exterior of grand british manor home made of brick
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Heckfield Place

An immaculate 18th-century estate-turned-countryside-hotel in Hampshire, England, the Heckfield Place sits on 400 acres, with restaurants by Skye Gyngell.

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Aerial View - Barnsley House, Cotswolds, England

Barnsley House

This pretty 17th-century manor combines country house charm with a sleek contemporary design. Behind the mellow stone façade is the kind of ultracool setting that will reassure the most die-hard urbanites: the split-level stable-yard rooms feel more Manhattan loft than cozy Cotswold cottage, all clean lines and funky lighting. Beds are enormous with crisp white goose-down duvets, while upstairs, splendidly smart bathrooms impress with gigantic showers and freestanding baths. The Home Farm Cottage, which can accommodate six people and occupies a former farmhand's house, is particularly lovely. And then there’s the spa. Tucked behind an ancient temple, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that frame glorious views of rolling green countryside. Go holistic with Reiki, Shiatsu and a Thai massage, then hop into the steaming outdoor hydrotherapy pool, deliciously warm even in chilly weather. Go in the spring, when the blooming gardens won’t disappoint.

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Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Set on 100 acres of pasture and woodland, Raymond Blanc’s English manor house is for couples looking for a traditional English getaway .

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Bovey Castle

Bovey Castle, set within Dartmoor National Park, offers a golf course, spa and outdoor endeavors for an activity-filled escape in rural England.

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Bedroom at Buckland Manor, Cotswolds, England

Buckland Manor

A medieval manor in a picture-perfect location with super-professional hands-on staff—what more could you ask for? Okay, so there’s no spa, no gym and no minibars; instead, a weekend at Buckland is more like a sumptuous house party. It’s very grand but, thank heavens, totally unstuffy. With fires burning day and night beneath great big imposing mantelpieces and three drawing rooms to curl up in, this is a hotel where you feel incredibly well looked after. Parts of the house date from the 13th century; with mullioned windows and deep-set stone walls, there’s a real feeling of history to the place. Chintz and four-posters, flagstone floors and wood paneling complete the look. There are only thirteen bedrooms, but try to get the Fountain Room, which has the best views of the gardens. You’ll find that the bedroom doors aren’t locked (though locks are provided on request). Wake in the morning to double-yolk eggs for breakfast and a quick round on the croquet lawn.

Room Lobby at Burford House, Cotswolds, England

Burford House

Set in the heart of Oxfordshire's Burford, a town that looks straight off a chocolate box lid, this black-and-white-timbered, 17th-century town house positively bursts with tearooms, crafts shops and antiques. Upstairs, the dark-beamed bedrooms are small but perfectly formed, brimming with well-chosen antique furniture and lovely porcelain. You’ll find thick Witney blankets on the beds, vases of tulips and, in the Sherborne room, a four-poster bed and an enormous bathroom with a rolltop bathtub for two. The family photos dotted around the place will make you feel like you’re staying with friends (if only they would lose the teddy bears on the beds). To top it off, a sweet-smelling walled flower garden beckons beyond the back doors.

Bedroom at Calcot Manor, Cotswolds, England

Calcot Manor

This cheery cluster of old-fashioned stone farm buildings in the Cotswolds has been transformed into such a thoroughly modern, thoroughly friendly hotel.

What a joy: a proper hotel for adults that also offers all sorts of treats for babies and children, guaranteeing a good time for the whole family. For the kiddies, there’s a heated indoor pool for splashing about (with separate child zones and times); a wonderworld nursery run by nanny pros; a relaxed, pub-style restaurant, the Gumstool Inn, complete with high chairs, bibs, homemade purees, warm organic milk and staff who get down on their knees to clean up the mess and still smile. And you can also forget the hideous bedroom-sharing scenario that always involves trying to fit the crib into the bathroom and hushed voices, putting a damper on romance. The ten new family suites come with separate children’s bedrooms (two single beds or bunk beds, plus room for a cot) in the same smart contemporary style as the rest of the hotel and a fabulous monitoring system that connects to the front desk. While staff listen for the stirrings of sleeping children, parents get to dig in to sophisticated comfort food—pressed foie gras and apple terrine, seared sea bass, licorice crème brûlée with blackberry sorbet—at the sexy restaurant. What else is there? A gym, glorious walks and cycle routes, and an outdoor hot tub and spa so serene that your brain will turn to mush.

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Cliveden House

Cliveden House is a palatial estate with grand gardens above the River Thames that belonged to renowned American expatriate William Waldorf Astor.

