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Reader Treats Just For You!

Call me Cupid! 46 romantic stays across the Muddy counties

In the mood for love? Of course you are, pussy cat! Here, allow us to assist with the rumpy pumpy with 46 romantic boltholes across the Muddy counties.

BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE NORFOLK RUTLAND OXFORDSHIRE SOMERSET SUFFOLK SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE

 

CORNWALL

Watergate Bay Hotel

the terrace in front of the pool at watergate bay hotel

Romance isn’t just lounging in roll-top baths whilst you sip champagne and watch the sunset over the sea of course, but should that be your thing you’ll love the Watergate Bay Hotel – and the view really is heavenly, two miles of nothing but sand, sea and sky. Relaxed Scandinavian style in an understated Cornish palette and the unobtrusive but helpful staff make this an adult-focused hotel which is still family-friendly (don’t worry, the kids are all occupied in the kids club or out on the beach). You don’t need to do anything here, not one thing, but if one or both of you can’t bear to not be active, you’ll be pleased a surfing lesson is included. Roll out of the Swim Club onto the beach via the outdoor hot tub, then flop in the chicest of sofas by the fire and watch the waves, or get a massage. When even the beds have sea views (and there are proper Cornishware mugs in the bedrooms) so you can sip your morning cuppa as the sun rises, and blankets are provided on the decks, so there’s no excuse not to cosy up for a spot of stargazing, you know you’ll be well looked after.

watergatebay.co.uk

 

Little T, Latitude 50

If you’re looking for a spacious but secluded bolt-hole with its own secret beach, Little T will suit you down to a, well, T. Spend your days in the fresh Cornish air among the coastal flowers, walking the coast path, wild swimming in the cove and picnicking on the sandy beach, before returning to the calming oasis framing the wild North Cornish landscape. Cook dinner to enjoy al fresco, drinking in the uninterrupted sea views and cuddle up by the fire-pit under the darkest of night skies, with the luxury of knowing you can later retreat inside to plump sofas, a wood burner, and a free-standing bath, just waiting to be filled with bubbles.

Book via Latitude 50

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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

The Langley

If you’re going to swing on any chandeliers this Valentine’s Day, you may as well do it at The Langley in South Buckinghamshire – after all, there’s a huge number to choose from (we particularly recommend the Art Deco number in the Drawing Room). This five-star country pile is jaw-droppingly luxe, with original features, Instagrammable decor and incredible views at every turn (no surprises there, seeing as the 150 acres of grounds were designed by Capability Brown). There are 41 super-plush bedrooms to choose from (complete with frankly enormous in-room TVs, if you’re taking ‘Netflix and chill’ literally), including 6 pet-friendly garden suites in the grade II listed Brewhouse opposite the main hotel for those bringing furry friends. Foodies will be in their element, thanks to the main Cedar hotel, which is all about British food at its finest and offers a 7-course tasting menu. Prefer to sneak away to a cozy snug? Hit Churchill Bar to partake in a little cognac, cocktails, and rare cigars (if that’s your thing) until the early hours. It’s sacrilege to not visit the mammoth subterranean spa here, as the hammam, amethyst crystal steam room and infinity edge pool are the perfect way to while away the miserable February weather. Treat yourself to a couple’s massage and forget about the outside world for a bit.

marriott.com

 

Gothic Temple at Stowe Gardens
First off, just look at this restored folly – it’s not every day you get to knock boots in a Gothic temple, let alone one in the middle of some of the country’s best landscape gardens! You won’t find 5-star butler service or gold-plated Jacuzzis here (in fact, there’s not even a TV), but you will find incredible 360 views of Stowe Gardens and its assorted monuments, lakes and temples. The property comes with a bijou self-catering kitchen for rustling up a romantic candlelit dinner for two (microwave meals count, right?), or you could put together a picnic basket to enjoy in the grounds. After you’ve exhausted yourself walking here, there and everywhere (with or without Fido – the property is dog-friendly), enjoy a relaxing soak in the roll-top bath while you admire the outlook from the Gothic windows. Just be sure to take plenty of blankets to snuggle up under if you’re headed there in winter, as underfloor heating can only achieve so much in a temple! All in all, this has to be one of the most unique boltholes in the whole of Bucks.

