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BEST HOTELS

100 Best Places to Stay in Britain for 2023

Fizz on arrival, free snacks on tap and one of the warmest welcomes going: the Retreat at Elcot Park is the Times and Sunday Times hotel of the year for 2023, heading the annual list of Britain’s 100 Best Places to Stay

The Sunday Times

The Retreat at Elcot Park in Berkshire has been named The Times and Sunday Times hotel of the year, topping the annual list of 100 of Britain’s best hotels.

A grade II listed Regency mansion near Hungerford that was once the home of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s mother, it is the second property from the dynamic new Signet Collection hotel group, which launched sister hotel The Mitre opposite Hampton Court in September 2020. The Retreat is the result of an 11-month renovation.

The Retreat is one of hundreds of contenders visited in the last year by Travel’s reviewers, a team with decades of expertise. From guesthouses and country pubs to high-end destination spas and city skyscraper hotels, properties are assessed on factors including service, style and value for money. The reviewers were particularly impressed with the 55-room Retreat, which opened in May 2022, because of its friendly service, witty design, impressive facilities and, crucially, its affordable rates.

Read on for the full list — and see Times Travel for longer reviews of all the properties and how they scored on the key criteria. Use our handy search tool to find the best British hotels by price, family-friendliness and accessibility.

Southeast England

The Sutton Suite bathroom at the Retreat at Elcot
The Sutton Suite bathroom at the Retreat at Elcot
JAKE EASTHAM

Overall winner and Southeast England hotel of the year

The Retreat at Elcot Park, Berkshire

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Apologies to the medieval poet John Lydgate, but we’ve found an exception to his wise old adage. We think you can please all the people all the time, but concede that this fabulous Regency pile near Newbury, once the family home of Percy Bysshe Shelley, has opened 600 years too late to prove it to the pragmatic priest. The Retreat is exactly what these times demand: affordable and fun. Kids can go wild in the pool and parklands, then slump in the TV salon. Couples can take e-motorbikes for forays to Highclere Castle for a Downton Abbey fix, try gym classes, play tennis, recover in the spa and spruce up at its hair studio. Foodies have nature walks to local vineyards and fancy Japanese fare, while families can flop in the brasserie. Downstairs is a generous splosh of stylish spaces, topped by 55 jauntily textured bedrooms, some with free-standing baths, others with plump beds for Rover. And it’s blissfully unstuffy, so breakfast includes a build-your-own bacon sarnie station.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £150, mains from £16; retreatelcotpark.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

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The Grosvenor, Hampshire

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The previously grotty Stockbridge inn has been transformed by Simon and Teresa Henderson, who in 2019 gathered local friends together to take over the lease, and are now running the 34-room hotel and restaurant with panache. In terms of the refurb the two watchwords are colour and fun, though the inn’s position at the heart of trout-fishing and horse-racing country is not lost in the themes. A well-tended garden makes an attractive alfresco space; indoors, besides the dining rooms are a lively bar and a plush lounge with large leather sofas and a big kilim rug. The kitchen makes excellent use of abundant local ingredients.
Read the hotel review in full
Details
B&B doubles from £149, mains from £19.95; thegrosvenorstockbridge.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Fort Road Hotel, Kent

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Arty Margate gets the hotel it deserves in Fort Road Hotel, which opened in August 2022, transformed from a ruin of a building just behind the Turner gallery. Aimed squarely at weekenders Down From London for the slightly gritty seaside cool, it has rooms so hip you’ll even want to take the kettle home. There’s great food in the herringbone-floored ground level dining room and a choice of basement bar and rooftop terrace — one of the best places in town for Turner-esque sunset views. Art covers the walls, with an emphasis on works by female artists.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £140, mains from £9.50; fortroadhotel.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Best positive-impact hotel
Worthiness has never felt more wonderful than at this Georgian mansion turned 438-acre eco-estate near Basingstoke. From your tempting welcome cocktail to spectacular displays of copper-toned bracken, it wears its sustainability lightly but fabulously. An organic farm and biodynamic market garden supply much of the produce, which is elevated to ambrosial status under skilful culinary director Skye Gyngell. Rooms have the soft romanticism of a Turner painting and the spa’s balms are ethically sourced. Jane Austen lived nearby — if she’d seen Heckfield’s elegant dimensions and shimmering lake, Chatsworth probably wouldn’t have been the inspiration for Mr Darcy’s home.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £450, mains from £26; heckfieldplace.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Lime Wood, Hampshire

The Jelly Babies in the in-room pantries embody everything that is fabulous about a stay at the five-star Lime Wood hotel. The 19th-century estate near Lyndhurst in the New Forest might have vintage Aston Martins on the drive, a restaurant by Hartnett Holder & Co and suites and cottages with interiors from Susie Atkinson — but it’s also the kind of unpretentious place where scoffing a bag of children’s sweets wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Opened in 2009, it was the first in a group of hotels that include the eight shabby-chic Pig properties. While all share a common ethos (elevated food, unobtrusive service and luxurious rooms in glorious countryside spots), Lime Wood remains the undisputed matriarch of the litter.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £435, mains from £35; limewoodhotel.co.uk
Family-friendly (over-18s only in the spa); dogs allowed; accessible

The Georgian, Surrey

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The tenth outpost in the mini-chain of Coppa Clubs, the Georgian has been welcomed with open arms by Haslemere locals. And it’s no surprise; the dining menu here is well executed and as varied as the choice of spots to eat: booths, snugs, dining rooms, terrace and garden. The locals have less call for the bedrooms, which offer a soothing retreat with bags of space and views over, in one direction, the lively dining garden, or in the other, Haslemere’s attractive main street lined with gift shops, cafés and boutiques (and an estate agent called Clarke Gammon).
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £105, mains from £14; coppaclub.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Leonardslee House, West Sussex

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Sir Edmund Loder was an aristocratic plant hunter who transformed the 240 acres at his home near Horsham into a grade I listed woodland garden, with an interesting workforce: a mob of wallabies he kept as living lawnmowers. Following a major renovation in 2019, the gardens are once again a magnet for green-fingered tourists. Now Loder’s 19th-century Italianate mansion has been rebooted as a ten-bedroom hideaway with a Michelin-starred restaurant that takes its culinary cues from the gardens, with dishes that feature birch syrup and oak-tree vinegar. Once the public have left, those romantic gardens are just for loved-up guests — and the wallabies.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £350, tasting menu from £160pp; leonardsleegardens.co.uk
Family-friendly

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

This mainstay of the country house scene in New Milton may have the confidence not to attempt trendiness but it continues to loosen its corsets judiciously. These days its 18th-century bones are peppered with contemporary design elements so that it appeals equally to fashionable families as ageing colonels. Outstanding service underpins everything, backed up by scrupulous attention to detail, so chipped paintwork doesn’t survive a nanosecond. Then there is the twin lure of the New Forest and Highcliffe beach and the choice of fine dining or informal dinners by the TV chef James Martin. Add in a swanky spa and everyone’s happy.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £405, mains from £14; chewtonglen.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The George in Rye
The George in Rye

