Rugged coastline, historic sandstone cities and wild moorlands make England an ideal choice for a Christmas break. We’ve wrapped up some of the best hotels (plus a couple of rentals) across the Southwest – one of our favourite UK regions – that are stoking log fires, perfecting mince pie recipes, choosing Champagne and crossing off your Christmas list in time for this year’s festivities. You might just never spend Christmas at home again…
1 The Pig at Combe, South Devon
Stay in this Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor house, waking up on Christmas Day in a four-poster bed to vast mullioned windows framing countryside views. Work up an appetite wandering around the magnificent kitchen gardens – or head to the nearby picturesque village of Gittisham – before settling down to a resplendent five-course meal. Keep warm with wine, mince pies and tea or coffee. If you’ve any room left, a light buffet supper will tide you over until breakfast.
Need to know: Prices from £250 per night, 3-night minimum stay
2 Merlin Farm Eco Cottages, North Cornwall
Let the log-burner crackle into the night at this collection of Cornish cottages (each with its own real decorated Christmas tree; inhale that fresh pine aroma). Take to the nearby coastal paths and let the Atlantic breeze clear any Boxing Day blues. Or head to the Eden Project, where the ice-skating rink will be in full flow and the kids can meet Father Christmas himself. If the sky’s clear enough, you might just spot a sleigh.
Need to know: Prices from £230 per night, 5-night minimum stay
3 The Swan Wedmore, Somerset Levels
These cosy rooms sit above a historic inn, ideal for a relaxed rural break in the Somerset Levels. Settle into a warm leather chair before an open fire with a local ale before heading upstairs to sink into your very own claw-foot bathtub. Christmas Day’s menu is a real showstopper, including marinated Brixham crab, malted toast, pickled red onion, watercress and Bloody Mary dressing; spiced roast duck with wild mushrooms and Marsala sauce; and Christmas pudding with salted caramel sauce, brandy and raisin ice cream.
Need to know: Prices from £190 per night
4 Polurrian on the Lizard, South Cornwall
If you’re looking for a coastal Cornish Christmas, it doesn’t get much closer than this clifftop hotel. Dramatic landscapes studded with tin mines bring you right onto the set of BBC’s Poldark (brooding looks out to sea are mandatory). Back at the hotel, head to the Vista lounge and soak up those shimmering sea views. Between multi-course dinners live music will fill the air, as well as festive movies. Feeling brave? Take a Boxing Day dip at Poldhu Cove.
Need to know: Prices from £159 per night, 3-night minimum stay
5 Tudor Farmhouse, Gloucestershire
Arrive at this boutique farmhouse in the Forest of Dean (by the gorgeous Wye Valley) and kick off Christmas Eve with a visit to Clearwell Caves. Spend the rest of the evening sipping mulled wine and munching mince pies to the sounds of a brass quartet. Wake up with Bucks Fizz on Christmas Day, and prepare for the plentiful food ahead. i-escape+ members also receive a little something extra on Boxing Day. Sign up here to be in on the secret.
Need to know: Prices from £367 per night, 2-night minimum stay
6 Upcott Farm, North Devon
These barn conversions on an idyllic farm near the beaches of North Devon are picture-perfect. Who needs snow at Christmas when you can slink around these crisp, white interiors without a care? And don’t let the colour palette deter you from bringing the whole family along for festivities: there’s plenty for kids to do – toy boxes, books, beaches, games and gardens – and tonnes of helpful equipment already here to lighten your car load.
Need to know: Prices from £200 per night, 7-night minimum stay
7 Calcot & Spa, Gloucestershire
Roaring log fires wait to greet you on Christmas Eve at this spa-hotel. Sit down with a hot drink and cake – you might even catch the local choristers popping by for a carol or two. How does a trip to Midnight Mass sound, followed by a hot toddy on your return? The spa is open from 10am until 1pm on Christmas Day, so spoil yourself before tucking into lunch. Revive yourself between naps and bubbles with a clay pigeon shoot on Boxing Day. Or choose between 220 acres of hotel grounds, nearby Westonbirt Arboretum or countless Cotswold villages to explore.
Need to know: Prices from £780 per night (Champagne included), 3-night minimum stay
8 Artist Residence Cornwall, Penzance
Surround yourself in a work of art in Penzance at this funky Grade II-listed townhouse. Before you venture out, warm up with a welcome glass of mulled wine and a mince pie; pre-Christmas tipples will be poured into the evening from the bar and lounge. Tuck into breakfast and lunch on Christmas Day, before retreating to the cosy lounge (complete with log burner, of course), and nibble on cheese and charcuterie boards throughout the evening.
Need to know: Prices from £125 per night, 2-night minimum stay
See our UK hotels and rentals with Christmas availability here