There is something so very British about spending a weekend away in the countryside, and what better place to stay than in a charming country house hotel. Here at Hero & Leander we have searched far and wide to bring you the very best- starting with England’s best country house hotels.
10 Castle Street – Cranborne, Dorset
Hidden within Dorset’s pastoral Cranborne Chase, this elegant country house hotel and members club has nine bedrooms, beautiful grounds and an excellent restaurant. Interiors are typically English with a twist- think rows of lush palms and monochrome safari portraits- which add a chic colonial twist to the classic wallpapers, hand-selected art and antique bureaus. Spend days sipping G&Ts on lavender-lined terraces, wandering around nearby ancient forts and countryside lanes and driving to Sandbanks beach for a dip in the sea.
Rooms available from £145 per night based on two sharing a ‘spare room’ on a B&B basis. For more information please visit www.i-escape.com/10-castle-street
Backwell House – Bristol
Having only opened earlier this year, the privately owned, nineteenth century Backwell House is fast climbing the ladder to become one of England’s greatest country house hotels. The beautifully-revamped Georgian country house sits just outside Bristol making it the perfect location for a country escape for the wild and free. The house is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, with 9 double ensuite bedrooms, each unique in design and decorated with antique finds, reclaimed timbers and reconstructed vintage bathtubs- ideal for couples! The house also features a stunning and unique bar, breakfast room, lounge, conservatory and cinema room. The restaurant have also started planting within a walled garden to grow their own produce- the whole field to fork shebang. Phase 2 of the renovation will be taking place soon which will include the introduction of a spa and more cosy rooms within the outhouses.
For more information please visit www.backwellhouse.co.uk/
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Great Milton, Belmond Le Manoir can only be described as a dream country house. Sitting within the walls of the honey coloured 15th century Chiltern manor house are 32 exquisitely decorated rooms and of course, a restaurant. Both hotel and restaurant have been conceived to provide the absolute best in service, comfort and cuisine. Since opening in 1984, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons has achieved the highest awards and accolades of any restaurant and country house hotel in Great Britain and is regarded as one of the very best in Europe and here at Hero & Leander we cannot argue with that! One of the few restaurants in the world to retain 2 Michelin stars for over 30 years, it remains a mecca for gourmets the world over. The magnificent two-acre kitchen garden produces 90 types of vegetable and over 70 varieties of herbs which are used in Belmond Le Manoir’s kitchen during eight months of the year. If admiring the grounds, indulging in an afternoon tea on the lawn or eating in the remarkable restaurant doesn’t fill up your time then perhaps a class at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School will? It’s one of the only ‘schools’ in the world to offer visitors the chance to watch, learn and practice in the kitchens of a two Michelin starred restaurant. The cookery school offers a wide variety of courses that range from one to four days with something to tempt the most reluctant cook!
For more information please visit www.belmond.com/le-manoir-aux-quat-saisons-oxfordshire/
Eckington Manor – Cotswolds
Nestled in the Avon Valleys on the boarder of an undiscovered area of the Cotswold, Eckington Manor boasts a flourishing restaurant, boutique accommodation and vibrant cookery school. The Restaurant at Eckington Manor is led by husband and wife team Mark and Sue Stinchcombe. Mark is the reigning champion of Masterchef: The Professionals, beating off tough competition from 12 finalists. Sue has also appeared on staple foodie viewing including the Great British Menu, Britain’s Best Dish and Hairy Bikers. The bedrooms at Eckington Manor have been sympathetically restored by its owner Judy Gardner and feature exposed oak beamed roof ceilings, roll top baths and log burning stoves- rural romance at its greatest.
For more information please visit www.eckingtonmanor.co.uk/
Eshott Hall Hotel– Morpeth, Northumberland
Eshott Hall, a traditional country manor was first mentioned as a Hall in the village of Eshott going as far back as 1310- an impressive history we’re sure you agree. This magnificent hall was once owned by Emerson Bainbridge, founder of the world’s first department store, Bainbridge’s in Newcastle, which later became part of the John Lewis Partnership. Today Eshott Hall is owned by Robert and Gina Parker who bought it in January 2010 and immediately set about refurbishing the rooms, creating new bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms, as well as designing the interiors to reflect a mixture of antique and contemporary style. History is a huge draw at Eshott Hall but the wisteria sand coloured frontage of the house is now not only chocolate box perfect on the outside, it is now a complete country house hotel package. All 11 bedrooms are now available to guests as well as the three self-catering holiday properties within the grounds.