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GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Barnsley House, Cirencester

Fancy checking in to your own country house retreat for the night? (Us, us!) Barnsley House is an ultra-chic, Grade II listed, luxury retreat set in a picturesque Cotswold village. Hang out in the spa (one of the best in the county) in a fluffy gown and enjoy  the stunning, thermal pool overlooking rolling hills as you clasp your sundowner. We love the sexy, pink leather cinema on site and the Potager restaurant with its in-house baked bread and eggs from the hotel’s brood of hens. In a word? Dreamy. One for the straight-up, no-nonsense romantics out there. Rooms from £239 per night.

 

Cotswold House Hotel, Chipping Campden

Can you even call it a romantic break without your own, private hot tub? We think not! Check in to the elegant, Regency-style Cotswold House Hotel & Spa in charming, honey-stoned Chipping Campden for a getaway made for love-birds. Stay in the gorgeous-sounding Hot Tub Cottage, which comes with an open log fire, exposed beams and a private terrace featuring your own, steamy, outdoor jacuzzi. Someone hand us the bubbles right now. Doubles start from £259 per room.

 

Under the Walnut Tree Shepherd’s Hut, Painswick

The idyllic sounding Under the Walnut Tree Shepherd’s Hut is the height of romance-chic. Watch horses and cattle roam in the fields, as hay bales are made. The hut is packed with mod cons but it’s totally off-grid, giving you extra time for email-free unwinding (aaahh) and gazing into each other’s eyes. On arrival you get a breakfast welcome pack with freshly laid eggs, then take in the glorious Painswick scenery (if you make it out) and toast marshmallows on the atmospheric firepit by night .

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BERKSHIRE

Monkey Island Estate, Bray, Berkshire

Wedgewood suite Monkey Island Estate Bray

Your very own island getaway! Monkey Island Estate, a stonking white mansion with large French windows built for the third Duke of Marlborough in 1738, is now a luxury hotel, worthy of a loved-up escape. The rooms have modern romantic aesthetic, where crisp colours, pure lines, and symmetry prevail. Most of the 41 suites are lodged inside the Temple, while others can be found inside the Barn, the venue of Edward Elgar’s conception of the Violin Concerto. Book the Wedgewood Suite – a grand, beautiful room, whose ornate blue and white plasterwork ceiling is the icing on the cake. A floating spa is moored by the riverbank, where the staff (uniforms have a maritime vibe), apply the Monk’s Elixir… er, don’t question it.

www.monkeyislandestate.co.uk

 

The Swan at Streatley, Streatley, Berkshire

Swan at Streatley-Coppa Club riverside hotel and restaurant lit up at night

A room with a view and it doesn’t get much better than The Swan At Streatley – a riverside hideaway, surrounded by glorious countryside. The vibe is cool, cosy and relaxed, with fireside nooks, on-trend crittal windows, blush sofas and house plants aplenty. Serious interior goals. There are 47 luxury rooms, a yoga studio, state-of-the art gym and lots of lovely Thameside walks for you get physical during your romantic escape. Bagsy a medium or large double with a balcony and make the most of those glorious river views with a large G&T. Keep your eyes peeled for tennis totty Tim Henman, he’s a regular, and George Michael’s Goring home is a few minutes’ walk away.

theswanatsttreatley.com

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DEVON

The Grand Hotel, Torquay

Channelling the Art Nouveau vibe of its Victorian hey-day, this 4-star Richardson hotel has 130 rooms, fine dining and palatial pillared lounges perfect for sneaking away with your significant other. Boutique it is not, but who doesn’t love the frisson of anonymity – and a giant central bar for a naughty nightcap? Snap up their Caudalie Spa Break for two and spend the night in the pink-pelmetted splendour of The Agatha Christie Suite, where the crime novelist herself once stayed, or The Prince William Suite with its 180 degree views of the bay and Torquay’s iconic Ferris wheel. And if you’re popping a cork for a special anniversary, book that champagne cream tea for two pronto.

