Longing for a hotel break with a restaurant, spa or tennis courts but still want a bit of distance between you and other guests?
An increasing number of UK hotels now offer self-catering cottages in their grounds, which allows the best of both worlds: a cosy, self-contained stay, together with top-notch facilities – and food – on tap when you want them.
Budock Vean, Cornwall
Budock Vean is a 65-acre picturesque estate on the Helford River (pictured) in Cornwall. Choose to stay in a contemporary bolthole or a more traditional cottage
You’ll find wine fridges as well as wood burners in the swish contemporary boltholes created from natural wood and stone on the Budock Vean country house estate in Cornwall. There are a handful of more traditional cottages too, with enclosed gardens, where dogs are welcome.
All are set on a 65-acre picturesque estate on the Helford River, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with plenty of walks from the front door to creeks, coves and beaches. On hand are the hotel pool, outdoor hot tub, golf course, spa and tennis courts. Take to the river from Budock Vean’s private foreshore for a guided kayak or boat trip to the mouth of the river or visit Daphne du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek.
Book it: Modern holiday homes from £550 a week for six, traditional cottages from £470 a week for four. Short stays also possible (budockvean.co.uk).
Sense of fun: Thyme in Southrop has a trio of self-catering stone cottages. Pictured is the Baa Bar that features model sheep
They call Thyme, in Southrop, a village within a village – its beautifully manicured grounds are home to a series of converted Cotswolds farm buildings and houses. And among them is a trio of self-catering stone cottages with beamed ceilings.
The eight-bedroom Farmhouse is the star attraction, with a boules court and fire-pit in its large walled garden, a double-height dining room and interiors filled with antiques and velvets. Four-bedroom The Tallet isn’t sold on a self-catering basis but you can hire a chef to cook there. Two-bedroom Old Walls, just outside the hotel grounds and with its own garden, is the only place where dogs and children can stay (they are permitted in the hotel’s restaurant for Sunday lunch only but can eat in the pub at all other times). Thyme has an outdoor pool, small spa and cookery school.
Book it: From £595 a night for four to £4,000 a night for 16 (thyme.co.uk).
The Eastbury Hotel, Dorset
Charming: Eastbury cottage is located next to the main hotel (pictured above) in Sherborne, Dorset
The cottage dates from the 17th Century and has a large inglenook fireplace, beams and antiques along with bright, modern furnishings
Enjoy exclusive use of the spa at the Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne when you check in to the three-bedroom Eastbury cottage next door.
Refurbished during the summer, the property dates from the 17th Century and has a large inglenook fireplace, beams and antiques along with bright, modern furnishings. There’s a walled garden, at the bottom of which is a hot tub. The spa has a sauna, steam cabin and hydrotherapy tub and is free on an exclusive-use basis when you book a treatment, or for £25pp otherwise.
The dog-friendly cottage is near many National Trust and English Heritage sites and makes an excellent base from which to explore the Dorset coast.
Book it: From £850 a night for six, minimum two nights (theeastburyhotel.co.uk).
Swinton Park, North Yorkshire
Guests can stay in rustic wooden cabins on the 20,000-acre Swinton Hotel estate near Ripon in the Yorkshire Dales
Indulge your Little House On The Prairie fantasies at these rustic wooden cabins with rocking chairs and verandas on the 20,000-acre Swinton Hotel estate near Ripon in the Yorkshire Dales.
The open-plan Tree Lodges have no electricity – lighting is from tealight lanterns and torches – but there is plenty of hot water, plus a wood-fired range and gas rings. They each sleep seven people, with a king-size bed on the uppermost of two mezzanine levels beneath a skylight for star-gazing.
To get to the hotel’s spa, golf course, cookery school and restaurant is a ten-minute whizz in the car or an hour’s yomp across the estate, although a cafe is just five minutes’ walk away.
The nearby market town of Masham is home to two famous Yorkshire breweries – Theakston and Black Sheep.
Book it: From £125 a night for up to seven (oneoffplaces.co.uk).
The Swan, Cumbria
The Swan at Newby Bridge in the Lake District has a handful of cottages designed to resemble New England properties
There is a plethora of pink among the contemporary furnishings in the handful of cottages at The Swan at Newby Bridge in the Lake District.
Designed to resemble New England properties, they come with log-burners, outdoor terraces with alfresco fireplaces and fantastic views. There is a hardwood kitchen for self-catering, but you can order room service instead or dine in the flamboyantly decorated old coaching inn by the river.
Take a packed lunch when you head off on one of the walks from your front door, or relax in the pool and sauna. The largest of four properties is The Dormouse, sleeping up to four adults and four children. Couples may prefer the Love Nest.
Book it: From £450 a night for up to eight. The Love Nest costs from £280 a night (swanhotel.com).
Lucknam Park, Wiltshire
The cottages at Lucknam Park, Wiltshire, have access to the hotel’s equestrian centre, spa, cookery school, playground and tennis courts
Pictured is Thatchers Cottage, which sleeps six people. Guests can enjoy a welcome hamper that comes with champagne
You know it’s going to be a stylish stay at the three cottages in Lucknam Park’s 500-acre grounds near Bath when there’s champagne in the welcome hamper.
Whether you sip it while a chef whips up something in the country-style kitchen, cook your own, order room service or enjoy it as a prelude to the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant is up to you. Each stone cottage, with wood-and-tiled floors, has a garden and terrace and dogs are welcome.
