Inspiration Destinations UK England’s Prettiest Staycations: Top UK Holidays for a Summer Break

England’s Prettiest Staycations: Top UK Holidays for a Summer Break

January 29, 2024
Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks

Take that perfect summer break without travelling far with our pick of the best UK holidays.

A short break at the UK’s prettiest countryside properties can be that breath of fresh air you’ve been craving. Whether it’s a sojourn into Shakespeare territory, a luxe lakeside retreat or an 18th-century mansion hideaway, take a break from the norm and read on to discover our top pick of the best UK holidays to take this summer.

Dorset: Summers in the country 

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant, Dorchester, one of England's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant, Dorchester.

The five-star Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant in West Dorset offers the quintessential English countryside escape in the heart of Thomas Hardy country. Amid the grounds are centuries-old stone cottages, working log fireplaces and enchanting gardens, with a farm-to-table restaurant serving local ingredients (including Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese and Dorset beef) and produce grown in the hotel’s gardens. A memorable gourmet experience is complemented by wine recommended by the hotel’s in-house sommelier.   

What’s nearby: The village of Evershot in West Dorset, where quaint stone houses, a local bakery and pub offer oodles of country charm.  For a day trip, catch a ferry to the Isle of Wight from Poole: there's plenty to discover here, from exploring beaches to horse riding and exhilarating watersports. 

Newbury: Five-star luxury with an extensive cellar door 

The Vineyard Hotel, Newbury, one of England's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
The Vineyard Hotel, Newbury.

Just an hour's drive from London, within the picturesque Berkshire countryside, is The Vineyard Hotel: a Relais & Châteaux five-star property and a dream for wine lovers. Its extensive cellar holds an incredible 30,000 bottles of wine, complemented by delectable creations from Executive Chef Tom Scade at the fine dining restaurant. As enthralling as its cellar is the hotel's curated art collection: spot the work of French impressionists Degas and Pissarro and modernism of Henry Moore among other turn-of-the-century pieces.

What’s nearby: The market town of Newbury is just a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Shop at artisanal markets and boutique stores, venture out onto the local cycling trails or take a stroll through Highclere Castle and its surrounding parklands. 

North Yorkshire: Boutique retreat with Michelin-Starred restaurant  

Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes

Grantley Hall is a hidden gem within the Yorkshire Dales, offering five-star elegance across 47 boutique rooms. Indoor/outdoor dining ranges from The Orchard to old-world glamour at Valeria’s late-night champagne and cocktail bar. Topping the list of dining options is Michelin-starred fine-dining Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, which utilises herbs and vegetables from the onsite kitchen garden and meat and seafood from local farms and the nearby Yorkshire coast. 

What’s nearby: Discover the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales with Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Deer Park mere moments away. Stroll through the medieval streets of Knaresborough or discover the 700 years of history within Ripley Castle, all within a leisurely 30-minute drive. 

Dartmoor National Park: Historic English castle escape  

Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Bovey Castle Hotel, Newton Abbot.

Situated on a 275-acre estate within Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle Hotel is the ultimate in secluded luxury. With a history dating back to 1890, the original Manor House was initially a family retreat, then a WWI military hospital, before becoming a golfing hotel. Today, guests can explore the extensive private grounds and enjoy a multitude of onsite activities ranging from cider and sloe gin making to air rifle shooting and falconry. For those in search of relaxation, there are yoga classes and treatments at Elan Spa.

What’s nearby: The serenity of Dartmoor National Park and scenic walking trails, with the enchanting Canonteign Falls a short 30-minute drive away. 

Bath: Secluded countryside hotel with modern indulgences 

Homewood Hotel & Spa near Bath, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Homewood Hotel & Spa near Bath.

Homewood Hotel & Spa is a Georgian pile amid the Somerset hills, and feels like a home-away-from-home with an added splash of luxury. Mediterranean dishes, crafted using produce from the onsite kitchen garden, are served on the terrace of Olio restaurant, or under the stars in a futuristic dining dome. Take a refreshing dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool or hot tub with views over the valley or enter a haven of happiness with a relaxing spa treatment. 

What’s nearby: The city of Bath is within a 15-minute drive, home to the The Roman Baths, perfectly manicured gardens of Henrietta Park, the Jane Austen Museum and Bath Abbey. 

Hertfordshire: Five-star heritage stay with championship golf course 

The Grove, Watford, Hertfordshire, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and UK's best summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
The Grove, Watford.

Surrounded by rolling Hertfordshire countryside, it's hard to believe The Grove is within just an hour’s drive of London. The grade II-listed historic mansion is home to a luxurious day spa, four onsite restaurants and a championship golf course, one of the UK’s most prestigious, where Tiger Woods won the World Golf Championship in 2006. Then, when it's time to refuel, enjoy a classic Sunday roast at The Stables, an Indian banquet at Madhu’s at The Grove, or go all out at the international buffet at The Glasshouse. 

What’s nearby: For those Harry Potter fans, you couldn’t be closer to the ultimate experience, with Warner Bros. Studios just five minutes away. 

Maidenhead: Five-star riverside retreat on private island 

Monkey Island Estate, Bray, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks
Monkey Island Estate, Bray.

The prestigious Monkey Island Estate is a truly unique destination, located on a private island on the River Thames. When you're not soaking up the idyllic views and beautifully manicured gardens from the terraces, tuck into modern British cuisine in an intimate yet informal restaurant, or sip on bespoke cocktails at The Monkey Bar. For the ultimate relaxation, hop onboard the luxurious floating day spa onboard a barge.

