We asked you to tell us your dream hotel destinations for the year ahead: the places which, after a season of cancelled trips and cabin fever, you yearn to escape to. And you told us – more than 4,000 of you! A massive thank you to all who voted, and hearty congrats to our winners…
This stunning four-bedroom cottage comes with 14 acres of private land, a tennis court, vintage-chic interiors, and panoramic views over the Camel Estuary near Padstow. But it’s the raised semi-circular pool which stole our hearts – and, judging from the number of votes, yours as well. Fringed by aromatic shrubs and swaying grasses, it’s easy to imagine you’ve left Blighty far behind. But it’s only a 10-minute walk down to sandy Porthilly Cove, and a short drive to the surf mecca of Polzeath (the house has wetsuits and bodyboards to borrow). Cycle the family-friendly Camel Trail, hike the southwest coastal path, dine in Michelin style at Rock or Padstow. This is the best of Britain in an idyllic, infinity-edged package.
Who would not want to escape to such a delightfully green and pleasant setting, immersed in the ‘Garden of England’, yet just 2 hours from central London? That idea certainly appealed to the majority of you – and that’s before we even mentioned the delicious 25-mile menu, the superlative spa treatments, the beautifully renovated bedrooms with Bramley toiletries and fluffy robes, or the terrace where you can tuck into wood-fired pizzas and Kentish wines. The hiccup? Finding availability over a weekend this side of Easter could be tricky. But trust us: after Easter it will only get harder – so don’t wait!
This 4-bedroom Cotswold cottage is one of a pair of super-stylish rentals tucked away amid the rolling hills and sleepy hamlets near Chipping Norton. Like many houses hereabouts, it’s built of honey-coloured limestone, clad in wisteria and fringed by striped lawns. But this one boasts stunning interiors, with three lounges (including an adults’ only snug and a kids’ TV/foosball room), four chic bedrooms with arty objets and rolltop tubs, and – best of all – a dipping pool for those sunny days we got so used to in the spring of 2020. Same again in 2021, please (only without the lockdown)!
This fabulous folly castle in the Eden Valley is perfect for family adventures. Complete with turrets, a 12-seat cinema, a children’s library and 20 acres of grounds, the little ones will be in heaven from day one – come rain or shine. Choose one of the 12 grand but informal bedrooms – many of which sleep 4 – or book a two-bedroom cottage for more independence. If the British weather comes up trumps, there’s a tennis court and croquet lawn, plus hikes in the Pennines or boat trips in the Lake District. Or brave the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine: a family-bonding, screen-free adrenalin rush!
If it’s the sound of silence you’re seeking – and it appears many of you are – then the tiny Hebridean island of Colonsay is just what the doctor ordered. Midway between Islay and Mull, warmed by the Gulf Stream and long summer days, this 15-square-mile island has just one hotel, which can fairly claim to be Britain’s remotest (though there are regular ferries from Oban). Endless sandy beaches, sea cliffs, migratory birds, sea-kayaking and sailing trips draw families and outdoors types alike, as well as stressed-out city folk. We felt many, many miles from home; yet instantly at home.
Here’s another remote and idyllic British island which we – and many of you – love. In the southwest corner of our (currently much debated) British waters, the white-sand Scillies feel halfway to the Caribbean; they’re actually 1/100th of the distance. These 3-5 bedroom beach houses on Tresco showcase the owner’s passion for local art and creature comforts; and they come with use of the island’s indoor pool, spa, bar and restaurants. From your terrace garden you can step down onto the sand: swim, sail or cycle to beaches, forests and moors. Impossibly romantic for two, utterly magical for children.
It’s the sense of space which we loved – and it seems you sensed it too. This beautifully converted two-bedroom barn sits among 200 acres of peaceful meadow and woodland, with an apple orchard (for fresh pressed juice), three miles of walking paths, and a private lake with jetty and rowing boat (for secret wild swims). This is the perfect antidote to cabin fever; the ultimate place for holing up with a loved one or escaping with the kids. And it’s only 2 hours from London, or less than 1 from Bristol.
This is the perfect place for an affordable adults-only break in a delightful and often under-rated Cornish town. At the vibrant end of Falmouth’s high street, surrounded by boutiques, bars, galleries and a thriving port, sits this popular gastropub, with its 3 self-catering apartments upstairs. From just £80/night, you get an open-plan living/kitchen area, a double bedroom and a bijou bathroom. It’s all cosy and light, with sloping ceilings, beautiful linens and high quality bedding. Head downstairs for award-winning pub food and British beers, served with a sweeping sea view.
We love the New-England decor, fresh Quba sail furniture and tranquil views across the Salcombe estuary. Our kids – everyone’s kids – love the golden-sand beach right out front: perfect for sand-castling, splashing, swimming and SUP-ping. Take the sea tractor and ferry, or walk for half an hour and you’re in the heart of Salcombe. This picturesque Devon sailing haven, favoured by well-heeled yachties and outdoorsy families, has boutique shops, decent eateries and a launch across the water to yet more pristine beaches and fine coastal walks.
Ah, to sit here and gaze out at what our reviewer called “a land of infinite splendour – of soaring mountains, of aquamarine seas, of views that stretch for miles under a vast sky”. This is the top left-hand corner of our small island, and one of the most beautiful places on our planet: craggy 200-foot cliffs, plunging sea birds, beautiful beaches, desolate lighthouses. These 2 seriously cool boltholes have walls of glass, an open-plan lounge-kitchen-diner, and a vast double bedroom. You’ll need to be self-sufficient: it’s 5 miles from the nearest shop, and 5 hours from Edinburgh or Glasgow.