The Best UK Hotels For A Countryside Weekend Away

The Best UK Hotels For A Countryside Weekend Away

From an elegant new pub with rooms in Wiltshire to a family-run B&B in Devon, Kate Lough handpicks her best boltholes for an autumn staycation.

/ Kate

As we fall into autumn, it’s time to start plotting some weekends away.

A silver lining of the pandemic was getting to know our own delightful countryside better — and there’s no reason to stop exploring, whether it’s Norfolk or Wiltshire. We’ve hunted down some of the best boltholes in the UK countryside for a lovers’ staycation, where the food is as much a draw as the interior design and the idyllic scenery.

Glebe House Devon, Colyton

Distance: 3.5 Hours from London

Inspired by the Italian agriturismo, young couple Hugo and Olive Guest have breathed new life into the B&B his parents ran at their Georgian vicarage in East Devon. The result is a lovely, eclectic six-bedroom guesthouse with a small holding of 15 acres not far from the Jurassic Coast, where food is absolutely the focus. A trained chef, Hugo runs the farm-to-table restaurant with an Italian-style set menu, where the ingredients either come from the kitchen garden or their close neighbors. They believe strongly in experiences too, so guests can book everything from local vineyard tours to black-and-white photography courses. Southleigh, Colyton EX24 6SD

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Bradley Hare, Warminster

Distance: 2 Hours from London

A village pub on the Duke of Somerset’s Wiltshire estate has been transformed into The Bradley Hare and the results are sublime. Ex-Soho House designer James Waterworth has lifted the interiors with elegant and cozy touches — antique wooden furniture, handsome freestanding baths, and a considered art collection — while keeping it feeling very much like a pub with rooms. Throw in a very good, seasonal menu with dishes such as venison ragu gnocchi and a quality wine list and you’ve got a cozy winter weekend sorted. What’s more, it’s in striking distance of fashionable Bruton, where dinner at The Old Pharmacy is a must, and The Newt — book in for a treat lunch at the Botanical Rooms and walk it off afterward in its fabulous gardens. Church St, Maiden Bradley, Warminster BA12 7HW

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The Rectory, Wiltshire

Distance: 2 Hours from London

The Rectory is one of those brilliant places that nails the country house hotel vibe, making you feel like you are staying with great and generous friends at their country pile in Wiltshire’s pretty Crudwelll for the weekend. Beds are vast and sink-in, baths are claw-footed and deep, and there is a bar for late-night negronis and a velvet-clad sitting room with a roaring fire for whiling away wintery afternoons after a bracing walk. And the food is just as fantastic as the Soho House-esque bedrooms: sitting among vines and lemon trees in the chic Glass House, you can choose from dishes such as cured sea bream, roast lamb kohlrabi, and a cote de boeuf. Breakfast is also well worth getting up out of those wonderful beds for, just make sure you leave room for Sunday lunch at their lovely pub across the road, The Potting Shed. Crudwell, Malmesbury SN16 9EP

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No. 1 Bruton, Somerset

Distance: 2 Hours from London

With its own Hauser & Wirth outpost, the rolling Somerset hills, and Babington House and The Newt nearby, Bruton has long been a magnet for weekenders. Recently, a combined opening has only added to its allure: diminutive farm-to-table restaurant Osip, which is part of the bijou hotel, No. 1 Bruton. A 12th-century forge, a row of townhouses and cottages in the center of Bruton have been transformed to create this haven of character, comfort, and color with 12 bedrooms. We love the honesty bar for mixing your own cocktails before walking the few steps for dinner at Osip. The first restaurant from rising star chef, Merlin Labron-Johnson, the menu here pays homage to its mother county of Somerset. 1 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10

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The Wild Rabbit, Oxfordshire

Distance: 2 Hours from London

Part of the Daylesford Estate in the rural idyll of Kingham, The Wild Rabbit is Cotswold elegance at its best. Set in an 18th-century coaching inn, built from that gorgeous honey stone, it is part pub, part Michelin-starred restaurant, and part fabulous hotel. The bedrooms are all named after woodland creations and supremely tastefully done with lots of wood, exposed stone and creams, and taupes — our favorite is the Deer Room which is a stunning four-poster bed made from birch trunks and deep bathtubs. After some drinks around the fire, head to the restaurant for the organically sourced tasting menu. Think curried Jerusalem artichoke, Cornish pollock, and venison Wellington — all paired with wines by the sommelier, of course. Church Street, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA

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The Gunton Arms, Norfolk

Distance: 3 Hours from London

The Gunton Arms is an exemplary pub with rooms, made entirely with chic carnivores in mind. Its restaurant, with ex-Hix chefs at the helm, is one of the best in North Norfolk since art dealer Ivor Braka (except Tracy Emins and Damien Hirsts on the walls) took over in 2009. Surrounded by one thousand acres of deer park, you will spend your weekend exploring the surrounding coastline — exquisite Holkham is only an hour away — and the county’s picturesque villages. Come evening, settle into your table (book ahead) in the Elk Room for a feast of meat cooked over an open wood fire: steaks, chops, venison sausages, and sharing ribs of beef. There are also fruits of the nearby sea including Cromer crabs and Kings Lynn brown shrimp. Then you can roll upstairs to the pub’s super cozy and comfortable rooms. We love the Robert Kime-designed rooms, especially the spacious four posters in the Barn Room. Cromer Road, Thorpe Market, Norwich, NR11

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