The George in Rye, East Sussex

Best boutique bargain
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This 16th-century inn in historic Rye has welcomed royalty, statesmen and film stars over the years — but all that screeched to a halt in 2019 when a (luckily non-fatal) fire ripped through the building, leaving it without a roof and badly damaged by smoke and water. The resulting renovations gave owners Katie and Alex Clarke the chance to update and refresh, however, and the George reopened in summer 2022 with big-screen flourishes and, inside its lofty old ballroom, striking bird-filled de Gournay wallpaper. Bedrooms come with plenty of quirks, too — a porthole here, bunk beds there.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £125, mains from £14; thegeorgeinrye.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Fairmont Windsor Park, Surrey

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This £200m mega-resort in Englefield Green brings a grand country estate option to within an hour’s drive of London. Another huge draw is its proximity to Windsor and its castle, royal connections and spectacular park but there’s plenty on site to occupy families, couples or groups of friends too. For while this brand-spanking new 251-room hotel has been designed to faithfully recreate the Jacobean mansion that stood here before it, the architects added some 21st-century whistles and bells — including a state-of-the-art, two-storey spa plus seven bars and restaurants. The surrounding 40 acres are lushly landscaped with baize-like lawns and wooded walks.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £575, mains from £20; fairmont-windsorpark.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Star, East Sussex

The third in Olga Polizzi’s mini-collection of hotels, the Star opened in its current guise in the medieval village of Alfriston in June 2021. This 15th-century inn, named southeast England hotel of the year in last year’s Best Places to Stay, was transformed with the design-focused eye of Polizzi and her daughter Alex, TV’s Hotel Inspector. Bedrooms in the original building and the modern Sixties-built wings are generous in size and lively in looks, with colourful patterned fabrics and original art on their walls. Food is a focus too, as Tim Kensett, an ex-River Café chef, assuredly uses excellent local produce.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £210, mains from £24; thepolizzicollection.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Halfway Bridge Inn, West Sussex

The Halfway Bridge Inn rather unimaginatively gets its name from the stone bridge down the hill from the hotel; the “halfway” refers to its location midway between Petworth and Midhurst on the old coach road. You’ll know it better as the A272. Hardly appealing, you might think — but then you cross a lane to discover the 18th-century coaching inn’s accommodation. Inside, instead of traffic noise are eight rooms of rustic-luxe — cream and taupe paint, thick carpets and swagged curtains — all nicely roughed up by old beams and feature walls of original timber or stone. Factor in excellent pub food and you’ll book for the night and wish you had a week.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £150, mains from £15.50; halfwaybridge.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Pig in the South Downs, West Sussex

It was our best country hotel last year, and now the two-acre kitchen garden is bountiful and the vineyard is primed for production — there were no faltering first steps for the newest Pig in the litter. If the best hotels create worlds, this listed estate near Arundel conjures up fantasies of glamorous bohemian escapes of bygone times. It’s a place of cocktails drunk on plush velvet sofas, of lazy breakfasts in front of immaculate lawns, of faultless service. Whether in the Regency manor, characterful outbuildings or in wagons, expect a stay that’s rustic chic, occasionally charmingly eccentric and never stuffy. Good luck returning to the real world.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £195, mains from £21; thepighotel.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Updown Farmhouse, Kent

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“We want it to be like coming to stay at your really cool friend’s house for the weekend,” says Ruth Leigh. Lots of hoteliers say this sort of thing, but with Updown, Leigh and her partner, Oliver Brown, have actually pulled it off. It’s a little beauty, a restaurant with rooms (just four so far — three more are planned) in a gorgeous 17th-century farmhouse. Hidden in a fold of the rolling Kent countryside near Deal, it’s picture perfect and chilled out: ancient flagstones and weathered brickwork, hearty food and good booze, and all the comforts of the country home you wish you had.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £250, mains from £19; updownfarmhouse.com
Family-friendly

Southwest England

Artist Residence, Bristol
Artist Residence, Bristol

Southwest England hotel of the year

Artist Residence, Bristol

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The fifth opening in the expanding portfolio of Artist Residence hotels, this is the perfect city-break hotel for the young and the young at heart. Your home is a converted boot factory in one of Bristol’s up-and-coming districts, St Paul’s, close to the city’s celebrated bars and restaurants. The smart bar-restaurant inside is all exposed brick with oversize artwork and plush banquettes. The highlights of Bristol, including the happening Harbourside and gritty Stokes Croft, are just a few minutes’ walk away.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £115, mains from £12; artistresidence.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

Farmyard at The Newt, Somerset

Welly-boot chic reaches its peak at this classy reinvention of an 18th-century dairy farm in a fairytale hollow outside Bruton. Its mellow-stoned hotchpotch of barns has been contemporised with triple-height windows, glass-box conservatories and cool timber cladding, and the 17 rooms range from fancy in the old farmhouse to romantically rustic in the lofts. There are complimentary all-day drinks in the bar and wood-fired food for sharing in the old threshing barn. The hotel is part of the 800-acre Newt estate, so borrow a bike or buggy and head through the cider orchards to visit its award-winning gardens, museums and sister property, Hadspen.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £520 (minimum two-night stay), mains from £24; newtinsomerset.com
Family-friendly; accessible

The Newt, Somerset
The Newt, Somerset
JONATHAN STONE

Hadspen at The Newt, Somerset

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Best sense of place
You’ll love Hadspen’s 23 stylish bedrooms, its farm-to-fork restaurant and botanical spa, but what sets this honey-hued Georgian mansion outside Bruton apart from rivals is how it celebrates Somerset, spectacularly linking the 800-acre estate’s present to its past. It already featured an extraordinary apple maze, gardens that outshine Kew and an award-winning cider brand. This year it unveiled a museum and full-scale reconstruction of the Roman villa that stood on this land almost 2,000 years ago. It is one of Europe’s most ambitious archaeological projects. At other hotels you get a room key, here you get to unlock history. It’s mind-blowing.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £520, three-course dinner in the Botanical Rooms £75; thenewtinsomerset.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Lympstone Manor, Devon

The acclaimed chef Michael Caines is a perfectionist with boundless energy, which is good news for the well-heeled guests at this award-winning country house hotel outside Exmouth. He’s always looking to improve and recent upgrades make this place even more appealing than when we first made it our most romantic hotel back in 2018. They include a spectacular heated outdoor pool overlooking the Exe estuary, a vineyard that is already producing a decent pinot noir and a sublime Michelin-starred fine dining room. That’s not all — six souped-up shepherds’ huts with hot tubs for families have been added alongside the existing 21 glitzy bedrooms.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £340, à la carte menu £155; lympstonemanor.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Bell & Crown, Wiltshire

Pub of the year
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It’s hard to find a proper boozer these days, but somehow the young team behind this 200-year-old Zeals coaching inn understand good old-fashioned hospitality better than their elders. They haven’t tinkered too much with the time-honoured formula of flagstone floors, hop-strewn beams, upturned barrels as tables, blazing fires and local beers. But they’ve updated the tempo by introducing a bold colour scheme, bolder art, pub classics on the menu and adding six boutique bedrooms. Best of all, the staff bring generosity, enthusiasm and a sense of humour to work, so a stay easily becomes a feelgood experience.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £94, mains from £16; bellandcrown.com
Family-friendly