 

Southernhay House, Exeter

A sexy, chilled boutique hotel in the heart of the city your kind of romantic break? Say mwah to Southernhay House, the best indie hotel in Exeter by miles. For the ultimate in luxurious stays, book the Tulip Room where you can soak in the rolltop bath before heading down the Georgian stairs for a cheeky cocktail – a Casanova for him, obvs. If I was to play Cupid I would suggest their Valentine Break offer: from £349 for two nights, including a bottle of fizz on arrival, breakfast for two and a tutored wine tasting on Saturday afternoon. Oh, and Southernhay House doesn’t ‘do’ small kids (yay!), so better book that babysitter.

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KENT

The Enchanted Faraway Tree, Whitstable

The newest of Kent Cottage Holidays 5 uniquely different properties this one is inspired by magical memories of childhood stories and gives a grown-up twist to escapist adventure. It’s a one-of-a-kind treehouse pod, complete with glass-domed ceiling, soft blankets and plush cushions, where you can fall asleep under the stars. The magic continues outside in the secluded garden with a twin open-air shower to kick start your day and a wood-fired hot tub to help you unwind at the end of it. There’s a BBQ for dining alfresco plus a fire pit for toasting marshmallows. A luxury stay with a difference. kentcottageholidays.com

 

Elmley National Nature Reserve, Isle of Sheppey

No need to leave the country for a safari holiday when you have Elmley Nature Reserve waiting in Kent for you – the only National Nature Reserve in England where you can spend the night. Okay so we are not talking lions and tigers and bears (oh my) but since 1991, this has been deemed a National Nature Reserve and is an internationally recognized site for the conservation of rare birds, plants, animals and insects. Stay in The Saltbox, The Damson or The Ferryman’s – modern twists on traditional Shepherd’s huts with luxury touches looking out onto unspoilt views. Massages are available on site in a dedicated treatment room. elmleynaturereserve.co.uk

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SURREY

Beaverbrook, Leatherhead

Nestled in the pretty Surrey Hills just a few miles from Leatherhead you’ll find Beaverbrook, the former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook. It’s your quintessential English country estate – and it’s lush! Set on 470 acres of private countryside with vibrant gardens and top-quality amenities including two restaurants, a health club and spa, and a cookery school, there’s plenty of opportunities for romance! Think sumptuous and sophisticated – there are romantic four-poster beds, private balconies overlooking the estate, and deep luxurious free-standing bathtubs. For February, Beaverbrook has a special Romantic Escapes offer – a luxury break that includes breakfast in your room, a romantic dinner, Champagne and a Delicate Couples spa experience. Prices start at £680 for a one-night weekend stay (available from 1-29 Feb).

beaverbrook.co.uk

 

The Merry Harriers, Hambledon

Looking for a romantic getaway that lets you plug back into nature without scrimping on luxury? The shepherds’ huts at the Merry Harriers in Hambledon are for you. Cosy up in front of the log burner and wake up to views of the large pond with the rolling Surrey hills beyond. The shepherd’s huts are gloriously chic and cosy – designed to boutique hotel standard, including fluffy robes and beauty products, and a cosy sleeping area piled high with bright and quirky cushions. Dine across the road at the Merry Harriers, a down-to-earth pub with reams of history and character. And book a llama trek – yes, you read that right! This is also home to a herd of 12 lovely llamas and there are various treks on offer including the Luxury Champagne Picnic Trek.

merryharriers.com

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HERTFORDSHIRE

Down Hall, Bishop’s Stortford

Down Hall Country House Hotel

This country house hotel, with its Italianate style and ornate interiors, looks like something out of a period drama (big tick for all you trad romantics out there!), and not surprisingly it’s a popular wedding venue, too. It’s got 110 acres to explore – perfect for those hand-in-hand morning strolls – a great restaurant, serving freshly grown produce from the garden, and a fab ESPA spa so you can easily while away a weekend à deux in complete luxury.

