Dream staycations: The UK escapes we can’t wait to reopen

Words by
Jemima Sissons

2nd July 2020

With lockdown restrictions starting to lift across the country, we’ve put together a list of seven top hotels we’re hoping to revisit this summer

Dream staycations: The UK escapes we can’t wait to reopen

Join the Somerset: Osip and Number One Bruton

With a steady stream of Londoners in their SUVs purring down the A303 come Friday, Somerset is the go-to county when city dwellers want to enjoy some countryside chic. Head to Bruton and newly opened boutique hotel Number One Bruton, which also has Merlin Johnson’s new restaurant, Osip, in situ. Rooms are all unique, with bespoke mattresses ensuring a sound night’s sleep and bathrooms stocked with local organic goodies from Great Elm Physick Garden. Johnson excels with bold pairings, such as oca root with crème fraîche and raw scallop, and a wonderful shiitake mushroom with nettles and vin chaud.

Rooms from £135, numberonebruton.com; osiprestaurant.com 

Dream staycations: The UK escapes we can’t wait to reopen

Northern belle: Stock Exchange

Manchester is upping its game, with a slew of new openings. This grand and lovingly restored Victorian building dating from 1906 has been crafted into a boutique hotel with 35-bedrooms, a Tom Kerridge restaurant in the former Stock Exchange trading hall and a swaggering wine-tasting table in the basement hewn out of one piece of oak. Marble bathrooms come fitted out with DR Harris’s Arlington range and bespoke cabinetry fronted with sage green leather. Food, as you might expect, is well-executed fare — although with a rather surprising backdrop of multi screens around the room on which  to watch the football. Venison chilli is a warming and chicken Kiev elevated with wild garlic crushed potatoes.

Rooms from £200, thestockexchangehotel.co.uk

Wild life: The Newt

The bucolic wilds of Somerset is where it is all at now, and at its epicentre is The Newt in Somerset, the second project from South African duo Koos Bekker and his wife Karen Roos, of Babylonstoren. A reputed £100 million has been spent on converting the 17th-century Hapsden House — which Roos spotted in Country Life magazine and practically bought on the spot — and it shows. Bespoke Farrow & Ball paints adorn the walls and custom marble bathrooms are supremely elegant. There is a cider press on site, with complimentary bottles in the minibar; a gym overlooks a garden where guests are encouraged to pick a post-workout snack, plus a soothing spa with outdoor hot tub.

Rooms from £255, thenewtinsomerset.com

Dream staycations: The UK escapes we can’t wait to reopen

Photo: David Cleveland

Back to the future: Standard

Step through a time warp, back to an era of house plants, curved 1970s lamps and geometric bedspreads. Located in the magnificently refurbished Camden Town Hall, the 266-room Standard hotel has its finger firmly on the pulse of this futuristic decade. Rooms comes with custom Craig Green-designed robes and Bang & Olufsen speakers to create your own mini rave — although this isn’t necessary given the amount of fun you can
have in the hotel: its Double Standard bar is heaving by 5.59pm. Splash out on a terrace suite with its own hot tub, a Peloton bike on request, trainer cleaning service, Stutterheim raincoat and even someone to greet you off your Eurostar train.

Rooms from £199, standardhotels.com

A river runs through it: Minster Mill

From the company that owns Gidleigh Park in Devon and Bath Priory comes the latest boutique bolthole, Minster Mill. Set in an idyllic location on the banks of the River Windrush. the Cotswold stone buildings contain the 38 bedrooms and suites, a spa, restaurant and mezzanine bar. While the hotel part feels a tad institutional with their net curtains and PVC windows, the interiors glow with a Scandi-style warmth at night. There is some deft cooking by Tom Moody in the oak-beamed restaurant: lime-cured salmon with jalapeño, buttermilk and chives is an uplifting start to dinner, followed by a delicate butter-poached monkfish. sweetcorn, girolles and red pepper.

Rooms from £150, minstermill.co.uk

Well chimed: The Bell at Langford

This inn is perfection: within two hours of London, with cosy rooms, roaring fires and faultless cooking. Bone marrow flatbread with garlic is a must for carnivores, but there is a wealth of choice for non-meat eaters, too.

From £90, thebelllangford.com

Great Scot: Nira Caledonia

A short jaunt from Edinburgh’s New Town, this boutique hotel has elegant Georgian architecture and period-inspired decor. Each of the 28 rooms has a different look — nab a Jacuzzi Suite if you can. Dine at Blackwood’s Bar & Grill, often hailed as one of the city's top restaurants — those hankering for a wee dram will enjoy its choice of 25 whiskies.

From £76, niracaledonia.com