Country Exploits

I would love a countryside jaunt or over the next few months. I love country hotels, forest walks and open fires in this season. This is the perfect season for cosy evenings and using the weather as an excuse not to get out of bed! I have compiled a small list some hotels I like or have my eye on:

Limewood Hotel and their sister hotel The Pig, New Forest.

About: These are relatively new hotels with elegant yet comfortable interiors. Both relaxed, Limewood is a little more upmarket, and hosts both a gorgeous spa and a restaurant by Michelin Star chef Angela Hartnett. The Pig has a farm and is slightly more relaxed.

Pros: Both in the New Forest where they have friendly little ponies walking around freely.

Cons: Can’t take pony home with you (I’ve tried, turns out they don’t want to be dragged into the back of an Uber Exec)

The Gnewt, Somerset.

About: Recently opened by a South African gazillionaire with exceptionally good taste. The spa looks to be one of the best I’ve ever seen, with a massive heated outdoor pool, and the hotel is surrounded by acres of gardens and woods. I haven’t been, but heard consistently good things and had my eye on it for a long time.

Pros: I’ve always wanted to have sex in a Roman Villa and they’ve got a Roman villa.

Cons: None.

Heckfield Place in Hook, Hampshire.

About: Have stayed a 5 times (sometimes alone) so an old favourite. Large grounds and a lovely farm and 2 restaurants, one with a Green Michelin Star. Harry and Meghan stayed here on their honeymoon. They also have a stunning cinema with seats made by Rolls Royce. They also have an extensive wine cellar with many rare vintages.

Pros: Only a 90min drive from London.

Cons: The spa STILL isn’t fully finished due to eccentric perfectionist owner.

Cliveden House, Berkshire.

About: A little more old world than my usual tastes but so decadent and famous I would like to try it. Surrounded by nearly 400 acres of impeccable (and private😉) National Trust countryside, and a favourite for aristocrats looking to impress their mistresses, and Royals seeking top tier hospitality. They also have a fleet of boats for romantic trips along the river.

Pros: “Pet Friendly” which means nobody should mind if you walk me around on a leash.

Cons: I will be the sole source of diversity in the entire hotel.

Lympstone Manor and Gidleigh Park, both in Exmouth.

About: Spent a Birthday weekend at Lympstone a few years ago and would love to return. This is the project of Michelin Star chef Michael Caines, formerly worked down the road at Gidleigh. Famous for their gold bathtubs and award winning Michelin Restaurant, Lympstone Manor, is a smaller, quieter country hotel, known for excellent, personal service (chef drove from his house to the restaurant specifically to wish me a happy birthday). Gidleigh is more cosy, the traditional country hotel with wood panelled walls, giant bathtubs, and fantastic reviews.

Pros: (from the perspective of your heart) So far away we must spend at least 3 days.

Cons: (from the perspective of bank balance) So far away we must spend at least 3 days.

Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Cotswolds.

About: Much more like a massive cottage, home to a private cinema, jazz on Sundays, and a fabulous restaurant which I’m amazed lost one of its Michelin stars this year. Nevertheless, a lowkey, comfortable hotel with beautiful grounds and the most epic indoor/outdoor spa

Pros: In the heart of one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Cons: The restaurant is so quiet I’ll have to save my more politically incorrect jokes for another time.

Gleneagles, Scotland. 

About: 2022 winner of Virtuosos “Best Hotel in the World”, famous for some of the UKs most prestigious golf courses, AND Scotland’s only 2 Michelin Star restaurant. Set in 850 acres, where you can golf, fish, shoot, or simply enjoy, the Hotel also hosts 10 restaurants and bars to choose from. I have only been to Scotland once(!) so have my eye on this for my second visit.

Pros: If you annoy me I can shoot you and make it look like an accident.

Cons: Scottish people everywhere.
(joke! 😂)