If winter means hibernating, you might as well pick somewhere incredible to do it. Here’s some of Britain’s most superlative stays, from cabins in the Cotswolds to a castle in Wales...
You’ll be mesmerised by the view from this spectacular suite on the 39th floor of London’s iconic Shard, the crowning glory of luxury hotel, the Shangri-La. There’s even binoculars to help you get a closer look at all the world-famous landmarks – you’ll see the Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe and more. But there’s plenty to enjoy inside too. It’s one of the largest suites in the capital, with a super fancy interior which includes a private study, a plush living and dining room and a marble bathroom with a jacuzzi.
Getting to Burgh Island Hotel is an adventure all by itself. It sits on a tidal island attached to Devon, southwest England, by a sandy beach. When the sea comes in the only way across is by a sea tractor, which carries you above the waves. The hotel itself is considered one of the best examples of art deco in Europe, with rooms named after famous visitors such as crime novelist Agatha Christie and pioneering aviator Amy Johnson – the first woman to fly from Britain to Australia alone.
Wales has more than 600 castles – more per square metre than anywhere else on earth. Want to stay in one? A fine option is Roch Castle in Pembrokeshire, mid-Wales, originally built in 1195. It’s been home to a Norman knight; a royalist stronghold in the Civil War; and was abandoned for more than 200 years. Lucky for you, it’s now a luxury hotel. From your room you’ll enjoy commanding views of the beautiful countryside and coast, but make time to peruse the castle’s unique collection of British art.
Stay like the celebs at this exclusive members club and hotel in the Cotswolds countryside in southwest England (don’t worry, you don’t have to be a member to stay). Their ultra stylish cabins come with cosy log burners and freestanding baths, perfect for a soak on a chilly winter’s night. There’s plenty to do round the farm, too, from catching one of the daily screenings at the Electric Barn Cinema to getting a dreamy massage treatment at the Cowshed Spa. When it comes to food and drink, there’s a country pub and various barns where you can sample the best of British farm-to-table dining.
The Belle Isle estate is made up of 8 islands, all huddled together in the calm waters of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, with interesting accommodation options ranging from coach house cottages to courtyard apartments. On the largest of the islands, around 2 hours’ drive from Belfast, is Belle Isle Castle, built in the 17th century as a country house. The castle is vast, with thick stone walls and heavy, wooden doors, and can only be hired in its entirety. Enjoy a day of rural activities like fishing and clay shooting, before having dinner in the banqueting hall as musicians play in the minstrel’s gallery.
Granite walls more than 4 metres thick and armour plating guarantee privacy at Spitbank Fort. The unique property sits in the Solent – a stretch of water off southern England that separates the mainland from the Isle of Wight. It’s one of a series of forts built in the same stretch of water in the 1860s to protect from the threat of French invasion. Nowadays, it’s a sumptuous retreat, with 8 bedrooms, a fire pit, sauna and hot tub on the roof and, of course: sea views.
Indulge in an otherworldly stay in Edinburgh, a city well known for its historic drama. There are only 9 suites, each with a different - but equally daring - take on the eccentric hotel’s grand, gothic theme. The Heriot has a 4-poster bed with golden velvet drapes, a chapel-inspired bathroom and a sumptuous sitting room, with wood panels from St Giles' Cathedral. Meanwhile The Vestry is adorned throughout in a rich, passionate red, with a theatrical bathroom revolving around a roll-top bath made for 2. Whichever you pick, you’ll get a bottle of champagne to celebrate your arrival and a candlelit breakfast.