifully designed mix of modern décor and period features, and I love the little touches like heated bathroom floors and Roberts radios by the bed. But if money’s no object, forget the suite – you can book yourself into your own Georgian townhouse!
Adjacent to the hotel, this private accommodation is spread over four floors, and enables you to make your Jane Austen or Bridgerton dreams come true! If only it came with your own personal duke…
The Headland, Cornwall
Follow in the footsteps of Edwardian high society and relax by the sea at the Headland Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall.
The Headland has a long and illustrious history. Opened in 1900, frequent visitors in the early years of the 20th Century included King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) and Bertie (later George VI).
Situated on the Atlantic coast, overlooking Newquay’s beautiful Fistral Beach, the hotel provides a great base for exploring Cornwall, either by car or on foot.
The hotel has benefitted from over £30m of investment over the last thirty years and this is reflected in the wide range of facilities on offer.
Oh, and if you think you might recognise the building, you’d probably be right. It was the hotel used in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches.
The Headland has 96 rooms and a number of 5* self-catering cottages. Many of the rooms have stunning views of the surrounding area.
We were lucky to have a view of Fistral Beach from our room, which we could enjoy from a comfortable sofa by the window. The room, which was beautifully decorated, had all of the usual bits – comfortable beds, a TV and DVD player, hairdryer, tea and coffee tray, but the main highlight was the bathroom. Here there was a walk-in eco shower, twin sinks, heated floors and roll-top bath.
Check out our full review of the Headland Hotel.
Walton Castle, Somerset
Ever wanted your very own castle for the day, weekend or even week? Well Walton Castle, a 17th century estate complete with turrets is available to hire!
Nestled in the north Somerset countryside overlooking the Severn Estuary, you’ll find Walton Castle. Originally built back in the 1600s it was later abandoned and became the haunt of grazing cattle until the challenge of restoring it was taken up in more recent years.
Now back to its former glory, (but with mod cons like electricity, central heating and a heated pool!) the castle is available for private hire, making it a wonderful option if you’re after an exclusive getaway with friends and family.
The ground floor of the keep is an amazing kitchen area. At the centre lies a large circular table, with a chandelier hanging from above. The space feels welcoming and homely despite its size and I can imagine a family gathering or a group of friends having a wonderful time together making dinner or having a drink.
There’s a amazing master suite on the top floor of the four-storey castle, complete with roll-top tub in the bathroom and an amazing little balcony that offers panoramic views of the countryside and estuary, plus five of the outlying turrets are self-contained bedroom suits. If that’s not enough, the castle also has its own dedicated games turret with bar, pool table, dartboard and foosball table and a 10m heating swimming pool and exercise area so you’re spoilt for entertainment choices too. And that’s not counting the opportunity to play lawn games like croquet or even have a go at archery!
Read about our tour of this epic castle…
Whatley Manor, The Cotswolds
Whatley Manor Hotel near Malmsbury is a luxurious country house hotel set within beautiful gardens in the heart of the Cotswolds. This 5-star luxury hotel and spa is a retreat from the world that you won’t want to leave, with the Aquarius spa, 12 acres of grounds and three restaurants headed up by executive chef Niall Keating, who has gained two Michelin stars for The Dining Room restaurant.
The 23 rooms are furnished with refined elegance, beds like a cloud, embroidered silk curtains and soft velvet sofas.
The hotel’s decor manages to combine the warmth and wood panelled charm of an English country manor with the tastes of the art collecting Swiss owners, who bring a hint of the oriental in the Chinese rugs and vases.
Whatley Manor also takes its commitment to sustainability very seriously with minimal packaging and everything from the toiletries to the fresh milk in refillable containers. Even if you don’t stay here, foodies will love a chance to try the afternoon tea in the drawing room overlooking the gardens or a cocktails and dinner in one of the three outstanding restaurants.
If this takes your fancy, why not check out more things to do in the Cotswolds?
Ynyshir Hall, Powys, Wales
Ynyshir Hall is a Michelin-rated Relais & Chateaux hotel set in 14 acres of landscaped gardens in the Powys region of Wales. It’s just a few miles away from the ancient welsh capital of Machynlleth and for those needing a more modern fix, 11 miles from Aberystwyth.
Ynyshir Hall dates back to the 15th Century and over its long history has had many owners, the most famous of which has to be Queen Victoria. In the 70s it opened as a hotel and now offers a boutique luxury haven made up of ten unique rooms of varying size and decoration.
We stayed in the Chagall Suite on our visit, one of the most luxurious of Ynyishir Hall’s offerings. We entered the suite to discover I had my own living room complete with cosy sofas, a decanter of sherry, and a wonderfully inviting wood burner. Opening the double doors to walk into the bedroom, there’s a huge bed you want to just dive onto, and classically styled, decadently decorated furniture. The bed faced patio doors that in the morning would allow you to look over the gardens and mountains surrounding the hall. There are few better views than that!
Ynyishir is also renowned for its restaurant. It offers 5, 8 and 11 course dinner taster menus, with people travelling from across the country and beyond to what is often considered one the best fine dining venues in Wales.
Read our full review of Ynyishir Hall.