downhall.co.uk

 

Bethnal and Bec, Cottered

Bethnal and Bec luxury retreats Cottered

If you’re after something a bit different and a bit of privacy (naughty!), check out Bethnal and Bec’s adults-only luxury self-catering studios. Each has its own hot tub and private courtyard with countryside views, as well a King-size bed, a log-burner for cosy nights by the fire, rainforest shower and double baths, plus they’re beautifully designed with loads of quirky and stylish touches. There’s also an honesty pantry and an eat-in menu, so you can basically lock the door and throw away the key for the weekend, or how about treating yourselves to a private dining experience where the chef will come to your room – there’s service for you!

bethnalandbec.com

 

The Cromwell, Stevenage

The Cromwell Hotel Stevenage

This boutique hotel was a former farmhouse owned by Oliver Cromwell’s secretary, John Thurloe. The rooms are gorgeously sumptuous, decorated in on-trend mustard, navy and teal with loads of tactile fabrics like velvet and suede and vintagey features. It’s perfectly positioned in Stevanage Old Town for a mooch around the independent shops and café but has it’s own British Brasserie, Rump & Wade, which offers all-day dining, so there’s no need to leave the confines of the hotel if you don’t want to!

cromwellstevenage.co.uk

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CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Happenoak Treehouse, Balsham 

outside bath at treehouse

There’s something rather romantic about staying up high in a treehouse, just the two of you, with no one to eavesdrop and see what you’re up to (ahem) other than the birds. And treehouses don’t get much more stylish or charming than Happenoak in the woods just outside Balsham. A winding path through the trees (take a torch if you’re arriving after dark!) leads to the entrance of this octagonal beauty, which is flooded with light during the day thanks to the huge windows, which look out across the glorious countryside. You don’t have to take in the views through the windows though – our favourite feature is the outdoor bath on the deck that was made for soaking under the stars with a glass of bubbly.

 

University Arms, Cambridge

bath overlooking parkers piece

If you haven’t been to the newly renovated University Arms since it reopened in 2018 then you need to get yourself booked in sharpish. A superstar architect and interior designer (Martin Brudnizki of Annabel’s fame) have come together to create a magical hotel that manages to mix elegance with good old English eccentricity. Both literary lovers and football fans (the rules of footie were made up on Parker’s Piece just outside) will thrive here with all the nods to the town’s famous uni, plus a cosy panelled library and the fun interior sporting touches. Cosy Parker’s Tavern restaurant (designed to look like a colleague dining hall) is a wonderful place for a romantic meal or try and sound intellectual while propping up the velvet-upholstered bar while drinking The Secret of Life cocktail inspired by the discovery of the double helix. Book the Terrace Suite for a bath with a view and a cool rooftop terrace.

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HAMPSHIRE

Daisybank Cottage, Brockenhurst

Daisybank Suite

Set in an original Arts and Craft House, this bijou spot is ideal for a romantic weekender. The 8 en-suite rooms come decked out with Nespresso machines, king and super-king beds, plus you’ll also find lots of eccentric Rennie Mackintosh-esque features hidden around the place. Breakfast is a big deal at Daisybank and the complimentary meal is packed with local New Forest produce, setting guests up for a day strolling through the Hampshire countryside arm-in-arm. Awww!

bedandbreakfast-newforest.co.uk

 

The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

Montagu-Arms-Hotel-Beaulieu-Barn-Conversions-Hay-Loft-Suites2

This country house hotel comes with oodles of traditional character, roaring log fires and even the odd donkey strolling by. Checking in here, you and your beau can dine at the fantastic in-house restaurant, The Terrace, after exploring the chocolate box setting of Beaulieu village – part of the famous Montagu Estate. The hotel has seen plenty of distinguished guests over the years, but if you fancy flying under the radar then make sure to book into one of the opulent Hayloft Suites for ultimate comfort and discretion.

montaguarmshotel.co.uk

 