The Beckford Arms, Wiltshire

This 18th-century coaching near Tisbury is quirky, effortlessly cool and successful enough not to sweat the small stuff. So while Farrow & Ball’s finest enhances the elegant dimensions of downstairs, the style is still proudly shabby chic; and staff won’t faint if guests put their feet up on the sitting room’s fireside sofa for a snooze. Food covers all bases from burgers to sesame marinated tofu with pickled pomegranate, and the eight pub rooms are sweet. A 15-minute walk away are two fancier lodges, recently joined by the very swanky grade I listed, two-bedroom Arch, built into the estate’s elaborate stone entrance.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £105, mains from £15; beckfordarms.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Nici
The Nici

The Nici, Dorset

Seaside hotel of the year
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Bournemouth isn’t so different to South Beach, Miami: they’re both kitsch, eccentric seaside towns with a sunny disposition and just a smidge of edginess. Thus, the Nici’s SoBe-enamoured owner Nicolas Roach makes the most of the similarities, in this case, a seafront position, where a historic building (the refurbed Savoy hotel of yore) sits on a vast lawned plot surrounded by tropical gardens. There’s also a retro candy-striped pool, cabanas, fire pits and hammocks; glass balconies with sea views to the beach club and surf; cool restaurants that draw locals and guests for sushi, cocktails and live DJs; and a welcoming atmosphere that is as unstuffy as a kiss-me-quick hat.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £175, mains from £10; thenici.com
Family-friendly; dog-friendly

The King’s Arms, Dorset

It’s pretty much impossible to ignore the King’s Arms’ distinguished past: Thomas Hardy was a local and is said to have written The Mayor of Casterbridge in the drawing room. Since then, it has welcomed everyone from the Rolling Stones to Queen Victoria. But at this Dorchester favourite it’s also worth focusing on the present, including the warm staff who pull pints of local ale and serve moreish pub food elevated to restaurant quality. All this in a spot that puts you in easy distance of cobweb-blasting strolls along the beaches of the Jurassic Coast.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £105, mains from £16; thekingsarmsdorchester.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible (one room)

Plantation House, Devon

With no social media presence, Plantation House in Ermington has been quietly building up a reputation through word of mouth for its good hospitality and excellent food. Owner Richard Hendey took over the South Hams spot 17 years ago and many of the staff who started with him are still here today. That sense of familiarity is shared with guests: wafts of fruit cake, fresh from the oven, greet you on arrival and evenings start with communal cocktails and G&Ts in the lounge. Three-course dinners are the star attraction as two ex-restaurateurs use their fine-dining skills to create menus stuffed with homegrown vegetables, locally caught fish and homemade bread.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £175, set menu from £49; plantationhousehotel.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

Glebe House, Devon
Glebe House, Devon

Glebe House, Devon

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After winning B&B of the year in 2021’s Best Places to Stay, Glebe House is back on this year’s list thanks to owners Hugo and Olive’s continued innovation. A glass-fronted cedar cabin with uninterrupted views of the Devon hills has been added, alongside a roster of experiences that includes pasta-making and vineyard tours. Food still takes centre stage, with hand-reared pigs used for charcuterie and all vegetables and herbs grown in the back garden. Solar panels and a composting machine show a commitment to net zero, while interior designer and artist-led rooms ensure Glebe House, near Southleigh, is one of the most stylish plots in the southwest.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £139, set menu Thursday to Saturday £55pp; glebehousedevon.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

Mollie’s Motel, Bristol

Just off the M5 and within spitting distance of Cribbs Causeway — Bristol’s decidedly unglamorous out-of-town shopping centre — Mollie’s is a “budget luxe” motel and the perfect stopping place for West Country-bound motorists and tourists seeking a bargain base away from the city centre (20 minutes’ drive by car). Designed by the people behind Soho House, the rooms are all Scandi-chic. In a separate building, the Diner serves up classic American staples: think oozy burgers, melting mac ’n’ cheese and sticky ribs for dinner; stacks of pancakes and eggs every way for breakfast.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £70, mains from £9; mollies.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Outlaw’s Guest House, Cornwall

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Nathan Outlaw, whose friendly face often pops up on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, has been running his two restaurants in Port Isaac, north Cornwall for almost a decade. Spurred on by customers begging him to offer rooms too, he recently opened his first guesthouse, a Victorian seafront mansion on the edge of town. On offer is a two-night “foodie retreat” package. On night one, visitors eat at Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen; on night two, it’s dinner at Outlaw’s New Road. This is a family affair: Outlaw makes breakfast, his daughter bakes cakes, and his wife is front of house.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Two nights’ half-board on the Foodie Retreat package from £980, including afternoon bakes; outlaws.co.uk

The Old Ferry Inn, Cornwall

By the slipway of the Bodinnick Ferry, this historic inn with 11 rooms has been serving travellers on the London to Penzance route for 400 years. Its latest iteration? Cosy Cornish bolt hole. Two years ago it was given a modern makeover and reopened as a homely B&B by owner Paul Worswick, accompanied by his sidekick, a black Newfoundland dog called Archie. Come for an afternoon tea with a spectacular view of the Bodinnick Ferry and Fowey Estuary, and stay for sloe gin in the rooms and a wood-fired hot tub on deck.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £120, sharing plates from £6; theoldferryinn.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Headland, Cornwall

Yes, we all know it starred in the 1990 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, but don’t typecast the Headland just yet — this Cornish grande dame on the outskirts of Newquay is so much more than its reputation as a spooky Victorian pile. It’s springing into the 21st century with upgrades to its bedrooms as well as a new multimillion-pound restaurant set to open in 2023. Throw in the fact that it’s still family-owned and on the doorstep of one of the country’s best surf beaches, and the Headland will surely put you under its spell. Sorry.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £250, mains from £48 for two courses; headlandhotel.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Queensberry Hotel, Bath, Somerset

The Queensberry in Bath has grand Georgian proportions and nosy views over the city that’s now better known for Bridgerton than bathing. It’s been refurbished with interiors by period specialists Etons of Bath (as smart as it sounds), and the 29 rooms have a touch of cheek with chic. Guests come for the food — the attached Olive Tree restaurant is Michelin-starred and is such a slick operation that all the staff wear mikes. It offers tasting menus in the evening (six courses for £105; nine for £140). Breakfast, also in the Olive Tree, should not be skipped, either — toast comes from Richard Bertinet’s local bakery. Situated in the historic centre, the hotel is ideally placed for city exploring.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £145, tasting menus from £70 (lunch, four courses, Friday to Sunday); thequeensberry.co.uk
Family-friendly

Harbour Beach Club, Devon
Harbour Beach Club, Devon

Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa, Devon

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One and a bit meandering miles out towards the sea from Salcombe there is South Sands, a cove that’s home to the Harbour Beach Club. This place — all uninterrupted sea views, beanbags in the sand and sundown ice deliveries for the complimentary in-room G&Ts — is a real treat for two reasons. First, it has all the five-star trimmings (excellent spa, deep mattresses, coffee flasks on departure) combined with a friendliness and calm — even to guests with the temerity to have children — that remains unteachable in the Fawlty-er seaside hotels. Second, the sandy beach is right there. Dispatch the kids by paddleboard onto the stunning Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary and, if you read the tide times right, there’s a good chance they’ll be back for (a very fine) dinner.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £238, mains from £15; harbourhotels.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The New Inn, Isles of Scilly

