Want to escape London, fill your lungs with fresh air and lose yourself in the great outdoors? Here are some of our top UK breaks to book now, for charming hotels and wild walking trails…
In the heart of the North Highlands is Links House, a 15-bedroom country townhouse.The perfect place to stay to explore Scotland on foot, the hotel has its own “Highlands Concierge”, who curates bespoke adventures including country hikes, beach walks and historical walking tours. Make the most of Dornoch’s microclimate – days are lighter for longer, all the better to explore beautiful landscape well into the evening.
Lismore Castle is part of Masterpiece Estates by Oetker Collection. It was built in 1185 by the then soon-to-be king of England, Prince John. It has hosted some notable names including Fred Astaire, John F. Kennedy and Lucian Freud. Enjoy trails and trekking in the Knockmealdown Mountains – hill walkers can climb from Lismore and Cappoquin on the southern side, where ground conditions are often dry and heathery. Forest tracks and narrow roads can be used to make easy approaches and views offer everything from the coast to mountains. Further westwards, the Knockmealdown Mountains are lower, and offer a good variety of easier walks.
Another of the Masterpiece Estates by Oetker, The Glen Affric Estate is surrounded by 10,000 acres of wilderness. The glen begins amongst the steep mountains of Kintail in the west, while further downriver is Loch Affric, at the foot of the highest mountains north of the Great Glen. The middle part of the Glen is a National Nature Reserve, wooded with Scots Pine – one of the last remnants of the original Caledonian Forest.
The Westbury has a new walking trail that takes in the best of Irish art. Led by The Westbury’s in-house Art Curator, Neal Doherty, the trail spans 100 years of art history. It takes in John Lavery’s 1912 oil painting Miss Haslam located in The Westbury’s Gallery, and Conor Harrington’s Dead Meat mural from 2012 on Merrion Row. Dublin has more than 250 pieces of public art, and the 90-minute trail tells the story behind some of the most fascinating.
Glenapp Castle is a 17-bedroom castle hotel tucked away on the stunning Ayrshire coast in Scotland. It’s set amidst 36 acres of stunning gardens and woodland. Spend hours getting lost within the estate, or escape to the majestic Scottish countryside for long walks and beautiful views.
Beautiful Lime Wood is an easy drive from London, and better still, there are walking maps in every room highlighting various trails around the New Forest. Borrow Wellies if need be and try the six-mile walk to sister property The Pig. If pressed for time, there are shorter two-mile walks around the forest, right on the hotel’s doorstep.
The Duncombe Arms is a pub in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside, with ten cosy and luxurious bedrooms. It is located on the edge of the Peak District, super near the Pennines. This is the countryside that inspired George Eliot and even and Handel is rumoured to have been inspired by the nearby River Dove. It’s dog-friendly, too.
A beautifully remote beach, wild golden dunes – Holkham has it all. Here you’ll find The Victoria, next to Holkham National Nature Reserve and beach. Experience the magic of the dawn chorus on an early morning guided walk of the Holkham National Nature Reserve. Set off from The Lookout at 6am to see the diverse habitats – birds, butterflies, plants and more.
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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.