The Grosvenor, Stockbridge

The pretty little town of Stockbridge is full of quaint indie shops and picture-postcard cottages, and standing on the High Street is the rather grand Grosvenor Hotel. This beautiful Georgian building has had a bit of a makeover recently and now boasts luxurious bedrooms with freestanding baths, soft lighting and vibrant decor. Book up here for nature-filled strolls along the River Test and fabulous country gastropubs aplenty.

thegrosvenorstockbridge.com

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SOMERSET

The Bird, Bath

Take your peck from 31 individually decorated luxury love nests at this Victorian villa turned eclectic boutique hotel, relaunched by innovative hoteliers Ian and Christa Taylor in September 2019.  Witty avian touches abound – sculptures, crockery, wallpaper – with statement art collections and chandeliers in every room, vast contemporary art on the walls – and beautiful Bath right outside the door. Super comfy, handmade Hypnos beds, Malin+Goetz bath products and one of the deluxe double/twin rooms has an outdoor hot tub (just saying).

thebirdbath.co.uk

 

The Talbot Inn, Mells, nr Frome

15th century coaching inn with cobbled courtyard meets chic but cosy hotel – the owners come from Soho House, ’nuff said – in the pretty village of Mells.  Enjoy local ales, ciders and gastro pub nosh in the bar, snug, map room, sitting room and a wood-panelled Coach House Grill with gigantic open grill. Snuggle down under Siberian goose down duvets and vintage Welsh blankets in one of their eight en suite rooms. Outside, the village (where Siegfried Sassoon is buried and Evelyn Waugh started writing Scoop), the fab indy shops in nearby Frome and riverside/country walks await.

talbotinn.com

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ISLE OF WIGHT

North House, Cowes  North House

Velvet, retro objets and some of the best wallpaper we’ve ever seen, it’s no surprise North House has allegedly had guests such as Dame Judi Dench through its doors. Located in the conservation area of Cowes Old Town, there are 14 beautiful rooms to cosy up in (some with sea views over the Solent), plus a restaurant and private dining room, heated outdoor pool and bar stocked with plenty of cocktails for an intimate staycation.

northhousecowes.co.uk

 

The Hambrough, Ventnor

Hambrough

On the Island, The Hambrough is a place synonymous with luxury and fine dining, boasting 5 AA Gold Stars. The 7 rooms come replete with views over Ventnor Bay, or the equally picturesque St. Boniface Down, giving the whole area a romantic, mystical feel. And, while you may be tempted to hole-up for your entire visit, the town has plenty of cultural events year-round and the nearby Ventnor Botanic Garden is a must-visit.

thehambrough.com

 

Albert Cottage Hotel, East Cowes

Albert Cottage outside

Once part of Queen Victoria’s Osborne House Estate, Albert Cottage is an amorous little spot for snuggling up with your loved one. Originally purchased by Prince Albert to be part of the Botanic Garden, its housed royal guests, was once owned by a Princess and a former owner of Harrods. It’s 10 en-suite rooms are quirky as they come, each having its very own distinct personality, and the grounds and gardens have plenty of space for promenading and swooning – just like Victorian couples of yesteryear.

albertcottagehotel.com

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LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND

Mallory Meadows, Leicestershire

Write your own fairytale with a stay in a luxury handcrafted wooden roundhouse perfectly positioned in Leicestershire’s picturesque countryside. This boujis boutique lodge has been made for romantic types – inside you’ll find a studio style room with a king-size bed, ensuite bathroom, an open plan kitchen/lounge area and door leading to an outside deck. Beautifully unusual, it’s full of character and we love the dark, navy walls and bright pops of red decor. Wake up to views of the gorgeous green countryside, take a dip in the private hot tub outside and stock up on local goodies to cook a romantic dinner for two.

