Image courtesy of Homme House.
After 4 months of lockdown, I think the idea of a ‘staycation’ in our own homes has somewhat lost its appeal. And whilst most of us might not be ready to board a plane just yet, I think it’s fair to say we all have that overwhelming desire for a summer escape! I know I do.
So today, we’re taking a little break from the usual wedding chat to celebrate the big UK getaway! We’re throwing a spotlight on our venues who are opening their doors to welcome overnight guests once again. From beautiful airbnb’s, grand country houses, luxurious hotels through to glamping hotspots – we have something for everyone.
A little caveat – With lockdown easing, we’re mentioning all the possibilities that these locations have to offer. However do check in with the hosts to see if any specific service is currently unavailable, or if local attractions are still closed.
Now, get browsing and get booking!
Just 90 mins from either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports, Dun Aluinn, is a beautiful country house located in the Highland town of Aberfeldy, Scotland.
The house is a blend of warmth and comfort with simple and honest touches – you might have spotted their delicious interiors in in our recent ‘Home Tour‘ feature. Once on the estate you will be surrounded by 5.5 acres of private grounds with stunning views. The house is large enough for 10-12 guests and includes a fire pit on the terrace and a wood fired cedar Hot Tub nestled in the woods.
Dun Aluinn is available for hire with catering provided by their partners Ballintaggart Farm, with full housekeeping, butler and concierge services. They also offer tailored Highland Experiences and can arrange a host of outdoor activities such as guided walks, fishing, Highland Safari, white water rafting, canyoning and kids outdoor adventures.
Within short walking distance of Aberfeldy you’ll find lovely bookshops, coffee shops, restaurants, interior shops and there are plenty of amazing walks directly from the house – including the famous Birks of Aberfeldy walk.
The team at fforest weddings are so pleased to be welcoming guests to their self-catering accommodation from 13th July.
I’ve been a guest at this beautiful Welsh wedding venue and it’s absolutely one of my favourite places to stay. Each of fforest’s accommodation types has its own private outside covered deck area as well as access to the gardens, terraces and lawns and they are only minutes from the Cardigan Bay Coastline with its expansive beaches and miles of coastal path.
Even in the height of summer, it’s never difficult to socially distance here and with so many amazing local food and drink suppliers you’ll never be short of options for delicious suppers and picnic lunches.
Fforest is known for its delicious home-cooked food too. Unfortunately they won’t be hosting their healthy communal breakfasts or occasional meal nights but they’re going to have a little farm shop / café open most mornings serving freshly brewed coffee and fresh baked treats. The shop will stock a selection of fforest favourites, vegetables and salads from their gardens and fforest classic meat and vegetables that they will have prepped ready for your bbq. In the evening they’ll be serving takeaway beers and other drinks from the Bwthyn, their tiny on-site pub (which is the best!), and lighting up the site with their festoon lights so that everyone feels connected and experiences the fforest magic.
Their Pizzatipi, just a short drive away in nearby Cardigan, is also open for takeaways with a great menu and slick online ordering.
During these uncertain times, they confirm your booking with a 25% non-refundable deposit, balances will only be processed 10 days before your arrival date giving the flexibility to change your stay to another in 2020.
Another personal fave – The Copse is tucked away in beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.
Starting from 5th August right up until March 2021, they have space for anyone wanting to escape the city. They are just 25 minutes by fast train from Paddington to Reading, then 5 minutes by black cab you’re at their door – so simple and easy!
They can sleep 20 guests and the house has a never-ending list of facilities including a cinema, hot tub, dance barn, pool table, masses of amazing spaces to bbq including a hut and a little wood in their parkland with café lights. They also have a huge terrace, 22 acres to walk, run, climb trees, explore, you can bring your dog and your bicycle. If you don’t have a bicycle, they can fix you up as there are so many great tracks across the Mapledurham Estate next door (which also has a golf course). If you want to explore beyond the estate you can head to the River Thames for boating, brilliant restaurants and TWO great pubs within walking distance. Plus there is a BHS riding school, loads of National Trust properties and so much for children they could stay all summer!
Told you the list was extensive! Best of all. they are definitely an isolated bubble surrounded by grass, trees, blue sky, and wildlife.
The team are currently working on their booking terms, but they will be super flexible to recognise the uncertain times ahead and refunds for Covid illness will of course be automatic.
During the week they are welcoming local businesses who are needing an ‘away-day’ to escape and create their future plans.
The Hoxton Southwark
One of our newest London wedding venues, The Hoxton Southwark is taking bookings from 8th July.
The Hoxton Southwark is a 14-storey warehouse style hotel, a stone’s throw away from South Bank, with some of London’s best theatres, galleries and food markets right on their doorstep.
I’m a BIG fan of this brand – their hotels are not only super stylish but they are also some of the best rooms I’ve stayed in when it comes to comfort and function. If we’re heading into London for the weekend, we will usually always opt for one of the Hoxton locations. They have 5 bedroom categories – Shoebox, Snug, Cosy, Roomy and Biggie – and here you’ll be surrounded by industrial features such as Crittall-style windows, concrete ceilings, brick walls as well as luxurious touches in their panelled headboard, leather lounge chairs and handmade glassware.
Whilst life is still a bit up in the air at the moment, the team at The Hoxton have created a flexible approach to booking with them. This means, cancellations are free of charge until 2pm the day before your stay and they’ve introduced ‘Flexy Time’ which means you can check in and check out whenever you like – for free – if you book directly on thehoxton.com.
