It has been almost 75 years since Francis Coulson bought a small Victorian mansion on the shore of Ullswater and transformed it into what is now widely regarded as Britain’s first country hotel. Sharrow Bay has set a new standard for rural hospitality, and while it sadly closed in September 2020, its legacy is here for all to see – and, indeed, enjoy.
Because it is certain that the attraction of a stay in a country house has only grown in recent years. The private stately homes continue to open their doors to paying customers every year, as a generation of new owners have ensured their properties are at the forefront of British interior design, while pushing the boundaries when it’s about retaining the ultimate luxury experience. That’s not to say the traditional Downton mansion is dead – there are plenty of them, too.
Whatever your preference, there is surely something to suit your next indulgent country estate getaway. Here are eight of our favorites to get you started.
Domaine De Vere Beaumont
Best for: Escape the hustle and bustle
Set in 40 acres of parkland, this Georgian mansion is the perfect base for exploring the Royal Windsor Quarter. Recently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, the rooms are impressive, a mix of country chic and classic contemporary overlooking the beautiful gardens. If the imposing white property is large and majestic, it does not lose any of its charm or its intimacy. The new 1705 restaurant offers a mix of British and Italian classics with a winning children’s menu that includes crayons and paper while you wait. A winner. It really looks like a hotel for everyone, including dog owners whose pets are in high demand.
Stella likes: The expansive grounds that feel so peaceful with plenty of places to sit and enjoy a quiet coffee.
Outside : It is just three miles from the historic center of Windsor, where there is plenty to do, whether visiting Her Majesty at her home in the Castle or strolling through the many shops.
Many hotel guests visited Legoland, a few miles away and provided a perfect family day out, while Great Windsor Park is on the doorstep of the hotel.
Rooms from £ 139 per night; call 0175 364 0000 or visit devere.co.uk/beaumont-estate