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Garden at Cotswold House, Cotswolds, England

Cotswold House

If you want Wi-Fi, mood lighting in the bathroom and an Ammique bed in Room 16 (made from capsules that mold to the shape of your body), you got it. Cotswold House hotel is high-tech city slick in honey-hued Chipping Campden. Located in the heart of the village and boasting a secret walled garden, it’s as unexpected as it is gorgeous. Shaded pathways meander past giant urns overflowing with sweet-smelling flowers, and benches sit tucked in hideaway corners. Bag the Hidcote cottage, and spend the weekend hopping in and out of your private hot tub or curled up by the fireplace in the bedroom. With beds so comfy you could sleep for days, you’ll need a tempting breakfast to lure you out from under the covers. And what delicious delights await: lavender honey, candied orange marmalade and marinated prunes, porridge with whiskey and cream. Even better, there’s no hurry; it’s all on offer until 11 A.M.

Stairs at Covent Garden Hotel, London, England -  Copyright Amy Murrell

Cowley Manor

Cowley Manor glows majestically as you roll up the driveway, not so much Cotswolds chic as classical Italianate grandeur, with fabulous grounds that are sculptured and landscaped within an inch of their lives. The building is Grade II listed, but you won’t find any traditional formality inside. So long, Chippendale and chintz, tartan carpets and heavy velvet curtains; all is groovy and bright here, like the azure pool table and the leather-clad walls in the billiards room. This is one funky country house. Pick an “Exceptional” room in the main house; some of the rooms have private terraces, which are bathed in sunlight when those English clouds part.

The pièce de résistance is the C-Side spa, artfully tucked into the hillside of the garden and cloaked by a roof of lavender. The steaming swimming pool slices through the sunken courtyard and is toasty even when there’s a nip in the air. (Do make sure to book a spa slot, though; it’s packed at weekends.) Back at the hotel, all is surprisingly child friendly. There’s even a complimentary dedicated high tea for the little ones, when the usually elegant and serene restaurant becomes bright and flamboyant with primary-colored plastic utensils and kid-size nibbles—not a chicken nugget in sight. And later, for grown-ups, wild boar steak with black pudding mash, warm Cotswold rabbit salad and seriously good puddings. What a winner.

Aerial View - Coworth Park, London, England

Coworth Park

Located forty-five minutes outside of London and just twenty minutes from Heathrow, Coworth Park is a peaceful sanctuary removed from the chaos of England’s capital. The property consists of seventy rooms: thirty in the main Manor House and the remaining rooms spread out over the Dower House, Cottages and Stables. The overriding aesthetic is contemporary elegance with many of the rooms in the Manor House featuring four-poster beds and high ceilings. The rooms in the cottages and stables offer a cozier charm and are better for young families.

The Eco-spa is a big draw with eight treatment rooms and a soothing indoor-outdoor pool that is open year-round. The property also offers a plethora of quintessentially English activities like polo, croquet, shooting, and horseback riding. In addition, guests can fish, mountain bike, go for a run or simply find a cozy nook to curl up in with a book. A well-rounded kids’ club, two on-site restaurants, a bar and Spatisserie, the spa’s juicer, round out the facilities.

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Bedroom at - Dial House Hotel, Cotswolds, England

Dial House Hotel

The oldest building in the village, Dial House stands proud on the green overlooking the River Windrush. And what a village. The stone bridges crossing the river have even led some to call it “the Venice of the Cotswolds.” It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s a glorious haven to escape the hordes. The imposing 17th-century house, named after the large sundial above the front door, is supremely elegant inside. Rooms are intimate and contemporary—high-end designer wallpaper, Zoffany quilts on the bed—but not so urban that you lose a sense of place. Besides, who wants to be stuck inside here anyway? Go out and explore those rolling hills, slumber on the deck chairs in the garden, or, if you must be inside, wallow in the deep baths for hours. The old summerhouse on the top lawn is outrageously romantic, so as soon as it’s warm enough, book it for a candlelit supper.

Bedroom at Dormy House, Cotswolds, England

Dormy House

Dormy House may have started life in the 17th century as a farmhouse, but don’t expect anything too rustic. A recent extensive revamp has revealed it in all its glory: as one of the most comfortable, stylish and contemporary places to rest your head in the area. The forty rooms are equipped with top notch toiletries, Nespresso machines and tablets, and the six suites are each unique and charming.

The hotel has been designed with city visitors in mind. The spa is slick and luxurious; you can sit on the spa terrace–perhaps after a spell in the mud room–and watch the local wildlife from the comfort of your robe. Because some things stay the same: the hotel is still part of the 400-acre Farncombe Estate.