This unique 17th century gothic Tower has recently been faithfully restored to its former glory as a romantic Summerhouse. Set in its own beautiful Victorian Walled Garden on the private Homme House estate, it enjoys spectacular views of the Malvern Hills and is just a 25 minute walk to the village of Much Marcle.
Usually the backdrop to their outdoor ceremonies, The Summerhouse houses a Lower Bedroom Chamber (with four poster bed) and an Upper Drawing Room Chamber, accessed via a stone spiral staircase, with a wood burning stove and beautiful views over Homme’s Walled Garden and the surrounding countryside. Who knew!
A separate, private bathroom building is metres away through a gate in the Walled Garden wall, offering a wet room with drencher shower, basin and loo, as well as an outside sink for washing up.
Guests are welcome to use their recycled Kadai firebowl as a BBQ or fire, this is situated on a patio on the south facing wall of the Walled Garden along with teak patio furniture and candle lanterns. A continental breakfast hamper is delivered to the Summerhouse at the time of guests’ choosing in the morning.
The Summerhouse is the ultimate romantic overnight stay for those couples who love their glamping-style experiences.
Houchins is offering short stays, either during the week or at weekends, for July and August 2020. They can accommodate 2 – 16 guests, but there is flexibility in the number of people who can stay and the number of nights they can stay so just get in touch with the team to have a chat about prices.
Another venue I’ve personally visited, Houchins offers superbly comfortable accommodation onsite and now they also have their new Honeymoon Lodge, standing adjacent to the house. This gorgeous haven offers complete privacy and added luxury for your getaway. It is south facing with a light and airy bedroom suite boasting a king size bed and walk-in shower. Beautifully decorated, the Lodge provides the perfect setting to unwind.
The farmhouse has been restored to offer a relaxed self-catering style bed & breakfast. A complimentary continental breakfast is provided for those staying.
Plas Dinam Country House
Plas Dinam is the ultimate holiday house! From the beautiful house with 15 bedrooms, extra accommodation in the Lodge and glamping for more friends, to a tennis court and pizza oven, you’re sure to have an epic stay at this Welsh retreat.
This family house is available to book entirely for you – you’ll find boutique accommodation with towels, robes, hairdryers, REN skincare toiletries, room fragrances and flowers. It also has a family kitchen and dogs are welcome too (just let them know in advance).
Whilst the house is suitable for small groups, The Lodge can accommodate up to 6 guests. The venue also has a romantic little bolt hole suitable for 2 couples – the Stables Loft.
There’s so much to do at Plas Dinam – from enjoying the billiard room, perhaps a table tennis tournament, browsing the museum, singing around the grand piano, reading a book from the library, the fancy dress boxes, and just maybe some X Box will keep everyone entertained.
And when the sun shines the 13 acres of grounds have a tennis court, den building areas, swings (for adults and children), garden games and wood lined walks. The hills are waiting to be explored, on foot or by bike, and locally there’s a clay shooting centre and a lovely market town. They can organise fishing, archery, falconry, pampering or yoga, all at Plas Dinam.
Hales Hall are pleased to announce an exclusive opportunity for holidaymakers to stay in their Tudor Hales Hall or takeover the whole country estate during July and August 2020. This amazing opportunity is the idea of owner Helen Johnson, following lockdown and the postponement of this year’s summer weddings.
Helen says “Hales Hall has a stunning location with beautiful walled gardens and acres of meadows. Our magnificent Grade I listed Tudor Hall offers a luxurious retreat. Following lockdown we’ve decided to open for self-catering holidays throughout July and August for the first time”
Holidaymakers can discover the elegance of Hales Hall luxury accommodation and enjoy the seclusion the country estate offers. The five-star Hall complete with seven double boutique bedrooms, all individually styled, three reception rooms and a 40-foot country kitchen with an Aga is ideal for those looking to have a family get together. Dog friendly Hales Hall has outstanding gardens, sunny alfresco dining areas and plenty of room to relax and unwind.
Complete with additional stylish accommodation, all within the walled gardens, a moat and enough space to ensure social distancing it can be all yours for a minimum of 5 nights.
The Kingscote Barn are welcoming guests from 17th July, this beautiful barn venue is tucked away in a green valley away from the hustle and bustle of life. It is the ideal place to slow down, surround yourself with nature and take time out.
Their exciting new bedrooms include Eco-Pods, Woodland Lodges, a Shepherd’s Hut and the Amazing Tree House together with Spring Cottage, The Byre and the Tallet House rooms. These are all available for July and August for you to book here.
They can also deliver a Continental Breakfast Hamper to your room upon request.
In conjunction with Clever Chefs, they have also opened a Pop-Up Restaurant and Bar in the Kingscote Barn. This large space with high ceilings makes it the perfect place to enjoy our exquisite food and a drink with a view on the sunny south facing terrace.
We’re finishing our little round-up of UK staycation spots with the ultimate English country house – Cliveden.
This privately owned 5 Red Star award-winning hotel is located in Berkshire countryside and is set upon 376 acres of National Trust grounds. Enriched with antique furniture and period features, the house has stayed true to its roots whilst also providing a luxurious setting to rest, meet and play.
If you’re craving quality time away with friends or family (including the four-legged variety) then this is the perfect place to relax in luxury. They are currently offering a variety of bookings to tempt you – including their unique ‘Forest Bathing’ package which sounds magical and divine after being cooped up for so long!