What’s nearby: The historic village of Bray (a gastronomic capital of the UK, with two three-Michelin-starred restaurants: The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn) and Windsor Castle, just a 15-minute drive away.  

Cotswolds: Manor retreat with holistic spa 

Cowley Manor Experimental, Cheltenham, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Cowley Manor Experimental, Cheltenham.

Experience the quintessential charm of the English countryside at Cowley Manor Experimental, a grade II-listed property set in 55 acres of private parkland dotted with ponds and waterfalls. A rabbit hole of curiosities, this heritage hotel feels far from traditional with its quirky design and curated artworks. At the French-inspired restaurant, locally sourced, gourmet dishes such as roasted cod with fennel butter and smoked tomatoes await, with rejuvenation for the body and soul at C-Side Spa. 

What’s nearby: The must-visit Sudeley Castle & Gardens is just a scenic 25-minute drive from the estate, with the quaint Cotswold villages of Bourton-on-the-Water and Lower Slaughter also within a 30-minute drive. 

St Andrews: Scottish escape on world-famous golf course 

Rusacks St. Andrews, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Rusacks St. Andrews.

St Andrews' Old Course is the oldest and arguably most iconic golf course in the world, and this Victorian-era hotel sits right on its fringe. Rusacks St Andrews is steeped in local heritage and overlooks the picturesque town of St Andrews. Breathe in 600 years of golf history at the Old Course before refuelling at the onsite restaurants, The Bridge and 18, that provide an authentic taste of Scottish cuisine sourced from local suppliers. 

What’s nearby: This is undeniably a golfer's heaven, with countless golf clubs in the vicinity. St Andrews Beach and St Andrews Castle are a short stroll away, plus Cambo Estate Gardens, Kellie Castle and Hills of Tarvit are all within a 20-minute drive. 

Cheshire: 17th-century fairy-tale retreat

Crewe Hall Hotel & Spa, one of England's prettiest staycations and best summer holiday breaks - Luxury Escapes
Crewe Hall Hotel & Spa, Cheshire.

The stunning 17th-century, Grade I-listed Jacobean mansion, Crewe Hall Hotel & Spa, is the perfect base for exploring the charming historic villages of Cheshire. Its period-style interiors, with ornate ceilings and rich furnishings, feel like a step back in time: evenings are spent in the moody Brasserie Bar & Restaurant, while afternoon tea at the Sheridan Lounge offers the full Bridgerton experience. You'll also discover plenty of modern-day comforts including a day spa, heated indoor swimming pool and onsite tennis courts. 

What’s nearby: One of the best UK holiday destinations, the picturesque town of Chester, is just a 40-minute drive away. Here you can take a walk along the 2,000-year-old city walls and wander the medieval streets.

Yorkshire: Historic spa & golf escape

Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Leeds, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Leeds.

A one-of-a-kind stay awaits at Oulton Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort – housed within an 18th-century mansion. Enthusiastic golfers can tee off at the resort’s 27-hole course, while those looking to rest and recharge can take advantage of the indoor heated pool and health club or go luxe and book a facial or signature ritual at the spa. For a succulent grilled or slow-cooked dish, The Calverley Grill restaurant is the place to go. For something extra special, the Champagne Bar is home to more than 50 international sparkling varieties. 

What’s nearby: The hotel is just a short drive from the lively riverside city of Leeds, home to a thriving dining scene, Victorian-style arches and many shopping boutiques.

Shropshire: Golf at the countryside manor

The Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best summer holiday breaks - Luxury Escapes
The Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, Telford.

The Telford Hotel & Golf Resort is in a prime position to enjoy the Shropshire countryside from a stunningly restored, 17th-century Darby House. As suited to a romantic escape as golfing getaway, this hotel offers the perfect balance of serenity and adventure, should you seek it (it's on the doorstep of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ironbridge Gorge). Spend days practising your swing at the 18-hole golf course, indulging at the award-winning day spa and treating your tastebuds to a fine dining journey at Restaurant 1779 or Gorge Bar & Lounge. 

What’s nearby: The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ironbridge Gorge and Severn Valley (known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution), home to picturesque towns like Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Bridgnorth.

Cotswolds: Stay in the heart of Shakespeare Country

Chesford Grange Hotel, Cotswolds, one of the UK's prettiest staycations and best UK summer breaks - Luxury Escapes
Chesford Grange Hotel, Cotswolds.

This ticks all the boxes for a glorious countryside retreat: historic charm, contemporary comfort and an ultra-stylish day spa. The boutique Chesford Grange – A QHotel is set in a Tudor-style manor house. Be pampered into bliss at the spa with a rejuvenating massage or ELEMIS facial and make use of the pool, steam room and heated loungers. Plus, you can bring your pooches along for your UK staycation; this hotel is pet friendly. 

What’s nearby: The hotel is tucked in the heart of Shakespeare Country, with the famed Warwick Castle within a 10-minute drive away. The medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) is an easy 20-minute drive from the hotel.

Looking for more inspiration? Read London’s Best Boutique Hotels.

About Felicia Arhontissas
A keen traveller and a margarita enthusiast, Felicia is all about getting to the nitty gritty of each destination she visits and discovering its hidden gems (and then running home to write about it).

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