Destinations / Europe

Jane Austen Dreams: Top country house hotels in Britain (Part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of our series on Britain’s top country house hotels.

Whether you’ve ever had a dream of staying in Downton Abbey or passing the night at Pemberley, these travel options should help you create some of that historical magic on your next trip.

From charming cottages to rolling mansions, experience the British countryside the way it was meant to be seen – with fine dining, beautiful views and a touch or two of luxury!

Stoke Park

For decadence and luxury just 35 minutes from London, look no further than Stoke Park Country Club. This hotel is perfectly situated within sprawling 300-acre grounds, where you’re free to wander in happy isolation.

Aside from walking, you’ll find no shortage of activities to keep you entertained here. All guests are free to enjoy the 13 indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The on-site Health Pavilion contains a fully-equipped gym and numerous fitness studios. For those who like some guidance while exercising, there are over 50 classes available every week – including hot yoga and spinning.

Golfers can take a swing at the 27-hole course, which was designed in 1908 by Harry Colt. Classes are available from trained in-house professionals if your swing needs some work first.

When you’ve had your fill of exercise, retreat to the spa for some relaxation and personal pampering. The indoor heated swimming pool comes complete with hydro-seats and there is also a deep relaxation room, private atrium with five-metre tropical aquarium, marble steam rooms and an outdoor Scandinavian sauna.

And when it comes to food, Stoke Park loves to spoil her guests. Three restaurants are available on-site: the 3 AA Rosette-awarded Humphry’s, which serves modern British cuisine with a twist; the more chilled out Orangery which offers light meals and afternoon tea; and San Marco, the chic Italian brasserie. Whatever your culinary tastes, Stoke Park will be sure to have something to make your taste buds dance.

Stoke Park also takes great pride in being a family-friendly establishment, and children are more than welcome.

So with more amenities than even Mr Collins could praise, what are you waiting for? Check out our best deals on Stoke Park today!

Swinton Castle

Don’t be fooled by the imposing exterior of this castle: warmth and grandeur await you in the sumptuous setting of Swinton Park.

The main part of the house is the ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton, and has been owned by the Cunliffe-Lister family since the 1880s. Therefore, you can be guaranteed of all the trappings of a stately stay – antiques adorn the rooms and family portraits hang from the walls. 200 acres of parkland surround the hotel, while a further 20,000 are managed by the Cunliffe-Lister family as the Swinton Estate.

Traditional country pursuits, therefore, are in hot supply, including fishing, golf, falconry, riding and shooting, along with walks through the romantic scenery of the Yorkshire Dales – and several local points of interest can be found within a short distance.

The on-site spa has four treatment rooms, including a double treatment room and a private relaxation lounge with sauna and cedar hot tub – but this must be booked ahead of time.

If you feel like bringing your kitchen skills up to scratch, why not enrol in Cookery School? A selection of courses are available throughout the year, including one and two day courses. The Cookery School also forms a central aspect of Swinton’s popular Gourmet Weekend packages, which fuse wine tasting with cookery and fine dining. It makes sense, therefore, that Swinton also boasts a 3 AA rosette restaurant, Samuel’s, overseen by Executive Chef Simon Crannage. Diners are asked to dress smart when attending in the evening – t-shirts and trainers are not allowed. But The Castle Menu, served at lunchtime, offers a more relaxed and informal dining experience.

The hotel has also been recognised for its devotion to eco-friendliness. A four-acre kitchen garden fuels the restaurant and cookery school, while a carbon-neutral wood-chip boiler and an eco-friendly laundry help reduce power costs.

If being lord of your own castle sounds like your perfect getaway, then see the latest deals on Swinton Park here!

Holdfast Cottage Hotel

it may come as a surprise to some, but Jane Austen didn’t always have a lot of money in her lifetime. In fact, for a portion in her life, she enjoyed the simpler comforts of a cottage than the lavish manors which dominate her novels.

And if like Jane you prefer to save a few pennies, or if you simply feel like having a more rustic countryside experience, then we humbly present the Holdfast Cottage Hotel.

Sitting in a modest 2 acres of gardens and woodland, perfect for picnics and outdoor strolls, this 17th-century abode overlooks the Malvern Hills – which form the names for each of the 8 bedrooms. The emphasis is on friendly and unobtrusive service, making it the ideal retreat if you wish to experience the peaceful heart of England.

Holdfast also makes a perfect base for exploring the nearby cathedral cities of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, or the market town of Ledbury. For those who really like to get away into nature, the Wye Valley, Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds are all within easy access too.

Arguably the truest and most authentically Austen experience of them all, if a snug little cottage stay sounds like your idea of the perfect match then seec our latest deals for the Holdfast Cottage Hotel here!


We hope you’ve enjoyed this carriage ride through our favourite English country escapes. If you’ve not already read Part 1, then check it out here.

And wherever you plan on travelling in the future, remember that you’ll find the very best deals on your next stay at!

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