All of a sudden we’re feeling weather beaten and in need of some TLC, if you’re exhausted by gales and relentless rain perhaps a couple of days of autumnal bliss are just what you’re after too? Take inspiration from our top five places to enjoy the season.
Monachyle Mhor, Balquidder – Food Lover heaven with hills to walk it all off
The term boutique hotel doesn’t really do justice to this family run, luxury 18th Century farmhouse/hotel conversion, it’s not nearly suggestive enough of the large heart beating at the centre of the various Mhor enterprises. Only real passion inspires food, accommodation and service at this level, but it takes commercial nouse to deliver and all too often the mix is wrong. In their stomping ground of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park – an area of deciduous forest that is at its undisputed best in autumn, the Lewis family has established an enclave of food-orientated excellence, executed with casual brilliance. Be impressed by the full Mhor resume at www.mhor.net
Colton House, Staffordshire – Period Perfection within tranquil grounds
It would be entirely possible to stay at Colton House and remain blissfully happy, ensconced in period elegance without ever leaving the splendid Georgian Grade II listed mansion house and 1.5 acre garden. Though there are plenty of attractions to take you out into Staffordshire; Lichfield Cathedral beckons, as does Cannock Chase, an area of outstanding local beauty, renowned for it’s tall pines and open heathland. But why go anywhere when you can sit back in splendour and imagine the rustle of crinolines on the broad sweeping staircase. Colton House may term itself a B&B but it offers service comparable to a small, exclusive hotel. www.coltonhouse.com
The Bivouac Woodland Shacks, Masham – Glamping fun for all the family
It would be all wrong for a country clothing retailer not to advocate outdoor adventure, but it would be fair to say we favour the odd home comfort, so we’re thrilled by the ascendency of glamping. The very high standards of traditional timber craft, comfort, and soothing wood burning stove, Scandi-style at Bivouac assure us that it’s safe to venture into the woods with our offspring. If you haven’t sorted out your mid-term family break, a Bivouac Woodland Shack could be for you. Don’t be fooled by the term shack, you’re every need has been considered. There’s a café too if the thought of brewing up on the range is too overwhelming. Its all very River Cottage. Teenagers may be horrified by the lack of wifi and off-grid status but, like, whatever. www.thebivouac.co.uk
The Cranleigh, Windermere – Ever wanted your own private hot tub?
In complete contrast to The Bivouac, The Sanctuary at The Cranleigh Hotel is whizz-bang, gadget happy, luxury, this unique bolthole sits distinct from the hotel and boasts Blu-ray dvd, ipod docks, Bose surround sound Lifestyle system, a Ben de Lisi glass bath, a fridge stocked with champagne and access to all the 5 star exuberance of The Cranleigh proper. It really is the ultimate designer love shack, a treat for grown ups only, and other than a jaunt to the £3 million spa facilities we suspect residents rarely leave the Sanctuary during their stay. www.thecranleigh.com
The Grove, Pembrokeshire – A cosy hotel and restaurant, very much on the up
The Grove is the place to catch the last, golden glow of autumn and enjoy the harvest from the Grove’s own Kitchen Garden, and orchards. An understated, confident luxury prevails at The Grove, as though you’ve been invited to the home of a rather well healed friend with great taste and exceptional skills as a host. Since it was purchased in 2007, the 17th Century property has been lovingly restored and awards have been piling up in a satisfying heap of esteem, those queuing up to lavish praise on The Grove include; The Sunday Telegraph, Condé Nast, Harpers Bazaar, the AA and Visit Wales. www.thegrove-narberth.co.uk