Plan your pre-Easter getaway at one of these luxury locations
Why? Enjoy a riverside break next to historic Windsor. There’s the famous castle, where the Royal Family sometimes stay, and other attractions such as Windsor Great Park or The Theatre Royal. Or simply stroll along the river, taking the picturesque views as you go. You can also hire a boat, to get a duck’s eye view of river life. The town will also welcome the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations this May. Not only is it a lovely spot for couples, it is also a great place for all the family to enjoy as it?s located so close to adventure parks such as LEGOLAND, Chessington and Thorpe park.
Where to stay: The Runnymede-on-thames hotel is perfectly placed, riverside. It has an award-winning spa, a lovely lounge where you can take an elegant afternoon tea, and two restaurants to choose from; the Lock Bar & Kitchen serves locally sourced food, while the Leftbank restaurant is known for its hearty cuisine.
How: A double room costs from £169 per night on a B&B basis, based on two sharing. To book, visit www.runnymedehotel.com
Why? This historic, East Anglian county offers a wide variety of things to do and places to visit, from stately homes to steam railways, to nature reserves and gardens (such as Ickworth Park). The lovely town of Aldeburgh hosts an annual Festival of the Music and the Arts (which was founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948) and Southwold is a charming coastal town mixing fishermen?s cottages and Georgian houses.
Where to stay: Brand new property, The Farmhouse, is situated within a 4,500 acre private estate in Sibton, east Suffolk: the Wilderness Reserve. The reserve is home to a luxurious collection of fully serviced properties available for weekends or longer stays. The Farmhouse, formally the heart of the estate?s home farm, is tastefully and elegantly decorated throughout, with walls and details done in raspberry pinks, turquoise greens and primrose yellows. Its oak frames date from the 17th century and it boasts six en-suite bedrooms, a vast family-style country kitchen, and a cosy sitting room. In the grounds there are a tennis court, swimming pool and hot tub. Should you be able to tear yourself away, book into The Anchor Inn at nearby Walberswick for fresh crab, squid or oysters.
How: A stay at the Farmhouse costs from £645 per night; to book, visit www.wildernessreserve.com.
Why? This elegant, historic Roman spa town is a must-visit for its classical Georgian architecture, lovely green spaces, and stylish stores, farm shops, cafes and restaurants. Start with a hop-on, hop-off city bus tour to get your bearings, which will whisk you around sights such as the Roman Baths on the high street, Bath Abbey, Sally Lunn's house (the oldest in the city, and where the Bath bun originates - you can sample a sweet or savoury one here) and the iconic Royal Crescent. Bath has UNESCO World Heritage status, and is a beautiful place to stroll around, particularly as it's so compact. Stop for afternoon tea at The Pump Room next to the Roman Baths, a magnificent Bath institution which has been around since 1795. And if you want to explore further afield, we recommend a visit to the Wookey Hole Caves, which are around 50,000 years old, and previously inhabited by cavemen. You can take a tour thorough these spectacular limestone caverns; look out for the Witch of Wookey Hole, a vaguely human-shaped stalagmite which, legend has it, is a witch who was turned to stone?...
Where to stay: The Bath Mill Lodge Retreat is the perfect base as it's only a five minute drive from the town, and so peaceful and quiet that it's like being in the middle of the countryside. On the estate are dozens of eco-friendly and luxurious 'lodges', which look like wooden cabins, sleeping between two and eight people. W&H stayed in a two bedroomed Pemberley lodge, which was like a home from home, and equipped with everything you need for a long weekend break, from free wifi, to a flatscreen TV, to all the kitchen amenities you need, and a welcome pack with teabags, coffee and milk. There is a small gymnasium on site, but it's far nicer to get your exercise fix with a lovely stroll along Newton Brook, which runs next to the Retreat. If you don't fancy being chef every night, book into the Retreat's on-site restaurant, The Brook, for tasty, modern bistro-style food.
How: A three night stay costs from £245 in low season; to book, visit www.darwinescapes.co.uk.
Why? Situated on the tip of the breathtaking Roseland Peninsula, this small fishing village is a charming place to visit. Just along from the busy little harbour is St Mawes Castle, which used to belong to Henry VIII, while just above the town, you'll find the historic Lamorran House, with its stunning, exotic. Further afield, for a day trip, you can see the Eden Project or the Lost Gardens of Heligan, some of the finest restored gardens in Cornwall.
Where to stay: St Mawes Retreats are a set of magnificent coastal escapes sleeping from 2 to 12 people per property, which are ideally situated in St Mawes and Fowey with stunning views of the Peninsula. The aim is to provide guests with the finesse of a hotel service without the confines of a hotel, so you can truly switch off. Offering a full concierge service, with private Michelin-quality chefs, housekeeper, yoga instructor, spa therapist and nannies available - and a private power boat for those wishing to take to the sea - you'll feel pampered and privileged during your stay.
How: St Mawes Retreats are available to book for seven nights from 1 February to 24 March, from £599. Reservations via http://www.stmawesretreats.co.uk/
Why? Holkham beach has been voted the Best Beach in Britain, and it's not hard to see why. It's one of the most unspoilt stretches of sand in the country, and it's Gwyneth Paltrow filmed a scene here for Shakespeare in Love. Nearby is elegant stately home, Holkham Hall, owned by the Earl of Leicester and open to the public.
Where to stay: The Victoria Inn on the Holkham estate is a beautiful flint building ideally situated just a few minutes walk from the beach. It is perfectly placed for discovering the county's windswept coastline, seaside towns and villages. The Victoria is set within a nature reserve, and you can walk across the sands to the lifeboat station at the nearest village, picturesque Wells-next-the-Sea. From the sea wall, the view of Wells Harbour and the salt marshes is spectacular.