Squire’s Cottage, which sleeps eight, is the most elegant, with a cream and black colour scheme in the kitchen/living room and a modern four-poster in one of the bedrooms. Keeper’s Cottage and Thatchers Cottage both sleep six and are more country style.
All have access to the hotel’s equestrian centre, spa, cookery school, playground and tennis courts.
Book it: £1,150 for six or £1,550 a night for eight. There is a minimum two-night stay (lucknampark.co.uk).
The Airds Hotel, Argyll
The cottages at The Airds Hotel in the village of Port Appin make a cosy place to stay amid breathtaking scenery with plenty of trails for hikers and bikers
Spy seals playing in Loch Linnhe from rooms at The Old Smithy, one of a brace of two-bedroom cottages at The Airds Hotel in the west coast village of Port Appin.
Each has its own garden, beamed rooms and open fireplace, and it makes a cosy place to stay amid breathtaking scenery with plenty of trails for hikers and bikers.
The Old Smithy is just next door to the hotel, which also has Bramble Cottage in its grounds. When you tire of your own cooking, ask for a hamper from the hotel or nip in to its restaurant – you can be sure of excellent food as The Airds is a member of the Relais & Chateaux foodie group.
Whisky-lovers are well catered for: the hotel has a whisky bar, guests receive a whisky mac cocktail on arrival, and the distillery of Oban is nearby.
Book it: From £695 to £880 a week for four (airds-hotel.com).
Bovey Castle, Devon
Hidden haven: A three-storey lodge in the grounds of Bovey Castle in Devon. It has three en suite bedrooms and an impressive open-plan kitchen
Superbly swish, the 22 contemporary lodges in the grounds of Bovey Castle make a luxurious place to return to after exploring the delights of Dartmoor National Park.
Using acres of stone, granite and wood, each three-storey lodge has an impressive open-plan kitchen and dining area, leading into a double-height living room. There are fireplaces, a utility room and a barbecue on the terrace, plus three en suite bedrooms.
It’s just a short walk to the hotel (or call for a golf buggy) with its superb restaurant, spa, tennis courts and golf course.
Book it: From £599 a night for six (boveycastle.com).
Lime Wood, Hampshire
The Forest Cabin at Lime Wood has rustic-chic style, with stripped oak floors, open fires and two bedrooms
For easy self-catering when you stay in the cottages at Lime Wood in the New Forest, you can order a hamper containing all the ingredients needed to rustle up one of star chef Angela Hartnett’s simple recipes.
Tucked away in the hotel grounds, the Forest Cottages and Forest Cabin have a rustic-chic style, with stripped oak floors, open fires and two bedrooms apiece. Bathrooms are swish affairs with a freestanding bath as well as a monsoon shower.
Fresh bread is left each day and the fridge is stuffed with food, or you can walk across to the hotel for some of Angela’s more sophisticated dishes in the restaurant.
Book it: From £1,250 a night for four (limewoodhotel.co.uk).
The Pig at Combe, Devon
Stream Cottage at The Pig at Combe sleeps four in two equally fine bedrooms, with a rushing River Gitt as a backdrop
Before the glorious sweep of drive that leads up to The Pig at Combe, you’ll pass charming thatched estate cottages in the hamlet of Gittisham in the Otter Valley. Check in and you’ll find that one of them is yours.
Stream Cottage sleeps four in two equally fine bedrooms, with a rushing River Gitt as a backdrop.
The inimitable Pig decor is like a 1930s stage set – pelmeted flower-bud curtains, mossy velvet and flannel sofas, walls a parchment brown and flagstone floors topped with rugs. This studied style of aesthetic includes old-fashioned telephones, light switches and radios.
A galley kitchen packs in Smeg fridge, coffee machine, toaster and microwave and is bursting with cookies, bread, butter, eggs and marmalade, milk, tea and coffee. Treats include Negroni cocktails in Alice In Wonderland bottles (labels read ‘Nightcap for two’). Order a newspaper, soak in a deep tub or hunker down for a game of Scrabble.
Staff can ferry guests in The Pig Land Rover to dine in the main house restaurant or to the Potting Shed for spa treatments.
Book it: Stream Cottage starts from £415 per night (thepighotel.com).
Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath
Relax: The luxurious bathroom at The Townhouse, adjacent to the prestigious Gainsborough Bath Spa
Take the waters in your own private thermal bath when you stay at The Townhouse, an elegant Georgian property owned by and adjacent to the Gainsborough Bath Spa.
The three-bedroom house has exclusive access to the historic Cross Bath, an oval open-air oasis separate from the hotel’s spa village, its waters cascading from the spring and poolside fountain.
It’s rather lovely in the Townhouse, too, with plush fabrics and furnishings, and a master bedroom with canopied bed and silver roll-top bath.
You’ll need to be fit, though – it’s spread out over four floors.
Book it: From £765 a night for five (thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk).
There are cycle routes from Nanteos estate, Aberystwyth, to the ruins of Strata Florida Abbey (pictured above)
The Mews House comes with its own boot room, where you can leave muddy footwear after exploring the mid-Welsh countryside near Aberystwyth and the 30 acres of woodland, lake and labyrinth that belong to the Georgian-era Nanteos country house hotel.
The converted Palladian carriage house lies just across the courtyard from the main house and is a suitably chic place to stay. The living room opens on to a private courtyard, the flagstone-floored kitchen comes with its own fireplace, and one of the four bedrooms has a carved wooden bed.
Over at the hotel there is a chandelier-lit restaurant and a library bar.
There are cycle routes from the estate to the ruins of Strata Florida Abbey.
Book it: From £450 a night for eight (nanteos.com).