Breathe in some country air and while away the days at one of these tops places to stay in the countryside.
Swinton Park, Ripon
Swinton Estate is one of the largest estates in England, situated in North Yorkshire and stretches from the River Ure in Wensleydale up to the moorland Dales. It’s larger than Manhattan in New York and the sprawling grounds feature a Grade II listed castle, cookery school, spa, tree lodges, yurts, camping and lots of outdoor activities from cycling and mountain biking to pony trekking and a birds of prey centre.
Eat: At the Terrace Restaurant for dinner and cocktails. The seasonal menus are designed using vegetables, orchid fruit and herbs grown within the four-acre walled garden. For a more fine-dining affair, book Samuel’s restaurant.
Stay: There are thirty-two suites and bedrooms in the hotel, a cottage which sleeps up to eight people, and yurts and tree lodges you can hire for the weekend. Prices vary depending on the time of year.
Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire
This Georgian country retreat is set in 200 acres of rural North Yorkshire. As well as the main house – which mainly hosts weddings – there’s the Coach House, with a restaurant and beautiful rooms, plus FORGE fine dining restaurant on the pretty-as-a-picture estate. Grab a bicycle for free and go explore or cleanse the mind and body in one of the treatment rooms, with a range of facials, massages to help you revive and glow.
Eat: At FORGE Restaurant, where head chef Gareth Rayner has created a seasonal tasting menu as well as a vegetarian and vegan menu. All tasting menus are £75 per person. Wine pairing £45. Signature wine pairing is £90 per person.
Stay: The Coach House offers nine cosy bedrooms with private terraces or the Hayloft rooms overlooking the courtyard.
Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
It’s one of the south’s best-know hotels, is a member of Relais and Chateaux and Pride of Britain Hotels (only the best are) and is often referred to as being “Britain’s best hotel” in the press. Lucknam Park is a refined 18th-century pile set in 500 acres of tranquil parkland.
Eat: Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park offers an “innovative culinary experience” and “transports you to a bygone era of elegance and sophistication.” The seasonal tasting menu is £110 per person. Wine pairing is £95 per person.
Stay: Lucknam Park offers refined luxury with 21st-Century living. Classic rooms start from £260 per night.
Devonshire Fell, Burnsall, Yorkshire Dales
For knock-your-socks-off views, head to The Devonshire Fell. This little beauty of a hotel in Burnsall, in the great Yorkshire Dales is a guaranteed muscle relaxant.
As you drive down the winding road, with its stone-built walls and resident sheep popping their heads over for a nosy, the sun teaming down (fingers crossed) and the miles-upon-miles of green fields, you’ll feel like you’re having the best massage ever – the stress knots melting away.
Eat: The man behind the kitchen is Rob Harrison, who started his career in his auntie’s restaurant before travelling to Australia. He was also sous chef for top Yorkshire cook James Mackenzie, at his Michelin-star restaurant Pipe and Glass, near Beverley.
At the 2 AA Fell Restaurant, Rob’s menu is built on his ethos: “simple ingredients cooked perfectly.”
Expect dishes such as lamb rump, guinea fowl breast and silver hake. Desserts include chocolate parfait and vanilla rice pudding. Two dishes are £29.50 and three dishes will cost you £38.
Stay: Turn the phone off. Recharge you. The 16 bedrooms all offer views of the fell, pretty village or the river which runs under Burnsall Bridge.
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