How: A small double room per night costs from £125, including breakfast. Book via www.holkham.co.uk.
Why? One of the loveliest parts of England, the Lake District is also full of history and heritage. It?s known for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations, such as the writer William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who lived in the region.
Where to stay: The Linthwaite Hotel is a luxurious destination located in the heart of the southern lakes, with thirty well appointed bedrooms. It features its own private tarn and fourteen acres of beautiful, secluded grounds, and provides a perfect starting off point for any country walks. The hotel provides maps and suggestions for the best places to go. Or you could hop over to Lake Windermere and visit the National Trust home of Beatrix Potter, home of Peter Rabbit.
How: A double room starts from £149 per person per night, including dinner, bed and breakfast. To book, visit www.linthwaite.com
Why? Was there ever anywhere as pretty as the charming little coastal village of Thornham? It has fewer than 400 residents but its population swells in the spring and summer months when visitors flock to its beautiful sandy beach. The picturesque All Saints Church, which originally dates from Norman times, forms a backdrop to the village, which also boasts two top-notch restaurants, including The Lifeboat Inn, serving up freshly-caught fish and seafood, and The Orange Tree, which has been awarded Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year several years running for its innovative, modern twists on local ingredients. If you hanker after a taste of a bigger seaside town, Cromer is only an hour?s drive away, with all the art galleries, fashion boutiques and cafes you could desire; not to mention dozens of places to taste the famous, locally-caught Cromer crab.
Where to stay: The Coast House by the village green is the perfect place to bring the family or stay with a party of friends. It has four bedrooms (sleeping up to 9), three bathrooms and a stylish, airy interior; on warm, sunny days you can fold back the glass doors in the dining area and let the light in. If you plan to cook at home, the modern kitchen has everything you need to prepare a fantastic dinner, served up on the outdoor decked area. The bedrooms are beautifully decorated throughout; there may be a fight over who gets the master room, with its floor to ceiling windows, balcony and ensuite shower room! Managed by Blakeney Cottages, each property they offer is exclusively handpicked so you know you?re getting something very special.
How: A three night break at The Coast House costs from £645, or from £950 per week in low season. Visit www.blakeneycottagecompany.co.uk or call 01263 741 777 to book.
Why? The pretty, picturesque village of Salthouse nestles between a high ridge above and the salt marsh towards the North Norfolk CoastIn times gone by there would have been salt pans and large piles of salt crystals ready for transport. Now, the village is a lovely quiet spot to enjoy the views over the marshes and birdwatchers from all over to observe both common and rare species. The beach is a large pebble bank and is the only protection from the penetrating north winds, high tides and severe weather. The village contains the attractive church of St. Nicholas, a post-office/shop and a lovely pub, The Dunne Cow, overlooking the marshes. There is also the famous Cookies Crab Shed that sells local seafood both to eat in or takeaway.
Where to stay: Set in a tranquil location just in front of the pretty church on the hill, ?The Lookout? has magnificent sea views from most rooms and from the imaginatively decked garden. Peacefully tucked-away off the coastal road yet just a few minutes stroll from the beach, it offers ideal self-catering holiday accommodation. The deluxe property comprises of two bedrooms, both of which are en-suite and luxury toiletries are included. You?ll never leave the sundeck, which has spectacular sea views!
How: A seven night break at The Lookout costs from costs from £655 per week in low season. Visit www.blakeneycottagecompany.co.uk or call 01263 741 777 to book.
Why? This fine city has plenty going for it; take a walk to Cardiff Castle, a unique three-in-one historic site that?s part-Roman fort, part-medieval stronghold and part-Victorian mansion. Other city-centre attractions are the celebrated Millennium Stadium. Cardiff?s dazzling, white-stoned Civic Centre has been likened to that of Washington DC and the National Museum, famous for its world-class Impressionist art. Shopping is another feather in Cardiff?s cap. Outside of London, it?s one of the best places in Britain to indulge in some retail therapy. Visitor-friendly pedestrian streets fan out in all directions, taking you to delightful Victorian arcades.
Where to stay: The Park Plaza is one of the city?s most popular hotels, and is perfectly situated in the town centre. There are 129 stylishly designed rooms, a luxury spa, and the Laguna Kitchen and Bar Restaurant, which seves the most amazing afternoon teas (including Gentlemen?s Afternoon Tea)!
How: Double rooms start from £119 per night. To book, visit www.parkplazacardiff.com.
Why? There?s always something going on in the country?s capital, from exhibitions to shows. If you?re quick, you can still catch the V&A museum?s exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain (on until 31 January) or visit later in the year to see works by Georgia O?Keefe at the Tate Modern (starts 6 July).
Where to stay: The stylish, four star Nadler Victoria is situated just steps away from Buckingham Palace, near Green Park and St James Park, as well as some of London?s top attractions, restaurants and bars. Next door is the new St James Theatre, and guests will get preferential access to shows.
How: Prices start from £120 per room per night for a Small Double. To book, visit www.thenadler.com.
Why? Sometimes, all you want to do on a short break is relax and be pampered. That’s where the spa break comes in, and there are a host of tailored breaks around the UK, from de-stressing to reviving, so make sure you choose the one that’s right for you.
Where to stay: Grayshott Spa in Surrey has long been a staple of spa loveliness; it’s been going for over 50 years, and the house, which was once the country home for poet Lord Alfred Tennyson, features 59 bedrooms and 39 treatment rooms, set in 47 acres of stunning grounds. Try their two night de-stress package, which includes a range of treatments such as Indian head massage and an aromatherapy massage.
How: The two night package costs from £495; to book, visit www.grayshottspa.com.