hoseasons.co.uk

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OXFORDSHIRE

Artist Residence, Oxfordshire

As quirky and quintessentially British as a bulldog wearing a natty bowtie, Artist Residence hotels are some of our favourites for a romantic getaway in the UK, but Oxfordshire has to take top spot (not that we’re biased or anything *cough*). Their take on a traditional English inn set in the bucolic Cotswolds, The Mason Arms has all the makings of a classic pub (eight comfy bedrooms, a hearty menu packed with all the favourites) with a little extra AR flair. Neon signs and eccentric sculptures sit perfectly alongside the William Morris wallpapers, and you’ll want to nab the Farmhouse Suite for the cool copper bath tub. Downstairs in the restaurant, the food is hyper-locally sourced, with some ingredients plucked straight from the hotel’s herb and vegetable garden. Can’t face the trip all the way downstairs? Have your dinner delivered to your room instead. Just FYI, Artist Residence Oxfordshire is having a little spruce up at the mo, but will be reopen on 24 Jan – so get your Valentine’s Day bookings in pronto.

 

Interior designer, florist and Friend of Muddy Willow Crossley is the creative brains behind this chocolate box Cotswold hotel, so you know that the interiors are seriously up to snuff – but that’s not all that we love about The Bull. This 16th century family pub is a real home from home, with eight bedrooms that are cool and cozy in equal measure (each individually designed, natch) and en-suites with either a walk-in shower or roll-top bath to luxuriate in. Food is The Bull’s forte – the kitchen is known for its fresh, local and seasonal menu, and you can happily while away many an hour by the roaring open fire with the wine list. Skipping Valentine’s Day and staying in summer instead? The beautiful garden is a proper sun-trap (the ideal place to set up for a boozy afternoon soaking up the rays), and the outdoor bar is due to be turned into a pizza shack that serves up the perfect slice every weekend. The pub is dog- and family-friendly too – but we won’t blame you if you keep this one to yourself.

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SUSSEX

Wingrove House, Alfriston, East Sussex

There are few prettier villages in Sussex than Alfriston, a perfect place to take some romantic time out just under the South Downs. ‘Restaurant with rooms’ Wingrove House, occupies an attractive 19th century colonial-style mansion overlooking the green. The most luxurious rooms here boast super king beds, free standing baths and monsoon showers and some are set in the characterful wooden eaves. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients sourced from Sussex’s finest producers to create beautifully presented dinners. You can also relax with a drink or afternoon tea in the lounge or on the terrace, which is surrounded by roses in summer.

wingrovehousealfriston.com

 

Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, East Sussex

Fancy lording it up in a real castle? In the heart of the East Sussex countryside Herstmonceux Castle is located within a 300 acre estate, with managed woodland and several themed formal gardens (one stocked entirely with plants mentioned in Shakespeare). Most of the rooms are aimed at convention guests but there’s a more classically furnished Castle Suite with views of the gardens and grounds and its own kitchen – handy if you’d rather lie in than raid the breakfast buffet. You can combine your stay with a guided tour or even a spot of hands-on falconry.

herstmonceux-castle.com

 

The Loft, Midhurst, West Sussex

If you fall in love with the decor at this quirky bolthole you can buy the accessories to take home! That’s because the designer who owns this former Muddy Awards finalist property also owns Stuff & Co. the interiors and gift shop downstairs! The Loft is snuggled in the top two floors of a converted Grade II listed 16th century building. Amongst the exposed beams you’ll find an open plan dining and sitting area, a large bed with goose down duvet and a roll top bath. In the heart of Midhurst, it’s handily placed for sporting and experience days at the nearby Cowdray or Goodwood Estates.

cabinsandcastles.co.uk

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WILTSHIRE

Whatley Manor, Malmesbury

Whatley Manor may be a luxury 17th-century, Grade II-listed manor house in a knockout Cotswold setting, but it is also possibly the most romantic hotel in the world. Think individually decorated rooms with four poster beds and an eclectic mix of antiques, contemporary pieces and international art, as well as beautifully designed gardens, a stunning Michelin starred restaurant and a superbly relaxing spa. You’ll never want to leave…