The only place to stay on Tresco that’s not a self-catering cottage or apartment, the New Inn, behind New Grimsby harbour, is also a social hub for the many returning families and couples who holiday on the island each year. The 16 rooms have recently been refreshed (the best are the pair of Garden Terrace doubles on the ground floor, each with its own patio), as has the now modern Pavilion dining space, which has turquoise wood-panelled walls, lobster-pot style bamboo lights and a view of the sea. Pub classics and seafood are the mainstays of the menu and the overall vibe is homely and casual.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £130, mains from £18; tresco.co.uk
Family-friendly; accessible

At the Chapel, Somerset

Enter through the heavy wooden doors from picturesque Bruton High Street and At the Chapel, a 17th-century former place of worship, is instantly architecturally gorgeous. But if you can push past the alluring smells from its working bakery and resist the wine shop, it is the spectacular open-plan restaurant that is the star of the show. Tall arched windows look out onto miles of green fields and drench the place in natural light. Alongside this there are eight rooms, two bars and a garden terrace on which to enjoy At the Chapel’s famous wood-fired pizzas alfresco.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £125, mains from £9; atthechapel.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Central England

The Fox at Oddington, Gloucestershire
The Fox at Oddington, Gloucestershire
MARTIN MORRELL

Central England hotel of the year

The Fox at Oddington, Gloucestershire

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Daylesford Farm founder and queen of chic Carole Bamford has worked her magic on this classic honey-stoned coaching inn outside Stow-on-the-Wold. She’s had fun with its ancient bones, adding a modern restaurant extension with statement Crittall window and a horsebox bar on the lawn. The dining room (named the Tack Room) retains a ye-olde-worlde charm thanks to its forest green tongue-and-groove walls, conker-brown wainscot armchairs and blackened inglenook fireplace. Add superior pub grub plus six restful bedrooms with exposed beams and four-poster beds and this country boozer has bags of boutique cachet.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £225, mains from £17; thefoxatoddington.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire

This classic 34-room Cotswolds spa hotel pulls out the stops to let families in on the fun. The immaculate 16th-century manor house has country-cool interiors, is scented with woodsmoke and spice, and is a godsend for stressed-out parents. Adults-only time is possible thanks to a brilliant kids’ club where four hours’ childcare a day are included, so you can hop to the spa or bar — or back to a very comfy bed. Play tennis, work out or swim in the two pools, then borrow bikes to explore the rewilded grounds, or the arty enclaves of Nailsworth, Stroud or chichi Tetbury.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £265, family rooms sleeping four from £664, mains from £19; calcot.co
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Hampton Manor, West Midlands

Just a jiffy from Britain’s second city, Hampton Manor in leafy Arden has always focused on foodies — so the imminent closure of its Michelin-starred restaurant, Peel’s, is a surprise. Never fear, however: the hotel now offers an “immersive” new restaurant-with-rooms experience squirrelled in the grounds, and it’s yummy. Grace & Savour has five chic little suites, each with tactile trimmings by artisan weavers and woodturners and a DIY “bathtime ritual” to enjoy in your bedside tub-for-two. The star, however, is the baby-faced chef David Taylor, who tours you around the manor’s restored Victorian vegetable garden then treats you to 15 intricate saucers of deliciousness, each sourced from sustainable producers across the UK.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £207, 15-course dinner at Grace & Savour £135pp; hamptonmanor.com
Accessible

Dormy House, Gloucestershire

Dormy House calls itself “the hotel that hugs” and indeed, it’s best you prepare yourself for an outright squeeze at what may just be the warmest high-end hotel in town. It’s only five minutes from Cotswolds poster child Chipping Campden, but no one could blame you for staying put: especially scuppered are those who find themselves neck-deep in bubbles in the spa’s lavender-lined outdoor hot tub. Every room is deliciously different, while its two restaurants will speckle your fries with seaweed and lace your toasties with truffle — just enough oh là là to make a friendly menu feel fancy.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £309, mains from £18; dormyhouse.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Rutland Hall, Rutland

Kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding, osprey-spotting: it sounds like a recipe for a Lake District holiday. But this is Rutland Water, the halfway point between Peterborough and Leicester. Now, thanks to Rutland Hall’s crisp (but not yet all-encompassing) makeover, there’s a family-friendly base on the shoreline as well. This is not, however, a conventional hotel. Accommodation fans out from a medium-sized mansion to a series of annexes and lodges, surrounded by 65 acres of parkland and serviced by a separate restaurant, as well as a 22m pool. Sybarites might baulk at the distance between everything. For families, however, that’s all part of the fun.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £89, mains from £18.50; rutlandhall.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Royal Oak, Oxfordshire
Royal Oak, Oxfordshire

The Royal Oak, Oxfordshire

The owners are not just a match made in hospitality heaven, but motivated by the best intention: community spirit. He is Tim Bevan, executive film producer of rom-coms including Notting Hill. She is Amy Gadney, a contemporary artist. They snapped up this pub in their home village of Ramsden two years ago to save it from Spoons-style homogeneity. Their refurbishment has produced interiors as effortlessly alluring as Julia Roberts and as pretty as the pictures in their revolving art exhibitions. The kitchen’s elevated pub grub includes bavette steak and rooms come with four poster beds and roll-top baths.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £140, mains from £16; royaloakramsden.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Rafters at Riverside House, Derbyshire

This year, Michelin’s inspectors gave the thumbs up (though not yet a full star) to the fabulous restaurant at this rambling Georgian mansion near Bakewell, praising a concise menu underpinned by quality local produce. The grade II listed former shooting lodge should be on your radar too. It runs at a pleasingly laid-back pace these days, with service as smooth as the stretch of the River Wye bordering its pretty gardens. Spend days yomping across the Peak District’s lonely moors, fully earning a guilt-free gourmet dinner in the pared-back Rafters restaurant before retiring to bedrooms that are fresh from a contemporary makeover.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £160, two courses for £60; riversidehousehotel.co.uk

The Pheasant at Neenton, Shropshire

The Pheasant is one of those down-on-its-luck village inns rescued from dereliction by locals and, happily for us, the locals were Mark Harris and Sarah Cowley. Mark trained at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester under Marco Pierre White; Sarah was raised up the road in Bridgnorth, with a Shropshire lass’s instinct for what works well in this tranquil, hill-girt place. There are just three bijou bedrooms above the 18th-century pub, frill-free, pocket-friendly and with the important boxes ticked. Expect wide beds, blasting showers, views of Neenton churchyard (in Room 1) and lambs fattening in the fields for Mark’s pot (Room 3). But you are mainly coming here for the cooking — imaginative fish dishes trumped by a world-beating beef wellington — and the deeply countrified vibe.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £110, mains from £15; pheasantatneenton.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The George Inn, Oxfordshire

It’s a thatched, 17th-century coaching inn in the sleepy village of Barford St Michael, a quiet cranny outside Banbury on the edge of the Cotswolds. The food is fabulous, the bedrooms boutique and it’s within striking distance of big-ticket draws such as Blenheim Palace and Daylesford Organic. The only thing that raises alarm bells is the price — it’s suspiciously cheap. So what’s the catch? Don’t worry, there isn’t one. The wine merchant Louis Holtzhausen and his wife Laura are locals who bought the pub in 2016 when its interiors looked like a bad hangover. They have carefully restored the place to create a convivial space for a tipple or two with their neighbours and bon viveur visitors.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £126.50; mains from £14; thegeorgebarford.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Boot, Derbyshire

