Bonnie Friend, website editor for the Good Hotel Guide, takes her pick of the cosiest hotels if you're looking to take a winter break
From reading by the fireside to a dedicated place for wellington boots by the front door, this is the season when all things quintessentially cosy are the order of the day. So, if you’re looking for a cosy, comfortable place to get away during the winter months, take a look at these oh-so-appealing UK locations…
1. The House at Temple Sowerby, Cumbria
In a village with a romantic history, this Georgian mansion and converted coach house is a small and welcoming hotel with elegant lounges, open fires and beautiful gardens. Rooms and suites are spacious and beautifully designed. Meanwhile, it has an award-winning restaurant complete with two AA Rosettes and understated but stylish decor throughout.
2. Hartwell House, Aylesbury
This historic house has many a compelling reason to visit during the winter. Formerly used from time to time by royalty, it has a palatial style that’s now allied to a luxurious spa. In the heart of Buckinghamshire near Ayelsbury, it sits in 90 acres of parkland on the edge of the Chilterns within a National Trust landscape.
3. The Cavendish, Baslow
On the Chatsworth Estate and owned by the Duke of Devonshire, The Cavendish marries a sense of grandeur with the warm welcome of a boutique hotel. Exquisite food is the order of the day, while luxurious furnishings add a sense of plush decadence as well.
4. The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa sits on one of the city’s most famous and fashionable streets. Very much a romantic hotel, its townhouse style lends it an intimacy that’s superbly cosy, especially in winter. A five-star haven complete with beautiful spa facilities, it is a fusion of modern luxury and old school style.
5. The Ollerod, Dorset
A 13th century country house in a chocolate box town in Dorset, The Ollerod has a joyful sense of style. Luxury Italian linens, classic English style and a penchant for superb breakfasts, it has 13 individually styled rooms and peppered with antiques. At Christmas time the hotel really comes into its own with special offers and seasonal events.
6. Mallory Court, Warwickshire
A real favourite for romantic weekends, Mallory Court is an elegant country house with a boutique Elan Spa experience nestled into a woodland retreat in the grounds. With 43 rooms and suites in 10 acres of grounds, Mallory Court is a four-star hotel and a member of the Relais and Châteaux group, which means you know when you visit you’re in for a superb treat, especially when it comes to food.
7. The Blakeney Hotel, Norfolk
With views across the estuary and salt marshes at Blakeney Point, The Blakeney Hotel sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wake to sailing boats bobbing by in this quiet, peaceful corner of the world, stroll with your dog in the morning mist, and tuck into hearty, seasonal, local food over a superb glass of wine.
8. The Lygon Arms, Worcestershire
A coaching inn dating back to the 1300s, The Lygon Arms (also pictured top) is all about log fires, vaulted ceilings and ancient wood panelling. Having once hosted Oliver Cromwell the night before the Battle of Worcester, it has continued to welcome illustrious guests over the centuries. Today, its appeal is less about proximity to battlegrounds and more about good food and warm hospitality.
9. The Horn of Plenty, Devon
A luxurious country house on the border between Devon and Cornwall, the Horn of Plenty is a four star hotel with an award-winning restaurant. With some of the most sensational countryside around it, the house looks towards Dartmoor and the historic town of Tavistock. When guests return from days exploring art galleries and nature trails, they can nestle in (with dog in tow) for superb meals, a well stocked library and, always, a toasty log fire.
10. The Goring, London
Taking the crown as London’s last remaining family-owned luxury hotel, The Goring is a grand hotel where everything is done to perfection. Its family roots and boutique size continue to give it the sense of visiting a superbly enriching home, and as such it has a real intimacy to it that’s perfect for a cosy Christmas escape.
11. Northcote, Lancashire
With a Michelin-starred restaurant and gorgeous historic architectural details, any occasion at Northcote can’t help but feel like a special one. Even if you’re simply visiting for a quiet weekend away, rooms and suites offer plush contemporary style with soft furnishings that make for a characterful and cosy retreat on the edge of the Rubble Valley.