There are two restaurants. Choose the Garden Room for dinner and Sunday lunch or thePotting Shed for all-day dining.

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Facade - Feathers Hotel , Cotswolds, England

Feathers Hotel

Sister hotel to Lords of the Manor and practically next door to Blenheim Palace, the Feathers is well connected and the perfect place to take baby steps into the Cotswolds. Five adjacent vibrant, redbrick, 17th-century town houses have been gutted and merged into one property. Creaky floorboards and dark corridors, antiques bedecked and oh-so traditional; some parts look like they haven’t been touched for years and remain dustily unchanged.

Thankfully, the sleeping quarters have been brought up to modern day. Marble bathrooms have power showers and bedrooms boast flat-screen TVs and great vases of fresh flowers. If you want a steam room as well, go for the Goldcrest Suite. The bar has a few stuffed birds (hence the hotel’s name). But if that’s all too stuffy, sneak out to the courtyard garden; when it’s warm enough, it’s the perfect spot for an early-evening martini.

Exterior View : Lords of the Manor, Cotswolds, England

Lords of the Manor

Ignore the ridiculously clichéd name—this place is actually rather handsome. The onetime 17th-century rectory recently underwent a complete refurb and emerged triumphant. Bedrooms are light and elegant, and all are individually decorated. In one of the rooms, there is a chaise longue at the foot of the bed and a well-placed decanter of delicious fruity sloe gin on the sideboard.

But as pretty as the rooms are, the food is the shining star here. The menu leans toward classical French cooking but uses as much locally sourced produce as possible. The tasting menu is scrumptious, with ultrafresh ingredients. With eight acres of parkland, lakes and walled gardens, you can borrow a pair of Wellies and walk off the excesses of the weekend.

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Lygon Arms

This sweeping 77-room property has extensive amenities, including a heated indoor pool, floodlight tennis courts and plethora of spa treatments.

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Interiors - No. 131, Cotswolds, England - Copyright Chris Terry

No. 131

The renovation of this sprawling Georgian townhouse overlooking Cheltenham’s Imperial Gardens by Cotswolds hoteliers Sam and Georgie Pearman has been a long time coming and the love, care and attention to detail that has gone into creating No. 131 is evident as soon as you walk up its worn stone steps and through the doors.

The downstairs is given over to comfort, dining and decadent drinks. Sit in one of the cosy sitting rooms for tea or Champagne, browse the art books and enjoy the fabulous pieces all around the hotel, or plan a glitzy night out in the bar before sitting down to quality produce, simply prepared, such as oysters and steak.

The 11 rooms are each one-of-a-kind, but all huge bathrooms with double showers, rolltop baths with views of the city, plush velvet couches, divine 100 Acres toiletries and a great film selection, not to mention the very thoughtful mini bar, with snacks and drinks from small producers and the best teas and coffees.

In the morning, if you can’t face leaving the room just yet, you’ll find a tea tray and patisseries outside your door.

Facade - Old Bell Hotel, Cotswolds, England

Old Bell Hotel

A historic little gem to say the least, tucked next to a medieval abbey, the venerable Grade I–listed Ye Olde Bell feels like a proper English coaching inn. And that’s because it is. Built in 1220, the wisteria- and ivy-clad gray Cotswold stone inn is England’s oldest hotel. After nearly eight centuries in service, the hotel has perfected its quintessential charm. The ceilings are low, the walls are lined with gilt-framed portraits and family crests, and the rocking chair in the corner looks like it’s been there forever. It’s all rather higgledy-piggledy, but when you find the library or one of the two lounges with a roaring fire and the Sunday papers, you won’t want to budge. A pot of Earl Grey and a plate of homemade sugary shortbread will arrive moments before you start thinking about teatime, and you’ll be encouraged to close your eyes and have a little nap.

Exterior View - Soho Farmhouse, Cotswolds, England

Soho Farmhouse

The 40 farmhouse-chic cabins dotted around 100 acres range in size from one- to three-bedrooms (some with bunk beds) and feature kitchenettes or full kitchens, comfy lounging areas, board games and picnic supplies. Upon booking a cabin, guests' shoe sizes and heights are asked, so that their rooms can be equipped with seafoam-green Foffa bikes and wellies for use during their stay.

