To coincide with Downton Abbey hitting the big screen here are 7 gorgeous Downton Abbey-esque hotels which are perfect for romantic breaks in the UK. So if you’re swept up by all the glamour of Downton, you can head off for a weekend and stay in one of these stunning grand hotels. They all ooze with as much history and charm as the Crawley’s manor. They all serve up delicious mouthwatering food too, that even cook Beryl Patmore would approve of.
These are some of the most beautiful places we have stayed in the UK. So I thought I would share them with you. If you have a favourite place to escape for romantic breaks in the UK do let us know in the comments below. We’re always looking for a new find.
The Greenway Hotel and Spa is a gorgeous 16th Century Elizabethan manor house set in eight acres of beautiful grounds. We stayed in the Silver Birch room in the adjacent coach-house. The room had a lovely country equestrian style, tying in with the local Cheltenham races.
The decor throughout, mixes the old with the new. There is the more traditional decor in the 16th Century manor house and a more contemporary feel in the spa and spa cafe. Take it from me, the spa is not to be missed. It has a tranquil hydro pool with loungers alongside to relax, the usual sauna and steam rooms and a rainforest shower. Then there is a small outdoor hot-tub where you can soak under the stars. Bliss.
After a day at the Spa you can enjoy fine dining in the 3 AA Rosette restaurant with its crisp white tablecloths and candlelight setting. Chef Marcus McGuinness creates seasonal dishes with local produce. They also have their own garden and forage for wild plants and herbs to use in their dishes.
If you can drag yourself away from the hotel you could take a trip to the races, wander round regent Cheltenham or explore some of the pretty Cotswold villages. We took a trip to Bourton-on-the-Water, an idyllic chocolate box village. With its honey coloured stone buildings, beautiful bridges and quaint tea shops. You can read the full review of our stay HERE
If you want to be a little more active, then Foxhills is the perfect choice. For golf enthusiasts it has not one but two Championship golf courses along with a challenging par three Manor course. Or if tennis is your thing then it has a leading tennis club with 11 courts. Or perhaps you would prefer swimming in one of its four pools, one of which is outdoors.
There are also numerous fitness classes and a Yoga cabin. Guests can try out a range of Yoga classes, Pilates and Tai Chi in their idyllic woodland cabin.
But if all that exercise takes its toll, then there is the spa to head to for a little relaxation. The Spa garden has one of England’s first natural swimming pools, which is completely chemical free with water purified by plants and minerals.
As you’d expect the food was delicious too. We sampled a delicious dinner at the classy main restaurant and opted for a lighter lunch at the golf club house. I absolutely loved the resort and would head back there in a heartbeat.
You can read our full review of Foxhills HERE.
Llangoed Hall is an impressive mansion and the former dwelling of Laura Ashley. The whole interior is adjourned in rich fabrics and traditional furniture in keeping with her signature style. Each of the 23 rooms have an individual decor and character of their own with antique furniture and original works of art adjourning the walls.
Formerly known as Llangoed Castle, the Hall is set in seventeen acres of Garden and Parkland in the valley of the River Wye, nine miles west of the picturesque Hay on Wye. The Brecon Beacons are also close by where you could tackle the summit of Pen Y Fan or do a spot of stargazing as featured on our 101 things to do in Wales. Did you know it has become only the 5th destination in the world to be granted international dark sky reserve status?
Llangoed Hall has been included in the Waitrose Good Food Guide’s top 50 UK restaurants and has also featured in the Sunday Times where it was the best Welsh restaurant in 2016. This is not surprising as the food and the setting in which you dine are both stunning.
You can read our review of private dining at the Llangoed Hall HERE.
The Mount Somerset Hotel is a small boutique hotel with just 19 rooms. Set in four acres of beautiful grounds, in Taunton, Somerset. The old manor country style house has high ceilings, a sweeping spiral staircase, open fireplaces and the kind of decor throughout which just oozes elegance. It is a charming hotel which guarantees that get away from it all experience.
The hotel has a small spa, with sauna, steam room and a jacuzzi and a small outside relaxation area. While I was there I indulged in a wonderful Elemis massage and facial which was just heavenly.
The food was absolutely delicious. We opted for a two course meal at the elegant 3 AA Rosette restaurant with views out to the garden. I sampled the lobster bisque and the belly pork with a rich jus. Not only was the food stunning but they completely catered for my dairy intolerance adapting their dishes to suit.
Nearby you could explore and ramble in the Mendip Hills or the Cheddar Gorge. We went on a short jog from the hotel which took in the most magnificent country views.
If you fancy brushing up on your Shakepeare, then the Welcombe in Stratford-Upon-Avon is just for you. Surrounded by 157 acres of landscape sets a stunning Grade II listed 19th Century mansion with open fires, ornate ceilings, oak panelling and an impressive galleried staircase. In addition to the 78 bedrooms there are also 7 self catering apartments.
Have a sumptuous dinner at their award winning elegant restaurant which overlooks its pretty Italian garden and has far reaching countryside views. The hotel also has a spa with an indoor swimming pool and a 18 hole championship golf course. We loved the golf so much we ended up squeezing in an extra round before we headed home.
If you fancy venturing away from the hotel, stroll into local Stratford-Upon-Avon, a medieval market town and famously the birthplace of William Shakespeare. You can see one of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or the adjacent Swan Theatre. Then why not take a romantic cruise down the River Avon?
Of all the places we have stayed, this is by far the most Downton as it could possibly get. Even the staff are dressed in traditional attire of a bygone era and they treat you with the utmost care and attention. Not surprisingly it has been awarded 5 red stars from AA for exceptional hospitality, which is only given to the most outstanding hotels. Standing within 275 acres within Devon’s Dartmoor National Park, the hotel has 60 individually furnished bedrooms along with 22 self catering lodges.
It has a beautiful indoor pool with views over the 18 hole Championship golf course, along with a small spa. You’ll have two options for dinner; the elegant Art Deco inspired 3AA rosette fine dining restaurant or the more informal brasserie. Both did not disappoint. There is also a characterful pub in the nearby village too which is worth a visit and makes for a nice stroll from the hotel.
If you want to take the kids, then they are welcome too. In-fact it is probably one of the most family friendly hotels we have stayed at. The first time we stayed we went sans kids, but it was so lovely we took them with us the next time and stayed in one of the stunning lodges. There is a rangers club running in the school holidays where the kids can build their campfire and survival skills or make a bird box. They also have a falconry display first thing in the morning and you can go and collect some fresh eggs too. Just talking about the place makes me want to head back there.
If you have ever seen Escape to the Country, then you’ll have heard of the mystery house. And this one would be its equivalent. Namely because it’s the only one on the list that we haven’t tried yet. And secondly because it isn’t a manor house but a castle. But still, who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle steeped in history?
Ruthin castle has reportedly been welcoming guests, including Kings and Queens for several hundred years. Of its 54 bedrooms you could choose to stay in the lavish Prince of Wales room. This is its largest room occupying the whole floor of a tower. It has king sized bed, antique features, an original carved open fireplace and bay windows offering views of the grounds.
There are two restaurants, the more formal Bertie’s, an A La Carte restaurant and the more relaxed Lounge. You can even opt for one of its Medieval Banquets. These feasts are based on the type the Earl of Warwick held at the castle in the 16th century. Tuck into traditional wholesome food while you are entertained by the Ladies of the Court.
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