Still going strong after four decades of reviewing and rating, the Good Hotel Guide celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
The newly-published 2018 edition features the UK’s top places to stay, ranging from gastropubs to country piles, based on visits by a team of experienced inspectors, and reports from trusted readers.
Brits love to be lords of their manor, so we asked the guide’s editors to share their top seven country house hotels (in no particular order).
1. Farlam Hall, Brampton
The comforts of a much-loved private home ﬁll the Quinion family’s creeper-swathed manor house on the edge of the North Pennines. Bedrooms are large and individually styled, with comfy chairs and garden views. Afternoon tea is served in a sitting room hung with paintings, while dinner, overlooking the ornamental lake, has a daily-changing menu. At breakfast, sit down to be served a kipper or full English on pretty china.
Doubles from £310 per night half board. Visit farlamhall.co.uk
2. Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead
Log ﬁres burn in sitting rooms ﬁlled with ﬂowers from the renowned gardens at this Elizabethan manor house on a 1,000-acre estate. Antique furniture and paintings decorate the bedrooms. Chef George Blogg’s Michelin-starred dishes – served, from spring 2018, in the newly remodelled restaurant – showcase produce from the huge walled potager, plus more from the house’s own orchards, glasshouses, smokehouse and chickens.
Doubles from £180 per night with breakfast. Visit gravetyemanor.co.uk
3. Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown
Sleep in a four-poster bed that once belonged to Charles I’s queen, Henrietta Maria, at this wildly ambitious rebuild of a Jacobean manor, whose rescued architectural features were installed by the ebullient Reverend Sabine Baring- Gould. Family owned, the hotel has a special atmosphere; its rooms are furnished with antiques and the walls are hung with portraits. Fireside canapés precede a dinner cooked with homegrown ingredients.
Doubles from £150 per night with breakfast. Visit lewtrenchard.co.uk
4. Chewton Glen, New Milton
In the New Forest, this 18th-century manor house has been welcoming guests for half a century. Modern bedrooms – including those in woodland tree-houses – are supremely comfortable, and children are welcome. Take afternoon tea on a terrace in sunshine; at dinner, eat in the conservatory dining room, or in the new stylish but unstuffy restaurant overlooking the kitchen garden.
Doubles from £325 room only. Visit chewtonglen.com
5. Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere
Here you’ll ﬁnd not one but two country houses, both owned by the Cunliffe family and run, as a single enterprise, with warmth and friendliness. Choose a bedroom or spa lodge in the Edwardian Gilpin Hotel, or opt for a secluded suite at the Lake House, a mile away. No matter where you lay your head, ﬁrst sample Hrishikesh Desai’s inventive Michelin-starred cooking in the Gilpin dining room.
Doubles from £225 with breakfast. Visit thegilpin.co.uk
6. Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae
Come up a wooded drive to Paul and Poppy Szkiler’s 19th-century Scottish baronial ‘castle’ on a sporting estate. You can take afternoon tea in the drawing room or library, gazing out to Ailsa Craig, then explore the Italian garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Gracious bedrooms have views of lawns, woodland or the Ayrshire coast. In the panelled dining room, feast on produce from the Victorian greenhouse and kitchen garden.
Doubles from £208 with breakfast. Visit glenappcastle.com
7. The Grove, Narberth
Surrounded by lawns, meadows and trees, this newly refurbished 18th- century mansion is run as a small luxury hotel. A log ﬁre burns in the panelled sitting room, where charming staff will bring you tea and a sweet pick-me-up. Bedrooms have home-made biscotti and smart toiletries. In the dining room, Michael Caines’ protégé Allister Barsby’s cooking is commendable.
Doubles from £135 per night with breakfast. Visit thegrove-narberth.co.uk
The Good Hotel Guide 2018: Great Britain & Ireland is priced £16 (including p&p within the UK). Visit goodhotelguide.com
Discount vouchers worth a total of £150 are included in each copy.