Few places in rural England prove more enchanting than The Cotswolds and Lake District. Both are breathtakingly beautiful regions brimming with magnificent country abodes, where you can relax, recharge and connect deeply to your natural surroundings.
The Cotswolds is famed for its walking paths that wind through charming villages filled with honey-color stone cottages, historic churches and quaint shops, tearooms and pubs. In 1966, the region was designated an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
The northern Lake District is a 900-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site maintained by Lake District National Park. Its scenic valleys, fells, forests and sixteen lakes have inspired artists for centuries, including Romantic writers like William Wordsworth and children’s book author Beatrix Potter.
Here are some top hotel picks in both regions, starting with the Cotswolds, moving onto the Lake District and ending with a newly-open boutique hotel in London, where you can begin and end your trip.
Burleigh Court, Stroud
This ivy-clad refuge built from local Cotswold stone in the early 19th century feels like a wealthy relative’s country getaway. Overlooking a sunken garden, it has elegant interiors filled with plush furniture, pretty wallpaper, oil paintings and plants. In addition to eighteen individually-designed guestrooms, some with four poster beds, the property has a gracious sitting room, snug bar and dining room serving local meats and produce and splendid breakfasts. In warmer months, guests can dine on the covered back patio.
Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham
Set on 90 acres overlooking Cheltenham Racecourse, this Tudor-style estate dates back to 1485. In addition to an outdoor heated pool, luxurious spa and 61 individually-decorated rooms, the property has several historic common spaces with ancient beams, stained glass windows and grand fireplaces. The Great Hall, with its green and gold paneled ceiling, provides the perfect spot for high tea, while the wood-paneled formal restaurant offers an elegant setting for gourmet dinners and full English breakfasts. The modern Horse Box Brasserie serves cocktails and casual fare.
Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa, Stratford-Upon-Avon
This historic manor house resort dates back to the Norman Conquest and marries old-world elements, like oak-paneling, mullioned windows and ornate metalwork, with contemporary features, such as modern guest rooms, a chic lounge, health club and spa. Plush lawns, gardens and sculpted yew trees surround the property and The Garden Terrace offers an idyllic spot for an afternoon pot of tea. Head to The Great Hall Bar & Lounge with its minstrel’s gallery for a pre-prandial cocktail before feasting on local meats, game and produce in The Stuart Room Restaurant, a gracious window-filled wood-paneled space that also serves breakfast.
Linthwaite House, Windermere
Overlooking the shimmering waters of Lake Windermere, this art-filled retreat sits on 14 acres of manicured gardens and woodland trails enhanced with an impressive array of outdoor sculptures. The elegant window-filled sitting room and cocktail salon overlook the lake, as do many of the 36 sumptuous rooms and suites. At the chic Henrock Restaurant, Michelin-starred chef, Simon Rogan, wows diners with specialties like bavette of beef with chimichurri and stuffed guinea hen with produce from his own farm. Enjoy a full English breakfast in the same room with views of the property’s gardens.
Another Place, Ullswater
Steps from the shores of Lake Ullswater lies Another Place, a family-friendly refuge offering an abundance of lake-oriented activities from paddle boarding to swimming. Inside the historic Georgian main house lie 40 guestrooms, along with a casual and formal restaurant serving beautifully prepared area ingredients. The main house also features a gorgeous library, where guests can sip tea and cocktails, plus a spa and indoor swimming pool with lake views. Also on the property are six glam shepherd hut accommodations, each with a cozy sitting area, tiny bathroom and bed under a ceiling skylight. There is also a large treehouse suite near the main house and a glass greenhouse-style restaurant specializing in pizza.
Sun Street Hotel, London
Open in October 2022, this hip boutique hotel in London’s artsy district of Shoreditch abounds with cool colors, whimsical wallpapers and eclectic art. In addition to 41 stylish guestrooms, the property has a comfy tomato-red library, an aqua-blue bar and elegant wood-paneled Quercus restaurant serving South Asian-inspired dishes, like duck breast with Malaysian spices and scallops with sesame and yuzu. A sun-drenched, plant-filled atrium offers a dreamy spot to savor bountiful breakfasts, laid-back lunches, and dinners.