A Hume

A Hume
Spring Escapes – Five of the Best

Spring Escapes – Five of the Best

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Five utterly blissful escapes to feed the soul. From the wilds of the Hebrides to the charms of the Cotswolds.



Cnocan Dubh, Islay


Cnocan Dubh


Situated on the Oa peninsula on the south of Islay, Cnocan Dubh (the little black hill) is one of two stone lodges, each nestled into the hillside, and beneath its turf roof, almost indistinguishable from the landscape. The lodges are designed to satisfy our dualistic cravings for wild places and modern luxury.


Spend days walking The Big Strand – 7 miles of golden beach, surfing, drinking deep on peat and iodine at the island’s seven whisky distilleries then pootle home to spend the long spring evening humming a certain Wings song whilst admiring the views of Kintyre from your own private hot tub.


Why go: Wilderness bliss. Just you, the stags and the seven distilleries.



For more info see: www.i-escape.com



Yarrow Cottage, Churchill, Chipping Norton


Yarrow Cottage


Chipping Norton is notorious as an enclave of wealthy, power-wielding political and media types, including the Prime Minister and Rebekah Brooks, but honestly, don’t let this put you off! Chippy is a charming market town and it would be to doubly punish the locals to write the town off because a few high ranking riff raff have chosen to make it home.


Instead sneak off to the 300-year old Yarrow Cottage – thatched of course – and indulge in your own luxury Cotswold fantasy. Dine at the Chequers Pub, part of the infamous Lucky Onion chain –a three minute walk away – or The Wild Rabbit – a mile away, as featured in our Top Regional Restaurants post. Stock up on luxury organics down the road at Daylesford and soak your weary bones in the gargantuan copper bath.


Why go: Because we can’t surrender the Cotswolds to Jeremy Clarkson and his chums. It’s too good.


For more info: www.boutique-retreats.co.uk




The Spa Lodges at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere


There are many reasons to go to Gilpin Hotel, the award winning food and the hand-picked interiors that feel a world away from the usual bland corporate offering being just two. But perhaps the best reason is the owner’s quite exceptional sensitivity to the hotel’s location in an area of outstanding natural beauty.



It is after all nature that draws us to the Lake District and throughout the hotel they have worked to establish strong links between the private guest accommodation and the stunning outdoor space. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Spa Lodges, each lodge has its own private indoor and outdoor spa complete with convertible treatment area, steam room, rain maker shower, free standing oval stone bath, outdoor sauna and hydrotherapy hot tub surrounded by a walled garden – and wonderful views over the gardens to the Lake District moors.


Why go: Because you could spend weeks searching for a good hotel in the Lake District and we’ve saved you the bother. So go, be happy.


For more info: www.thegilpin.co.uk




The Treehouse at Harptree Court, Somerset


The Treehouse at Harptree


Maybe it’s our primate legacy, I don’t know, but there is something magical about sleeping in the trees. Put a room on stilts and suddenly you’re having an adventure. In this case a very luxurious adventure, as featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.


The arboreal flights of fancy at Harptree Court really have taken treehouses and glamping (no, I don’t think you can even call this glamping) to new heights. Boom, boom. After you’ve climbed the windy stairs and peeled back the leafy branches a hobbity world of luxury awaits complete with curvy shaker kitchen, log burner, copper bath, plump armchairs and wrap-around deck to play peek-a-boo with the birds from.


Why go: Because life lived half-way up a tree is worth living. Just a few feet off the ground but a whole different point of view.


For more info: www.canopyandstars.co.uk




St Winifred’s Well, near Oswestry


Image credit: Jill Tate

Image credit: Jill Tate


Deep in the Shropshire countryside, not far from the Welsh border, lies an intriguing, little chapel dating back to the 15th-century, built over a well steeped in history and dedicated to the memory of a 7th-century Welsh Princess, St Winifred. Today it is just one the many fascinating buildings bought and restored by the Landmark Trust. All funded by donations and through renting these unique – yes, I’m using that phrase again, but I think you’ll forgive me – buildings to intrepid travelers.


Don’t expect an en-suite spa. In fact the bathroom is a short hop over the bridge. But do expect authenticity, comfort and the knowledge you’re helping to preserve our heritage.


Why go: Because you can bet you won’t know anyone else who’s been and it will open your eyes to a world of unique locations.


For more info: www.landmarktrust.org.uk




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