The Boot has been honing the art of the boutique boozer since 2015, when the Hammond family took a 17th-century shoemaker’s shop in Repton, popped a microbrewery in an outhouse and snazzed up the nine neglected bedrooms. Craft beer is still the soul of the inn, but these days there is also a jewel-like gin shelf and seasonal taster-evenings, a microcosm of local boy Matt Allsopp’s creative, mostly carnivorous cooking, which lavishes as much love on the fried chicken as his signature Derbyshire lamb. Upstairs the whole place feels tipsy, shoehorning smart little bedrooms into every wonky corner: Room 9 is the biggest treat, tight under the eaves.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £75, mains from £15.95; thebootatrepton.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Callow Hall, Derbyshire
Callow Hall, Derbyshire

Callow Hall, Derbyshire

Our 2021 hotel of the year remains a masterclass in design for everyone and a lesson in geography for some (it’s in Ashbourne, the gateway to the Peaks). Interiors by Isabella Worsley demonstrate that style and substance are not mutually exclusive, with glorious public areas that manage to be classy and comfy at the same time. The coolest place to get your Derbyshire Peak District bearings is Callow’s glass-box restaurant and terrace, overlooking pristine countryside. The hall’s 15 bedrooms have boutique prerequisites such as baths by the beds. Book one of the treehouses tucked into ancient woodlands for your fill of rustic romance.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £184, mains from £22; wildhive.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Grand Hotel, Birmingham

Back in 1879, bored of playing second fiddle to London, Birmingham built a statement hotel to rival the capital’s finest. Although the Grand’s seductive architecture attracted a starry clientele, from George VI to Charlie Chaplin, its heyday passed and the doors were closed in 2002. Last year, happily, it reopened after a £50 million refurbishment and in time for Birmingham’s stint as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Now returned to top spot on the city’s accommodation podium, the Grand these days offers a contemporary raciness across 185 rooms and a sassy New York deli vibe in its restaurant.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £129, mains from £14; thegrandhotelbirmingham.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Tawny, Staffordshire

This not-so-secret garden hotel outside Stoke-on-Trent delivers a fairytale fantasy for nature lovers. A 70-acre estate of tumbledown follies, soft-focus flower borders, glassy lakes and landscaped gardens has been resuscitated by two local couples, Fran and William Scott-Moncrieff and Ben and Sarah Reeves, who played here as children. With sustainability centre stage, they’ve assembled a range of accommodation from humble shepherds’ huts to swanky hillside treehouses between oak, beech and birch groves, and added a split-level restaurant and a woodland spa to give forest bathing an epic Cleopatra twist. A stay here works just as well for courting couples as it does for adventurous families.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £225, mains from £18; thetawny.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Lamb Inn, Oxfordshire

There’s a touch of Withnail & I about this brilliantly rebooted 16th-century inn in Shipton-under-Wychwood, near Burford and Bourton-on-the-Water. The racing-green tongue and groove walls, topped by a mishmash of quirky monochrome photography and mounted butterflies and flying insects, lend it an air of dashing respectability — but a frisson of dissolute intention hangs over the bar. It’s a proper boozer, so beer is served in dimpled glasses and the dining is fun, with refined and retro dishes such as venison bourguignon. The ten rooms are briskly boutique.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Price B&B doubles from £79, mains from £15; thelambshipton.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Thyme, Gloucestershire
Thyme, Gloucestershire

Thyme, Gloucestershire

Best spa hotel
This cluster of barns and outbuildings, reimagined as a 31-room country-house hotel in 150 acres of working ethical farm outside Lechlade, is the definition of eco-chic sustainability. From its botanically themed bedrooms and seasonal-dining cookery to its flower-powered spa and spring-fed swimming pool, it provides such a persuasive argument for organic principles that even determined climate deniers will have their heads turned. To ensure its tasteful interiors remain tranquil, it is an adults-only playground. If you’re in your partner’s bad books, a day in the Botanical Bothy spa within a spa, followed by a slap-up dinner, guarantees a resumption of domestic bliss.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £360, mains from £19.50; thyme.co.uk
Dogs allowed; accessible

Wild Thyme & Honey, Gloucestershire

NEW
Next to Ampney Brook and near Cirencester, Wild Thyme & Honey is a former wedding venue turned pub-hotel. It’s part of the Grosvenor group (along with the Kings Arms in Egham, and Cricketers on the Green in Pirbright) and retains a sense of laid-back occasion with rooms overlooking the brook, heated party pods (the Domes) down by the water and a restaurant, the Crown at Ampney Brook. The Crown lends character — it’s in a refurbished 16th-century inn attached to the hotel. This is welly country and Hunters are provided for countryside stomps (dogs are welcome) from which guests can return to homemade sloe gin in their rooms. There are 24 of those and they’re polished-rustic, arranged around a courtyard with glass-fronted fireplaces and fur-swagged seating that give a ski-resort vibe.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £150, mains from £13.50; wildthymeandhoney.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

North of England

Seaham Hall, Co Durham
Seaham Hall, Co Durham

North of England hotel of the year

Seaham Hall, Co Durham

Seaham Hall sits on low cliffs, near a long and lovely beach — but this forward-thinking five-star, east of Durham, has never made much fuss over its sea views. Or rather, it didn’t until May this year, when it opened the two self-contained, single-storey Residences in its grounds, which gaze in wonder at the North Sea. They’re the finishing touch, completing a hotel that already has a sizeable, Buddhist-inspired spa, eye-catching bedrooms and — best of all — an exceptional chef and kitchen team. Come for the beach, stay for the food and don’t forget a walk around Durham Cathedral on the way home. If the weather’s on your side, the whole weekend will feel magnificent.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £295, mains in Ozone from £19; seaham-hall.co.uk
Family-friendly; accessible

Beadnell Towers, Northumberland

Northumberland has a coast to rival that of Cornwall, but where it previously fell down was a lack of boutique pads in which to crash after a day on the beach. Not any more. This grade II listed building welcomes all: locals mingle at the bar and restaurant, dogs and children are given the VIP treatment and nothing seems to ruffle the attentive, relaxed staff. It’s a family favourite thanks to the option of connecting rooms, but there are also plenty of grown-up touches, with William Morris wallpaper and a brasserie-style restaurant. Stay here and you’re just a short stroll from Beadnell Bay and within striking distance of Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £159, mains from £18.50; beadnelltowers.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Angel at Hetton, North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is one of England’s gastronomic hotspots right now, and the Angel is its most divine experience. Your amuse bouche should be a walk to the gritty spine of Rylstone Edge, which bludgeons through the velvet-green Dales around Hetton. Then follow nature with nurture. Owners Michael and Johanna Wignall have created a minimalist, moss-lined altar to haute cuisine in the shell of this 15th-century inn, celebrating their local larder with a dash of Asian delicacy. Close by, 15 rooms extend from traditional cottages to super-sleek suites. And remember to cash in a babysitting coupon with the grandparents; cooking this good is wasted on kids.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Half-board doubles from £450, eight courses for £135; angelhetton.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Alice Hawthorn, North Yorkshire