whatleymanor.com

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NORFOLK

The Triumphal Arch, Holkham Hall Estate, Norfolk 

This might just be the most romantic stay in Norfolk. Sleep in the magnificent 18th century Grade l listed ‘Triumphal Arch’ on the Holkham Estate. Designed by the renowned architect, William Kent it has been given a beautifully stylish makeover by Lady Leicester herself and interior designer Johanna Tennant. The draped four poster bed is very much the focal point and as you lie in bed, you can see all the way along the South Avenue leading to the Obelisk and the Hall. There’s everything you need to hide away from the world – a compact kitchen and cloakroom, shower room and bedroom/living space with roll-top bath, king size bed, open fire and cosy seating. If you do venture out, you’re perfectly located on the North Norfolk Coast for beach walks, exploring the Hall and eating at the local – The Victoria Inn.

norfolkcottages.co.uk

 

Spinks Nest Cottage, Wiveton, Norfolk 

Muddy Norfolk has followed the restoration of this old gardener’s flint cottage eagerly on Instagram and promises you won’t be disappointed. Spinks Nest is the very definition of rustic luxe and will surprise and delight you the minute you open the front door. It’s fabulously bijou but every space has been utilised to maximise purpose from the perfectly-formed and high-spec kitchen with zinc worktop to the Japanese inspired sunken micro-cement bath-for-two. The clever headboard wall divider is just one of the home design ideas you’ll be pinching for Pinterest. Ancient flint walls, reclaimed oak beams, vintage armchairs and a wood burner juxtopose beautifully with designer Aesop toiletries, William Morris drapes, underfloor heating and a deep wool mattress. Need we say more? Deep in the Glaven Valley, there are lots of country walks plus you’re very close to Cley-next-the-Sea and Salthouse for long beaches and cosy pubs such as the Wiveton Bell and Dun Cow.

spinksnest.com

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WARWICKSHIRE

Coombe Abbey Hotel, Binley

How about this for a romantic stay? A stunning former 12th century monastery, once the home to royalty including Elizabeth I as a child, and the setting for many a celebrity wedding. Part Gothic in style, this four-star country house hotel opened in 1995, set in the tranquil Warwickshire countryside surrounded by 500 acres of parkland, formal gardens and lake. With 121 sumptuous individually designed ‘bedchambers’ including the Grand Feature Collection, it has a great period feel and lavish furnishings, Garden Room Restaurant, Garden Bar and special romantic hotel package to treat that special someone in your life, including a three course table d’hote dinner and Coombe Abbey breakfast, plus a bottle of champagne, flowers and chocolates in your room. You can also combine a night away with a thrilling tree top adventure at Go Ape, which opened in Coombe Country Park last year.

coombeabbey.com

 

Billesley Manor HotelStratford-upon-Avon

Newly refurbished Magnolia Barns, one of six bedrooms in Cedar Barns

It’s easy to be starry-eyed in this Grade II listed former Elizabethan Manor house. Shakespeare is believed to have written As You Like It, one of his most romantic comedies, in the library and tied the knot with Anne Hathaway at All Saints Church in the hotel grounds! Impressive features of this elegant 4-star 72-room hotel include an original 16th century oak panelled dining room – the AA Rosette Stuart Restaurant serving mouth-watering modern dishes using the best locally sourced produce and Great Hall – with period fireplaces, historic paintings and grand chandeliers. A beautiful country retreat set within 11 acres with a health and leisure club, including spa and indoor pool. It’s set to get even better with an extensive makeover to further establish itself as a luxury hotel in 2020.

billesleymanor.com

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BEDFORDSHIRE

Harlington Manor, Harlington

If local history tickles your fancy, you’ll love this place – it’s positively brimming with intriguing stories (which the owner will be happy to regale you with), as well as character features and antiques. It’s a B&B with four uniquely styled double rooms – go for full on grandeur with the King Charles Room and its wine red state bed (and matching wallpaper), four-poster luxe in the Tabor or Wingate Rooms or pared-back elegance in the Wainscot Room. And if you feel like continuing your culture trip, Woburn Abbey, Wrest Park and Bletchley Park are all within a short drive.

harlingtonmanor.com

 