But the property is equally perfect for a couple's getaway, as certain cabins are particularly romantic, with fireplaces, outdoor bathtubs, a four-poster bed and record players. Certain areas in the public spaces are deemed "adults-only," including two great lofted lounges set above the Main Barn's restaurant. The spa, too, is an oasis, featuring nine treatment rooms, steam, sauna, ice bath and mudrooms, plus a soaking tub for two.

Nick Jones, the owner and visionary behind the brand, seems to have put his everything into this project, and was personally responsible for many of the design elements and thoughtful inclusions. There was no water on the property, so a lake was put in, the pedestrian-only plot is sprawling, so vintage milk carts patrol the lanes offering rides to guests and the design is so inspired that there is a store selling the very same bowls, blankets and rain jackets provided in guest rooms.

Dining options abound, and are all spectacularly delicious, being overseen by British chef extraordinaire, Tom Aikens. There is the Main Barn, which serves food all day (and well into the night), the more intimate Boathouse, which boasts a pizza oven, and a deli, where guests can find small bites as well as snacks. The Pickle, Cheese and Charcuterie rooms are here, too, and are marvels. The Cotswolds in general, and Soho Farmhouse in particular, will inspire you to tie on an apron, and they have built a specialty space for cooking classes, which utilize vegetables, fruit and herbs from the adjacent kitchen garden.

There are four tennis courts, a football field, gym and cycling studio, as well as an indoor/outdoor infinity pool that seemingly flows into the lake. Soho Farmhouse is also home to a dozen ponies and horses, and offers lessons as well as casual trail rides. So while the place is geared towards the more grown-up Soho House members, it nevertheless maintains an offering of amenities and activities that will suit actual children as well as the kids inside us all.

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Aerial View : The Rectory, Cotswolds, England

The Rectory

It’s difficult not to feel a stab of design envy as you arrive at the Rectory. This is exactly how you wished you’d decorated your home; the cool flagstones in the hallway; the wooden shutters, like sleepy eyelids, half-shut; and the twinkling candles reflected in mirrors are so charmingly unaffected. Upstairs, the bedrooms are named after the rolling hills of the Cotswold Way, Nympsfield, Nimlet, et al.

The Rectory is refreshingly unlike a hotel: you won’t find a pants press behind the bedroom door or sachets of Nescafé on the tea tray; instead, there are toned-down Cath Kidson faded florals, freshly pressed Egyptian linens on the bed and piles of well-picked books on the mantel. Outside are three acres of idyllically walled gardens, with pansies, foxgloves, freshly cut grass and a weirdly wonderful 17th-century full-immersion baptism pool. (It’s not for swimming, of course; for that there’s a modern heated pool.) The chef who oversees the restaurant at the Rectory, in a wood-paneled that overlooks the garden, is a firm follower of the Slow Food Movement—so kick back and enjoy the feast.

Living Room at The Wild Rabbit, Cotswolds, England

The Wild Rabbit

The Wild Rabbit is the latest addition to Lady Carole Bamford’s Daylesford empire, a collection of luxury, organic food, lifestyle and fashion businesses.

Daylesford, the Bamford’s estate that was an early draw to this area of the Cotswolds, is only a few minutes drive from the Wild Rabbit, which makes this an affordable stopover if you wish to visit the legendary treatment rooms, farm kitchen and sprawling farm. It is also conveniently only 90-minutes from London.

Bamford doesn’t really do pubs, whatever the name might suggest, so everything dark and dingy has been replaced with space, light, gentle fabrics and calming colors.

There are eight bedrooms and four dog-friendly garden rooms, open fires, cozy armchairs and a menu full of meaty country comfort food such as potted terrines and roasts.

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Outdoor Lounge at Whatley Manor, Cotswolds, England

Whatley Manor

The tree-lined driveway and electric solid-oak gates are a good indication of Whatley’s ethos. From the proprietors of the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne comes a rather Swiss place—efficiently run to say the least (and sensibly renamed from the original Twatley Farm). Nothing is too much trouble at the hyper-polished hotel, which can be a little too stylized and done up for some (the bronze donkey sculptures in the garden are especially questionable).

But it’s the 12,000-square-foot Aquarias Spa that’s the main attraction. Set within the skeleton of the old stable block, it’s a destination spa for those in the know, and has won awards and dedicated fans. The water-based therapies take center stage with one of the largest indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pools in England. You’re not expected to swim—just wade around and be pummeled by the whooshing waterfalls and bubbling jets, then waft through the spa’s thermal suite if you have the energy, from tepidarium to laconium to caldarium to chamomile steam grotto to, finally, a Finnish sauna. You’ll emerge blissed out and ready to feast in one of the hotel’s two restaurants.

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