A country house holiday is all about giving yourself the luxury of space in grand surroundings. Think high ceilings, large lounges, multiple locations to relax with a quiet drink and expansive grounds for a stroll....
At Hand Picked Hotels we specialise in charming properties that take you away from the ordinary and give you just that experience and more.
The Great Drawing Room at Ettington Park
Ever fancied your own foray into the world of Downton Abbey or The Crown? Our country house hotels are the perfect place to step back in time and revel in the kind of elegant interiors and leisurely lifestyle depicted in period dramas (without the fear of a withering put down from the Dowager Countess!)
Enjoy country house traditions like afternoon tea taken in one of our luxurious lounges (or even, in the case of Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa, a Tudor Great Hall), with delicate finger sandwiches, scones and pastries arranged on a tiered stand. Come the evening it is time for top notch modern British cuisine - most of our restaurants have been awarded 1 or 2 AA Rosettes.
At the weekend, relax with the Sunday papers in a panelled drawing room, perhaps with your dog at your feet – all of our Hand Picked Hotels welcome your canine companion.
Though there are ample diversions in our country house hotels and their beautiful grounds, at many you will also find yourself well placed to enjoy the finer things in life beyond the gates. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a night of culture at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, sparkling wine tasting at one of the vineyards across South East England or the chance to take a performance car for a spin at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey.
And if you fancy a peek at the real Downton Abbey, take a tour of Highclere Castle where the series were filmed - it’s just half an hour away from our Audleys Wood Hotel in Hampshire, a Victorian hunting lodge of a similar period.
Each of our hotels has its own wonderful heritage for you to discover. You’ll be following numerous famous figures from history that have enjoyed breaks in these special country houses.
800-year-old New Hall in Sutton Coldfield once entertained King Henry VIII and also has the distinction of being England’s oldest listed inhabited moated house. Buxted Park in East Sussex at different times hosted William Wordsworth, Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill and Marlon Brando.
The Tudor Great Hall at Fawsley Hall
Fawsley Hall in Northamptonshire received monarchs dating back to Elizabeth I and in Victorian times was a welcome country retreat for Joseph Merrick, whose story is told in the film The Elephant Man. King Edward VII stayed with his mistress Lillie Langtry at Surrey’s Woodlands Park while he was Prince of Wales and several former prime ministers dined and slept at Crathorne Hall in Yorkshire.
The 'Rose' Suite at Stanbrook Abbey
Of course our hotel buildings are also notable in their own right and many are listed for their special architecture or interiors. Dating back to the early 16th century, Stanbrook Abbey in Worcester is a former monastery with stained glass windows, while the Palace of Westminster inspired the tower at Nutfield Priory in Surrey. The Neo-Gothic Ettington Park, close to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, has extravagant brickwork and friezes.
Private Dining in The Alhambra at Rhinefield House
Tudor and Gothic combine at Rhinefield House in the heart of the New Forest and you can book a private dining experience here in a particularly special Moorish-style room with onyx pillars and hand cut tiles, inspired by the ornate Alhambra Palace in Spain.
Rhinefield House is the perfect country house venue for celebrations. So if you are reuniting with your extended family or best friends for a special occasion in the future, do get in touch to discuss your plans.
The great outdoors
Of course, a country house holiday with us is not all about the indoors. We have wonderful outdoor spaces for you to explore and the benefits of doing so go beyond working off one of our fabulous lunches.
Buxted Park in the Ashdown Forest
The Japanese wellness concept of Forest Bathing has been growing in popularity in the UK. Exponents believe that stepping away from our cities and devices and immersing ourselves in nature helps to encourage positive mental health. All of our hotels have beautiful grounds for your walks and nine are in particularly stunning countryside locations.
The grounds at Crathorne Hall in Yorkshire
Those with extra special opportunities to tune into the natural world include Audleys Wood in Hampshire, which is is surrounded by woodland; Fawsley Hall in Northamptonshire, which has 2,000 acres of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown; Rhinefield House, which sits deep in the New Forest and Crathorne Hall, on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.
And as our hotels are dog-friendly, your four-legged friend can share your wanders in the glorious outdoors.
Whether it is our heritage buildings, extensive grounds or simply the slower pace of life that draws you, we want to ensure your country house break is the best it can be. That is why we have introduced our Treasured Experiences programme.
Simply answer a few questions via our online form to let us know your interests and requirements - like private dining preferences or interconnecting rooms, or even a setting to pop the question - and we will work on a tailor-made getaway for you that combines all those important ingredients. On arrival you will be greeted by a dedicated ‘Hand Picked Host’ who will look after you throughout your stay.
We invite you to kick back, relax and make one of our country houses your home-away-from-home for as long as you wish.