Alice Hawthorn was a racehorse that galloped to glory more than 50 times in the 1840s. These days, put your money on her namesake, an 18th-century inn in Nun Monkton which was first past the post in our 2021 hotel awards, taking the title of best bolt hole in the north of England. On arrival you will nod to cows grazing on one of the UK’s oldest working greens — despite being just a 30-minute drive from York city centre. Before you know it, you’ll be ensconced in the airy, grade II listed inn, munching your way through superior pub grub. Then it’s a choice between cosy rooms upstairs or Scandi-cool garden suites, all glass fronts, fur throws and Douglas fir exteriors.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £150, mains from £19; thealicehawthorn.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Hare & Hounds Inn, Cumbria
The Hare & Hounds Inn, Cumbria
STEVEN BARBER

The Hare & Hounds Inn, Cumbria

Best small hotel
NEW
Sick of Scandi? Scandalised by Spoons? You’ll love this stripped-back 17th-century tavern in Bowland Bridge. New owners have given the place some discreet cosmetic enhancements so the bar’s wonky walls and battered beams look like they’ve been on holiday and come back bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and with enough confidence to sneak in some effortlessly cool touches such as a naughty Tracey Emin print on the wall. First, you’ll notice the roaring fire, cask ales, proper pies and pub-quiz conviviality. Later you’ll twig that the fancy-pants bar counter and souped-up snug add a touch of contemporary class. The quartet of bedrooms are calming and comfortable.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £160, mains from £15; hareandhoundslakes.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

Titanic Hotel, Liverpool

From the outside, the Titanic’s red bricks, chimney stack and watchtower turrets look troublingly like Wormwood Scrubs. Inside, however, it’s a different story: the interior designers have made the most of this vast building, once a Victorian warehouse on the city’s Stanley dock, refitting it with rose-gold glass pendant lights, wooden floors and leather chairs, while retaining the steel beams and original walls. Links to Titanic itself are tenuous — the ill-fated liner was only registered in the city — but that hasn’t stopped displays of vintage advertising posters for the ship on the walls of Stanley’s Bar & Grill or the scale model in the Rum Bar. With Anfield and Goodison Park football stadiums a ten-minute drive away, this hotel is also great for celebrity spotting — it regularly hosts visiting premiership teams.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £105, mains from £16; titanichotelliverpool.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire

As your car sweeps up the drive, the River Skell pounds by on one side and Pride and Prejudice-worthy gardens appear on the other. Impressive — but still outshone by the heart-stopping perfection of this Palladian mansion outside Ripon. You could gain some serious weight here. There are brasserie bites at Fletchers, afternoon tea in the Main Hall and dinner at its Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin restaurant, glammed-up Asian restaurant EightyEight, or alpine-inspired Après at the Orchard. Fortunately, Grantley also has one of the UK’s best-equipped gyms to work off excess baggage as well as a sparkling spa and 47 restful rooms.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £600, mains from £21.50; grantleyhall.co.uk
No under-nines; accessible

The Whittling House, Northumberland

Alnmouth is arguably the most model-like of Northumberland’s coastal villages: full of light-stone cottages that you leave wanting to buy, runway-flat sands, a handful of shops and cafés, and seafood galore. Apart from a couple of pubs and B&Bs — and, possibly, one too many holiday lets — there wasn’t anywhere with a bit of pizzazz until this dog-friendly restaurant-with-ten-rooms came along. The ground floor is a series of cosy eating areas — panelled walls, log-burning stoves — so it’s clear that food is the focus: robust, Northumbrian, fishy and filling. Bedrooms, several with sea views, are dotted with jolly nautical touches. The beach is five minutes away; Alnwick, with its grand castle, is three miles up the road.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £200, mains from £18; thewhittlinghouse.co.uk
Family-friendly; dog-friendly

The Cartford Inn, Lancashire

Ex-Claridge’s chef Chris Bury works his magic in the kitchen at the Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston with a menu of locally sourced, seasonal dishes, adding the kind of tuiles and twiddles that mean a Michelin star can’t be far away. Meanwhile, Franglo owners Patrick and Julie Beaume continue to nip and tuck this 17th-century coaching inn northwest of Preston, making its 15 design-led rooms even funkier, the remit of its gallery broader and the brownies in the deli ever more delicious. An enchanting courtyard, strung with fairy lights, continues to offer sweet greenhouse options for indoor/outdoor dining — perhaps the best way to sample Cartford’s magical brand of hospitality.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £170, mains from £18; thecartfordinn.co.uk
Family-friendly; accessible

Another Place, Cumbria
Another Place, Cumbria

Another Place, Cumbria

Family hotel of the year
Another Place has been a breath of fresh air since it opened in 2017. Sister hotel to Watergate Bay in Cornwall, it brought a wetsuit state of mind to Ullswater and, in the process, weatherproofed Lake District holidays. This year, it has doubled down on its outdoor focus by adding a water-sports hub with changing rooms, as well as a glasshouse pizza restaurant and yoga studio in the garden. A treehouse and six shepherd’s huts complete the upgrade. Don’t worry: the food’s good too, and a classy indoor pool awaits in case of downpours. But to really enjoy your stay you need to step outside.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £190, mains from £18; another.place
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire

At first glance, Freemasons at Wiswell is your typical country inn: there’s a quaint village setting, six miles south of Clitheroe, a wood-beamed bar and four bedrooms. Yet those sleeping quarters turn out to be luxurious dens with elegant, contemporary fittings while, rather than pies or a ploughman’s, the wonderful food involves bold, bravura combinations and a four-course tasting menu. Such gastronomy typifies one of Britain’s most underrated culinary destinations, the wider Ribble Valley — where superb river, moorland or hill walks also offer a chance to balance your calorific books.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Half-board doubles from £220, mains from £39; freemasonsatwiswell.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Vices, York

NEW
The location is unlikely, the concept extravagant, yet the whole provides a hard-to-resist Italian seduction. On a nondescript suburban York street, a Victorian red-brick former police station has been transformed into a “private-house”’ hotel of flowing, art gallery-like spaces and fabulous designer furniture. Cool and uncluttered — with just three ridiculously large suites — the place has a delicious whiff of la dolce vita courtesy of Italian couple Moreno Carbone and Daniel Curro, who designed and own it. The tasting-menu dinner is modern European — skilful rather than ostentatious — and served with Italian wines sourced by sommelier Daniel. Glamorous, intimate, beautifully relaxed; it’s worth the price tag.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £400, six-course tasting menu £80 (restaurant open Weds-Sat); thevices.co.uk
No under-12s in the restaurant

The White House, Cumbria

NEW
Now this is a turn-up for the Bowness books. Among the cheery B&Bs and flashier numbers of the Lake District’s busiest lakeside town, the White House offers coolly styled rooms, many with private entrances, and with none of the usual trappings of reception, bar and restaurant. Spread over three 19th-century whitewashed houses in “old Bowness”, it’s surprisingly quiet considering it’s only five minutes from the lake, and even closer to the cafés, bars and restaurants. Inside, townhouse touches mix with rustic appeal — think sharp velvet armchairs with exposed walls and beams. And you can put away the key: everything is contactless.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £150; whitehousewindermere.com
Family-friendly

Leven, Manchester

NEW
Leven occupies a prime position five minutes’ walk from Manchester Piccadilly station. Housed in a handsome red-brick, former cotton warehouse, it’s now a mix of an intimate boutique hotel and an aparthotel with an industrial design that provides personality without fuss. This is the spot for the kind of person who might book an Airbnb but wants the services, style and location of a hotel. Many of the rooms come with handy kitchens and are great value for money if you want an apartment without the price tag.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £89; liveleven.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Rothay Manor, Cumbria

