Need a pick-me-up to get over the fact that summer is drawing to a close? Get yourselves booked into one of these spoiling UK retreats for maximum indulgence and minimum stress
1 Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent
Great for: Watching wildlife from your bed.
If your idea of an indulgent getaway is being at one with nature, you’ll absolutely love these shepherd huts and houses on a wild nature reserve in Kent. Twitchers will be in paradise: we counted over 50 different bird species when we visited. Head out with your binoculars and bird guides, then return for hearty homecooking and huddles around your firepit before drifting off beneath vast open skies.
2 Calcot & Spa, Cotswolds
Great for: Feeling utterly pampered.
A typical day at this Cotswolds retreat might consist of breakfast in a goosedown bed, followed by a refreshing swim in the indoor pool or a relaxing treatment at the fantastic spa. Go for a soak in the outdoor hot tub – champagne in hand, of course – then gorge on haute cuisine in the candlelit conservatory and walk it off with a romantic moonlit stroll around the estate. Heavenly.
3 The Portobello Hotel, Notting Hill
Great for: Living like a movie star.
This extremely glamorous hotel occupies prime real estate in a whitewashed villa in the heart of Notting Hill. Inside, it’s all old-school elegance and beautiful antiques. Such grandeur has attracted a star-studded collection of guests: Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper to name a few. Step outside your door and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a Richard Curtis movie; Portobello Market is a few minutes’ walk away and there are heaps of smart cafes and glamorous boutiques to see and be seen in.
4 Kaywana Hall, Devon
Great for: Fans of modernism.
This space-age treehouse in the woods belongs on an episode of Grand Designs. Its elevated position affords tranquil views over the treetops, and its striking architecture features winding staircases and glassy geometric panels, which allow the modern rooms to be flooded with natural light. Outside, there’s a big heated swimming pool and the sights of the Dart Valley to explore.
5 Stow House, North Yorkshire
Great for: Art lovers and creatives.
Think majestic country house on the outside, modern art museum on the inside. The bold and extravagant interiors of this quirky B&B combine velvet chaise longues, grand four-posters, claw-foot tubs and a fun and eclectic mix of art: raunchy pop-art, a papier-mâché hare, even a badger in a gas mask! The extremely welcoming owners treat you like old friends – we found ourselves sipping lethal homemade cocktails with them as soon as we arrived.
6 21212, Edinburgh
Great for: Award-winning cuisine.
This classy restaurant-with-rooms received its first Michelin Star just eight months after opening. What’s more, it occupies one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful spots: right at the end of the world’s longest Georgian crescent. Head chef Paul Kitching is renowned for his inventive and ground-breaking dishes; be prepared for a gastronomic adventure. And in case you’re wondering where the odd name comes from, you get a choice of 2 starters, 1 soup, 2 mains, 1 cheese plate and 2 desserts – get it?
7 Croft 103, Scottish Highlands
Great for: An out-of-this-world experience.
These breathtaking hideaways are so remote and so far north, you’ve actually got a chance of spotting the Northern Lights if you come in season. Located at the very top of Scotland, you’ll feel a million miles from anything, surrounded by nothing but soaring mountains, icy seas and endless views. As for the cottages, they are equally breathtaking, with an open-plan layout, log burners and glass walls that frame that dazzling view. Sleep with the curtains open to see the most remarkable sunrises.
8 Hotel Endsleigh, Devon
Great for: Majestic country living.
Live like royalty at this enchanting country retreat that lords over 108 acres of fairytale parkland. Within its grounds, you can get lost in dark conifer forests, stroll along rose-covered walkways, play games on the neat croquet lawn and amble along riverside trails. Back at the grand house, tuck into lavish cream teas served in the library, cosy up beside crackling fireplaces and retreat to classically elegant bedrooms with roll-top bathtubs and pretty painted wallpapers.
9 Artist Residence, Brighton
Great for: Bright young things.
A visit to hip Brighton needs a hip hotel to match, and this achingly cool boutique retreat captures the essence of its city perfectly. Every room has its own quirky style, decorated with vintage and upcycled pieces from local markets and galleries. The buzzy restaurant offers a 10-course tasting menu and the bar’s mixologists concoct creative cocktails. But best of all, it’s incredibly good value.
10 Felin Newydd, nr Brecon Beacons
Great for: A lavish family celebration.
There are few finer venues for a big party than this palatial country house, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. It’s enormous, with beautiful receptions rooms and a grand piano, old-school bedrooms with relics from a bygone age, and 50 acres of grounds to explore. Chefs or caterers can be brought in to cook for you, and there’s a well-stocked wine cellar for keeping the drinks flowing all evening.