Six recommended British countryside escapes

From Devon to Dorset, Snowdonia to Scotland

The drawing room at Palé Hall hotel, just outside Snowdonia National Park in Wales
The drawing room at Palé Hall hotel, just outside Snowdonia National Park in Wales | Image: Tim Winter

SNOWDONIA Michael Caines garnered two Michelin stars during his 20-odd years at Gidleigh Park in Dartmoor, so he was well placed to consult on the menus for the newly spruced Grade II-listed Palé Hall (palehall.co.uk; from £190), just outside Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Formerly a quaint four-star hotel, which was shuttered in 2016 for a total refurb, the 18 rooms, all unique and idiosyncratic (it’s said Queen Victoria liked hers so much when she passed through that she extended her visit), are now elevated with heritage textiles and meticulously restored. But the feature attraction will likely be the dining room.

Devon’s The Pig at Combe
Devon’s The Pig at Combe | Image: The Pig

DEVON The portfolio of small, lovely country-house hotels run by The Pig has recently been expanded to include The Pig at Combe (thepighotel.com; from £145 per night) in Honiton, Devon. Located within the Elizabethan Combe House Hotel, it leverages all of the property’s assets – the 3,500 acres (complete with Bronze Age burial site), the situation 12km from the sea (and 15 minutes’ drive off the M5), and the 27 rooms and two thatched cottages, all burnished up with The Pig’s singular alchemy of luxe and homey – and has a gorgeous organic garden.

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HAMPSHIRE Renting a private house is becoming more and more of a thing for holidaymakers, and recently made available for the first time for exclusive letting is Farleigh House (farleighwallop.com; £20,000 for a two-night stay, full board). Just a few miles from the M3, so with easy access to London, the quietly elegant early-Georgian house has been the property of the Wallop family (latterly Earls of Portsmouth) since the 15th century, and sits on 4,000 acres that furnish everything from the game served at dinner to the flowers in the 11 guest rooms.

The swimming pool by Kim Wilkie at the Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk
The swimming pool by Kim Wilkie at the Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk | Image: Cameron Maynard

SUFFOLK Moat Cottage (wildernessreserve.com; from £2,674 for two nights) is a sensitively restored Tudor farmhouse owned by Wilderness Reserve, the holiday estate created in 2013 by Foxtons founder Jon Hunt. It has five bedrooms, a plank-floored sitting room and a lovely boat cottage that serves as a sixth ensuite accommodation, but the real draw is the swimming pool and vast Capability Brown-inspired garden, both by celebrated landscape architect Kim Wilkie.

Gleneagles has a new look, delivered by a host of British designers
Gleneagles has a new look, delivered by a host of British designers

SCOTLAND The new face of Gleneagles (gleneagles.com; from £265) is delivered via a host of best-of-British designers, among them David Collins Studio, Goddard Littlefair and the genius textile producers Timorous Beasties. The myriad outdoor pursuits (not least the world-renowned championship golf offering) all remain, as does Andrew Fairlie, the two-Michelin-starred chef overseeing his eponymous dining room.

The Grade II-listed 10 Castle Street, Dorset
The Grade II-listed 10 Castle Street, Dorset

DORSET Housed in a Regency mansion on Dorset’s Cranborne Chase – the one-time hunting ground famously favoured by kings – 10 Castle Street (10castlestreet.com; from £195) is located amid some of southern England’s most photogenic countryside. The renovated Grade II-listed building – overseeen by the lighting designer and wine merchant who saved the King John Inn outside Salisbury from dereliction in 2008 – has nine charming ensuite rooms hung with original photography, several ground-floor dining and drinking spaces, and a first-floor private club with billiards room.

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