16 British hotels to visit before you die

From spa hotels to castle retreats, add these to your bucket list…

By Country Living

The right hotel can be a destination in itself and when it comes to the setting, Britain has it all – from sprawling countryside to buzzing cities.

With even more than their location in mind, we’ve brought you the best hotels in the UK to check in to at least once in your life, whether you’re after London’s most iconic hotel or a relaxed yet glamorous Hampshire hideaway. Browse Britain’s top luxury, boutique, family-friendly and foodie hotels to visit before you die.

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1) Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Cumbria

BOOK NOW Doubles from £275 per night

With its stunning Lake House overlooking its own private lake, plus luxury Spa Lodges with their own hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, Gilpin is a place to really relax and take in the best of the Lakes. Here, you can also taste Cumbrian heritage with exotic spices at Michelin-starred HRiSHi or visit Gilpin Spice which has laid-back tapas-style pan-Asian dishes. The family-owned country house is relaxed, cosy and offers a true escape.

2) Gidleigh Park, Devon

BOOK NOW From £325 for two-night dinner and stay package

Set on the bubbling upper reaches of the River Teign, this hotel offers tranquility and romance within a Tudor-style country house on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. It boasts all the English charm you’d expect, highly praised fine dining and 107 acres of mature grounds to explore.

3) Chewton Glen, Hampshire

BOOK NOW From £185 for an overnight spa break

Occupying a glorious spot in the New Forest, this ivy-clad country retreat has something for everyone – an amazing spa for those in need of relaxing, gold and tennis for getting active, and even luxury tree houses for anyone looking to live out their childhood dreams. It’s a fun place for families with more things to do than you’ll fit into your stay.

4) Drakes, Brighton

BOOK NOW Doubles from £120 per night

Brighton’s original luxury boutique hotel is edgy and chic, sitting directly on the seafront with fabulous views of the iconic pier. It’s not into flashy displays and most people who stay there (Kylie Minogue included) have been recommended by someone in the know. Expect rooms with free-standing baths in front of large picture windows to take in the best views of Brighton.

5) The Balmoral, Edinburgh

BOOK NOW Doubles from £220 per night

Famed for its timeless elegance and gothic grandeur, this iconic Edinburgh hotel is one of the city’s best-known landmarks. Here you’ll experience remarkable panoramic views, stylish interiors with unmistakable Scottish accents and show-stopping meals at the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant – it’s the perfect luxury retreat for immersing yourself in Scottish history.

6) Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire

BOOK NOW From £538 for an overnight foodie package

This Oxfordshire bolthole is a food-focused retreat from celebrated chef Raymond Blanc. It offers traditional luxury with impeccable food, service and surroundings. There are just 32 rooms so you can really get away from it all, whether you’re planning on making your way through the Michelin-starred menu or cooking up a storm at the cookery school.

7) Rudding Park, North Yorkshire

BOOK NOW Sleeping Beauty Overnight Spa Break from £192.50

Named Hotel of the Year by VisitEngland in 2018, this Harrogate hotel is a spa lover’s dream. It’s home to the UK’s first rooftop spa garden with a hydrotherapy pool, panoramic sauna infused with seasonal scents of flora and fauna, a herbal bath steam room, plus warming Evo lounge beds. You can also enjoy surroundings from the spa’s large south-facing sun deck.

8) Country Living Hotel St George, Harrogate

BOOK NOW Doubles from £45 per night

This elegant Yorkshire mansion is straight out of a magazine – Country Living magazine! A stay in our very own hotel is a must. Here, you’ll enjoy country classic interiors with a modern touch, all designed by the Country Living team, and all the features we love in a stay cation – from cozy duvets and books to curl up to a lovely bar and terrace. Dogs are welcome, too.

9) Hotel 41, London

BOOK NOW Doubles from £500 per night

This little-known hotel next to Buckingham Palace is consistently voted the best hotel in the UK by TripAdvisor reviewers and is a city bolthole with a difference. Hotel 41 has a members’ club feel, with a lounge featuring an honesty bar and a chance to plunder the pantry. The hidden gem is known for its little extras – even check-in comes with a choice of champagnes – and guests rave about the five-star service.

10) Lucknam Park, Wiltshire

BOOK NOW From £575 for a two-night luxury package

Surrounded by fields, meadows and woodland, a stay at this Wiltshire hideaway is a real treat. You can borrow wellies for long walks through the grounds, savor the dishes of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones and even bring your dog to experience Lucknam Park’s luxury offerings.

11) Glenagles, Perthshire

BOOK NOW Doubles from £390 per night

One of Scotland’s most iconic hotels set beneath the Ochil Hills, Gleneagles began its life in the glamorous age of travel when guests arrived in style at its very own train station. Today, the 850-acre estate is a playground for outdoor lovers with over 50 country pursuits to try, from falconry to fishing. It’s even great for kids, with child-friendly off-road activities and The Den for youngsters to enjoy their own space.

12) The Scarlet, Cornwall

BOOK NOW Doubles from £250 per night

One of the best-known eco-conscious hotels in the UK is found in Cornwall, boasting a pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, a natural reed-filtered outdoor pool, clifftop hot tubs and sauna pods. The Scarlet is the place to come for far reaching views across the sea, beautiful natural surroundings and an adults-only atmosphere.

13) Pale Hall, Gwynedd

BOOK NOW Doubles from £275

On the edge of Snowdonia National Park within a dramatic 50-acre estate, this historic Welsh country house is a place for fine dining and historic highlights, such as a bed that Queen Victoria once slept in and her original bath. Here you’ll find beautiful large drawing rooms filled with books and board games to enjoy after longs walks through the grounds.

14) Claridge’s, London

BOOK NOW Doubles from £523 per night

Glamorous, elegant and a serious place to splurge in the capital, this legendary London landmark is as classy as they come. The luxury art deco interiors are the work of the world’s leading designers and everything, from the dining to the drinking, is as opulent as you’d imagine. It’s even loved by the Queen, who held her ruby wedding part here.

15) The Pig, Hampshire

BOOK NOW Doubles from £165 per night

Upping the bar on the country house hotel, The Pig serves up incredible local food in a relaxed, laid-back setting. It sits comfortably within its New Forest environment, giving guests homely charm and a great escape from the hustle and bustle. Food rules at this hotel and it’s a great place to gather as a group.

16) The Torridon, Highlands

BOOK NOW Doubles from £275

Located at the edge of Loch Torridon, this five-star hotel offers breathtaking surroundings from an opulent Victorian base. Soak up the Scottish hospitality with gin afternoon tea, feast on just-picked vegetables, fresh fish and succulent game at the three-AA Rosette 1887 restaurant and experience stargazing with an expert astronomer – this is a true bucket list hotel.

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