After six weeks of summer holidays, you deserve some me-time. Here are 9 great spots for a child-free break
Blue Door Barns, Sussex
It’s hard to imagine a better setting to soothe tired souls than the South Downs. And at the foot of the rolling green hills sits a collection of flint-and-brick barns with fairy-lit courtyards and vintage-chic interiors – the perfect couples’ hideaway. Head to the hills for a restorative stroll, visit pretty Lewes for (uninterrupted) browsing of secondhand booksellers and independents or head to ‘The Snug’ and have your stresses kneaded away.
Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire
If the six-week summer has left you in need of some serious R&R, we prescribe a few days at Cowley Manor. Set in stunning Cotswold parkland, this country house and spa offers an impressive array of invigorating treatments. The ‘Cloud 9 experience’ – a mixture of aromatherapy, Qi energy balancing, reflexology and acupressure – promises ‘an inner sense of tranquillity’. Just what the doctor ordered.
Hameau Albert 1er, Chamonix
Where better for some serious child-free indulgence than the French Alps? Chamonix is one of the few big ski resorts that really lives up to the hype, with long runs, stunning views and challenging off-piste. But there’s no obligation to join the thrill seekers: Hameau Albert 1er boasts a double Michelin starred restaurant and a fabulous range of spa treatments, so you’ll be well on the way to peak rejuvenation without leaving the confines of the hotel.
Tudor Farmhouse, Forest of Dean
The Wye Valley is the perfect spot for outdoorsy parents to enjoy a bit of downtime. There’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy, from wild swimming to canoeing to hiking. Stay at Tudor Farmhouseand you can even book onto a foraging course with in-house expert Raoul, who will take you on an off-the-beaten-track adventure searching for produce in the nearby Forest of Dean. Whatever you choose, return to sublime dishes from the ’20-mile menu’, crackling fires and a great night’s sleep.
Lord Crewe Arms, County Durham
The beautifully remote setting of the Lord Crewe Arms means a wealth of outdoor adventure is on your doorstep. Hikes in the North Pennines, fishing for brown trout in the Derwent, exploring nearby Hadrian’s Wall…it’s the perfect place for active parents to let off some steam. The history-soaked inn commands the centre of the tiny village of Blanchland, and marries country-house comfort with rural pub heartiness.
Hotel Husafell, Iceland
The tiny village of Husafell in Iceland’s unspoilt west (permanent population: 10) is pure escapism. Nestled between the Hraunfossar waterfalls and the Langjökull glacier, it’s perfectly situated for exploring ice caves, glaciers, waterfalls and lava fields. And if that’s not enough, Hotel Husafell’s staff can help arrange activities from helicopter rides to snowmobiling. So enticing is the hotel, however, that even the most restless parents may feel the urge to linger a while…
Hotel Parister, Paris
Yes, it’s a cliché, but Paris really is the perfect spot for a romantic break. Those in the know stay at Hotel Parister, a designer hotel in Paris’s vibrant 9th arrondissement, north of the tourist stomping ground. Boasting utterly sumptuous bedrooms and a cocktail bar fit for a young Don Draper, this is the perfect grown-up escape. And best of all, without the kids in tow, you can take your time browsing Paris’ museums and galleries.
Grove Lodge, Bath
For a fuss-free romantic escape, look no further than Bath. The UNESCO-listed Georgian city exudes romance: explore the majestic 15th-century abbey, take a stroll around the Roman Baths, soak in the therapeutic waters of the Thermae Spa. Mary and Giovanni of Grove Lodge have a wealth of local knowledge on the best places to visit, and some of the most indulgent suites in town. And just wait until you see the breakfast tray…
StarBed Hideaways, Devon
We challenge you to find a more romantic stay than StarBed Hideaways. Set in blissful isolation in the grounds of a National Trust estate, each of the uber-comfortable adults-only shepherds’ huts boats a rolltop bath and curved glass skylight above the bed for stargazing. Spend your days strolling the grounds or exploring the enchanting wilderness of nearby Dartmoor; return to relax beside your firepit beneath pollution-free skies.