The United Kingdom may be infamous for its damp and dark winters, but there are pockets that seem to shine brightest when the days are shortest. Here, Elite Traveler selects six luxury winter boltholes that are perfect for riding out the worst of the UK’s weather in comfort and style.
Boringdon Hall (above)
Best for: Best of British
Boringdon Hall is about as English as it gets when it comes to grand manors. The 16th-century manor is reminiscent of Hogwarts during the winter, particularly after a flurry of snowfall. As well as all of the luxurious amenities, the hotel has curated a wide range of festivities for those staying over the holidays. Think carols by an open fire, murder mysteries and endless treats from the kitchen and you will be halfway there.
Christmas Day will see guests experience a divine five-course tasting menu from revered head chef Scott Paton complete with wine pairings and all of the seasonal trimmings. They will then be invited to watch the Queen’s Speech in the Secret Bar before a night of games and live music kicks into gear.
Best for: Stunning views
The Samling is one of our six best luxury boltholes in the UK
Situated in England’s Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Samling Hotel creates a winter getaway that is subtle yet luxurious. With 12 individually designed suites that look onto the hotel’s 67 acres, this five-star boutique hotel gives guests the chance to stare at snow-topped fells whilst wrapped up in 400 thread count bedding. Guests can stay warm outside in The Samling’s hot tub that has a rather special viewpoint overlooking Lake Windermere – the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of champagne. It is also located close to some of the most scenic hiking routes and driving roads in the country.
With seasonal menus created by Executive Head Chef Robby Jenks, guests can enjoy some of Cumbria’s most sought-after winter produce with festive twists and an exceptional wine list to match. As a pre-bedtime treat, guests can enjoy a warming hot toddy with one of it 30 whiskeys and bourbons from around the world, that showcase some of the best producers.
Best for: Fine festive dining
Lympstone Manor after a light dusting of snow
There is nothing quite as English as a countryside manor house, and few celebrate Christmas with as much aplomb as Lympstone Manor. This luxurious countryside retreat has all the charms of a Georgian estate with all of the 21st Century amenities that you would expect from a five-star hotel. Located in the heart of Devon, it boasts views over some of England’s most treasured countryside. The hotel has 21 individually designed rooms and suites as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant run by one of the country’s most famous chefs, Michael Caines. Stay over Christmas to experience the very best of Caines’s cuisine, including his signature eight-course tasting menu on Christmas Eve followed by a festive feast on Christmas Day.
Fairmont St Andrews
Best for: Family fun
The grand lobby at Fairmont St Andrews
Head north of the border to the winter wonderland that is Scotland to stay at Fairmont St Andrews. This five-star resort sits on 520 acres of pristine Scottish countryside, making it the perfect location for family strolls. For those who can brave the weather, the hotel has two championship golf courses to play. The world-class spa offers an alternative for those who would rather stay inside. The hotel offers a wide range of festive experiences including a Santa’s Grotto, featuring Santa Claus and his helpers within a special Gingerbread Grotto, welcoming Children of all ages. The Festive Savoy Afternoon Tea brings a magical menu of festive treats from the executive pastry chef and his team, to be enjoyed in the Atrium Lounge whilst watching the Zephyr lighting sculpture dancing above.
Aldridge Road Villas II
Best for: Shopping the sales
You don’t need to leave the city to find your winter escape
You don’t have to escape the city to find your perfect winter retreat. It is just as easy to find your own little slice of paradise in London, and it comes with the benefit of city living. Aldridge Road Villas II is a beautiful four-bedroom, three-bathroom homestay in Westbourne Grove, perfectly situated to celebrate the holidays with a group of friends or family. Decorated in subtle colors, with beautiful original details, standout vintage pieces and various books and artworks, this home’s living areas are sophisticated, yet welcoming.
Located in one of London’s most exclusive areas, you will have a wide choice of pubs and restaurants to choose from, while the house is close to Portobello Road’s famous market. It also is within walking distance of Kensington High Street, making it a perfect base to shop London’s famous Boxing Day sales. Kensington Gardens is also ready and waiting to be wandered around on Christmas morning.
The Windmill Suffolk
Best for: A romantic hideaway
The Windmill Suffolk is an ingenious restoration project
If you just want to get away from the world, there are few better places to do it than this outstanding piece of architecture. The Windmill Suffolk is an imaginative restoration of a functional windmill originally built in 1891. Unused and derelict for almost a century, the windmill was in structural decline until, in 2014, a young couple saw its potential and transformed it into a unique luxury homestay.
The adults-only bolthole is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway, allowing you to escape the hustle of the city and enjoy a space that is yours and yours alone. A fourth-floor balcony provides the perfect place to star gaze with a glass of mulled wine or you may prefer to cozy up together on the oversized velvet sofas in the top floor lounge while taking in the panoramic views of the Suffolk countryside. Warm up by retreating to the first and third-floor bedrooms with bespoke handmade super king size beds furnished with sumptuous linens. No matter how cold it gets outside, you can be sure of a warm and uninterrupted night’s sleep.