For more information please visit www.eshotthall.co.uk/
Eynsham Hall Hotel – Witney, Oxfordshire
The stunning Eynsham Hall Hotel – a Jacobean mansion that has recently completed a £2.5 million design led refurbishment, brings the history and heritage of the house back to life, making it the perfect countryside retreat. Press the pause button on everyday life and take in the beautiful surroundings of Eynsham Hall, a true hidden paradise. The hotel is set upon 3,000 acres of rolling parkland, providing a whimsical blend of elegant period features with a twist of modern design. There are matured trees, manicured topiary, formal gardens, ponds, fountains and terraces which create a fairytale backdrop. It offers stately charm, without the stuffiness, where you can fully enjoy the fresh air of the English countryside on long walks before settling down for a cup of tea in front of the toasty fire in the main lounge. What better thing to make you disconnect from the worries of everyday life?
For more information please visit www.eynshamhall.com/
Foxhill Manor – Farncombe Estate, Broadway, The Cotswolds
Foxhill Manor is an incredibly stylish eight-bedroom private house hotel. The epitome of Cotswold style, this beautiful stone manor house dates back to 1909. It sits in the heart of the 400-acre Farncombe Estate, with its own private garden and spectacular views across the Vale of Evesham. A brilliant transformation by Trevillion Interiors has kept Foxhill Manor’s original character – open fireplaces, a sweeping staircase and Cotswold mullion windows – and added a contemporary twist. The eight suites – all with stunning bathrooms – are elegant and comfortable with free-standing baths, grand chandeliers and a spaciousness that few houses can offer. There is a large drawing room with plenty of games and books and a screening room with all the trimmings. There is also a relaxed bar area to enjoy a bite to eat or refreshing beverage or two. Outside guests will love the private garden and sunset terrace with its views over the Vale of Evesham. There are no set meal times- a daily four course menu is prepared by the Chef but this is not compulsory, there are a selection of house specials or if guests are craving a particular dish the team can prepare it. Everything and anything can be arranged by Foxhill Manor’s dedicated team of House Managers who are part concierge, part butler, part local guide and who are on hand 24/7.
Rates at Foxhill Manor start from £295.00 per room per night based on two sharing including breakfast. For further information or to book visit www.foxhillmanor.com
Goodnestone Park – Kent
Goodnestone Park, Kent, a stunning 18th century stately home has undergone an incredibly dramatic 3 year renovation and launched for the very first time as a private exclusive let property in July 2016. So ok, it is not so much a hotel but a whole property to let, but we couldn’t help drawing your attention to it as it is so spectacular. Perhaps hire it for a wedding? With its stunning interiors that include handpainted de Gournay wallpapers in the drawing room and dining room, surrounding gardens with its own cricket pitch, this 12 bedroom house is the ultimate luxury UK break. Quintessentially English, Goodnestone has the most incredible link to Jane Austen, who used to regularly visit Goodnestone Park as her brother married into the family. The stunning landscape, and the marriage of her brother Edward (which occurred at a double wedding at the local church) was inspiration for her most famous novel Pride and Prejudice, and even inspired the famous end scene of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy and Jane Bennett and Mr Bingly’s double wedding. Guests can enjoy a huge variety of country pursuits whilst staying at Goodnestone Park including clay pigeon shooting, biking as well as horse riding in the glorious grounds.
For more information please visit www.goodnestone.com
Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa – Cuckfield, West Sussex
Set in nine acres of gardens in the beautiful Tudor village of Cuckfield, Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa has the West Sussex countryside on its doorstep. In addition to 30 individually designed bedrooms, Ockenden Manor is home to an award-winning contemporary spa in the original 19th century walled garden with expansive views over the South Downs. The Michelin-starred restaurant uses the best of locally sourced Sussex ingredients. All less than an hour from London, Ockenden is perfect for city slickers wanting to recharge their batteries.
Stays at Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa are from £199 per night, based on two sharing a Standard Room, mid-week, on a B&B basis. For more information please visit www.hshotels.co.uk/ockenden-manor
For Part II of England’s Best Country House Hotels please click HERE