The Cow, Derbyshire
Stylish bedrooms and heavenly food await you at this new village jewel, deep in the South Derbyshire countryside. Inside, the copper-topped bar gleams and the fire roars in the old stone fireplace. You can perch on an upcycled milk churn to down a pint of local ale or sit in the dining area and choose from the imaginative menu.
High-tech touches, cosy interiors and the offer of breakfast in bed could tempt you to stay in your room all day, but the surroundings offer some fantastic exploring. Haddon Hall is just a 45-minute drive away – described as “the most romantic house to survive from the middle ages”. Closer, you’ll find beautiful gardens and plenty of walking paths to keep you busy.
The Roebuck, Cheshire
From the cobbled pavement planted with little trees to the split-level terrace that catches the sun, you could believe you’re in a French valley rather than an English village. As soon as you walk inside, you will be amazed by the vibrant and eclectic interiors. Café tables, wine-red leather settles, mirrors, candles and a host of wine bottles make a colourful backdrop for tasty lunches and dinners with a Mediterranean flavour.
Upstairs are six double bedrooms full of colour, warmth and unique art: embroidered brocades, leather armchairs and roll top baths await. The best room, Bobal, even has a cosy wood-burner between the bed and bath for added luxury. There’s a Health club and spa nearby if you’d like a pamper and Knutsford Town is just a few miles away – ideal if you want to mooch around independent shops.
The Litton, Somerset
This much-loved country inn is in the heart of the Mendips. As soon as you duck inside, you’re wrapped in comfort, from reindeer skins on the sofas to mulled cider that’s warming on the bar.
After a blustery walk around the nearby Chew Valley Lake or along one of the many paths through the hills, return to a delicious meal by the fire. Afterwards, tuck yourselves into a corner and grab a Moroccan blanket, or if you’re up for braving the cold – enjoy a drink or two together around the firepits outside. The bedrooms are lovely, some are in the adjoining mill but all are individually and stylishly decorated. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some time to yourselves; either with a long, hot soak in the roll top bath or borrow one of the books and read by the fire.
St Tudy Inn, Cornwall
Ramblers have long loved this little pub off the beaten track in Padstow. Food has been the biggest draw; it’s simple, yet delicious, using only the best Cornish produce. There’s lamb tagine with apricots, squash and fennel lasagna, lemon sole with new potatoes and treacle tart with Cornish clotted cream. All washed down with a glass of wine from their carefully selected menu.
After dinner, retreat upstairs – all the rooms have big comfy beds and crisply nautical colour schemes. Leave the little ones at home and make this your base for a grown-up getaway.
The Horse Guards Inn, Sussex
Beautiful views stretch for miles from this 350-year-old South Downs pub. Inside everything is country-chic; each room is furnished with quirky pieces, fresh flowers, wonky beams and antique furniture.
Owners Sam and Misha love this pub and their passion is reflected in the homemade treats on offer and the chalkboards championing local producers. Upstairs, the bedrooms are calming and characterful, each with exposed beams and low ceilings. In winter, you can roast chestnuts foraged from nearby Petworth Park on one of the open log fires, play board games at the bar and enjoy a glass of spiced cider.
The Methuen Arms, Wiltshire
The Methuen has changed with the times. It started life as a 14th-century nunnery, turned into a coaching inn in 1608, then had a Georgian facelift in the late 1700s. In 2010 it was reborn as a chic boutique hotel – cosy and stylish with great food and delicious Butcombe ales.
There are robes in fine bathrooms, four of which have claw-foot baths, one of which is in the bedroom. Super food waits, perhaps cream of shallot soup, venison with heritage carrots, Wiltshire honey crème caramel. You’re close to Bath, so enjoy your weekend mooching around the independent shops or treating yourselves at the thermae spa.
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