Rothay Manor’s star is rising. New owners, who took over in 2016, have been followed by a new chef, Dan McGeorge, in 2018 and an annexe of art deco-inspired suites which opened in May. Together they’ve brought this gracious Regency villa bang up to date and created an understated but upmarket sense of comfort. Meanwhile, beyond Ambleside’s girdle of daytime traffic, a lovely, leafy walk beckons you onto Loughrigg Fell. You’ll need the hike to build an appetite for McGeorge’s eight-course, £95 tasting menu. His flavours are so revolutionary and so perfectly matched it’ll feel like your taste buds are waking up after a six-month slumber.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £200, three-course menu from £75; rothaymanor.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

London

Claridge's, Mayfair
Claridge's, Mayfair
JAMES MCDONALD

London hotel of the year

Claridge’s, Mayfair

This grande dame has emerged from a multimillion pound, seven-year extension that added five basement storeys and an extra three up top. The sparkling centrepiece is the subterranean, Japanese-inspired spa, offering indulgent treatments, Damien Hirst art and a dinky pool and gym. An additional 62 bedrooms exude timeless good taste. By April 2023 another 10 rooms and a £100,000-a-night penthouse suite will join them, bringing the total tally to 269. There’s also the flirty new Painter’s Room bar, with a candyfloss pink onyx counter, and L’Epicerie, an intimate chef’s table inside Claridge’s kitchen. Such innovations prove there’s still plenty of life left in this old girl.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £750, mains from £34; claridges.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Marylebone

Outside, Marylebone’s awning-adorned streets have all the village vibes of a Richard Curtis movie; inside, its eponymous hotel has just enough Mary Poppins-esque pizzazz to keep things entertaining. The silver screen theme continues in the Terrace Suites, where a cinematic sprawl of terracotta rooftops and smoke-wreathed chimneys unravels all the way out to the Shard. Downstairs, you’ll have a tough choice deciding which velvet banquette to recline on in the hotel’s resident bar, which resists the £20-plus cocktail price tag of London’s fellow five-stars. A red-leather restaurant tumbles out onto the pavement, meaning you can enjoy your impeccable fillet steak with a side of Café de Paris butter and people-watching.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £328, mains from £22; doylecollection.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch

Shoreditch meets Shinjuku at this understated-but-glam stay, founded by the Michelin-lauded celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the actor Robert De Niro and the film producer Meir Teper. As you might expect, there’s star quality, but the overriding feeling is of an A-lister that doesn’t want to be papped. Fourteen new kitsch bedrooms on the sixth floor hark back to the glamour of 1950s Japan, while the rest are modern and pared back: think moody spotlights and contemporary, razor-sharp Japanese interiors. Don’t forget to stop by the buzzing subterranean bar and restaurant serving western twists on classic sushi and sashimi dishes along with a stellar sake list.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £249, mains from £16; london-shoreditch.nobuhotels.com
Family-friendly; accessible

Lime Tree Hotel, Belgravia
Lime Tree Hotel, Belgravia
SAM HARRIS

Lime Tree Hotel, Belgravia

If you wouldn’t expect much from a hotel round the back of Victoria bus station, the Lime Tree might surprise you. The listed Georgian townhouse in upmarket Belgravia is not only handy for Victoria’s buses and trains, but also Buckingham Palace and some of London’s finest parks. Popular with businesspeople, weekending Brits, and Europeans on holiday, the hotel had a major refurb in 2020 — now it’s all about the moody greys on the walls, lots of books and sculpture and Balearic ikat fabrics. There’s no dinner service but the hotel’s Buttery restaurant is a local brunch legend, and the garden out back offers a little shot of peace.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £150, brunch mains from £12.50; limetreehotel.co.uk

Sun Street Hotel, Moorgate

NEW
The merger of six Georgian townhouses has created east London’s most playful new five-star boutique bolt hole. Interiors are bold and bouji with carefully curated art popping across a labyrinth of intimate cocktail spots where weekending couples might chink botanical-inspired cocktails in cosy nooks. Upstairs, 41 sultry, low-lit bedrooms in claret red or peacock blue continue the plush touches via king-size beds, Henry Holland cushions and high ceilings that retain the original Georgian grandeur. Service is here-but-not-here friendly and food is another big draw: the head chef Stuart Kivi-Cauldwell, who trained under Gordon Ramsay, has a menu small in size yet mighty in flavour.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £250, mains from £20; sunstreethotel.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Princess Royal, Notting Hill

NEW
Bang in the heart of stylish Notting Hill, the Princess Royal — a gastropub with rooms — has thrown open its doors after an extensive renovation that restored this space to its former glory. And what a result. Admire the bottle green façade then step in; the dining room is inviting like a classic local with exposed brickwork, stained-glass windows and a centrepiece horseshoe counter (complete with a raw bar featuring oysters). Upstairs the bedrooms, named after royal family members, have contemporary touches including bold artworks and free-standing baths plus old wooden furnishings and creaking floors.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £250, mains from £18; cubitthouse.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

NoMad London, Covent Garden

Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, where the likes of Oscar Wilde and Vivienne Westwood appeared in the dock, still rocks a rebellious attitude, now reinvented as this drama-loaded pleasure palace. Decor is a mix of Victorian flourishes and New York’s Jazz Age, and revolves around a high-octane, pistachio-green, plant-filled atrium restaurant. A side-shimmy lands you in the library for some civilised downtime, particularly necessary for those who’ve had too many dirty martinis at Side Hustle, NoMad’s banging Manhattan-style diner. The 91 rooms’ brass-studded headboards, interestingly pale colour palettes and abstract art offer a welcome respite, one that trendy digital nomads will appreciate as much as well-heeled older couples.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £473, mains from £27; thenomadhotel.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Other House, South Kensington

NEW
If your home is dimly lit and decadently maximalist, this members’ club-cum-hotel might feel like your “other house”. For the rest of us, this clever conversion of 11 South Kensington townhouses into 237 rooms and apartments has a winning speakeasy vibe and surprisingly practical touches, including bedrooms with mini kitchens and a post room for online deliveries. It has an excellent rating by Breeam, the sustainability assessment scheme. Smartly dressed locals, business executives and chess-playing millennials mingle happily at its elaborate public bar and light-bites restaurant. Downstairs, the club lounge, pool and gym are for members and guests only.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £315, small plates from £7.50; otherhouse.com
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Chateau Denmark, Soho
Chateau Denmark, Soho

Chateau Denmark, Soho

NEW
Music geeks go gaga at the mention of the lyrical and louche Denmark Street, also known as Tin Pan Alley. The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and the Sex Pistols all spent time in the street’s characterful 17th-century buildings. Sixteen of these buildings, scattered across both sides of the road, are now strutting their stuff as an edgy “unhotel”, filled with 55 rooms and apartments referencing their musical back stories, from outrageously punk through rock and gothic to modern psychedelia. The attitude is anarchic, so staff eschew conventions such as reception and greet guests on the pavement. And there’s zero food on offer — they expect, even encourage, everyone to have back-in-the-day, Keith Richards-style hangovers.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £510; chateaudenmark.com
Dogs allowed; accessible

