Thanks to our guest blogger, Karen, for some inside scoop on country retreats – UK style!
The English countryside is, for many around the world, the epitome of class, elegance and style. Tourists do not have to look far to find historic country accommodations with all the modern luxuries; and the most fabulous part is that you may find such retreats in every price range. Here is a list of the top five retreats in England’s green and pleasant land.
1. Maiden’s Tower B&B, Leeds Castle, Kent
There is nothing more magical than staying in a real life castle, and at the Maiden’s Tower Bed & Breakfast at Leeds Castle, that is exactly what you can do. The 16th century tower boasts five beautifully decorated rooms done in period style with a modern twist. Leeds Castle: A Norman stronghold; property of six of England’s queens; a palace of Henry VIII; and a Georgian mansion, guests will have no shortage of things to see or do during their stay. An overnight stay includes breakfast made from local produce, served in the 17th century Fairfax Restaurant.
2. Tidwell Manor, Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Originally a gentleman’s residence, this early Georgian mansion, built in 1725, is nestled in two acres of formal gardens in Devon. Tidwell’s large lawns and expansive grounds serve as the perfect place for a game of croquet, or even horseback riding. History buffs may be interested in visiting East Budleigh, the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh. Tidwell Manor is also near to the World Heritage Jurassic Coastal Path, which is favoured by many walkers and spans from Exmouth to Lyme Regis. It is important to note, however, that as a listed Georgian manor house, accessibility is limited.
3. The Old Vicarage, Icklesham, Sussex
Located in the picturesque village of Icklesham, The Old Vicarage, a beautiful Georgian house, was built in 1820 and is surrounded by some of the most stunning country landscapes Britain has to offer. With spacious rooms decorated in the most exquisite antique furniture and a lush garden full of romance, guests are sure to feel in the lap of luxury during their stay. With no shortage of things to do in the area, guests may wish to visit nearby Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, the fabulous beaches at Winchelsea, or hop aboard the Kent and East Sussex steam train.
4. The Woolpack Inn, Chilham, Kent
Although this beautiful 600-year-old inn shares its name with a famous fictional pub in the ITV soap Emmerdale and also happens to have a very cosy bar area, that is where the similarities end. The Woolpack Inn is situated in the Garden of England and rests at the base of a hill, very near to an old Norman castle. Of the 14 bedrooms, two have four poster beds which, for some, makes staying in the countryside just that little bit more special. The Inn is subject to many rumours of a ghost, known as “The Grey Lady,” which haunts the main building but she is said to be quite friendly.
5. College Farm, Thetford, Norfolk
This medieval family home is a bed and breakfast that is positioned well off the main road and surrounded by countryside; ideally located for guests who wish to tour the county of Norfolk. A wooden framed hall in the year 1349, the house was originally a college of priests, rebuilt in stone by the Master of the college in the year 1400. The place is renowned for its delicious, locally sourced breakfasts that are served in the breath-taking Jacobean dining room. Perfect for anyone walking or riding along Peddars Way, this bed and breakfast even offers overnight accommodation for horses in their own paddock.
Karen Orson has worked in travel and tourism since leaving school and has flittered around the South Coast of England for years. She currently works for Highcliffe House in Devon.