The Waterfront Hotel, Wyboston Lakes

Wyboston Lakes resort

Part of a sprawling 380 acre countryside resort, just this side of the Cambridge border, The Waterfront Hotel (as you might expect) has an idyllic lakeside spot, an 18-hole golf course (shh… don’t tell Mr Muddy unless you’re on a par and fancy a bit of competition!), and, the highlight – a heavenly spa. There’s a hydrotherapy pool, steam room and sauna as well as double treatment rooms where you and your partner can be simultaneously pampered. Check out the special Valentine’s deals too.

wybostonlakes.co.uk

 

The Embankment, Bedford

It may look like an olde worlde Tudor pub at first glance, but inside this place feels bright and fresh, with 20 beautifully decorated rooms in pastels and contemporary patterns. Four of them have views over the River Great Ouse, so make sure you nab one of those for that special occasion so you can take in the comings and goings of riverside life. Breakfast is included, but you can also dine in the stylish gastro pub in the evening, under the helm of Head Chef Simon Harris – a rising star on the local foodie scene.

embankmentbedford.co.uk

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SUFFOLK

Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, near Ipswich 

suite at Suffolk hotel

This pretty country house hotel is so romantic that Suffolk and Cambs editor, Hollie, chose to spend her very first night as a married woman in one of the dreamy suites with bath and sexy sofa at the end of the bed. It might look huge and grand on the approach, but this is actually a boutique affair from the talented Milsoms group and only has 23 rooms, plus a delightfully relaxed vibe (although plans are afoot for more rooms to be added soon). In spring and summer, no one bats an eyelid if you want to make the most of the views of sweeping grounds and spend an entire afternoon sipping rosé on the terrace before a romantic meal in the Brasserie. Although, once they’ve opened their exciting new spa this year, we guarantee that’s where you’ll be all day.

 

The Woodman’s Lodge at The Lost Garden Retreat, Hintlesham

hot tub on deck of lodge

This might look like it’s thousands of miles away in rural Canada, but this idyllic little spot is actually in Suffolk in the grounds of Hintlesham Hall. Pitch up for some luxury loved-up glamping in one of the four tented safari lodges (just remember the walls are made of canvas please!) or whisper sweet nothings to each other over the bubbles of your own hot tub on the deck overlooking the water. There are four spread-out lodges to choose from, but we like The Woodman’s Lodge with its deep sofa by a wood-burner and unique king-sized four poster bed. As it’s part of the estate you can use the Hall’s spa, restaurant and golf course too, so it’s not complete rural isolation if you prefer something a little livelier.

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NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Fawsley Hall, Fawsley 

Nestled in Northamptonshire, this luxurious country house hotel has had visits from Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and you know what they say, if it’s fit King… The hotel has four AA red star awards, plus two Rosettes for their Cedar Restaurant, where you can dress up and enjoy a fabulous meal offering classic British dishes with a traditional twist. Spend a few hours relaxing and enjoying a tranquil treatment and swim in their sanctuary of a spa with sauna and and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool (we’ve been, it’s awesome). With beautiful  gardens, a stunning Great Hall and sumptuous bedrooms, Fawsley Hall is a hotel not to be missed. Especially if you’re wanting that ultimate romantic getaway.

handpickedhotels.co.uk

 

Rushton Hall, Rushton 
It’s all about the Halls in Northamptonshire! We do grand very well and Rushton Hall is no exception! This Grade I Listed Country House hotel sits proud amongst beautiful 16th Century grounds. It’s a historic and luxurious hotel that is a must visit for all love birds (various 4-poster beds and sumptuous fabrics lend themselves very much to romance). With four red star awards and three rosettes, they’re the only restaurant in the county to have been awarded a 3-rosette accolade (foodies ahoy)! Want to relax a little with your other half? Their Stable Yard Spa has all you need, including a wonderful treatment list and a steam room and sauna for both of you to relaaaaaax. Whether you stay in one of their 51 individually styled bedrooms or their superior suites, you’ll breathe in the history and luxury and be planning your next visit before you’ve left!

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