Spanning five counties this is the largest designated area of outstanding natural beauty in England and Wales and is famous for classically English market villages all fashioned from honey coloured stone. It’s bucolic settings are legion and is perfect for walking, hiking, cycling or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful hill views. Check out these two options below – one offers stand alone cottages and the other a more traditional hotel (but which also offers a stand alone cottage to hire, too).
Forming the perfect blend of countryside, city and coast, Hampshire sits on the south coast of England, and features numerous National Parks, coastal beauty spots and buzzing cities, including the ancient capital of England, Winchester. Walk the Titanic trail in Southampton, follow the footsteps of Jane Austen in the South Downs National Park, and meet hundreds of wild ponies in the New Forest, this country has something for everyone. Experience Hampshire at its finest at both the below properties, which exude equal measures of British charm and elegance and offer a plethora of countryside pursuits.
Offering picturesque villages, remote rural landscapes, sandy beaches, fossil cliffs and wild moors, Devon is British countryside at its best. With this spectacular variation of scenery, it’s the ideal spot for country and coastal pursuits such as horse-riding, cycling, walking, fishing and surfing. A gastronomic destination in its own right, the local cuisine focuses on home-grown ingredients and farm-to-table dining, and of course, you can’t miss an afternoon tea of scones with Devonshire clotted cream. We recommend a stay at two of Devon’s gems; ultra-chic south coast hotel Gara Rock or the multi award winning lifestyle retreat, Yeotown.
A jewel in the Eastern coast of England, as you leave behind the city bustle of London - the flat plains expand out in-front of you. Bordered by neighbouring Norfolk, Suffolk has a laid back charm and East Anglian history aplenty. From the quaint sea-side town of Southwold, with its microbrewery and chic boutiques to the meandering broads with over 125km of waterways - take your pick on where to spend your days. We love the exclusivity of Retreat East or the boutique sea-side hideaway of The Swan at Southwold.
One of the South West's most beautiful counties, Dorset is home to rolling hills, deep history and some of the country’s best beaches. Perhaps less well known to the neighbouring Devon and Cornwall, Dorset holds a special charm of its own. With quaint villages and thatched lined houses, spend your days exploring the green fields, before sampling the farm to table style food at some of the greatest local pubs. With great cathedrals in Sherbourne and the iconic Durdle Door, Summer Lodge set in the heart of one of Thomas Hardy's famous novels is the perfect start and end to any day exploring.
Home to Windsor Castle, Royal Ascot, and Newbury Racecourse, the Royal county of Berkshire is located just west of London in the South East of England. The county offers numerous riverside walks along the Thames, as well as an abundance of significant spots in England’s history, including literary Pangbourne, The Savill Garden and Eton College. Being so close to London whilst also offering British countryside and historic towns, this home county is monumental to England’s majestic past. The following country house retreat gives you the opportunity to escape London life in less than an hour to enjoy Berkshire at its best.
- Place the eggs into a saucepan and cover in cold water, make sure the eggs are flat on the bottom and not stacked
- Place onto a high heat and bring to the boil as quickly as you can and cook for 8 minutes
- Remove the eggs and place into ice cold water
- Once cold, peel the shell and rinse the eggs
- Chop the eggs with a knife (which gives a better texture than grating)
- Peel and finely dice the shallot
- Add the shallot to the chopped egg, along with the mayonnaise
- Season generously with salt and pepper
- Butter your preferred bread
- Generously spread on the egg mixture and cover with the washed and picked watercress to taste
- Cut into triangles or rectangles and savour
Heading North, straight up the A1 and the rural fields of Yorkshire begin to unfold. The backdrop to many famous films, the scenery really speaks for itself. The rich Roman and Viking heritage is dotted through the sheep filled fields and expansive national parks, perfect for exploring by foot or bike. For a cultural adventure, York is the gem of Northern England with a 13th century cathedral and the streets lined with chic shops and delis. Staying at Grantley Hall, rest, relax and indulge after a day on the moors.