Hotel Amano Covent Garden

NEW
It feels fitting that Amano Covent Garden is in the heart of the capital’s theatreland — the hotel’s dramatic interiors could have been plucked from the stage sets of its near neighbours. What was a nondescript 1980s office block on the corner of Russell Street and Drury Lane has been transformed by Berlin-based Amano Group into an affordable 141-room hotel that’s just on the right side of racy. The rooftop bar (over-16s only) serves snacks and drinks with views towards the South Bank.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £220, bar snacks from £5; amanogroup.de
No under-16s; dogs allowed; accessible

Tribe Canary Wharf

NEW
Welcome to your latest London base. Tribe has set up shop in Canary Wharf and is setting the tone for a fresh take on the financial zone. And the new Elizabeth Line means you’re treading the pavements of Oxford Street in just 13 minutes. This compact, 321-room, six-floor skyscraper hotel feels a lot like staying in Manhattan — and the US similarities don’t stop there. Make a reservation at its California-inspired restaurant Feels Like June for seriously good summer plates and a vibe that feels more beachside diner than business district.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £189, mains from £14; mytribehotel.com
Dogs allowed; accessible

Bulgari Hotel London, Knightsbridge

Bulgari Hotel is as unapologetically glam as the clientele who sashay through its leathered lobby. In the heart of Knightsbridge, you’ll be first through the door when Harrods opens, and can be the last to leave Harvey Nichols, where it’s back to the hotel’s Italian homage of a restaurant, Sette, the first UK offshoot of New York’s Scarpetta, where the East Coast elite head for their cacio e pepe. Interiors are dramatic, gleaming to the point of outright reflectivity, but it’s the 25m underground pool that causes the biggest stir.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £883, mains from £24; bulgarihotels.com
Family-friendly; dog-friendly; accessible

East of England

The Angel Inn, Suffolk
The Angel Inn, Suffolk

East of England hotel of the year

The Angel Inn, Suffolk

It took two years to refurbish the Angel Inn, a former gastropub at the heart of Stoke-By-Nayland village in the Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The owners painstakingly restored the existing Tudor building’s six bedrooms and restaurant, adding five new rooms in a 16th-century stable block over the courtyard before it reopened. The focus now is on fine dining: the head chef Ruben Aguilar Bel’s nine-course tasting menu takes British ingredients and gives them a Spanish spin. Rooms are old meets new — wonky beams and lancet windows paired with more modern charms including underfloor heating in the bathrooms and massive walk-in showers.
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Details B&B doubles from £325, tasting menu £85pp; angelinnsuffolk.co.uk
No under-13s; accessible

The Globe Inn, Norfolk

If you’re in the mood for sand dunes, salty air and quaint villages, then you can’t go wrong with the Globe, a gastropub with rooms overlooking a leafy Georgian square in Wells-next-the-Sea, the bunting-festooned unofficial capital of the north Norfolk coast. In the warmer months, this is a shrine to the Great British summer, as guests sip chilled pints in the parasol-shaded courtyard terrace within sniffing distance of the sea. Its refurbished rooms are now awash with the colours of the coast, and its restaurant menu serves up the magic of East Anglia on a silver platter — seafood fans, this one’s for you.
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Details B&B doubles from £150, mains from £17; theglobeatwells.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

Cambridge’s hotel choice is ever-expanding, with every academic year bringing another headline-grabbing opening. Sadly, few have lived up to the hype but the Gonville has been there all along: a former college boarding house bought by a local builders’ merchant in 1962 that’s remained in the family ever since. It has enjoyed a quiet, almost secret, reputation as the city’s best address, straddling the line between town and gown. Rooms here are built for comfort. There are electric Bentleys out front to be used for spins around town, a small spa, a cocktail list short on novelty and long on quality and an impressive restaurant.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £153, mains from £16; gonvillehotel.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

The Piggery at Retreat East
The Piggery at Retreat East

Retreat East, Suffolk

Romantic hotel of the year
This collection of 21 barns and cottages on a former dairy farm outside Coddenham was conceived as a balm for stressed-out souls, and with its sustainable ethos, fabulous kitchen, outdoor hot tub and country-chic interiors, it delivers handsomely. It’s good fun too, with young staff bringing a sociable atmosphere: at breakfast on a Saturday, the triple-height Great Barn is abuzz. But post breakfast and spa treatments, couples will want to hide away in cosy rooms done out with four-posters and luxuriously deep tubs. In the evening, chef Adam Spicer, a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals, explains his tasting menu to diners while guitarist Peter Hemsworth plays singer-songwriter classics.
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Details B&B doubles from £130, mains from £16; retreateast.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Congham Hall, Norfolk

Norfolk’s epic sunsets provide an unforgettable floorshow from the terrace at this Georgian manor house near King’s Lynn, ably assisted by the hotel’s 30 acres, which have been fashioned into wispily romantic gardens that will put you in mind of a perfume commercial. This year it added five trendy Orchard Cabins to its 26 traditional rooms to mark the ten-year anniversary of Nicholas Dickinson’s ownership. Dickinson, one of the brains behind the perennially popular Luxury Family Hotels group, now concentrates his considerable skills on grown-up glamour at Congham. Other innovations include bringing a bistro tempo to dining and upgrading its spa.
Read the hotel review in full
Details Room-only doubles from £165, mains from £18; conghamhallhotel.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Sculthorpe Mill, Norfolk

If anything, 2021’s East Anglian regional winner is even better this year, having achieved its aim of becoming a local boozer first and restaurant with rooms second. When it opened in Fakenham last July the owners used every gadget in the boutique toolbox to turn a beautifully located yet run-down Greene King pub into a fashionable rule-breaker. Expect a flagstone-floored pub, where gamekeepers and farm workers mix with fashionably dressed Londoners over, respectively, pints of Barsham bitter and craft Negronis. Above that, seven colourful, designer bedrooms: some with views of the River Wensum, straddled by the mill, and others overlooking the surrounding fields.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £110, mains from £15.50; sculthorpemill.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Carpenters Arms, Cambridgeshire

The Carpenters is the latest fruit from the fast-breeding Chestnut group, whose MO involves finding fading pubs, throwing bucketloads of cash at interior design, hiring a proper chef and reopening as a boutique boozer with a restaurant and rooms that appeals as much to the weekender as the locals. The Carpenters, in the Cambridgeshire village of Great Wilbraham, might be their most spectacular revamp yet.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £76, mains from £18; carpentersarmswilbraham.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed

The Harper, Norfolk

North Norfolk has traditionally been written off by trendier staycationers as one big ball of tumbleweed traditions. Things changed last year when this 32-room boutique resort, whose industrial-chic interiors reflect its previous incarnation as a glass-blowing factory, opened in a cluster of flint and brick barns near the spectacular marshes of Blakeney. The mood at the Harper has been appealingly clubby since guests enjoyed the limited public access of lockdown so much that the owners decided to restrict its romantic courtyard — olive trees and fire pits, cavernous chill-out lounge, all-day bar, spa, indoor pool and glamorous restaurant — to just those staying.
Read the hotel review in full
Details B&B doubles from £240, three courses from £68; theharper.co.uk
Family-friendly; dogs allowed; accessible

Talbooth House, Essex