Sometimes I think we forget that we have this expanse of glorious countryside on our doorstep. Dreamy canal rides in Venice and romantic sojourns to Paris often seem to be order of the day yet I dare say this lacks in imagination and excitement. We don’t mean to come across as ungrateful but we want to be taken somewhere a little bit different. Off the beaten track.
We have endless options of dreamy weekends away within easy reach of London (or Edinburgh or Manchester mind you – I’m aware we don’t all live in London). I spent 4 years sourcing the best pubs and restaurants around the UK and became used to requests from last minute couples who uttered the dreaded “we can only stay one night”. We get it. The babysitter costs mount up and time is precious. Saving you time, here are some great weekend retreats that let you turn up on a Saturday lunchtime and stay just the 24 hours:
Coworth Park, Ascot
Set in 240 acres of prized parkland amidst Windsor’s Great Park, Coworth Park is big and bold but also is a great weekend retreat for everything under one roof. The real jewel in its crown is their equestrian centre boasting horses on loan for hours to days or even bring your own if you happen to have one. This place is pretty slick so I’m afraid it’s a £350 night away but you’ll definitely feel like you’ve had a proper break with this much on offer.
The Vineyard at Stockcross
Serious food, serious wine and a seriously indulgent spa are all on offer a hop, skip and a jump from the din of London. Privately owned, this hotel focusses on its impressive wine list and art collection but also has a wondrous French chef adding an air of exclusivity to the whole package. It’s not cheap but with the calibre of what’s on offer it’s not surprising. Expect to part with about £300 for a one night stay.
Royal Crescent, Bath
Bath isn’t just worth a visit for those Royal Baths and Pump Rooms (although you should get a booking in at the Thermae Baths to tick the tourist box). The Royal Crescent is the perfect location to pop on some comfy shoes and tour it all. But with a mighty fine dining restaurant and spa in the hotel you may not leave the front door. Rooms from £180 per night.
Hotel du Vin, Brighton
Head for some bracing sea air and head down south for an excellent weekend break. Fish ‘n’ chips on the pier, romantic seaside strolls and excellent restaurants and delis to explore. A one night stay with breakfast only just breaks the £200 mark so it’s good value for money.