We’ve been lucky enough to discover some fantastic UK gems in recent months and, being the kind-hearted souls that we are, we wanted to share them with you. From sprawling country pads and cosy cottages to hip houseboats and city retreats, here’s where we’ve been escaping to in 2016.

Editor Liz Simpson on Escallonia at Bude Hideaways

“Escallonia is the latest Bude Hideaway by Conrad and Karen Allen, owners of the stunning Red Barn and Cob in the Cornish countryside. Unlike their other rentals, which are on their small farm, this delightful restored cottage for 2-4 is set in the quaint village of Poughill, 1.5 miles from Bude. We loved its light-filled interiors, with pops of bright colour from blankets, bedside tables and quirky artwork, and coveted the metro-tiled master ensuite for our own home. Upstairs there’s a generous double, a sunny twin and 2 bathrooms; downstairs, a cosy lounge with designer sofas, and a surprisingly large kitchen/diner with every last detail thought of for self-catering. Families with older kids or a group of friends will love being able to walk to Bude’s beaches and restaurants, and you’re perfectly placed for the South West Coastal Path.”

i-escape blog / Bude Hideaways Cornwall

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Assistant Editor Melissa Burfitt on 10 Castle Street

“We arrived at this bucolic Dorset hotel on a sleepy summer Sunday, and what followed was a hazy afternoon on the restaurant terrace with fresh fruit sherry trifle, botanical G&Ts and the dulcet tones of Izzy Onslow wafting across the lawn. As autumn draws in I long to return and experience the other side of 10 Castle Street, nestling amid plump cushions in one of the dramatic lounges, a log fire crackling in the corner and a warming glass of red wine in hand. Set in the village of Cranborne with open fields all around, it makes the perfect base for crisp country walks and outdoor pursuits.”

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Deputy Editor Abi Dare on Hoxton Boutique Houseboats

“My fiancé Chris and I had the most wonderful time aboard The Palmer, one of two stylish houseboats moored on a private wharf in Hoxton, East London. Forget any notion of cramped canal boats: this is a wide-beam vessel, large enough to accommodate an open-plan living area, a full kitchen, a bedroom and a proper bathroom, and beautifully decorated throughout. There’s something hugely peaceful about being on the water, and we spent our evening lingering over G&Ts on the deck, playing board games by the wood-burner, and sampling the treats waiting in the minibar (champagne and black-truffle crisps – yum!). We slept like babies in the huge bed (so high you need a step to clamber into it!) and awoke to ducks quacking outside, before cooking up the spoils in the breakfast hamper provided. I can’t wait to return for another dose of life afloat.”

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i-escape blog / Hoxton Boutique Houseboats

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Editor-in-Chief Michael Cullen on Grove Lodge

“I loved the generosity of space at Grove Lodge (each of the 3 suites is 40-55 sq.m., with a separate bedroom and sitting room), the theatrical décor (whimsical wallpapers and vintage pieces), and above all the truly 5-star service from Italian-British owners Mary and Giovanni. They collect guests from the rail station at no charge, and welcome you with homemade gianduja pralines and a glass of prosecco. The breakfast was the best in-suite offering I can recall, with healthy homemade granola, exquisite yoghurt and biscotti, plus the full range of cooked items; even porridge with whisky for a winter warmer. When you consider all of this, it’s fantastic value at £150-200 per suite per night. This is an adults-only hideaway, so my wife and I decided to leave our son at home and take  advantage of the nearby Thermae Spa (book mid-week for free tickets*).We came out feeling all loose limbed and lethargic, like puppets without their strings. Being 1 mile from the city centre, parking is easy; there are frequent buses into town, or you can do as we did and take a leisurely stroll to experience more of the city’s distinctive architecture.”

*Restrictions apply

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i-escape blog / Grove Lodge, Bath, UK

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Assistant Editor Melissa Burfitt on the cottage at Artist Residence Cornwall

“The ever-expanding Artist Residence empire has recently added another string to its beautifully curated bow. Down at the very tip of Cornwall’s toe, their Penzance hotel has grown to include a brand-new 3-bedroom cottage. Exhibiting the boutique chain’s signature style, it’s filled with supple leather armchairs, rough-hewn woodwork, industrial-chic lighting, freestanding tubs and heavenly beds draped in white linens. Combine all this with an indulgent evening at The Cornish Barn (the hotel’s on-site smokehouse and bar) and you’re onto a winner. We spent a fantastic night sampling craft beers and fresh Cornish seafood here – don’t miss the garlic and lemon prawns.”

i-escape blog / Artist Residence Cornwall, UK

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i-escape blog / Artist Residence Cornwall, UK

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Head of Reservations Kate Parsons on Westbrook Court

“When owners Kari and Chris moved to this delightful spot just outside Hay-on-Wye, they immediately set about creating a contemporary B&B. The old concrete outbuildings were knocked down and a modern barn-style structure was created to house Westbrook Court’s 5 guest rooms. We stayed in Room 1, a huge and airy space with clean lines and interesting details like a wire ball lampshade and crate shelving. In the morning, I was delighted to find a fabulous breakfast hamper waiting outside our door, laden with delicious local goodies like flaky croissants, smoked salmon and creamy Welsh yoghurt. The weather was so kind to us that we were able to eat alfresco, and we could see for miles across the fields and valley from our little terrace.”

i-escape blog / Westbrook Court. Wales, UK

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i-escape blog / Westbrook Court, Wales, UK

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Editor Liz Simpson on The Pig at Combe

The Pig at Combe was my favourite 2016 discovery, superlative in every sense of the word. Its setting, amongst 3,500 acres of fresh green Devon countryside, is pure rejuvenation for the soul. Its design is immaculate but utterly relaxing – calming hues, beautiful furniture from French brocantes, deep sofas, deliciously thick bedlinens, and dreamy views through mullioned windows. But it’s the food that’s the star of the show here, inspired by their incredible kitchen gardens or sourced locally, and drawn together in imaginative flavour combinations. There are bikes and Hunter wellies to explore the countryside, but we just sat on the lawns in the sunshine with a cocktail and felt utterly content.”

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i-escape blog / The Pig at Combe, Devon, UK

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Assistant Editor Melissa Burfitt on The Plough Inn

“Sister property to the nearby Five Alls at Filkins, this lovely little pub with rooms sits in the tiny Cotswolds hamlet of Kelmscott and was one of my most restorative stays of 2016. We visited in spring and the only sound we heard was birdsong. There was a grassy pub garden to relax in, and the candlelit restaurant was really cosy. The Plough’s rooms were also charming; we had a sweet little double with a freestanding tub overlooking a blossom tree. Oh, and the food was great: well suited to the atmosphere, with a mix of fancier dishes and excellent takes on traditional pub grub. The fishcake with poached egg and hollandaise was so, so good! It also works on a practical level, as there are no minimum stays – perfect for a great-value (and rather romantic) night away from the city.”

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i-escape blog / The Plough Inn, Cotswolds, UK

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For more UK inspiration, peruse our full collection.

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