The top three country escapes in the UK

The wellness one

Lime Wood

Where better to immerse yourself in the leafy surroundings of the New Forest than in the comfort of Lime Wood’s new pavilion rooms? Each has been given a smart update by interiors guru Susie Atkinson (who is also responsible for giving stately pile Beaverbrook a facelift) in a palette of delectable sorbet shades that have become her signature.

Add to this a host of spoiling treatments by Sarah Chapman and Bamford at the Herb House Spa, as well as a new clean-eating menu developed with nutritionist Amelia Freer. Plus, it’s all less than two hours from London. Rooms from £395 (

The family rental

Bibury Farm Barns

Bibury Farm Barns are the antidote to the cookie-cutter Cotswolds of which we’ve grown weary. Owners Polly and George Phillips have done away with the ubiquitous blue shutters and charming chintz in favour of an inviting Scandi aesthetic that practically begs you to stay in and cosy up. There are five self-catered barns available, sleeping from six up to 10 people, each outfitted with woodburning fires, XXL sofas and smart TVs.

The spacious bedrooms will restore domestic harmony after any heated family board games, while kitchens come stocked with your morning eggs, milk and local specialities. Added bonus: the barns are a handy 10-minute drive from the picturesque Slaughters or Southrop’s Thyme for Sunday lunch before heading back home. From £675 for a two-night weekday stay in the Bull Pen, which sleeps six (

The horticulturalist’s haven 

The Newt

Somerset has no shortage of superlative hotels, but what really sets The Newt apart is its grounds: 800 acres of gardens and orchards wrap around the historic grade II-listed hotel. At its heart is the egg-shaped, parabola-walled garden, with more than 500 varieties of apple tree — there’s also a working cider press on site. Incidentally, it was during the restoration of said garden that dozens of newts emerged, giving the hotel its peculiar name. Not a stone, shrub or root has been planted without great thought to how it will contribute to the estate and its future. It’s a fitting tribute to Penelope Hobhouse, the great English landscape gardener whose family once lived here. 

Of course, the main house has all the hallmarks of an elegant country stay — the owners are the couple behind South Africa’s cult hotel, Babylonstoren in Franschhoek. Drawing from her experience as a former editor at Elle Decoration, Karen Roos has deployed a colour palette of lazy Sunday blues and greys that beautifully offset antique curios (#CompetitiveInteriorsContent, anyone?). Rooms do away with the cliché rolltop-tub-near-your-bed formula for a modern Georgian interpretation. Beds (above) are kept classic, mahogany and four-poster; bathrooms are marble-clad and with thoughtful touches, such as soaps provided from local maker Jane Maddern.

Paying homage to local producers is also at the heart of the food and drink offering, from bread baked on site to the moreish Westcombe cheddar. It’s even been speculated that the hotel could buy the local train station, too — presumably to shuttle guests to explore the estate when it is in full bloom next summer. But why wait? The house and gardens are a delight to escape to for autumnal weekends as well. Rooms from £255 (

Dipal was a guest of The Newt, Lime Wood and Bibury Farm Barns


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