No need for a passport – idyllic destinations are on your doorstep
Ditch airport delays, exchange-rate panic and Google Translate fails and grab yourself a summer staycation at our favourite boutique hotels in the UK. You’ll find gastronomic gratification and gorgeous design in equal measure at Lympstone Manor, which has just opened in Devon. Also recently revamped and just a short train ride from the capital, Hampshire’s The Huntsman of Brockenhurst offers a hipster pub atmosphere in verdant New Forest surroundings. Head to Kate Moss’s corner of the country (no, not Croydon) to get back to nature in style – the Lakes Hotel by Yoo in the Cotswolds has gorgeous lodges dotted around its 650 acres. Silence is golden at the Killiehuntly Farmhouse, with its chic take on Scandi style in the Scottish Highlands. And at the other end of the country, surf’s up in Newquay, Cornwall, where the Watergate Bay Hotel promises sea and sand for family fun – sun tbc, but rain or shine, the views are outstanding.
LAKES BY YOO
LECHLADE, THE COTSWOLDS
The lowdown The ultimate country retreat, Hamptons-style.
Best for Urban style warriors in search of some space to breathe.
This exclusive resort maxes out on fresh air and stylish interiors. It consists of lodges, lake houses and barns, all set within 650 acres of private parkland for an A-list lifestyle experience. The Lakes counts Kate Moss as a member of its design team – her first foray into interior design was the look of the Barnhouse, where you’ll find her signature rock ’n’ roll/boho mix, including a mirrored four-poster box bed.
Dine on home-cooked food left in the fridge or order one of raw food guru Jay Halford’s legendary hampers. That’s if you don’t fancy dining alfresco at Elsa’s, the onsite foodie drop-in (the Barnhouse is the perfect venue for the after-party). The estate’s a giant playground for outdoor activities, from canoeing to zipwiring. For the kids, there’s Ben Fogle’s School of Wild (bushcraft and foraging) or summer’s School of Rock (we wanna go). Then there’s the resort’s Orchard Spa… Fallen, big style. Buy into the lifestyle for good and buy your own property on the estate. The Barnhouse is for sale… #justsaying.
The lowdown Pure pampering in pristine period surroundings.
Best for Foodies with a penchant for fine dining.
A feast for the eyes and the palate, Lympstone Manor is a new venture for two Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines, who’s turned this Grade II-listed Georgian mansion overlooking the Exe Estuary in Devon into a modern country house for the 21st-century connoisseur. This 21-room luxury hotel opened its doors in April. As you’d expect, cuisine and wine is the focus, but that doesn’t mean the interior is any less impressive, having been given the full luxe treatment – Nero Marquina marble, velvet chairs and soft carpet… And that’s just in the three dining rooms. Nab the best views across the estate’s 28 acres and the Exe in one of the six suites that come with outdoor fire table and soak tub on their terrace or balcony.
The food is sublime, naturally, served in the elegant Georgian dining rooms and the wine list is also impressive, with two basement cellars, a tasting room and a sommelier’s table. Enjoy the full Devon cream-tea experience on the terrace overlooking the estuary and once Michael Caines’ ambition to plant his own vineyard on the slopes leading down to the Exe is realised, you could be sipping a flute or two of Lympstone’s own champagne-method sparkling wine while you take in the view.
KILLIEHUNTLY FARMHOUSE & COTTAGE
CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
The lowdown Nordic style meets Scottish tradition.
Best for Danish-design aficionados with a penchant for nature.
At Killiehuntly, you’re actively encouraged to hole up in your room for an extended lie-in to soak up the silence in this middle-of-nowhere location. This is an intimate getaway, with just four rooms in the main stone farmhouse, plus the cottage, bothy and cosy hayloft. Danish husband-and-wife team Anders and Anne Storm Pedersen took on the house and working farm in 2011, commissioning Edinburgh-based architect Nicholas Groves-Raines to renovate the 19th-century farmhouse using local natural materials and traditional skills.
Then Anne teamed up with Swedish interior designer Ruth Kramer to furnish the revamped spaces with the very best in contemporary Danish design and raw Scottish craftsmanship. The couple want you to feel completely at home and if your home happens to be an in-your-dreams combination of pared-back Scandi style, all bare woods and soft greys, with rugged Scottish materials – think Bamse chair layered up with cosy Scottish sheepskins – then you’ll fit right in. A Livingetc highlight? Joining fellow guests for dinner around the table in the farmhouse kitchen, with divine food made by chef Hans-Ole Freudenberg from the estate’s organic produce.
Mountain bikes and route maps are free to borrow at Killiehuntly, so there’s no excuse not to explore the beauty of the Cairngorms. The even more hardcore should head over to nearby River Tromie, for ‘wild’ swimming in the ice-cold water.
THE HUNTSMAN OF BROCKENHURST
The lowdown A bustling rustic pub with boutique-hotel style.
Best for Londoners looking for an easy escape from the Smoke.
Mismatched chairs, statement lighting, exposed fixtures and trendy flooring feature in the recently revamped Huntsman – the look is pretty much bang on hipster/Hoxton. But while the vibe is buzzy and the crowd cool, the pub remains wonderfully unpretentious and is a honeypot for locals after tasty, ingredient-led food. With nine versions on the menu, steak is the star, alongside pizzas that are made in the new wood-fired oven.
But it’s not just a local crowd that’s flocking here – thanks to 13 rooms and a direct train connection to London, The Huntsman makes for a perfect weekend break. Each named after a different game animal, the bedrooms are stylishly finished, with luxe touches such as comfy robes and White Company toiletries. Brockenhurst itself is a lovely village worth some time and many of the best New Forest walks are on its doorstep – that’s if you can tear yourself away from the large terrace and the almost too delicious (and reasonably priced) cocktails – our fave? We loved the Amaretto Sours….
Book it Double rooms from £89
WATERGATE BAY HOTEL
The lowdown Luxury beach chic for fresh air-loving families.
Best for Dropping surf lingo over breakfast waffles.
Enjoying a prime spot on a two-mile stretch of sandy beach on the north Cornwall coast, this luxury hotel is a paradise for surf-loving families who are partial to a little bit more comfort (and space) than your standard vintage VW camper has to offer. The hotel’s new suites have all the barefoot comfort you could wish for – comfy chairs in vintage linens, furniture handcrafted in wood by Falmouth-based designer Henry Swanzy, Original BTC lamps and zero British beach-style clichés – with the added bonus of a kitchen, living and dining area and Jack and Jill bathroom (plus en suite).
Huge windows and a decked veranda capitalise on those famously awesome sea views. For some child-free time, check the minis into the Kids’ Zone and head to the hotel’s secluded Swim Club for a freestyle full works (a pick ’n’ mix from the treatment list), or make use of the hotel’s babysitting service, and book a table for dinner à deux. With three hotel restaurants – Zacry’s, The Living Space and The Beach Hut – to choose from, plus Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall right on your doorstep, it would be rude not to.