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

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.

Cheshire: 17th-century fairy-tale retreat

The stunning 17th-century, Grade I-listed Jacobean mansion, Crewe Hall Hotel & Spa, is the perfect base for your stay in fairy-tale Cheshire. Feel like you’ve stepped back in time amid its period-style interiors (think ornate ceilings and rich furnishings). Spend evenings in the moody Brasserie Bar & Restaurant or go full Bridgerton and feast on Crewe Hall’s famous afternoon tea at the Sheridan Lounge. If you’re craving modern-day comforts, a day spa, heated indoor swimming pool and onsite tennis courts are at your disposal. 

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 and golf escape

Experience a one-of-a-kind stay 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, take a seat at the Champagne Bar and choose from over 50 international sparkling varieties. 

What’s nearby: You’re 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 places you in a prime position to enjoy the English countryside from a stunningly restored, 17th-century Darby House. Fitting for a romantic escape or a golfing getaway, the hotel makes it all too easy to forget the rest of the world once you step foot on the manicured grounds. Spend days on the green at the superb 18-hole golf course practising your swing, indulge with a pampering treatment at the award-winning day spa and treat your tastebuds to a journey into fine dining at Restaurant 1779 or Gorge Bar & Lounge. 

What’s nearby: Right outside your door is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ironbridge Gorge, while the Severn Valley (known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution) is brimming with picturesque towns like Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Bridgnorth.

Cotswolds: Stay in the heart of Shakespeare Country

This ticks all the boxes for a glorious countryside retreat: historic charm, contemporary comforts and an ultra-stylish day spa. The boutique Chesford Grange – A QHotel is set in a gorgeous 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 hidden away right in the heart of Shakespeare Country, another of the best UK holiday destinations, with the famed Warwick Castle just an eight-minute drive away. The medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) is an easy 20-minute drive from the hotel.

Bath: Five-star luxury with heritage charm

A quintessential British staycation dripping with history comes to life at The Roseate Villa Bath. Expect five-star facilities and service at this exceptional hotel, spread across two beautifully restored Victorian houses. Is there anything more British than a classic English afternoon tea with scones and prosecco? We highly recommend treating yourself to Roseate’s version with homemade treats during your stay. Come evening, sip a handcrafted cocktail mixed by the experts at Henrietta Bar. There’s also a resident dog — Border Terrier Muttley. 

What’s nearby: Stay in an ideal location in a quiet corner of Bath, a moment’s walk from the heart of the charming town centre. The perfectly manicured gardens of Henrietta Park, Jane Austen Museum and grandeur of Bath Abbey are easily accessible.

Dorset: Summers in the country

The five-star Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant in West Dorset is an idyllic, quaint English countryside escape. Step inside the grounds and find centuries-old stone cottages, working log fireplaces, enchanting gardens and antiques scattered about. The farm-to-table restaurant will guide you on an incredible culinary journey featuring local ingredients, including Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese and Dorset beef, plus produce grown in the hotel’s gardens. Cap off a memorable gourmet experience by pairing your meals with the perfect wine, as recommended by the hotel’s award-winning sommelier.  

What’s nearby: Stay within the charming village of Evershot in West Dorset, where quaint stone houses, a local bakery and pub offer the quintessential English countryside experience.  For an incredible day trip, drive to Poole and catch a ferry to the Isle of Wight. There’s so much to do on the Isle of Wight, from exploring beaches to horse riding and exhilarating watersports.

Norfolk: Old-world charm in the heart of Norfolk woodland

Set within a massive 150 acres of woodland is Dunston Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, an Elizabethan-style mansion built in 1859. Lovingly restored to its former glory, this hotel enjoys the luxuries of modern life without compromising on heritage charm. There’s never a dull moment during a stay here: make use of the luxurious health club and spa with an indoor heated pool, practise your swing at the scenic championship golf course, and be wined and dined at The Brasserie Restaurant and three onsite bars. 

What’s nearby: Discover the rich history of neighbouring Norwich, with its ancient castle, cathedral and world-class dining scene.

Surrey: Heritage English manor on the outskirts of London

Feel akin to royalty with a stay at the luxurious Oatlands Park Hotel, an elegant manor overlooking the stunning scenery of the picturesque Surrey countryside. Fun fact about this manor: it’s located on the original site of the grand royal palace, built by Henry VIII. While you’re here, pop into Mulberry Restaurant and indulge in a fine-dining dinner, sample a range of teas and decadent desserts during an afternoon tea and partake in a traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Bar 1509 is your go-to spot for a selection of lip-smacking cocktails and light bites. 

What’s nearby: It’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the city among the rolling countryside of Surrey, with wineries, museums, castles and amusement parks all nearby. In reality, London is just a 45-minute drive away.

Cambridge: Spa sanctuary near the historic university town

With second-to-none facilities and a tranquil lakeside setting, Cambridge Belfry Hotel & Spa is the perfect UK staycation. Spend a romantic evening with dinner for two at The Bridge Restaurant or swap stories over wine at The Lounge Bar. Take a dip in the inviting heated pool and treat yourself to a pampering treatment at the luxurious day spa, boasting a sauna, steam room and blissful ELEMIS treatments.  

What’s nearby: Explore Cambridge’s exquisite architecture, picturesque college gardens and historic pubs with ease. You’ll be within a 15-minute drive of Cambridge’s renowned Parker’s Piece – a 25-acre open common – Cambridge University Botanic Garden and The Fitzwilliam Museum.

Devon: Sandy beaches and state-of-the-art spa

Overlooking the outstanding natural beauty of Babbacombe beach and the English Riviera is the five-star Cary Arms & Spa, a seafront inn in Devon along the UK’s south coast. Awarded the Condénast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2022, the facilities at this property go above and beyond. Make a beeline for the spa, where floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the stunning coastline while waterfall hydrotherapy pools, a steam room, sauna and two treatment rooms will evoke pure relaxation.

Babbacombe Beach, Devon. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What’s nearby: You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning beaches and natural beauty in Devon. Go beach hopping between Babbacombe, Oddicombe and Petitor Downs, or wander historic houses in villages like Clovelly.

Ready to combine your countryside escape with memorable city breaks? Read London’s Best Boutique Hotels

A keen traveller and hot choc 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).