HOTELS • August 2019
Booking a cottage or lodge attached to a brilliant hotel offers privacy and flexibility, bringing the option to decamp for gourmet hotel dining, activities or a luxury spa. Travel writer, Norman Miller, picks five of the cosiest cottage spots for your next stay
Is Buckler's Hard England’s most gloriously ship-shape place to stay? In a gorgeous Georgian red-brick hamlet, rooms at the Master Builder’s Hotel come styled by designer Christine Boswell, overlooking a grassy riverside slipway in the New Forest where once naval ships were built. Beaulieu Palace House, the National Motor Museum, a Cistercian abbey and Exbury Gardens are your beguiling neighbours.
Cottage of choice: There’s a pair of ravishing riverside cottages (from £1,150 a week) with Georgian period features and private gardens. The Harbourmasters would suit an active family, sleeping eight in two doubles and a bunkroom, with a barbecue terrace for alfresco nosh. The Shipwrights is a cosier woodburner-warmed kickback. Both have well-equipped kitchens, although the fine hotel restaurant is yards away.
For upscale Highland seclusion head for The Torridon Resort, framed by the eponymous hills and within striking distance of cosmopolitan Inverness. The five-star main hotel comes with a two-acre kitchen garden serving a gourmet restaurant, plus a bar with 365 malts and an astonishing 120 gins.
Cottage of choice: For even greater seclusion, book the lochside two-bedroomed Boat House cottage (from £1,460 for seven nights), where panoramic windows let you scan for eagles, pine martens and otters – or sit in bed watching herons hunt breakfast. Get active with sea kayaking, gorge scrambling and guided mountain biking, or kick back in an interior featuring reclaimed floors from an old buttery.
Bovey Castle is a breathtaking contrast to the raw grandeur of its Dartmoor surrounds. The glam former Edwardian country seat of the heir to the WH Smith empire (how British can you get?), its 275-acre estate is a Devon Eden offering haute cuisine, a luxury spa plus golf, archery, shooting and horse riding. Children can rock climb, learn survival skills or busy themselves with estate animals.
Cottage of choice: Around two dozen contemporary lodges (sleeping four to six) dot the estate, with crafted oak interiors and eye-catching granite facades. The stand-out is Rose Cottage (from £643 per week), a two-bed conversion of the castle’s 1907 Gothic-style gatehouse, brightened by an interior palette of reds and greens.
The latest addition to The Pig’s portfolio of fine-dining beacons with rooms, this seven-bedroom Queen Anne manor house in five bucolic acres near Canterbury oozes character, with secret stairways and panelled rooms. It also has a rock ’n’ roll pedigree, having hosted concerts (and bacchanalian post-gig shindigs) by Led Zeppelin and The Kinks.
Cottage of choice: There’s a gaggle of quirky one-bedroom Hop Pickers’ Huts (from £265 per night) fashioned with reclaimed wood and set on stilts amid water meadows by the River Nailbourne – plus two lodges sleeping four. Go for Pig Lodge 1 for its spacious lounge and en-suite bedrooms (Lodge 2 has a bunk-bed room).
Set in the Tees Valley by the historic city of Durham, Wynyard Hall combines antiquity with tranquillity amid 150 landscaped acres peppered with sylvan woods and a lake. Built in the 1820s, it became a favoured haunt of 20th-century royalty – three monarchs have stayed here, including the present Queen. Five elegant three-bedroom cottages (from £700 per night) major on luxe comfort, including multiple bathrooms and outdoor hot tubs.
Cottage of choice: The Dukeswood, fashioned from the 19th-century Gate House, overlooks a memorial built for a visit by the Duke of Wellington, while green-fingered guests have the charming Gardeners cottage, planted between a walled garden, kitchen garden and the estate’s display of David Austin roses.